Wednesday, 21 December 2016 00:02

Gerald Posner vs. Roger Stone in Coral Gables

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posnervstoneThis author would not walk across the street to see Posner speak about either the JFK or King case. I have a hard time thinking that Stone could master the JFK case in just a matter of 3-4 years, and am skeptical of the case made against Lyndon Johnson. In watching this confrontation it appears I was correct about these suspicions, laments Jim DiEugenio.

 

On the 54th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, at a bookstore in Coral Gables, Florida two famous authors convened. They were Gerald Posner and Roger Stone. The subject was a debate over the circumstances of Kennedy’s assassination. Obviously, because of the orientation of their books on the subject, Posner defended the Warren Commission verdict while Stone argued for a conspiracy.

Robert Loomis

Posner was trained as a lawyer. At age 23, he became one of the youngest attorneys ever employed by Cravath, Swaine and Moore, John McCloy’s old law firm. In 1980, he left that firm and opened a private practice with a partner. In 1986, he left that practice and became an author. In a relatively short period of time, he wrote three non-fiction books and one novel. In 1991, he was enlisted by Robert Loomis of Random House to write a response to Oliver Stone’s movie about the Kennedy assassination, JFK. The very plugged-in Loomis promised Posner that the CIA would cooperate with him on the project. (The Assassinations, edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, p. 369) And they did. Without their help, how else could an author gain access to high level defector Yuri Nosenko?

Harold Evans

As was exposed in a later lawsuit by the late Roger Feinman, Random House put a major effort into selling Posner’s Case Closed. One that was personally supervised by Harold Evans, who was president of the publishing house at the time. According to information Feinman discovered in his lawsuit, it was Evans who personally approved the infamous NY Times ads for the book. This was a four-phase campaign. It began with two teaser ads that promised to name the guilty parties in the JFK assassination. It culminated with two more ads. These featured the faces of Oliver Stone, David Lifton, Robert Groden, Jim Marrs, Mark Lane and Jim Garrison under a title which boldly accused them of the charge: “Guilty of Misleading the American Public”. If the reader knows anything about advertising costs in major newspapers, he can guess what those four ads cost. (Click here for Feinman’s essay about his lawsuit against Random House.)

But that was not all. Apparently because Evans had previously served as a director of US News and World Report, that magazine gave Posner’s book a cover story. The book became such a cause celebre that other authors have successfully used it as a way to curry favor with the MSM, e.g., Jeff Toobin and Robert Dallek.

The problem with all this hoopla, which was designed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the assassination, is that it was completely unwarranted. There were several reviews that showed just how flawed Case Closed was: for instance, David Wrone’s. (See also this index of items on this site.) In fact, there were so many problems with Posner’s book that activist Dave Starks put together a compendium page of articles to show that, not only was Case Closed a very bad piece of scholarship, but it might have been worse than that. In his haste to do a hatchet job on the critics, Posner may have created interviews he did not actually do. For instance, Peter Scott talked to Carlos Bringuier after Case Closed came out. Contrary to the book’s claims, Bringuier said he never talked to Posner. (Author interview with Scott in San Francisco in 1994) Same with Dealey Plaza witness James Tague, who the author clearly states he talked to on two successive days. (See Posner, paperback edition, p. 546) When Gary Aguilar talked to Tague, he said he never spoke to Posner. To use another example, although the author said he interviewed JFK’s forensic pathologist Thornton Boswell, Boswell told Aguilar he never spoke to him. (Click here for Starks’ devastating page on Posner.)

David Ferrie & Lee Oswald,
Civil Air Patrol (1955)

Posner also committed some outright howlers in his much-ballyhooed book. For example, in his schematic drawings of the assassin at the Texas School Book Depository window, he has him posed as firing from an extreme left to right angle. So much so that these “Posner shots” would have ended up in the railroad yards behind the picket fence. (See Appendix A of Case Closed, paperback edition.) This makes one wonder if Posner was ever in Dallas. Because to anyone who has been to the building and peered out the sixth floor window—which was possible back then—it presents a slight right to left angle. Posner also wrote that there was no evidence to connect David Ferrie with Oswald. (Posner, p. 425) This was utterly ridiculous on many counts. But to name just one, when the book came out PBS did a special which featured a photo of Oswald and Ferrie together at a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) barbecue. They found it by questioning some other members of the CAP. Which means Posner could have done the same if he had knocked on some doors in the Crescent City. Posner also writes that there was no such personage as Clay Bertrand in New Orleans. When the JFK Act declassified both the Jim Garrison files and the papers of the HSCA, Posner again ended up with custard pie on his face. Those documents reveal that the number of witnesses who stated that Clay Shaw used the alias of Clay Bertrand was in the double digits. (Destiny Betrayed, Second Edition, by James DiEugenio, pp. 211, 387, 388)

