As the mainstream press, by and large, has been giving rave reviews to Vincent Bugliosi’s massive book on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Reclaiming History, it is incumbent on those who know better to point out that the book includes some massive and misleading errors.
On page 422 and 423, Bugliosi explains that even though the entrance wound on Kennedy’s back was higher on Kennedy’s body than the exit wound on his throat, this is still consistent with this shot’s coming from above, as Kennedy was leaning forward at the time he was hit. To support this he offers his readers a drawing created for the medical panel to first admit the back wound entrance was lower than the throat wound exit, the HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel. This drawing shows Kennedy leaning sharply forward when hit. Knowing full well that the Zapruder film of the shooting fails to show Kennedy in this position at the time he was first struck, however, Bugliosi proposes that Kennedy’s head was lifted upwards while he was leaning forward, and that this gave the illusion he was sitting upright. Bugliosi explains further that the analysis of the HSCA’s trajectory expert, Thomas Canning, demonstrated that Kennedy’s upper torso was leaning forward 11-18 degrees when first struck.
What Bugliosi fails to reveal to his readers is that Thomas Canning’s trajectory analysis has severe credibility problems. Not only was Canning allowed to move the wounds to bring them more in line with his proposed trajectories (he, in fact, moved the back wound slightly upwards) he actually concluded that the President was leaning further forward (14 degrees) when first struck then he was when he received his fatal blow to the head (11 degrees). This is exactly the opposite of what is shown in the Zapruder film.
After assuring his readers that the HSCA pathology panel and trajectory analyst had settled this issue, however, Bugliosi turns around and asserts that the back wound WAS above the throat wound, after all. This sudden twist in his argument is undoubtedly surprising, particularly as Bugliosi, who normally relies on the experts, relies upon his own interpretation of an autopsy photo to come to this conclusion, an autopsy photo, furthermore, that he readily admits does not even show the back wound. Bugliosi is not the first to interpret this photo in this manner. As revealed in my online video series, The Mysterious Death of Number 35, however, the most frequently imagined entrance location is barely half the distance from the back of Kennedy’s head as the wound measured at autopsy. Bugliosi’s use of experts to support that the bullet trajectory makes sense, only to abandon those experts without admitting they were wrong or offering one good reason why his readers should trust him and his understanding of anatomy, can only be considered bizarre.
But things get even more bizarre when Bugliosi discusses the autopsy photos of Kennedy’s head wounds. On page 261 of his endnotes, he asserts that the allegedly missing autopsy photo of the entrance on President Kennedy’s head is in fact in the collection. He asserts that this photo of the president’s skull with his brain removed was properly described in the November 1, 1966 inventory of the autopsy photos. This inventory holds that the photo depicts a: “missile wound of entrance in the posterior skull, following reflection of scalp.” In January 1967, however, the doctors changed their interpretation of this photo, and said it depicted an exit on the president’s forehead. While it’s clear to most that this change in description means the doctors changed their interpretation of the photo from being one of the back of Kennedy’s head, to the front of his head, Bugliosi refuses to acknowledge this, and instead asserts on page 238 and 262 of his endnotes that both descriptions were correct, and that the photo depicts the interior of the back of the head when viewed from the front, as well as the beveled exit on the frontal bone in the foreground of the photo.. To explain why there was no mention of the beveled exit on the skull prior to the January 67 review, Bugliosi suggests that the doctors, who’d only spent 6 hours or more staring at the president’s body, looking for bullet wounds, only discovered this exit during the 1967 inspection of the photos. He overlooks or ignores that the doctors failed to mention the entrance they’d previously seen in this photo in the January Review.
While refusing to acknowledge that the doctors believed the photo was taken from behind, on page 238 of his endnotes Bugliosi does nevertheless acknowledge that some conspiracy theorists believe the photo was taken from behind and shows the back of Kennedy’s head. He dismisses their interpretation with “the keys to the correct orientation of the images are a lip of a glass specimen jar on, and a drainage hole in, the autopsy table, which are both visible in the photographs and are located at the top of the autopsy table. These details show that the photographer was standing at the head of the autopsy table, looking down into the cranial cavity, with the president lying on his back.” (That this interpretation is incorrect is demonstrated in the Demystifying the Mystery Photo chapter at patspeer.com).
