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Wednesday, 04 November 2020 06:00

I was NOT a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

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David Mantik reviews Fred Litwin’s I was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak by examining 44 different claims from the book and refuting each one using readily available evidence that Litwin appears to be completely unaware of.


This is a (mostly serious) review of Fred Litwin’s book:

I was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak (2018)[1]

Fred Litwin: He is a former left-wing activist, who is now a politically conservative, gay Jewish man, who became interested in the JFK case in 1975. At age 20, he was accused of being a CIA agent. He is a marketing and sales professional, who managed the Pentium III launch in Asia. As a founder of a music company, he has released 70 CDs and collected numerous awards. He has never visited the National Archives to examine the JFK artifacts. His Garrison website is here.

David Mantik, MD, PhD: He is a socially liberal, but fiscally conservative heterosexual male, who has no interest in marketing or sales, nor has he ever collected any awards for CDs. After 80 years, no one has ever accused him of being a CIA agent. His son is an MD, while his daughter is a Hollywood film editor. As an internist, his wife still sees octogenarians and nonagenarians. He has examined the JFK artifacts at the National Archives on nine different days and has performed hundreds of optical density (OD) measurements on the extant X-rays. His JFK website is here.

He who has no inclination to learn more will be very apt to think that he knows enough.
—John Powell

The best evidence that Oswald could fire as fast as he did and hit the target is the fact that he did so.
—Commission Counsel Wesley Liebeler

Facts are indifferent to your beliefs, religion, ethnicity, identity group, political party, gender, family, friends, or enemies. And they don’t cease to exist just because you ignore them. Like cockroaches, they are simply there. But it is wise that you not be too indifferent to them.
—Tyler Durden (paraphrased)

NOTE: I used the Kindle version of Litwin’s book so page numbers are not cited. This review is mostly free of citations. However, these may be found in countless numbers at my website—scattered throughout multiple articles—or in my Amazon e-book, JFK’s Head Wounds.

MY DIALOGUE WITH LITWIN’S BOOK

  1. LITWIN (L): “A few seconds later, a bullet hit Kennedy in the head and he moved back and to the left.

MANTIK (M): This action is seen in the extant Zapruder film. Oddly, however, no one in Dealey Plaza recalled this event. Early viewers of the Z-film (e.g., Erwin Schwartz, Dan Rather, Deke DeLoach (at the FBI), and, possibly, even Pierre Finck) reported an opposite movement—JFK’s head moved forward! None of these early viewers reported a head snap.[2] Instead, most eyewitnesses recalled that JFK had “slouched” forward. For a dose of reality, review the recollections of James “Ike” Altgens,[3] who saw JFK struck while he (JFK) was sitting erect. Most eyewitnesses agree quite closely with Altgens, but not with the Z-film. Litwin tells his readers none of this. His carefully selective approach infests the entire book as he consistently reports items that favor his biases, while persistently ignoring contrary items.

  1. L: “Duranty even denied that there was a famine in Ukraine.” Litwin notes that Walter Duranty even won a Pulitzer Prize for his 13 essays.

M. We agree on this one issue—the Holodomor (1932–1933) was real; it also likely killed many of my (German Lutheran) relatives in Ukraine.

  1. L: “There are quite a few factoids in the JFK assassination.” Litwin’s examples include that a Mauser was found on the Sixth Floor and that Ruby knew Oswald.

M: Litwin is surely wrong to implicitly hint that he knows all the answers (I don’t). Well-informed researchers would surely take issue with his brazen—and all-embracing—certainty about this case. As a remarkable counterexample, during the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), Noel Twyman discovered a receipt for a 7.65 Mauser shell recovered from Dealey Plaza. (The shell was found between November 22 and December 2, 1963.) Several witnesses report seeing Ruby with Oswald; you can doubt them or call them liars, but it is dishonest to pretend that they don’t exist. Unfortunately, similar examples of this arrogance permeate the entire book. This does not bode well. In fact, because of this, suspicions immediately arise about all of his future claims.

  1. L: “No topic is too crazy for [Lew] Rockwell—the strange deaths of witnesses; Zapruder film alteration; JFK’s phonied-up autopsy; JFK murder was an inside job.

M: To respond to this litany would require innumerable paragraphs (many occur below), but Litwin has merely divulged his impetuous mindset, i.e., he has lurched across the finish line without even knowing where to begin.

  1. L: Here is an ironical statement by Litwin: “And, of course, the Robert Kennedy assassination was a conspiracy as well.” Then shortly later: “And the left could never face the fact that an Israel-hating Palestinian [Sirhan] killed Robert Kennedy.

M: Nowhere does Litwin disclose the central forensic fact (not factoid) of this case—RFK was shot at very close range, according to the forensic pathologist of record, Thomas Noguchi (not in Litwin’s book), to whom I have spoken.[4] This fatal bullet struck RFK near his mastoid—an impossible shot for Sirhan given his frontal position. Litwin’s failure to report this most fundamental forensic fact is, prima facie, an immediate and serious indictment of his overall credibility. Furthermore, Litwin does not bother to cite Lisa Pease’s masterpiece on the RFK case: A Lie Too Big to Fail (2018).[5]

  1. L: “The authors of the Warren Report were honorable men who conducted an honest investigation and reached the right answer.

M: Contrast that statement with Litwin’s subsequent comment: “In late 1966, Jim Garrison was on a flight with Louisiana Senator Russell Long who convinced him that the Warren Commission Report was fiction.

And here is what Earl Warren proclaimed in his Capitol rotunda eulogy that Sunday: “…an apostle of peace has been snatched from our midst by the bullet of an assassin. What moved some misguided wretch to do this horrible deed may never be known to us….Does this suggest that Warren was open to conspiracy?

Furthermore, three members of the Warren Commission (WC)—Hale Boggs, Richard Russell, and John Cooper—thought that the single bullet theory (SBT) was improbable.[6] Russell even asked that his opposition be stated in the report, which of course was not done. Consistent with his now-predictable pronouncements, Litwin tells us none of this.

  1. L: “The rifle found on the Sixth Floor was bought by Oswald.[7]

M: Almost certainly, Oswald did not fire a weapon that day. It is most unlikely that he owned the Mannlicher-Carcano carbine. The truly diverse arguments for this conclusion are dazzling and overpowering. The reader is referred to the exhaustive work (Harvey and Lee) by John Armstrong. An easier way to begin, though, is with Reclaiming Parkland (2013) by James DiEugenio—or with Jim’s The JFK Assassination (on Kindle). Here are only some of the bewildering conflicts in the evidence (none of them cited by Litwin).

  1. The WC was never able to prove that Oswald received the weapon through the post office.
  2. The bank deposit slip reads February 15, 1963, even though Oswald did not order the weapon until March.
  3. In the book depository, the police found a 40.2 inch carbine with a 4-power scope.
  4. Oswald ordered a 36 inch carbine in March 1963; the 40 inch weapon was not advertised for sale until April 1963.
  5. Klein’s employee, Mitchell Westra stated, “Klein’s would not have mounted scopes on 40-inch Mannlicher-Carcanos.
  6. Klein’s microfilm records disappeared.
  7. The FBI did not find Oswald’s fingerprints on the money order.
  8. The clip was still inside the weapon when it was found even though it is nearly impossible for an empty clip to remain there.
  9. The serial number was not unique—John Lattimer owned the same weapon with the same serial number (C 2766).
  10. Marina never saw Oswald with a scoped weapon.
  11. No one, other than his wife, ever saw the weapon in Oswald’s hands.
  12. The source of Oswald’s ammunition was never determined.
  13. From John Armstrong: “If Oswald mailed the letter, and if the postmarks on the mailing envelope are genuine, it means that he left JCS around 9 AM, walked 11 blocks to postal zone 12 where he dropped the letter into a mailbox, and then walked several miles back to JCS without anyone noticing he was gone.” Even more puzzling, he could instead have mailed the letter from the GPO where he supposedly purchased the money order!
  1. L: “Oswald’s right palm print was found on the rifle barrel; and his fingerprints were found on the bag used to carry the rifle to work.

M: Litwin’s forensic knowledge of fingerprints is gravely delinquent. He has not read my summary here. He has ignored the statements of experts: “When somebody tells you, ‘I think this is a match or not a match,’ they ought to tell you an estimate of the statistical uncertainty about it”—Constantine Gatsonis, Brown University statistician. He has also ignored Carl Day, who took Oswald’s palm print; in 1964, Day refused to sign a written statement confirming his fingerprint findings. (See WC Exhibit 3145, which is the FBI interview of September 9, 1964.) When FBI expert, Sebastian Latona, got the weapon from Day, he found no prints of value, no evidence of fingerprint traces, and no evidence of a lift. Furthermore, Day took no photographs of this palm print—either before or after he supposedly lifted it. By now we are no longer surprised by Litwin’s selective editing of critical facts. (Comments on the bag follow below.)