Posner’s book showed us in excelsis just how schizoid America is on the murder of President Kennedy. It did not matter to the Powers That Be just how error-strewn Posner’s book was. It did not matter to them that he was more or less acting as a hired gun for Loomis and Evans. It did not matter to them that the book was obviously a rush job for the 30th anniversary. Or that the title was preposterous since the declassification process of the JFK Act had not even gone into effect yet. In other words, the book was saying the case was closed when, in fact, two million pages of documents were about to be declassified in the next four years.

Clearly, as representatives of the Anglo-American Establishment, the important thing for Loomis and Evans was this: They wanted to create a tangible cultural artifact to rally around at the 30th anniversary. Why? In order to beat back the tsunami effect of Oliver Stone’s JFK, which had blindsided them. Posner’s book was a concocted historical event. Today the book has been retired to the (rather large) ash heap of useless volumes on the JFK case. It has no intrinsic factual merit to it at all. It is simply an exemplar of a two-part cultural/historical phenomenon. I say two parts, because the second phase of this Jungian neurotic outbreak occurred four years later, with another Loomis client. This time the collective seizure was over Sy Hersh’s equally horrendous book. This one was a biography of John Kennedy, The Dark Side of Camelot. That bookend volume was as bad in its own way as Posner’s tome. But Oliver Stone had not just said that JFK was killed by a conspiracy. His film also stated that Kennedy was a foreign policy iconoclast who was changing things in that realm. This was true and has been proven even more accurate by recent scholarship. But that did not matter with Hersh, whose book was so bad that some critics said it should have been titled, The Dark Side of Seymour Hersh.

II

Roger Stone was born in Lewisboro, New York to a reporter mother and a father who drilled oil wells. Stone got hooked on politics when he read Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater. Although he admired Goldwater’s ideas he could not comprehend the tactics of his 1964 campaign. To put it mildly, he thought they were rather quixotic. As he told writer Matt Labash, “It’s like he was trying to lose. Going to Tennessee and coming out against the Tennessee Valley Authority? These were suicidal acts.” (Weekly Standard, November 5, 2007)

Roger Stone & Nixon

Because of this, Roger Stone became more enamored with Richard Nixon as his conservative standard bearer. He deduced that Nixon was “more pragmatic, more interested in winning than proving a point.” He took a pithy aphorism from RMN: “Losers don’t legislate.” (ibid) Stone liked Nixon so much that he decided that his newly found idol had not really lost the 1960 election. He had been robbed of the presidency through electoral fraud. So he wrote Nixon a letter at his New York law firm encouraging him to run again. Nixon replied that he did not plan on doing so, but if he did, he would be in touch with young Stone. (Stone is such a Nixon fan he had his face tattooed on his back.)

Jeb Magruder testifies
during the Watergate hearings

While a student at George Washington University in Washington D.C., Stone invited Jeb Magruder, deputy director of the Committee to Reelect the President, to speak at the college’s Young Republican Club. After the speaking engagement Stone asked Magruder for a job with CREEP. At age 19, Stone decided to forsake his studies and joined right in with the antics of the infamous CREEP. For instance, he planted a mole in the camp of Democratic rival Hubert Humphrey. Magruder and his cohorts were obsessed with intelligence and skullduggery, and Stone had a natural affinity for them. He once wrote a check to Nixon rival Pete McCloskey from an account inscribed as the Young Socialists Alliance. Once he got the receipt he leaked it to the reactionary newspaper Manchester Union-Leader. (ibid)