While Bugliosi’s contention that this photo was taken from in front of Kennedy is at odds with the views of most conspiracy theorists, including this researcher, Bugliosi goes on to make a statement that distances him from every single-assassin theorist I’ve ever encountered, and almost certainly, the truth. On page 261 of his endnotes, Bugliosi states “The HSCA forensic pathology panel subsequently concluded that the images depicted both the entrance wound bevel (in the background of the image) and the exit wound bevel (in the foreground of the image).” Bugliosi holds this statement as a confirmation of his earlier analysis of the autopsy doctors’ 1966 and 1967 reports. The problem is that the HSCA determined that the entrance on the back of Kennedy’s head was four inches higher than as determined by the autopsy doctors, and that this photo shows NO “semi-circled” entrance in the entrance location proposed by the panel. No semi-circled entrance in this location was ever mentioned in the testimony of the panel’s spokesman, and none was included on any of their drawings. As a result, it seems likely that the writer of the HSCA’s report incorrectly presented the semi-circle of bone apparent in the photo as both a bullet entrance (“a possible portion of the beveled inner table corresponding to the semicircular margin of the entrance wound at the back of the head” HSCA FPP Report p. 129) and as an exit (“the anterior bone fragment with the semicircular defect” HSCA FPP Report p.129). These interpretations are, of course, mutually exclusive.
Bugliosi’s discussion of the autopsy doctors’ and HSCA doctors’ photo descriptions is simply not credible. First of all, what doctors, of even marginal competence, would describe a photo taken from the front of the patient, with a beveled exit in the foreground, as a photo depicting a “missile wound of entrance on the posterior skull, following reflection of scalp” and fail to mention the easily identifiable exit in the foreground? Second of all, the autopsy doctors, who wrote the 1966 inventory, believed the entrance was low on the back of Kennedy’s head near his hairline. The HSCA FPP, writers of the 1978 report, and Bugliosi, conversely, assert that this entrance was really high on the back of Kennedy’s head, four inches higher. If the two groups shared an understanding of the exit location in the photo, as seems probable by the January 1967 discussion of the photo by the autopsy doctors and the 1978 description of the exit by the panel in its report, the entrance Bugliosi proposes they both believe is visible on the interior of the skull can not logically be the same entrance. When shown this photo by the Assassinations Records Review Board in 1996, and asked to set the record straight, none of the autopsy doctors could point out such an entrance. No one from the HSCA FPP has even tied to point out the supposed entrance on the interior aspect of the skull in this photo, furthermore, as there is simply NO SKULL in the entrance photo in that location at which they can point. Bugliosi, if he’s studied the photos enough to think he can second guess the HSCA FPP’s location of the back wound, certainly knows this, but keeps this from his readers...
That Bugliosi failed at times to remember or deliberately sought to conceal that the two sets of doctors were describing a wound at a different entrance location is further supported by an earlier discussion on page 230 of his endnotes. Here, he lists the November 1, 1966 description of the wound in the photo (“missile wound of entrance in the posterior skull, following reflection of scalp”) and then asserts “The entrance wound depicted in these photographs lines up with the entrance wound seen in the skull x-rays (7HSCA 105, 107).” By linking the autopsy doctors’ description of a wound they insisted was low on the President’s skull with an HSCA report claiming the bullet entered four inches higher, Bugliosi undoubtedly clouds the issue and misleads his readers into thinking an entrance wound is visible on this photo in the location proposed by the HSCA, an assertion without one scintilla of support.
In short, Bugliosi’s discussion of the autopsy photos is confused and confusing, and seems designed in part to hide that the interpretations of the photos by the autopsy doctors and the HSCA forensic pathology panel are in disagreement. His failure to adequately discuss this disagreement, and accept the likelihood that the autopsy doctors at any time could have believed the open-cranium photo of Kennedy’s head had been taken from behind, is indicative of a stubborn refusal to acknowledge the depths of the problems with the medical l evidence. Since his book is purportedly designed to answer these questions, this would have to be seen as a fatal flaw.