  1. L: Regarding the Tippit murder, “…two witnesses, Virginia and Barbara Davis, saw Oswald run across their lawn and unload the shells from his gun (which of course matched the revolver found in his possession).

M: This is a remarkably naive approach to the complexities of the Tippit murder. For a much fuller explication, read the 675-page Into the Nightmare by my fellow Badger, Joe McBride. Sergeant Gerald Hill had told Officer James Poe to mark two shells with his initials, but when Poe examined the shells for the WC, his initials had disappeared! Even Litwin’s bald-faced claim that the shells matched the gun is far from certain,[8] but we no longer expect Litwin to express even a sliver of doubt when evidence favors his biases. For example, nowhere does he mention the conundrums posed by the multiple wallets in the Tippit scenario.

  1. L. “Merriman Smith, the UPI reporter who first reported that JFK had been shot…

M: Merriman Smith, like many, many others in Dealey Plaza, reported that the limousine had stopped. The Z-film does not show this abrupt halt, which Litwin naturally ignores.

  1. L. “After just 54 minutes of deliberation, the jury found Clay Shaw not guilty.

M: While I have no horse in this race, it should be noted that many (perhaps all) jurors felt that Garrison had proved conspiracy. In the interest of full disclosure, Litwin should have mentioned this.

  1. L. “The second movement [JFK’s head snap] was probably caused by a neuromuscular spasm…

M: We may now legitimately suspect deliberate obfuscation, as Litwin fails to confess this: no expert in neuroscience has ever supported this hypothesis. In fact, it has been thoroughly debunked on many prior occasions, none of which is cited by Litwin.[9] The same is true for the jet effect. Milicent Cranor, in particular, has destroyed that argument.

  1. L: “They didn’t mention that the autopsy materials—clearly the best medical evidence available—totally refuted a shot from the front.

M: It is surely hopeful that Litwin admits that the autopsy materials are the best medical evidence—which is why I visited the Archives on nine occasions. But this does not explain why he has not visited even once—even though some materials are open to non-specialists.

Of course, his conclusion has been overwhelmingly refuted on many occasions; see my e-book (JFK’s Head Woundsnot cited by Litwin) for a thorough demolition of this overweening claim. More discussion occurs below.

  1. L: “He [Dick Gregory] blamed pollution as the source of criminal violence in the black community.

M: Litwin here wants to smear Dick Gregory for his supposed fringe theories. However, lead in paint (and its banning in 1978)[10] remains a viable explanation for the decline in crime in the 1990s.

  1. L: “He [Gregory] believed that World Trade Center Towers One and Two were the victims of controlled demolition.

M: This is just another attempt to smear Gregory. This is not my area of expertise, but long lists of building experts still favor a controlled demolition. It is a bit overwrought for Litwin to trash Gregory for beliefs held by so many professionals. Nonetheless, Litwin’s great Wurlitzer of denigration will not stop.

  1. L: “I tried to counter the conspiracy factoid that he was shot from the front.

M: This is presumptuous—after all, labeling a fact as a factoid is a step too far. On the contrary, several Parkland doctors saw an entrance wound in the high forehead. Even Thorton Boswell, one of the pathologists, clearly described this forehead site as “…an incised wound.” (Note that scalpels cause incisions, but they do not cause “wounds.”) Of course, Litwin knows none of this.

  1. 17. L: “…it [Livingstone’s book] focused on the medical evidence, which was a favorite topic of mine.

M: Since my e-book is so intensely focused on the medical evidence (perhaps more than any other book), I would expect Litwin to be quite familiar with it. But he shows no sign of this.

  1. L: “But the autopsy X-rays and photographs only showed a small wound in the back of Kennedy’s head—evidence of an entry wound.

M: This is a truly stunning denouement. After all, on the X-rays the radiologists could not spot an entry hole (nor could I), and James Humes, the chief pathologist, declared, “I don’t know what that [red spot] is. It could be to me clotted blood. I don’t, I just don’t know what it is, but it certainly was not a wound of entrance” (7HSCA254). So desperate was Pierre Finck that he inquired whether this was in fact a photograph of JFK! Under oath, none of the three autopsy pathologists agreed with Litwin’s conclusion. Litwin has clearly let his unshakeable preconceptions determine his diktats, but this no longer surprises us.

  1. L: “…the Zapruder film shows the back of Kennedy’s head intact after the fatal shot…

M: The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas houses the first-generation transparencies created by MPI in 1997 (of each frame of the extant film). While viewing these together in November 2009, Sydney Wilkinson and I promptly identified the geometric patch on the back of JFK’s head; in fact, it was so flagrant that I had to stifle a laugh. It was so childishly done that my visually gifted daughter (a current film editor, who is now at work on a JFK documentary)—at age 10—would have been embarrassed at such a crude effort. That black patch is also obvious on the images that Wilkinson obtained from the National Archives. This was a US government authorized and certified, third generation, 35 mm, dupe negative of the “forensic version” of the Z-film.

Here is Sydney’s summary after viewing the MPI images:

We used a loupe and a light box to look at each transparency—I was stunned at how sharp they were. When I viewed the head shot frame (Z–313), and the frames following the head shot, I felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck. In the frames that weren’t blurry—i.e., Z–313, 317, 321, 323, 335, 337 (and more), the solid, black “patch” that is clearly seen on our 6k scans (covering the lower, right back of JFK’s head) was even more obvious/egregious on the MPI transparencies—I felt as if the “patch” jumped out at me. There was no doubt in my mind that the MPI transparencies corroborated what we (including numerous film experts) saw on our scans. Most importantly, they clearly depicted what should be on the “original” Zapruder film housed at NARA.

Has Litwin seen any of these images? If so, why is he mute? In the interest of fairness and honesty, surely he must have done this before reporting such potent (contrary) conclusions. Invoking second-hand knowledge for this issue is simply absurd.

Alec Baldwin has reported (at a public meeting that I attended) that the Kennedy family believes that the Z-film has been altered. As a participant, is it possible that Jackie knew what really happened? In my work, I discuss one of her chief recollections—which is totally inconsistent with the extant film—but which agrees with another witness (William Manchester) who had seen the original film 75 times.

  1. L: “And his [Harrison Livingstone’s] witnesses all disagreed with each other.

M: This is surely false. At least sixteen (16) Parkland physicians[11] viewed the back of the head photographs, and all declared that they were manifestly inconsistent with Dallas. See the images in Groden’s books for the remarkable agreement among nearly all witnesses—physicians and non-physicians.

  1. L: “…hard physical evidence like the autopsy X-rays and photographs.

M: Since that is precisely the entire focus of my e-book, it is simply stunning that Litwin has ignored it. After all, who else has seen this “hard physical evidence” on nine different visits to the Archives, compiled three long and meticulous notebooks, taken hundreds of OD measurements, and reported on it in scrupulous detail? Surely not Litwin.

  1. L: “But Hoch was not your run-of-the-mill conspiracy freak—he actually wanted to follow the facts, no matter where they led.

M: Of course, Paul would not now be regarded as a conspiracy freak. I am nonetheless indebted to Paul for his collegial assistance with the acoustic evidence (discussed in over 100 pages on my website). Paul has described me as the only conspiracy believer who regards the Dictabelt as irrelevant. If so, I surely am not your “run-of-the-mill conspiracy freak.” (I became aware only today (October 20, 2020) that Pat Speer has now also discounted the acoustic evidence; see his website for this discussion. Kudos to Pat!)

  1. L: “…the radiologist [John Ebersole] who took the X-rays at the autopsy verified that the X-rays at the National Archives are the same X-rays he took that night. He said that ‘none are missing, none have been added, and none have been altered.’

M: Did Litwin speak to Ebersole?[12] I did—twice. Litwin does not describe his interview. My conversation was recorded and is now located at the National Archives. Ebersole told me that he took more than three skull X-rays (three is the official number). Independently, Jerrol Custer, the radiology technician, in a personal encounter with me (and in several subsequent telephone conversations) also reported more than three skull X-rays, including at least one oblique view. Did Litwin interview Custer? He is silent about this.