Against Senator George McGovern in the general election, Stone hired another spy he termed Sedan Chair II. But according to Stone, he did not understand the mentality of CREEP. To him it did not make any sense to take the kinds of risks they were taking when the Democratic candidate, McGovern, had so little chance of winning. After Watergate, which spelled the end of Nixon’s political career, he went to work for Bob Dole, and then for the (failed) Ronald Reagan campaign of 1976. During this period, he co-founded the National Conservative Political Action committee, which was designed to execute a GOP takeover of the Senate. Which, by recruiting men like Dan Quayle and Chuck Grassley, it did. As he noted to Jeffrey Toobin, “The Democrats were weak, we were strong.” (The New Yorker, June 2, 2008)

Donald Trump & Roy Cohn
JohnAnderson9 16 80
John Anderson (Sept. 16, 1980)

In 1980, he again worked for Reagan. In that election, he joined forces with the notorious attorney Roy Cohn, sworn enemy of the late Bobby Kennedy. They decided that the best way for Reagan to beat incumbent president Jimmy Carter in New York was to help Democratic congressman John Anderson get on the ballot. This way, the Democratic Party vote would be split and therefore weakened. According to Stone, Cohn told him to get in contact with a lawyer friend he had. Once in contact, he was to ask him how much it would cost to get Anderson the Liberal party nomination in New York. Stone reported back that the price was $125,000. A couple of days later, Stone was told by Cohn to pick up a suitcase and deliver it to the lawyer. He did so, and Anderson won the Liberal Party nomination. Reagan won New York with 46% of the vote. (ibid, Labash)

Reagan’s victory in 1980 allowed Stone to enter the upper stratosphere of political campaign managing and lobbying. He now set up an office with two other GOP stalwarts, Charles Black and Paul Manafort. They would later be joined by none other than the late Lee Atwater, the man usually given credit for the Willie Horton TV ads, which helped defeat Democrat Michael Dukakis in 1988. The firm was lobbying on behalf of such people as Ferdinand Marcos, dictator of the Philippines, as well as conservative causes like the Nicaraguan Contras, and Angola’s UNITA rebels. And they advised several presidential candidates, even when they opposed each other.

Stone’s primacy in the higher circles of the GOP came to an end in 1996. He was serving as an unaccredited adviser to Bob Dole’s presidential campaign when scandal struck. And it struck through the National Enquirer. They billed the story as “Top Dole Aide Caught in Group-Sex Ring.” (op. cit., Toobin) He and his second wife had run ads for swinging partners to participate in bedroom games. (op. cit., Labash) The tabloids even got hold of the advertising photos. Stone tried his usual “Deny, deny, deny” tactics. But they did not succeed.

But in 2000, James Baker, who was running the GOP recount effort in Florida against Al Gore, brought Stone back to perform one last piece of political subterfuge. That act would have a momentous impact on America for decades into the future. It has come to be known as the “Brooks Brothers riot”.

When the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Gore could have a recount in four counties, Stone and Baker decided this had to be thwarted. Scores of Republican congressional aides—the Brooks Brothers suits—had been flown to Miami to simulate grass roots, Floridian protest against the recount. Stone stationed himself in a Winnebago outside the building where the Miami-Dade County recount was taking place. Outfitted with walkie-talkies and cell phones, he went to work using these aides to create the illusion of an indigenous attack on the building. He did this by having the congressional aides actually enter the building and demand the recount be halted. According to the New York Times, some people were struck or kicked. (11/23/2000) This scene inside the building was coupled with Stone inspired Spanish language radio warnings about carloads of Cuban exiles driving to the scene. (op. cit., Toobin) In its broad outlines, the operation resembled the CIA coup in Guatemala in 1954. Between the Brooks Brothers demonstrators and the “imminent Cuban exile assault”, the recount was discontinued. The episode likely stopped Gore from actually taking the lead for the first time. This—plus the later Antonin Scalia order granting emergency relief due to the “irreparable damage” of counting votes—ultimately led to the US Supreme Court decision stopping the recount. And that brought us George W. Bush, perhaps the worst president in history.

III

After his work for Random House on the JFK case, in 1998 Posner wrote a book on the 30th anniversary of the Martin Luther King assassination. To no one’s surprise, Killing the Dream came to the same conclusion as Case Closed—the official story was correct. One year later of course, William Pepper demonstrated in court that Posner was wrong. The jury in a civil case brought by the King family ruled that King was killed as a result of a conspiracy.