Transcript of ANSA video on the Carcano
Here (finally!) is the transcript of the ANSA video of the ballistics test which is available to view here:
This is the best translation in English I can come up with. Please bear in mind that I'm not a 'techie' and the carcano is not my area of knowledge so I'm not sure if all the technical translations are correct and some of them I wasn't sure how to translate into English.
Perhaps Claudio can make corrections to anything he thinks is incorrect as he is more of an expert on this than me!
Transcript of ANSA video report on the Mannlicher Carcano (translated into English)
Interviewer: "Did Lee Harvey Oswald really kill President Kennedy? Could the Carcano of Dallas fire three shots in such a short time? To have the answer to these questions, we are here with the Lt Colonel Bernigno (?) Riso, who in the meantime will tell us something preliminary about this gun."
Lt. Col. Riso: "Of course. I have here a Carcano (model) 9138 and we have attached the telescopic sight and we have found some problems with it. We had to mount to the sight in a very high position to be able to attach the clip. When the sight is mounted in this particular way, it isn't in an ergonomically correct position to be able to fire at a target. It creates problems of loading the gun but also of 'chambering a round'?
When the gun is being used, (the sight) interferes with the bolt of the gun and the aiming at a target."
Interviewer: "The Warren Commision has established that Lee Harvey Oswald would have taken the disassembled rifle into the Book Depository, the place from where he would have shot to kill Kennedy. What is your opinion regarding this?"
Lt. Col. Riso: "This is very unlikely, because the scope has been mounted in an amateur/sloppy way 'e l'azzeramento deve essere fatto preventivamente a poligono"
(I'm just waiting to see if Claudio can explain what this would be as I don't know what it is either in Italian or English)
Interviewer: "Ok, can we go now to the tests?"
Lt. Col. Riso: "Of course. Now we will go to the shooting range to see the ballistics tests."
Cut to clip of a sniper test firing shots at a target and being timed.
Lt. Col. Riso: "As we have established, the sniper had difficulty in loading the gun (operating the bolt) due to the sight being in the way. The time necessary to fire the three shots is definitely more than seven seconds. The maximum velocity of this gun, without aiming the telescopic sight, is twelve shots a minute, roughly one every five seconds."
Interviewer: "In 1978, in the Unites States, a commission of enquiry reopened the case and arrived at the conclusion that perhaps there was more than one shooter in Dealey Plaza. Can we also prove this hypothesis?"
Lt. Col. Riso: "Now we will try to test this with plastiline targets at 80
and 30 metres."
Cut to a clip of the Zapruder film.
Lt. Col. Riso: "As you can see, the targets do not simulate the head of a human being. You can see that with the target at 80 metres, the bullet goes through the plastiline and with the gravitational force, the bullet hole gets blocked and is unable to pass out through the other side. This proves the dynamics of the phenomenon."
(This is literally what he said in Italian but I'm not sure what he means by 'the dynamics of the phenomenon' or the bit about 'gravitational force'. This is the best explanation in English I can come up with)
Cut to more shots of bullets hitting the plastiline target, interspersed with clips of the Zapruder and Nix films.
Interviewer: "While we are here, can we test the theory of the magic bullet?"
Cut to diagram of bullet hitting JFK and Connolly, followed by shots being fired into two blocks of meat.
Lt. Col. Riso : "As we can see, after having gone through the targets of meat, the bullet's jacket was 'impacted' and when it was recovered, it was flat and notably deformed. When the bullet exited the meat, it had enough speed to cause this deformity. The magic bullet could not have hit two men
and remain intact as it states in the (Warren Comission)report."
Campioni del mondo 2006!
Italian experts test JFK assassination gun
The Warren Commission report concluded that Oswald fired three shots with a Carcano M91/38 bolt-action rifle in 7 seconds to kill Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. However, tests supervised by the Italian Army showed it would take 19 seconds to get off three shots with that type of gun, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
The tests were done in a former Carcano factory in Terni.
In one test, a bullet was fired through two large pieces of meat to simulate the assumed path of a shot that the Warren Commission concluded struck Texas Gov. John Connally after passing through Kennedy's body. In the test, the bullet ended deformed, while the bullet in the Kennedy assassination remained intact.