  1. L: “There were several stereo pairs and there was no indication of alteration.

M: This is transparently false. Groden reported precisely the opposite result, and he also offered (to me) his candid opinion of Robert Blakey’s pitiable skill at this simple task. (Blakey, the Chief Counsel of the HSCA, is absent from Litwin’s book.) To correct the record (based on my multiple visits—which included extensive stereo viewing), there are not merely several stereo pairs, but every view is doubled. This means that the number of control pairs is rather large—and these pairs all show the expected stereo effect (as I observed), with one quintessential exception. Precisely where the witnesses—both at Parkland and at Bethesda—saw a large occipital hole, the stereo effect does not occur!

  1. L: “…neutron activation analysis…‘strongly indicates that a single bullet injured both men.’

M: Later in his book, Litwin admits that this is now known to be false—so kudos to him for that somewhat delayed confession. Unfortunately, he does not likewise admit that fingerprint evidence has now fallen under a dark cloud—it is now no longer viewed as highly reliable (as the previous JFK investigations had assumed).

  1. L: “The [Forensic Pathology] panel concluded that Kennedy and Connally’s alignment in the limousine was consistent with the SBT.

M: This is now known to be irrelevant—because the so-called Magic Bullet can no longer be regarded as authentic. This is due to the detailed detective work of Josiah Thompson and Gary Aguilar (the latter is not cited by Litwin). He also ignored the stunning work of John Hunt, who demonstrated (via detailed documents at the Archives) that two different bullets arrived at the FBI laboratory that night! Which was the Magic Bullet? Litwin does not say!

Even Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry became a vocal doubter of the single gunman theory: “We don’t have any proof that Oswald fired the rifle and never did. Nobody’s yet been able to put him in that building with a gun in his hand.

And LBJ was quoted: “I never believed that Oswald acted alone ….” He added that the government “had been operating a damned Murder Inc. in the Caribbean.

  1. L: “It is highly likely that the bullet used in the attempted assassination of General Walker was a Mannlicher-Carcano bullet.

M: Walker repeatedly claimed that CE–573, the bullet fragment supposedly retrieved from the shooting scene, was not the fragment he had held in his hand. This is just one more explicit demonstration of how Litwin—surely deliberately—restricts critical data.

  1. L: “…every forensic pathologist who had viewed the autopsy evidence had concluded that Kennedy was shot [only] from behind.

M: None of these subsequent forensic pathologists had examined the body. This is, after all, how real autopsies are done. Pathologists almost never make post-mortem decisions based solely on second-hand evidence (i.e., photographs and X-rays). And none of them had ever taken a course on forgery in forensic evidence—because no such courses exist (to this very day).[13]

Their conclusion, of course, was based on autopsy photographs that had no legal provenance. Even worse, the panel members did not know this. We now also know that the HSCA lied about what the Bethesda witnesses had seen, i.e., these witnesses had reported a large posterior hole in the skull, similar to the Parkland defect. In addition, these “experts” implicitly believed that X-ray films were as immutable as God himself, but now we know better (from my work). As expected, Litwin never tells his readers about the nonexistent provenance of the autopsy photographs—or about my X-ray work.

Since Litwin has now confessed his reverence for authority (a cultural bias that supposedly died after the 17th century), he might wish to ponder these words by legendary physicist and Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman:

Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.[14]

Feynman (when discussing one of his own mistakes) is also remembered for his celebrated letter to a William and Mary student (who had mistakenly relied on Feynman’s mistake):

You should, in science, believe logic and arguments, carefully drawn, and not authorities.[15]

If Litwin is truly such a devotee of authority, he might consider converting to Catholicism (shall we remind him that the first Pope was a Jew?), which specializes in this approach. That James Humes, the chief JFK autopsy pathologist was a Catholic, and had joined the military (considered by many to be an authoritarian institution) is not at all irrelevant to this case. Litwin might also wish to read Obedience to Authority (1974) by Stanley Milgram, which details the highly pertinent experiments he did at Yale University during 1960–1963—on the in-born propensity of the human race to obey malevolent authority figures.

  1. L: “Oswald qualified as a sharpshooter in the U. S. Marines.

M: If so, how could Oswald miss an easy shot at Walker, but then be so precise with much more difficult shots on November 22? In fact, between May 8, 1959, and November 22, 1963, despite diligent efforts by the FBI, no evidence was ever unearthed to show that Oswald had fired a weapon during those 1,600+ days (which is even longer than US involvement in WW II). Moreover, Marine Colonel Allison Folsom, testifying before the WC, characterized Oswald (while he was in the Marines and using a Marine-issued M-1) as not a very good shot.

  1. L: “Wounds created after the heart stops pumping blood have a lighter colour and would be easily recognizable by autopsy surgeons.

M: This statement will soon haunt Litwin. Further discussion follows below.

  1. L: “In Reclaiming History, Vincent Bugliosi’s exhaustively-researched[16] 2007 account of the assassination, Judge John Tunheim, Chairman of the ARRB, said he had examined all of the redacted material and found “nothing in any of the documents that was central to the assassination.

M: As the ARRB was concluding, I sent Tunheim a two-page questionnaire (of 25 questions) on the medical evidence, with a request that he forward it to all board members. I had hoped thereby to assess the board members interest in—and knowledge of—the medical evidence. Tunheim agreed to do so, but I never got any response, not even from Tunheim. Douglas Horne assured me that the board members had no interest in—or knowledge of—any of the pertinent (and often new) medical evidence. In view of this, Tunheim’s above comment is nearly irrelevant. Furthermore, he has never confessed to his near total ignorance of the medical evidence.

  1. L: “Yup, [Brian] McKenna thinks the Zapruder film was faked and that this has been confirmed by ‘Hollywood special effects experts.’

M: Attendees at the November 2019 CAPA Conference in Dallas previewed a documentary, in which highly experienced Hollywood special effects experts[17] offered their resolute opinions that the film had been altered. Also review the work of optical physicist John Costella, PhD, at his website or in our book, The Great Zapruder Film Hoax. Furthermore, multiple individuals (initially unknown to one another)[18] have seen a clearly different Z-film. More importantly, they independently agree on many of the features they saw, i.e., action not seen in the extant film. Does Litwin truly believe that these observers were all merely spinning yarns? If so, why?

  1. L: “But there’s been a sea change in the past 20 years—the percentage of people who [believe conspiracy] has been steadily declining. In 2000, only 13% believed [in the lone gunman]; by 2013 that had risen to 30%.

M: This is an important sociological change. But who is more likely to be correct: someone closer to the event—or someone further removed? Furthermore, who is more likely to be correct: someone who has been relentlessly—November 22 after November 22—subjected to the media onslaught of lone gunman programs (as well as forced classroom teaching that it was Oswald)? I encountered this myself when I visited my daughter’s elementary school classroom. My daughter’s classmate gave a presentation on the lone gunman—with no disagreement from the teacher! On the other hand, in my peripatetic journeys around the USA while treating cancer patients (typically elderly), I routinely find no one who accepts the lone gunman theory. But US demographics have changed fundamentally in the past few decades—and they continue to change. See Appendix 2 for my further meditations on this issue—and how they even relate to the current political scene.

  1. L: “For example, the chain of possession of CE–399 [the Magic Bullet] can be traced from the time it was found to the time it ended up in the FBI laboratory.

M: This is so riddled with falsehoods that I can only wonder if Litwin has merely feigned his anti-conspiracy arguments. Possibly he merely enjoys sowing discord and smirking at the resulting chaos. (I do not pretend to know.) In any case, the work of Josiah Thompson, Gary Aguilar, and John Hunt is devastating for Litwin’s case. Of course, Litwin seems not even to know the names of the latter two.[19]

  1. L: “His [Roland Zavada’s] 150-page report, published in 1998, was quite clear—the Zapruder film at the National archives is the original film and has not been modified.

M: I own one of the (very few) originals of this full-color report, and I still have Zavada’s e-mail address, which was recently active. Zavada is a chemical engineer, but he is not an expert on special effects. His report offers specific and serious challenges to film alteration, including in-camera issues as well as Kodak II chemical data (e.g., characteristic curves). I have addressed some of these issues; so has David Lifton. But a lengthy, and very detailed, response has come from Douglas Horne, who worked with Zavada on this project during the ARRB. Moreover, it should be recalled that Zavada was deeply beholden to the relevant power structures—both to the ardently held anti-conspiracy biases of the ARRB (characteristic of both board members and staff), as well as his expected fealty to his former employer—the Kodak Corporation (not to mention his retirement stipend). But this is not the time or place for further discussion of these technical matters. In any case, Litwin has demonstrated no useful knowledge of these issues.