David Marwell

Because of his establishment-pleasing writings, Posner became a TV and MSM presence. And he continued to write more non-fiction books. He appeared on many TV programs and also as an editorial writer for some major newspapers. According to Doug Horne in his book Inside the ARRB, the first director of the Assassination Records Review Board, David Marwell, said he found much of value in Case Closed. Consequently, he had lunch with Posner more than once. Harold Evans’ wife, Tina Brown, hired Posner as an investigative journalist for the online magazine Daily Beast. But he was forced to step down from that position in 2010 over several accusations that demonstrated that Posner was a serial plagiarist. He not only plagiarized for his articles at Daily Beast, but also in at least three of his books, e.g., Miami Babylon. (See Slate, “The Posner Plagiarism Perplex”, 2/11/2010, also Miami New Times, March 30, 2010)

Tina Brown
Harper Lee

Three years later, the late Harper Lee filed a lawsuit claiming that her literary agent’s son-in-law had directed Posner to set up a corporation to defraud Lee of her royalties from her colossal best-seller To Kill a Mockingbird. In her court filing she said that she had faulty hearing and eyesight and these had been used by Samuel Pinkus to snooker her into signing over her book copyright. Pinkus assigned the copyright to a company incorporated by Posner. (NY Post, May 4, 2013) Four months later, Posner settled the suit and was dismissed from the legal action.

After his work for James Baker in Miami, Roger Stone tended to concentrate on two new subjects. First, there was his friendship with Donald Trump. Stone was sold on the idea of Trump making a run for the presidency on the Reform Party ticket, the party created by Ross Perot. Although Trump made some overtures to run in the 2000 election, he ultimately decided against it. Stone also began to develop an avocation as an author. To say that his output has been prolific does not do him justice. In the space of about three years, beginning in late 2013, Stone has written or co-written—at last count—seven books. At least three of them rely on his relationship with Richard Nixon, who he still holds in high regard. If one looks closely, three of them rely on his relationship with Trump, who he had worked for in Trump’s 2015-16 campaign before they (allegedly) parted ways. His book about Jeb Bush, Jeb and the Bush Crime Family, was clearly meant as a broadside against the candidate most perceived as the favorite in the GOP primary campaign. His book about the Clintons, The Clintons’ War on Women, was meant as a preemptive strike against the attacks against Trump’s philandering with females.

But Roger Stone/author first came to prominence at the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. At that time he co-wrote a book entitled The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ. That book became a New York Times bestseller. In fact, of all the books released at the 50th, it likely sold the most copies. Since then he has stayed involved in the field. In fact, his co-writers on the two previously mentioned books come from the JFK field. They are, respectively, Saint John Hunt and Robert Morrow.

Why has Stone done this? It likely does not pay him the fees he commanded as a Washington lobbyist working in a very powerful PR firm. In a profile written by Jeff Toobin for The New Yorker, some hints for this career move are tossed out—almost inadvertently. One of the reasons Stone gives for being so enamored of Nixon is his anti-elitism. He adds Nixon was class conscious. And he identified with average people who ate TV dinners and watched Lawrence Welk. To Stone, Nixon “recognized the effectiveness of anti-elitism—a staple of American campaigns even today—as a core message.” In comparing Nixon with Reagan, Stone states that although many Republicans give Reagan credit for the defections of the working class from the Democrats, it was really Nixon who started it. Stone then zeroes in on the whole polarization concept:

Nixon figured out how to win. We had a non-elitist message. We were the party of the workingman! We wanted lower taxes for everyone across the board. They were the part of the Hollywood elite. … The point that the Democrats missed was that the people who weren’t rich wanted to be rich.

There is little doubt that Nixon, with his appeals to the Silent Majority in order to expand and lengthen the Vietnam War, did use these kinds of techniques. It’s obvious from the declassified tapes at the Nixon Library that he did not mean any of it. This was amply exposed by author Ken Hughes, among others, in his fine book Fatal Politics. And this exposure helps explain why Nixon and his family fought so long and hard not to have those tapes declassified. That book reveals that Nixon knew the war was lost in 1969. But he did not want to have South Vietnam fall on his watch. Therefore, he lied to Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam to keep him in his corner while he negotiated an agreement with the north. The whole time he slaughtered tens of thousands of innocent civilians in an expanded air war over all of Indochina. The only reason for this was to announce a peace agreement on the eve of the 1972 election to make sure he had a landslide victory. This is all admitted to on these tapes in the Hughes book, and in letters he sent to Thieu in the book The Palace File.