Conspiracy theories about the assassination have been circulating for more than four decades.
Oswald 'had no time to fire all Kennedy bullets'
By Tim Shipman in Washington, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 2:01am BST 02/07/2007
Lee Harvey Oswald could not have acted alone in assassinating President John F Kennedy, according to a new study by Italian weapons experts of the type of rifle Oswald used in the shootings.
The new findings will encourage conspiracy theorists
In fresh tests of the Mannlicher-Carcano bolt-action weapon, supervised by the Italian army, it was found to be impossible for even an accomplished marksman to fire the shots quickly enough.
The findings will fuel continuing theories that Oswald was part of a larger conspiracy to murder the 35th American president on 22 November 1963.
The official Warren Commission inquiry into the shooting concluded the following year that Oswald was a lone gunman who fired three shots with a Carcano M91/38 bolt-action rifle in 8.3 seconds.
But when the Italian team test-fired the identical model of gun, they were unable to load and fire three shots in less than 19 seconds - suggesting that a second gunman must have been present in Dealey Plaza, central Dallas, that day.
Two of the bullets hit Kennedy, with the first - the so called "magic bullet", ridiculed by conspiracy theorists - also wounding the governor of Texas, John B Connally, after it had struck the president.
In a further challenge to the official conclusions, the Italian team conducted two other tests at the former Carcano factory in Terni, north of Rome, where the murder weapon was made in 1940.
They fired bullets through two large pieces of meat, in an attempt to simulate the assumed path of the magic bullet. In their test, the bullet was deformed, unlike the first bullet in the Kennedy assassination, which remained largely intact.
The second bullet is thought to have missed its target. According to the commission, the third disintegrated when it hit Kennedy's head. The new research suggests, however, that this is incompatible with the fact that Oswald was only 80 yards away, in a book depository, when he fired. The Italian tests suggest that a bullet fired from that distance would have emerged intact from Kennedy's head, implying that the third shot must instead have come from a more distant location.
The findings will encourage conspiracy theorists who hold that Oswald could not have fired three shots in time. For each shot, he would have had to push up the gun's bolt handle, pull the bolt backwards to eject the spent cartridge case and then forward to slide the next round into the chamber, before turning down the bolt handle to lock it in place.
Nearly seven out of 10 Americans believe that Kennedy was murdered as a result of a plot. Depending on which theory they back, the participants supposedly included any or all of the CIA, the Mafia, the Cubans, the FBI chief J Edgar Hoover, the military-industrial complex and Vice-President Lyndon B Johnson.
It is the second challenge in two months to the view of the Warren Commission that Oswald acted alone. In May, researchers at Texas A&M University argued that the ballistics evidence used to rule out a second gunman had been misinterpreted.
The findings will be a frustration to Vincent Bugliosi, the author of a 1,600-page book, also published in May, which claimed to put to rest all the conspiracy theories of the past 44 years.
The Italian findings will be hotly contested by those who believe that Oswald was a lone gunman - not least because they contradict firing tests previously conducted, using Oswald's actual rifle, by the FBI and the US Marines, and another study by Washington police marksmen using an identical gun.
Oswald would only have needed to reload the weapon twice in the eight seconds to get off all three shots, since the time was measured only from the moment he fired the first shot. The FBI concluded that a marksman could have fired a shot at least every 2.3 seconds.
In his book, Mr Bugliosi details how after just two or three minutes' practice with the gun in 1979, three police marksmen aiming at three targets representing Kennedy at the same distance from Oswald, got away three shots in less than eight seconds.
One marksman hit the targets twice and missed the third shot by an inch. A second shooter scored a "kill" with his second shot.
Mr Bugliosi recounts three separate ballistics tests that found that the magic bullet could have wounded Kennedy and Connally and emerged in similar condition to the real bullet. But that is unlikely to stop the Italian research fuelling another generation of conspiracy writers.
Call for rethink on Kennedy shooting
By Catherine Elsworth in Los Angeles
Last Updated: 2:22am BST 19/05/2007
Fresh debate over the assassination of President John F Kennedy has erupted following a research team's claims that bullet analysis used to show that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone was "fundamentally flawed".