Douglas Horne reports the following, where he recalls that Zavada was referring to Z-317:

In a side-venue at the Adolphus hotel [Dallas, Texas] at the JFK Lancer conference in 2013, Rollie Zavada stated: “It certainly looks like a black patch…but I don’t know how it would have been done.” This indicates he had no knowledge of visual special effects, such as aerial imaging, which was certainly the technique used. Present with me [during Zavada’s statement] was Leo Zahn,[20] a Hollywood film guy who has produced countless commercials on film, including a documentary about Frank Sinatra in Palm Springs. It was Leo Zahn who asked, “What about frame 317?” That was what Rollie was forced to respond to when he made his statement, after someone put frame 317 on the screen.

I wrote [Horne here refers to his set of five JFK books] about aerial imaging extensively in my Z-film chapter, but he [Rollie] didn’t respond to any of that in his long critique.

Horne adds the following comments:

The observations of Dino Brugioni during my 2011 interview of him also “outweigh” Rollie’s technical report. Dino saw the original Z film on Saturday, Nov 23, 1963 at NPIC. For two reasons, he believed it was a different film than is in the Archives today:

(1) There is only one head shot frame in the film now (Z–313), and Dino said there were at least three more of them in the version of the film he saw; he said that there were frames missing from the film (“cut out of the film”) on 3 occasions when viewing it as a motion picture with me, and this is what he was referring to: the head shot sequence.

(2) The head explosion Dino saw was much BIGGER than the explosion in frame 313, much higher in the air; AND it was WHITE, not red or pink or orange.

  1. L: “…John McAdams who runs the best conspiracy debunking website.

M: It is curious, and a bit amusing, that (according to Litwin) this website is not described as the “best” overall JFK website! My own review of McAdams’s book (including critical anatomic demonstrations—and the history of optical density) is at my website. As expected, McAdams has never uttered one word in self-defense after my demoralizing (for McAdams) review.

  1. L: “But if you are looking for the ultimate debunking tome, this is it. Bugliosi demolishes every conspiracy theory systematically.

M: Bugliosi has done no original research, interviewed no new witnesses, and has never visited the National Archives. In other words, his book is jam-packed with second-hand information. The same frailties plague Litwin’s book. Furthermore, Bugliosi seemed not to understand the nature of scientific argument or what constitutes proof; he even admitted that his knowledge of physics was minimal.

He also admitted (pp. xxx–xxxi) that the WC should have considered conspiracy more than it did. For example, one long, but omitted document (June 1964) was titled: “Oswald’s Foreign Activities: Summary of Evidence Which Might Be Said to Show That There Was Foreign Involvement in the Assassination of President Kennedy.” So, even if one read the Warren Report, this would be missed.

On a lovely Sunday morning, I visited Bugliosi at his house near the Rose Bowl, where I presented him with my conclusions. As expected, he never really addressed any of them. Although he described our books (edited by James Fetzer) as the only exclusively scientific books on the case, he preferred instead to address his many straw men,[21] even though he promised his readers that he would never duck serious issues.

In short, Bugliosi’s doorstopper book is a ponderous, tendentious prosecutor’s brief. Where contrary data were fundamentally irrefutable (e.g., my optical density data from the extant JFK skull X-rays or the presence of small metallic debris near JFK’s forehead) he ignored it—or trivialized it. After all, in the face of such hard data, his task was beyond hopeless. In fact, Litwin should have been aware of Bugliosi’s feeble efforts—after all, my Bugliosi review had been published (publicly) long before Litwin’s book.

  1. L: “[Oliver] Stone repeats many other factoids [Litwin’s favorite word] in his book. He believes…that Johnson changed Kennedy’s Vietnam policies…

M: Harvard historian Fredrik Logevall (not in Litwin’s book) does not agree with Litwin’s conclusion—at all. He is the Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Read his book, Embers of the War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam (1999). On the contrary, he believes that Johnson immediately changed course. Has Litwin read this book, or the books by John Newman or David Kaiser or Gordon Goldstein or Jim Blight? These are all absent from his list of references (which are mostly anti-conspiracy books and articles). Perhaps Litwin really prefers to limit what he reads. After all, he seems irresponsibly ignorant in medicine, in science, and now in history.

  1. L: “We will never know exactly why Oswald killed Kennedy.

M: We will never know why I did it either. (Oswald was born one year before me.) Looking for motives in a man who fired no shots[22] is like the 19th century search for the ether. Did Litwin fail to read Oswald’s speech (July 1963) at the Jesuit House of Studies at Spring Hill College near Mobile, Alabama? In this rather private setting, where he presumably shared his real opinions, Oswald has little good to say about communism or communists, whom he describes as “a pitiful bunch.” Despite Oswald’s absence from the Sixth Floor, it is likely that Henry Wade[23] would have gotten a conviction.[24]

  1. L: “…as well as the forward dispersal of brain matter indicating a shot from behind.

M: Litwin is clearly out of date: both forward and backward spatter typically occur. See my review of Nick Nalli (at my website) for images of this nearly universal phenomenon. Seeing such a forward dispersal proves nothing. Furthermore, multiple Hollywood special effects experts have now publicly stated their firm views that this display was faked. See endnote 17.

  1. L: “A new wave of books continues the trend of rejecting evidence…

M: Talk about rejecting evidence—this is the perfect description of Litwin’s own book! Although his CDs are likely quite marvelous, he has yet to demonstrate any real scientific or medical knowledge relevant to this case. Perhaps he should at least attend medical school before he makes any more mistakes.[25]

  1. L: “…two bullet fragments found in the limousine and the cartridge cases found in the sniper’s nest matched his rifle “to the exclusion of all other weapons…

M: Although he chooses not to inform us, his conclusion is presumably based on the rifling grooves. But here again, Litwin is quite out of date. To illustrate the issue about bullet grooves, in 2000 Richard Green was shot and wounded in his neighborhood south of Boston. About a year later, police found a loaded pistol in the yard of a nearby house. A detective with the Boston Police Department fired the gun multiple times in a lab and compared the minute grooves and scratches with the casings at the crime scene. They matched, he said at a pretrial hearing, “…to the exclusion of every other firearm in the world.” So how could the detective be so certain that the shots hadn’t been fired from another gun?

The short answer, if you ask any statistician, is that he couldn’t. There was an unknown chance that a different gun could cause a similar pattern. (Furthermore, when the HSCA tested the weapon they found differences in the land and groove impressions as originally fired by the FBI.) But for decades, forensic examiners have claimed in court that close, but not identical, ballistic markings conclusively link evidence to a suspect—and judges and juries have (gullibly) trusted their so-called expertise. Examiners have made similar statements for other pattern-type evidence, e.g., fingerprints, shoeprints, tire tracks, and bite marks.

In 2009, a committee at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concluded that such claims were ill-founded. “No forensic method has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source.” In other words, judges and juries have sent many people to prison (and some to their deaths) based on bogus science. This is the kind of evidence that Litwin wants us to accept.

  1. L: “…his fingerprints were found on the bag used to carry the rifle to work.

M: This assumes that the event occurred; there are, after all, serious questions about this. The FBI had two reports on the paper used for the bag—one stated that the paper was “not identical” with the book depository paper, while the other stated that the paper had the same “observable characteristics.” The astute reader can likely guess which one was prepared last.[26] Of course, we learn none of this from Litwin. Regarding the fingerprints, we now know we should not promptly trust such evidence—even if the prints are authentic. Also see Pat Speer’s comments here.

  1. L: “A radiologist looked for differences in density, discontinuities of bone structure, and any abnormal patterns and found no evidence of alteration.

M: Dr. Gerald McDonnel (radiologist at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles—where RFK died)…advised the HSCA that an alteration of the [X-ray] images…should be readily…discernible in a number of ways:

  1. An inexplicable difference in [optical] density (of the same object)
  2. A discontinuity in anatomical structures.
  3. Altered continuity in a pattern that is clearly abnormal.
  4. An image that is not anatomical, or that displays an impossible pathological process.

In online PowerPoint talks, in articles, and in oral presentations I have demonstrated that most of these criteria have been met by the extant JFK autopsy skull X-rays. The three critical anomalies are the White Patch, the 6.5 mm object (inside JFK’s right orbit), and the T-shaped inscription (on one lateral X-ray). McDonnel apparently did not spot any of these incongruities. He should have included one more item: the absence of emulsion (under the T-shaped inscription) on a copy film, but he did not envision this one, as it was totally novel. But McDonnel—because he was only a physician—may play that card as an excuse. After all, he was not a medical physicist. Nonetheless he never proposed optical density measurements as an analytical technique to probe these issues. Unfortunately, he passed away (only a few miles from my Los Angeles home) just before I entered this case, or we would have had an invigorating discussion.