But the relevant point for today’s scene is that this cultural anti-elite aspect was well used by both Stone and Trump during the latter’s successful presidential campaign. Trump decided to leapfrog most of the MSM, and he did this with Stone’s help. In addition to the two books mentioned above, Stone helped promote the whole mythology of Ted Cruz’s father being seen in New Orleans with Lee Oswald in the summer of 1963. Stone used the word of Judyth Baker to promote this bizarre story. And Trump went on national TV with it. (Click here for our reaction.) The Morrow/Stone book about Clinton helped Trump alleviate the impact of the compelling Access Hollywood videotape. And this whole anti-cultural-elite concept helped avoid the question of how in the heck do the interests of a billionaire real estate investor coincide with America’s shrinking middle class? With the announcement of Trump’s cabinet, we can see that, as with Nixon, the whole idea is little more than window dressing. The policies that this cabinet and the Republican Party will try to enact will gut the middle class even more.

IV

All of the above about these two men is more than relevant to their debate in Coral Gables. Because it informs us of the state of the JFK case in America today. This author would not walk across the street to see Posner speak about either the JFK or King case. Simply because he is a lawyer who is in the employ of the official story. Therefore, it does not matter if what he is saying is incomplete, dubious or just specious. This reviewer has never read any of Stone’s books for the simple reason that I have a hard time thinking that Stone could master something as complex and multi-layered as the JFK case in just a matter of 3-4 years. I am also skeptical of the case that he and others have made against Lyndon Johnson. In watching this confrontation it appears I was correct about these suspicions.

Roger Stone presented first. He led off with remarks about the avulsed rear skull wound that, for him, disappeared from the back of Kennedy’s head after he left Parkland Hospital. (This is not accurate. Gary Aguilar has shown it did not disappear, it was apparent at both the emergency room at Parkland and Bethesda Medical Center, where Kennedy’s body underwent an autopsy.) Stone later added the confusing point that the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was convened because of Oliver Stone’s film JFK. I think Roger meant the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) was convened.

But he then confuses this issue even more by saying that the HSCA revealed more of Ruby’s Mafia ties, which led them to conclude organized crime involvement in the JFK case. This is not really accurate, as the HSCA did not deduce this as one of their conclusions. Chief Counsel Robert Blakey did that in his later book on the JFK case, The Plot to Kill the President (which was co-written with Dick Billings).

Stone also talked about his relationship with Senator Arlen Specter and how Specter did not have access to the autopsy materials during the Warren Commission proceedings. This needed to be qualified. As revealed by the declassified transcripts of the their executive hearings, the Warren Commission did have the autopsy materials. (Gerald McKnight, Breach of Trust, p. 171) And as Pat Speer has shown on his web site, Specter did see at least one of the autopsy photos. (See Chapter 10, “Examining the Examinations”.)

Stone also said that the alleged rifle used by Oswald was purchased for $75.00 and that no marksman was able to duplicate what he did, that is get 2 of 3 direct hits in six seconds. The latter part of this is correct, the former sum is about three times what the rifle actually cost. Stone then concluded with the Jay Harrison/Barr McClellan sponsored Mac Wallace fingerprint found on the sixth floor. He also even mentioned one Loy Factor’s involvement with Wallace and the LBJ plot.

Posner then replied. He criticized Stone’s book for having so many footnotes to other books. He therefore termed the book outdated. This is bizarre since Posner’s book is overwhelmingly reliant on the Warren Report and the accompanying volumes of evidence. He then said there was no evidence on the autopsy x-rays and photos that revealed anyone firing from anywhere except from behind and the general vicinity of the sixth floor.

Apparently, Posner was not aware of the ARRB interview with Tom Robinson who worked out of Gawler’s funeral parlor. He said there was a wound near the right temple of the president that he filled in with wax. He said it was so close to the hairline it was difficult to see. (Murder in Dealey Plaza, p. 250, edited by James Fetzer.) Author Don Thomas has also done good work with the autopsy photos, which makes this wound easier to discern. Posner also ignores the fact that, as many have indicated, if the autopsy doctors are correct and the entrance wound in the skull came in near the base, then there is no trajectory of bullet particles on the X-rays to match it up with.