THE MEDICAL EVIDENCE: MORE CONCLUSIONS

The back wound.

This wound was most likely caused by metallic shrapnel from a bullet that struck Elm Street. Here are at least 3 arguments in favor of this. (1) At least five witnesses (including several in the WC volumes) reported such a bullet (or even bullets) glancing off Elm Street. (2) On the autopsy X-rays, tiny metal fragments are widely scattered on both sides of JFK’s skull (as I have observed at the Archives); the fragment at the back of the head, over which the 6.5 mm fake was superimposed, is likely just one of these. (3) Low energy X-ray scattering showed metal at the holes on the rear of the shirt and coat; spectroscopic data showed that this metal was copper, consistent with a (partially) copper-jacketed fragment. On the other hand, no metal was found on the front of the shirt, so that suggests either (1) a non-metallic projectile or (2) an entry superior to the shirt. Furthermore, the pathologists reported that the back wound was very shallow (as expected for shrapnel).

Bruising seen at the autopsy.

It is nearly certain that the damage to JFK’s shirt collar and tie were caused by a nurse’s scalpel, not by a projectile—as the nurses agreed. That is also my impression after viewing these items at the Archives. And, for the throat wound, I have proposed a glass shard—from the windshield. These shards are limited to a very narrow scattering cone (therefore striking no other limousine occupants); and we know that three more tiny wounds (on JFK‘s cheek) had to be closed by the mortician, because they oozed embalming fluid. These were very likely caused by additional (but very tiny) glass shards. But we know more than that.

1. We know that something struck JFK in the throat while he was on Elm St. This conclusion derives from (an oft-overlooked part of) the autopsy report. At the autopsy, bruises (bruise: injury in which small blood vessels are broken but the overlying skin remains intact) were seen in the strap muscles of the anterior neck (and in the fascia around the trachea)—and a contusion was seen at the right lung apex. (Lung contusion: bruise of the lung as a result of vascular injury.) Such bruising can only occur while the victim is alive. After death, the heart stops pumping, and the circulatory system is under no pressure—so no bruising can then occur. Therefore, both the strap muscles and the lung contusion prove that JFK’s heart was still beating when these injuries occurred—so these wounds must have occurred on Elm St. As further confirmation, notice that the incisions for the chest tubes (on the anterior chest) were specifically described (in the autopsy report) as showing no bruising. So, we have a built-in control—right on JFK’s own body—for this deduction.

2. We can therefore also reach one more conclusion—one of momentous import: Humes and Boswell understood, while at the autopsy, that something had struck JFK in the throat, while he was on Elm Street. Surely, they recognized that bruising of the lung apex and the neck muscles could only have occurred while JFK was still alive. (At the very least, they recognized that the tracheotomy could not have caused a contusion of the lung apex.) They merely disguised their knowledge (of these pre-mortem wounds) with their bland comments about bruising—and no one was ever shrewd enough to ask them about this. Of course, they also blamed the tracheotomy incision (for obscuring the throat entry wound), but they knew better. In other words, as I have always insisted, the pathologists disclosed as much truth as their predicament could bear. But they did not want history to regard them as buffoons (which they were not), so they left these clues for us. Because they were under strict military orders, with their pensions and promotions at stake, they had to be cagey. So, their detailed descriptions of bruising (versus no bruising) were their secret cryptograms to posterity that they were not fools. We should not say otherwise.

3. The glass shard probably caused the contusion at the right lung apex, but due to its small size, its momentum quickly dissipated, so that no exit wound should have been expected. Furthermore, a glass shard would not readily be seen on an X-ray, so the pathologists had no credible chance of identifying it.

4. Bruising (“ecchymosis”: the passage of blood from ruptured blood vessels into subcutaneous tissue, marked by a purple discoloration of the intact skin) was also seen at the back wound. Therefore, we have yet one more argument (besides the three cited just above) for a posterior projectile that struck JFK on Elm St.—most likely shrapnel.

5. In view of the foregoing, we can now also conclude this: No one produced fake wounds after JFK died—after all, such wounds would not have caused bruising.[27]

More about the throat wound.

Gary Aguilar reports: “On February 14, 1992, an emergency room physician in Baltimore, Robert Artwohl, M.D., told an interesting tale in a Prodigy online post. He stated that he had had a private conversation with Dr. Perry in 1986 … speaking with Dr. Perry that night, one physician to another in [sic], Dr. Perry stated he firmly believed the wound to be an entrance wound.”

At the Mock Trial of Oswald in Houston, Texas, Dr. Michael Chesser reported on his own conversations with a surgical colleague of JFK’s tracheotomy surgeon, Dr. Malcolm Perry. Perry had privately advised this colleague that the throat wound had indeed been an entrance wound.

There is yet one more witness who proves that Malcolm Perry lied to the WC. In fact, Perry had seen an entrance wound, as recently reported by his colleague, Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD, of the University of Washington. We also know that nurse Audrey Bell, a close colleague of Dr. Perry, reported her conversations with him to the ARRB. Perry had complained to Bell on Saturday morning, November 23, that he had had phone calls all night to persuade him to change his statement about the throat entry wound. Perry even initially recalled that he had spoken to Bethesda on Friday, November 22 (presumably during the autopsy). Threats had actually been made to Perry to persuade him to change his story.

Here is an excerpt from a transcript taken during an Executive Session of the Warren Commission (27 January 1964), quoting Chief Counsel J. Lee Rankin (also not in Litwin’s book):

We have an explanation there in the autopsy that probably a fragment came out the front of the neck, but with the elevation the shot must have come from, and the angle, it seems quite apparent now, since we have the picture of where the bullet entered in the back, that the bullet entered below the shoulder blade to the right of the backbone, which is below the place where the picture shows the bullet came out in the neckband of the shirt in front, and the bullet, according to the autopsy didn’t strike any bone at all… (Post-Mortem, Harold Weisberg 1975, p. 307.)

Since no known version of an autopsy report—not CE–387, nor the Sibert and O’Neill report, nor any subsequent FBI report—describes a bullet emerging from the throat, this is a completely inexplicable mystery, still unresolved to this very day.

WC loyalists' persistent claim that ER doctors often misinterpret wounds (e.g., confusing exit for entrance) tries to evade the facts, but…

A. Such a tiny exit wound could not be duplicated in experiments by the WC;

B. Milton Helpern, who had done 60,000 autopsies, had never seen an exit wound that small;

C. Before political leverage was exerted, the first scenario by the National Photographic interpretations Center (NPIC) included a throat shot at Z–190.

Forgeries in the autopsy X-rays.

See my PowerPoint presentation here.

An earlier (and rather detailed) November 2009 lecture is here.

Alteration of the autopsy photographs: JFK’s back.

While at the Archives, I spotted what everyone else had missed (after all, nine visits do present certain advantages). On JFK’s back (of the torso) two supposedly partner photographs of JFK’s back are distinctly different; see slide 64 ff. A left-sided dark spot, near the ruler, at the level of the scapular spine is distinctly not a dark spot in its partner photograph. For discussion of these contradictory images, see my 2009 online lecture for JFK Lancer. In the real world, such contradictions can never occur. After all, these paired photographs were taken within seconds of one another—with no time for any nefarious activity. Although the Archives still claims that all autopsy photographs are authentic—and unaltered—that cannot possibly be true. (Of course, they make the same claim for the X-rays.) If one such photographic counterexample exists, then the door is wide open to alteration of any of the other autopsy photographs—most especially the one of the back of the head.

Extra bullets and fragments.

In 2017, we learned that a hitherto unknown bullet had been found by Dr. James Young in the JFK limousine, but Litwin’s 2018 book does not report this. What about the Belmont (FBI) memo (also missing from Litwin’s book) of a bullet found behind the ear? What about Tom Robinson’s report (to the ARRB) of about 10 bullet fragments removed from JFK’s head? What about Dennis David’s typed memo about four bullet fragments? What about that transparent plastic bag of bone and bullet fragments that James Jenkins saw lying next to JFK’s head during the autopsy? (I have interviewed both David and Jenkins.) You will not learn any of this from Litwin. And neither Dennis David nor James Jenkins appears in Litwin’s book. Of course, Tom Robinson’s account (of bullet fragments) is also missing.

CONCLUSIONS

For those new to my work, an excellent starting point is at my website here.

During the heated last two months of the 1976 presidential campaign (Carter vs. Ford), 500 voters—all with strong party allegiances (this was not a random poll!)—were monitored.[28] By the end, only 16 of these characters (just 3%) had changed their minds. So, we have learned this: voters do not use reason to decide these issues—instead they use reason to preserve their biases. And when they successfully preserve their biases, they experience a rush of pleasure (as confirmed via fMRI). In other words, self-delusion feels really great! Once you identify with a political party (or, in this case, with a JFK position), you edit the world to fit your preconceptions. You do not fit your beliefs to the facts. Human beings habitually silence inner cognitive dissonance via self-imposed, self-generated ignorance, i.e., their pre-frontal cortex (the reasoning part of the brain) rules the roost. The ego-driven goal of a human brain is to protect its sacred beliefs—its goal is not to uncover truth. Litwin’s book is an awe-inspiring paradigm of just how superbly this works. Psychologists should take note. After writing his book, Litwin must have felt exceptionally delirious—and he probably still does, even should he read this review (if he does). In all probability, though, he will remain calcified—just like the (above) 97% who never changed their minds.

The lodestone. The 6.5 mm bogus object within JFK’s right orbit (see the figure below) remains the lodestone (i.e., the focus of attraction) for this entire case, but Litwin was evidently too frightened even to introduce it. This object materialized, quite stunningly (like a magician’s rabbit), without any warning in the Clark Panel report (1969).[29] No one at the autopsy, of at least dozens of participants, knew anything about this most central “forensic” object—presumably a major bullet fragment. All three autopsy pathologists, under oath before the ARRB, denied seeing it at the autopsy. And when I asked the radiologist (John Ebersole) about it, he never again commented on the autopsy. Instead he told me that he liked to write detective stories.

JFK’s AP autopsy skull X-ray. The vertical arrow identifies the 6.5 mm object, which was not seen at the autopsy. The horizontal arrow identifies the 7 x 2 mm metal fragment, which was removed at the autopsy.

While at the Archives, I took optical density (OD) measurements, at 0.1 mm (sic) intervals over this object (on both the AP and the lateral X-rays). Then after I returned home, I performed similar measurements with an authentic human skull and a genuine 6.5 mm (sawed off) Mannlicher-Carcano bullet. These two data sets were dramatically different and clearly suggested that this bizarre object on JFK’s skull X-ray had been inserted into the extant X-ray via a double exposure in the darkroom—during post-autopsy shenanigans (most likely by my radiation oncology colleague, John Ebersole). I subsequently proved how easy (during that era) it would have been to alter X-rays—by producing amusing X-ray films like this “birdbrain.”[30]

To be taken seriously today, it is incumbent on any respectable author to enlighten us about the magical 6.5 mm object. If he/she fails to do so, it is immediately obvious that he/she is not sincere about this case. Larry Sturdivan, who is surely sincere and who is one of Litwin’s references, has tried but has failed (as I have previously discussed). Litwin does not even try. This is the (lode)stone about Litwin’s neck—not Oliver Stone. CASE CLOSED.

APPENDIX 1: Over one hundred persons and/or items missing from Litwin’s book

  1. Gary Aguilar, MD
  2. M. L. Baker
  3. Russ Baker
  4. Guy Bannister
  5. Belmont memo
  6. Jim Blight
  7. Richard Bissell
  8. Robert Blakey
  9. Malcolm Blunt
  10. Hale Boggs
  11. Abraham Bolden
  12. Floyd Boring
  13. Camp Street
  14. Charles Brehm
  15. Chester Breneman
  16. Walt Brown, PhD
  17. Adm (Dr) George Burkley
  18. Michael Chesser, MD
  19. Chicago plot
  20. Kemp Clark, MD
  21. Clinton-Jackson sightings
  22. John Cooper
  23. John Costella, PhD
  24. Roger Craig
  25. Milicent Cranor
  26. Charles Crenshaw, MD
  27. Cortlandt Cunningham
  28. Jesse Curry
  29. Jerrol Custer
  30. Dennis David
  31. Carl Day
  32. Cartha “Deke” DeLoach
  33. dented shell
  34. Howard Donahue
  35. Death Certificate (JFK)
  36. John Ebersole, MD
  37. Enfield rifle
  38. Fabian Escalante
  39. double exposure
  40. James Fetzer, PhD
  41. Pierre Finck, MD
  42. Gaeton Fonzi
  43. Robert Frazier
  44. Wesley Frazier
  45. Will Fritz
  46. Gordon Goldstein
  47. Michael Griffith
  48. Jeremy Gunn
  49. Larry Hancock
  50. Harper fragment
  51. Drs. Harper, Cairns, and Noteboom (Harper fragment)
  52. William King Harvey (i.e., not the medical scientist)
  53. Gerald Hill
  54. Harry Holmes
  55. John Hunt
  56. James Jenkins
  57. M. T. Jenkins, MD
  58. George Joannides
  59. JM/WAVE
  60. David Kaiser
  61. Nicholas Katzenbach
  62. Malcolm Kilduff
  63. Robert Knudsen
  64. Edward Lansdale
  65. Meyer Lansky
  66. William Law
  67. Robert Livingston, MD
  68. Fredrik Logevall
  69. Sylvia Lopez
  70. Joe McBride
  71. Robert McClelland, MD
  72. Richard Mahoney
  73. David W. Mantik, MD, PhD
  74. Joan Mellen
  75. Minox camera
  76. Elmer Moore (Dr. Perry’s badger)
  77. David Sanchez Morales
  78. Errol Morris
  79. Marie Muchmore
  80. Richard Case Nagell
  81. Nicholas Nalli
  82. National Photographic and Interpretation Center
  83. Fred Newcomb
  84. Bill Newman
  85. John Newman
  86. Thomas Noguchi, MD
  87. Yuri Nosenko
  88. Gordon Novel
  89. NPIC
  90. Sylvia Odio
  91. Joe O’Donnell
  92. Kenny O’Donnell
  93. Bardwell Odum
  94. Optical Density (OD)
  95. Michael Paine (Ruth was located)
  96. Vincent Palamara
  97. White Patch
  98. Lisa Pease
  99. Malcolm Perry, MD
  100. David Phillips
  101. James Poe
  102. Dave Powers (Thomas was located)
  103. Gary Powers
  104. J. Lee Rankin
  105. Dan Rather
  106. red spot
  107. Randy Robertson, MD
  108. Tom Robinson
  109. Johnny Roselli
  110. Dick Russell (the author)
  111. Quentin Schwinn
  112. Peter Dale Scott
  113. Theodore Shackley
  114. Bill Simpich
  115. Wayne Smith
  116. Pat Speer
  117. John Stringer
  118. James Tague
  119. Tampa plot
  120. Don Thomas
  121. Elmer Lee Todd
  122. Darrell Tomlinson
  123. Noel Twyman
  124. Thomas Arthur Vallee
  125. Oswald’s wallets
  126. Jack White
  127. George Whittaker
  128. O. P. Wright
  129. David Wrone
  130. James Young, MD
  131. 6.5 mm

APPENDIX 2: The looming American demographic shift—a dystopic phantasm

In the next 20 years the groups (born after c. 1975) inside the blue brackets (see the colored graph below) will slowly disappear as they march off the page to the right, thus leaving only those folks to the left of the blue brackets (born before c. 1975). Not only will my pre-WW II generation vanish, but even many of the postwar boomers will disappear.

Therefore, the demographic composition of the USA will change dramatically. This will become a very different country. In particular, there will be far fewer non-Hispanic whites (like me—and like Litwin). For example, note the number of individuals at age 5—whites are not even double that of Hispanics. By contrast, at age 60 that ratio is now over 6.

We should also expect national policies and priorities to change radically. In particular, citizens will expect more and more government aid—and voters will increasingly favor politicians who promise ever more handouts. Expect progressivism to flourish, e.g., watch for distinct movements toward national healthcare (to include illegal aliens), free public college, guaranteed jobs, universal childcare, cancellation of student debt, very high minimum wages, and perhaps even universal wearing of masks in case of more epidemics. Social media will censor all online opinions, which will become more and more acceptable. We may even abandon academic testing in schools, so that no racial (or identity) preferences can possibly occur. Likewise, employee evaluations may become obsolete, for the same reason. Productivity and efficiency will no longer be valued, but racial and cultural sensitivity will be prized—and probably rewarded.