Since Stone gave Posner an opening about only the Parkland doctors seeing the hole in the back of the skull, lawyer Posner took advantage of it. He said that since Kennedy’s body was not turned over at Parkland, they really didn’t see it. This is ridiculous on more than one count. First, as Gary Aguilar has shown, this avulsed wound did not “disappear” after Dallas. It was clearly observed at Bethesda, except the HSCA hid these interviews from the public. Therefore they were only declassified with the advent of the ARRB. (ibid, p. 199) And Posner talks about using dated information.

Secondly, Parkland nurse Diana Bowron actually saw this wound as she was aiding the entourage bringing Kennedy’s body into the emergency room, and she saw it again as she was prepping Kennedy’s corpse to depart. (ibid, pp. 60, 199) Neurosurgeon Kemp Clark examined Kennedy’s skull as the tracheotomy was being performed and he stated that he saw this wound. (ibid, p. 193) Nurse Audrey Bell told the ARRB that Malcolm Perry showed her this wound by turning Kennedy’s head slightly. (Interview of 4/1/97) Then, of course, there is the testimony of Secret Service agent Clint Hill who said he saw this wound in the limousine on the way to Parkland. (op. cit., Fetzer, pp. 198-99) Stone should have literally harpooned Posner for citing such specious information.

The bloviating Posner then added something just as dubious. He said that in order to argue conspiracy one must state that the X-rays and photos are altered. More baloney. Stone should have asked Posner on rebuttal, “How did the 6.5 mm fragment get on the X-rays if it's not in the autopsy report and none of the autopsy doctors saw it that night?” He then should have asked the prosecutor, “What happened to the trail of fragments that lead pathologist Jim Humes wrote about in his report which goes from the bottom rear of the skull to the top? Those do not exist today. Why Gerald?” (Reclaiming Parkland, by James DiEugenio, pp. 152-54) Stone should also have asked the attorney, “Gerald, if all the shots came from the rear, including the head shot, why is there no blowout in the front of Kennedy’s face?"

Further, the brain was never sectioned. Therefore we do not know the path of the bullet through the skull, or if there was only one bullet.  That would have been the best evidence of exactly what killed President Kennedy.  But it  was not done. Why?

Finally, the back wound was not dissected.  So we do not know if this wound was a through and through wound--did it transit the body?  If it did not, then the Single Bullet Theory Posner upholds is kaput.  And according to pathologist Pierre Finck's testimony at the Clay Shaw trial, the reason it was not tracked is that the doctors were prevented from doing so by the military brass at Bethesda.

These all indicate a cover up, if not a conspiracy.  And they all would have been better evidence than the photos and X-rays. After all, one cannot photograph autopsy practices that were never performed.

Posner then said it is wrong to say that no marksman ever duplicated Oswald’s shooting feat. He said the Commission did, CBS did, and the HSCA did.

Concerning the first, I don’t know what Posner is talking about. Mark Lane and Sylvia Meagher have discussed the rifle experiments of the Warren Commission.  (Meagher, Accessories After the Fact,  pp. 108-10; Lane, Rush to Judgment,  pp. 126-30)  The FBI tried to get off three shots in six seconds, scoring two of three direct hits in the head and shoulder area. They failed. Therefore, the Commission had three military snipers try it. These tests were rigged. They were done from about twenty feet up, not sixty, as would have been the case with Oswald.  The three riflemen were given as much time as they wanted to gauge the first shot, again not the case for Oswald.  Third, they were firing at stationary and not moving targets.  And even at that, the targets were grouped much closer together than what the Commission said was the firing series in Dealey Plaza. Fifth, these were some of the vey best marksmen in the military. They were so good they were above the best in the Marine Corps, and could qualify for the Olympics. To put it mildly, Oswald was nowhere near this quality.  But even at that only one of them got the shots off in the required time.  And none were able to get two of three direct hits.