With this loss of productivity, American international trade advantages will be lost and these new programs will become exceedingly costly. They will require enormous tax hikes, and many new taxes, e.g., a wealth tax, steeply graduated income taxes (getting steeper year by year), much higher estate taxes, higher Social Security taxes, and whatever else our legislatures can invent. Along with this we should expect inescapable inflation—the cost of living will rise dramatically, while our standard of living plummets. Special interest groups will clash over the last free government scraps, as politically weaker groups are ignored. We may even see persistent outbreaks of violence, as civil unrest accelerates. Meanwhile, gold and silver and collectables will skyrocket, but very few individuals will be able to own them.

The JFK assassination will increasingly be forgotten, except for the occasional lone gunman programs in November. In 20 years (by 2040), individuals who were 10 years old in 1963 (i.e., born in 1953) will celebrate their 87th birthdays; in other words, almost no one then alive will recall the actual assassination. Instead American beliefs will have been shaped by the mainstream media and by their (lone gunman) school history books. By then I will be long gone, and my website and e-book will have vanished. Quite probably John McAdams’s website and even Fred Litwin himself will also have disappeared.

Believers in conspiracies (of any stripe) will increasingly become marginalized and will be seen as too eccentric to notice. They may even become viewed as enemies of the state. Republicans will be seen as dodos, and libertarians will be viewed as deluded dreamers. Only progressives will be welcomed to dinner parties. All others will be outcasts—like the former untouchables of Mother India. Akin to the former Soviet Union, we will have become a one party state, like California already is today. But everyone will have a job—if they want one. The question will be whether they really want it. It might just be easier to apply for (rather generous) disability benefits—or maybe everyone will have a guaranteed income, so that no one will have to work at all. All citizens can then depend on the ever-whirling government printing presses—unless China calls in our government debts. In that case, we can all get jobs in China (to work their assembly lines), although Chinese wives may be hard to find. But perhaps our newly-liberated American women will cheer this mass emigration while male toxicity—especially white masculine toxicity— disappears from the land, and perfect peace arrives at last.

APPENDIX 3: The Z-film/X-ray Paradox

After reading my argument (which I first publicly expressed in the 1990s), David Josephs developed the overlay figure below, which luminously illustrates the most fundamental paradox in all of the medical evidence.

JFK’s lateral skull X-ray superimposed on Z–312, as composed by David Josephs.

JFK’s head cannot possibly be in the correct orientation) at Z–312 to match the metallic trail across the top of the skull X-rays (the head is tilted way too far forward in the Z-film). The trajectory of this metallic trail matches neither a frontal shot at Z–312 nor a posterior shot (unless it derived from a hot air balloon far above Dealey Plaza). No one has even attempted to explain this paradox, and Litwin does not read my work, so he would know nothing about this impossible conundrum. In any case, the logical conclusion is truly terrifying for Litwin’s case: Z–312 profoundly disagrees with the X-rays. Therefore, at least either the X-ray or the Z-film must be inauthentic. I favor the X-rays (after all, the trail is authentic), which then points a lustrous accusatory finger at Z–312. Of course, this paradox was well nigh inevitable; after all, the felons who altered the Z-film had no access to the X-rays—and vice versa. CASE CLOSED.

APPENDIX 4: The range of various-sized particles

Dr. Michael Chesser located this enlightening research in the literature. It is well known that large particles travel farther (in mass media) than smaller particles do, but this experiment provides final confirmation (Figure 139).

The multiple tiny metallic particles near the forehead (on JFK’s lateral skull X-rays) provide irrefutable proof of a frontal headshot. See the online lectures of Dr. Michael Chesser. I have also observed these particles during my comprehensive mapping of all metallic particles in the skull X-rays (performed while at the National Archives). There is no way that these forehead particles could derive from a posterior headshot. A forehead entry wound was reported by several Parkland physicians—and their identified site was spatially consistent with these X-ray particles. Several Bethesda witnesses also confirmed such a wound—either by direct observation (Tom Robinson at the autopsy) or via (now missing) autopsy photographs, e.g., Quentin Schwinn, Robert Knudsen and Joe O’Donnell. I have personally spoken to Schwinn and have included his simulated autopsy image in my e-book. Even Boswell, somewhat guilelessly, described an “incised wound” at this same site. Scalpels cause incisions, but they most assuredly do not cause “wounds.” CASE CLOSED.

APPENDIX 5: Believers in a JFK conspiracy

Does Litwin truly know more about this case than all of these individuals?

• Lyndon Baines Johnson, President of the United States • Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States • John B. Connally, Governor of Texas • J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI • Clyde Tolson, Associate Director of the FBI • Cartha DeLoach, Assistant Director of the FBI • William Sullivan, FBI Domestic Intelligence Chief • John McCone, Director of the CIA • David Atlee Phillips, CIA disinformation specialist (Chief of Covert Actions, Mexico City, 1963) • Stanley Watson, CIA, Chief of Station • The Kennedy family • Admiral (Dr.) George Burkley, White House physician • James J. Rowley, Chief of the Secret Service • Robert Knudsen, White House photographer (who saw autopsy photos) • Jesse Curry, Chief of Police, Dallas Police Department • Roy Kellerman (heard JFK speak after supposed magic bullet) • William Greer (the driver of the Lincoln limousine) • Abraham Bolden, Secret Service, White House detail & Chicago office • John Norris, Secret Service (worked for LBJ; researched case for decades) • Evelyn Lincoln, JFK’s secretary • Abraham Zapruder, most famous home movie photographer in history. • James Tague, struck by a bullet fragment in Dealey Plaza • Hugh Huggins, CIA operative, conducted private investigation for RFK • Sen. Richard Russell, member of the Warren Commission • John J. McCloy, member of the Warren Commission. • Bertrand Russell, British mathematician and philosopher • Hugh Trevor-Roper, Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford University • Michael Foot, British MP • Senator Richard Schweiker, assassinations subcommittee (Church Committee) • Tip O’Neill, Speaker of the House (he assumed JFK’s congressional seat) • Rep. Henry Gonzalez (introduced bill to establish HSCA) • Rep. Don Edwards, chaired HSCA hearings (former FBI agent) • Frank Ragano, attorney for Trafficante, Marcello, Hoffa. • Marty Underwood, advance man for Dallas trip • Riders in follow-up car: JFK aides; • Kenny O’Donnell and Dave Powers Sam Kinney. • Secret Service driver of follow-up car Paul Landis, passenger in Secret Service follow-up car. John Marshall, Secret Service • John Norris, Secret Service • H. L. Hunt, right-wing oil baron • John Curington, H.L. Hunt’s top aide • Bill Alexander, Assistant Dallas District Attorney • Robert Blakey, Chief Counsel for the HSCA • Robert Tanenbaum, Chief Counsel for the HSCA • Richard A. Sprague, Chief Counsel for the HSCA • Gary Cornwell, Deputy Chief Counsel for the HSCA • Parkland doctors: McClelland, Crenshaw, Stewart, Seldin, Goldstrich, Zedlitz, Jones, Akin, and others • Bethesda witnesses: virtually all of the paramedical personnel All of the jurors in Garrison’s trial of Clay Shaw • Bobby Hargis, Dealey Plaza motorcycle man • Mary Woodward, Dallas Morning News (and eyewitness in Dealey Plaza) Maurice G. Marineau, Secret Service, Chicago office • Most of the American Public  •  Most of the world’s citizens.

APPENDIX 6: Jim DiEugenio vs. Fred Litwin

Jim Garrison vs. Fred Litwin: The Beat Goes On (part 2)

FINAL NOTE: Perhaps the chief benefit of a review of an impoverished book (such as this) is the inclusion of resources for personal learning. John Powell (see my opening quotation) would surely have endorsed this.


[1] I was 23 years old when JFK was killed. I was then focused on my career in physics, while later I concentrated on my medical career. During the latter period, I was also busy raising my two children—because my wife had usually absconded to the Eisenhower Hospital ER, where she served as medical director. My first significant encounter with these JFK issues was at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the fall of 1975—via a lecture by Luis Alvarez, Nobel Laureate in Physics. But my serious JFK research did not begin until I was about 50 years old, after Oliver Stone’s movie appeared. (I did watch it once.) So, unlike Litwin, I made no contributions to this case as a teenager. As I write this (at age 80), my brain has now marinated in these medical issues for three decades.