Concerning CBS, apparently Posner has not read my essay based on CBS internal memoranda adduced by their employee Roger Feinman. Unlike what Posner stated, their first marksman, a famous military sniper, using a model of the 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano, could not do what Oswald did. They then brought in a team of riflemen, and let them practice for a week—which Oswald did not do in any way, shape or form. They then set up a target that eliminated the oak tree from the sixth floor, eliminated the curve in the street, and instead set up a moving sled to fire at. This last was the most important factor. Why? Because the sled posed an enlarged target, as Feinman notes, it at least doubled the target area. In other words, CBS cheated after their first marksman failed. (Click here for that information.)

Stooping to the HSCA for evidence on this subject is really hard to understand. Even for Posner. Because the HSCA did no rifle tests during its actual duration. They did not do them until after the HSCA ceased operation. Wallace Milam sent me the full memo on this episode. It turns out that Chief Counsel Robert Blakey, his assistant Gary Cornwell, and some Washington policemen went out to a rifle range. There they tried to do what the Commission said Oswald did. In their overweening ambition, at first they decided not to use the telescopic site. Which is ridiculous since the Commission said Oswald did use it. After all, why would it be attached to the rifle if it were not used? As I can inform the reader, that scope makes a huge difference. To say Oswald did what he did without it is simply preposterous. But when the policemen used only the iron sights on the rifle, they had the same problem that the Commission did. They could not maintain accuracy within the six second time interval of the Warren Commission. So what did Blakey and Cornwell do? They used something called “point aiming”. Which means not using any site at all, just pointing the rifle. When they got off two shots in under two seconds that was enough. They then deduced it was possible to do what Oswald allegedly did even though they were only 20 feet up instead of 60 feet and their accuracy results were not recorded. (The Assassinations, edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, p. 83)

Marine sniper
Carlos Hathcock

Stone should have replied that, yes, you can do what the Commission said Oswald did. But you have to cheat. And then not tell the public about the cheating. I would have then added that Carlos Hathcock, the greatest sniper of the Vietnam War, actually did try and duplicate accurately what the Commission said Oswald did. He told author Craig Roberts that he could not do it, even though he tried more than once.

Posner actually used the fingerprint evidence on the alleged Oswald rifle to try and convict Oswald. Without telling the public that this so-called evidence was presented only after the FBI found there were no prints found on the rifle when Sebastian LaTona examined it that night. (Meagher, op. cit., pp. 120-27) Prints only showed up about a week later, and then thirty years later for a PBS special. Stone rightly pointed out that the FBI was inexplicably at the Oswald funeral parlor trying to get fingerprints off of his corpse. (Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt, pp. 107-09) Which is weird, since the Dallas Police already had Oswald’s fingerprints.

Posner concluded by rebutting the use of the Mac Wallace fingerprint with the work of FBI authority Robert Garrett, as is featured in Joan Mellen’s book, Faustian Bargains.

I won’t go on with my analysis since it would just be more of the same. Posner making more and more dubious claims and Stone replying with populist type experts, e.g., Judyth Baker on Cruz, and Richard Bartholomew on the Wallace print. (Yet, to my knowledge, Richard is not a fingerprint expert.) Posner actually tried to impeach Victoria Adams not seeing Oswald running down the stairs after the shooting by saying she did not see officer Marrion Baker or supervisor Roy Truly either. Again, Posner seems unaware that Miss Garner, Victoria’s supervisor, did see those two men come up the stairs after Adams and co-worker Sandy Styles went down. Further, the Warren Commission had this document in their hands, since it was dated June 2, 1964. While they were in session.

Now, obviously, if Garner saw Baker and Truly after Victoria and Sandy went down the stairs, then the two women left within seconds of the shooting, as they said they did. Yet the Warren Report says they left much later, minutes afterwards. In other words, the Commission covered up the true facts of what had occurred. Because Adams and Styles give Oswald a rock solid alibi for not being on the sixth floor when they needed him to be so. (DiEugenio, op. cit., pp. 115-20)

The most important thing that was said during this debate was that Stone would try and talk to Mr. Trump about the declassification of the final documents being held at the National Archives by the JFK Act. They are supposed to be finally disposed of in October of this year. Let us hope Mr. Stone uses his influence to see that through. It would be in keeping with his and Mr. Trump’s obeisance to conservative populism.

(The debate video is embedded below, or the reader can watch it by clicking here.)

Last modified on Thursday, 22 December 2016 19:04
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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