[2] Oddly enough, every new viewer of the extant Z-film is, above all else, stunned by the head snap. Yet today no one ever sees JFK moving forward (like Ike Altgens did).

[3] When CBS television interviewed him in 1967, Altgens said it was obvious to him that the head shot came from behind the limousine “because it caused him to bolt forward [emphasis added], dislodging him from this depression in the seat cushion.” He added that the commotion across the street after the shooting struck him as odd, since he believed the assassin would have needed to move very quickly to get there. [He presumably meant that the (sole) assassin had to move from behind the limousine to the spot across the street—within an impossibly short time interval.]

[4] Also see the explicit comments about the RFK case by Cyril Wecht, MD, JD, in The Life and Deaths of CYRIL WECHT (2020) by Cyril H. Wecht and Jeff M. Sewald, pp. 110–111. Wecht has just gifted this book to me.

[5] It is possible that Litwin did not have access to this 2018 book before his own book was published in 2018. I would expect that his website has since corrected this grievous oversight, but I have not confirmed this. Someone should. I have written a complimentary online review of Pease’s book.

[6] Even the initial FBI investigation did not accept the SBT! It should also be noted that JFK’s personal physician did not accept the SBT—Admiral George Burkley, MD, refused to agree that there had been only one shooter. Of note, Burkley had been the only physician at both Parkland and at Bethesda.

[7] Litwin does not discuss the dented shell found on the Sixth Floor, but Howard Donahue (a firearms expert, whom I had visited in Maryland) stated that it could not have been fired that day. Josiah Thompson stated that it had three identifying marks, which showed that it had been loaded and extracted at least three previous times. Such marks were not found on the other two shells. When Donahue was queried (by Michael Griffith—also not in Litwin’s book), Donahue replied, “there were no shells dented in that manner by the HSCA…I have never seen a case dented like this.” Did Litwin interview Donahue (as I did)?

[8] FBI agent Cortlandt Cunningham (not in the book) could not match the bullets (taken from Tippit) to Oswald’s supposed handgun (WC Volume 3, p. 465). Did Litwin actually read this?

[9] To begin this literature tour, see my Nick Nalli review (at my website).

[10] Leaded gasoline was banned in the US for road vehicle use in 1995.

11] During the Mock Trial of Oswald (November 16–17, 2017) at the South Texas College of Law—Houston, Texas, the new documentary, “The Parkland Doctors,” was screened. It was palpably obvious that these seven Parkland doctors, sitting in a semicircle, totally agreed that the autopsy photographs did not agree (at all) with their Parkland recollections. Has Litwin viewed this? He does not say.

[12] Given Litwin’s self-proclaimed infatuation with the medical evidence, it is truly astonishing that Ebersole’s name does not appear in his book.

[13] Of the 600+ officially listed Rembrandt paintings, about half may be forgeries. Ironically, X-rays have played a major role in this detective work, but this fact seems unknown to forensic pathologists.

[14] From his speech “What is science?” given at the 15th annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association in 1966 (one year before I earned my PhD in physics).

[15] Preface to the Millennium Edition of Feynman’s famous Lectures on Physics (2010), Volume I, p. vii.

[16] See my highly negative Bugliosi review at my website. Although he praises our book (Murder in Dealey Plaza) as the most scientific on the market, he never replied to my many devastating critiques—although he did protest to me in a long telephone call. During that call, he admitted that I was the only reviewer he had ever contacted. (Naturally, the others all praised his book!) So, instead of tackling my serious medical and scientific challenges, Bugliosi instead chose to spend 16 pages in a desultory discussion of Oswald’s motive—to no real purpose.

[17] At the time of their interviews (2013), Paul Rutan had worked for 27 years at Paramount and Garrett Smith had worked in the film industry for 37 years, with almost 25 years at Paramount. They knew visual effects when they saw them. Both said that the blood in the "head explosion" in Z-313 did not look real, but that it looked like “a cartoon” or animation. Their comments can be heard in the documentary. Smith called Z–317 “an overlay” with the blood placed on top of the original image. In 2013, Rutan advised the documentarians (Thom Whitehead and Sydney Wilkinson) on video that Z–317 was produced by “an aerial optical printer.” He added that it would have been “an overnight job.” Most researchers are now aware of the two NPIC events (i.e., the viewing of two different Z-films on two successive days by two totally different teams) but Litwit does not even cite NPIC in his book.

[18] I have interviewed many of them. Has Litwin bothered to do this? As usual, he is mute.

[19] On June 16, 1995, I viewed the physical CE 399 (not merely the photographs!) at the National Archives—and noted the critical missing initials (of Elmer Todd). Has Litwin done this? He does not say, even though he could have. Does he even understand why the missing initials are important? He does not say and Todd does not appear in Litwin’s book.

[20] Leo is a fellow resident of my home town of Rancho Mirage, and he has gifted his Sinatra documentary to me.

[21] Although some of Bugliosi’s books were outstanding, his Divinity of Doubt, despite being highly acclaimed, was woefully uninformed. Shortly before his death I sent him my review of this book. That review is also here. In turn, Bugliosi mailed me a CD of Italian music! As a purveyor of CDs, did Litwin get one from Bugliosi, too? If so, that remains secret.   

[22] Read the nonfiction book, The Innocent Man by John Grisham, for which I wrote a lengthy review. Furthermore, the JFK case is hardly the first one with misleading evidence. The French had their own Dreyfuss Affair, where virtually all the “official evidence” pointed toward an innocent man. Litwin seems unaware that such a travesty is possible in the modern world.

[23] He is the infamous Wade in “Roe vs. Wade.”

[24] See my review of Wagner’s book for a discussion of Wade’s deplorable record (1951–1986) of false convictions. Many of these have now been overturned, while others still await justice. The award-winning documentary, The Thin Blue Line (1988), by another fellow (and contemporaneous) Badger, Errol Morris, exposes one of these cases. In that film, the hidden motto of Wade’s office was described as, “Any prosecutor can convict a guilty man. It takes a great prosecutor to convict an innocent man.”

[25] Litwin, who frequently touts his passion for the medical evidence, might ponder this online Amazon review of my e-book from Gregory Henkelmann, MD (a physics major and practicing radiation oncologist for 30 years): “Dr. Mantik’s optical density analysis is the single most important piece of scientific evidence in the JFK assassination. Unlike other evidence, optical density data are as ‘theory free’ as possible, as this data deals only with physical measurements. To reject alteration of the JFK skull X-rays is to reject basic physics and radiology.”

[26] Bugliosi supposedly solved this conflict—by claiming that the reports were from different days, thus implying that further work had clarified the situation. Unfortunately for Bugliosi (and for Litwin), both reports were created on the same day (November 30, 1963). Pat Speer has even argued (with surprising support) that the bag currently in evidence is not the original one. This issue is further confounded by the fact that the police did not photograph the bag where they say it was found; in fact, it was not photographed at all until November 26, 1963!

[27] Ebersole told me (on a recorded call, now housed at the Archives) that phone calls occurred with Dallas during the autopsy. Parkland ENT surgeon, Malcolm Perry (who performed the tracheotomy), initially also recalled these autopsy conversations, but he later changed his story, probably under duress. Therefore, during the autopsy, despite their later denials, the pathologists knew about the throat wound.  Kathleen Cunningham (now Evans) long ago compiled a long list of supporting evidence for this conclusion.

[28] In retrospect, with 2020 vision (a pun), this is quite astonishing, but Republican Ford won three states that are now permanent Democratic fixtures--California, Oregon, and Washington! This transformation, of course, was predictable, based on Appendix 2.

[29] These four physicians met in Washington, DC, on February 26–27, 1968 and drafted their report on February 27, 1968. However, the Clark Panel report was not made public until January 16, 1969. Besides introducing this most fantastic 6.5 mm object, the Panel is famous for moving the posterior skull entry site superiorly by 10 cm. Although most authors do, Litwin does not mention this major repositioning. Mistakes of 4 inches do not trouble him.

[30] Today you can merely type “jfk birdbrain image” into a browser and my faked X-ray image instantly appears.

Last modified on Saturday, 28 November 2020 18:13
David Mantik

David W. Mantik, MD, Ph.D., is a board certified radiation oncologist who previously served on the tenure-track physics faculty at U. Michigan. He received his PhD in physics from U. Wisconsin, his MD from Michigan, completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford, and held a Junior Faculty Clinical Fellowship at USC.  He has visited the National Archives on nine separate occasions and has written extensively about the JFK medical evidence, particularly the autopsy images.  He has recently published an e-book, JFK’s Head Wounds.

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