Researchers urged authorities to conduct a fresh forensic analysis of the five bullet fragments
The team of experts, which includes a former senior FBI scientist, is challenging the analysis of bullet fragments on which government officials based their conclusion that Oswald alone fired the two bullets that killed the president in 1963, the Washington Post reports.
At the time investigators concluded that the five bullet fragments recovered from the scene came from just two bullets, which were both traced to the same batch of bullets Oswald owned.
But an article in the Annals of Applied Statistics claims that the "evidence used to rule out a second assassin is fundamentally flawed".
The report, by William Tobin, a former FBI laboratory metallurgist, and Cliff Spiegelman and William James, of Texas University, is based on new statistical calculations and a modern chemical analysis of bullets from the batch Oswald purportedly used.
While the researchers reached no conclusion about whether more than one gunman was involved in the Dallas shooting, they urged authorities to conduct a completely fresh forensic analysis of the five bullet fragments.
The researchers believe that the bullet fragments could have come from three or more separate bullets. If the five fragments came from three or more bullets, it would mean that a second gunman's bullet would have had to have struck the president, the research team has concluded.
Despite the Warren Commission Report findings that Oswald acted alone, many continue to believe others were involved in the shooting or that it was part of a broader conspiracy which was then the subject of an official cover-up.
"JKF CONSPIRACY THEORY GETS BOOST"
Fri Jun-29-07 02:44 PMby Claudio Accogli
(ANSA) - Rome, June 29 - Conspiracy theorists who remain convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald could not have assassinated President John F. Kennedy alone have received a major boost from new tests carried out at the factory where the alleged murder weapon was made.
Tests using a Carcano M91/38 bolt-action rifle were carried out under the supervision of the Italian Army and showed that it would take a minimum of 19 seconds to load and fire three shots.
Maybe some of you remember that i focused in 2003 my book on the Carcano story and its ''un-solved'' misteries.
Now, under the flag of my agency Ansa (Agenzia Nazionale della Stampa Associata) we went to Terni, where the C2766 was born in 1940, to test the ballistic results.
First, under the assistance of Italian Army officials, we tested the velocity of a Carcano, with a mounted scope on it.
As you already know, using that rifle with a scope it's a problem (Hsca's tests were done without aiming with the scope..)
Secondly, we fired at 80m and 30m (the distance form the Tsbd, and the one from the supposed location of a second gunner on the Grassy Knoll area). Here we discovered that Carcano's bullets are not only the standard ones - called humanitarians, becouse they hit and pass the target.. see on it problems in VietNam with these kind of bullets). There are also the ''frangibile'' bullets. This ones NOT necessarly make an entrance and an exit hole. They disintegrate with the impact.
Finally, after a test on the magic bullet, firing on two pieces of meat, we focused on the documentation aspects.
Did not find any italian documentation on the rifle, just a dispatch signed by Robert Presland, alias William K. Harvey.
Details and videos can be found on www.ansa.it
"Amazon Censors Negative Bugliosi Reviews"
First Wikipedia, now Amazon. Is the JFK assassination too controversial to talk about? No, just as long as you say what they want you to.
Amazon has been one of my favorite blogging cites for the past 4 years where products can be reviewed by costumers. Yet two of my recent book reviews were censored and erroneously deleted. How many others has this happened to?
One of them was Vincent Bugliosi’s ‘Reclaiming History.’
My review was negative but fair, honest and did not violate any of Amazon’s guidelines. It contained no profanity or personal insults.
If you’ve been following JFK assassination products on Amazon they typically have about 66% positive reviews it they are pro conspiracy, and a 66% positive if they are Warren Commission apologists. A pretty even split.
It is good to see so many people know the facts.
The positive reviews of Warren Commission apologist documentaries and books is frankly nothing to worry about. From their reviews they clearly know nothing about the case. Most admit to being novices and were merely pleased by what they saw not knowing the facts.
But this is very troubling that Amazon is censoring reviews on this topic. They are attempting to marginalize or silence altogether any counter argument.
How many others has this happened to? We may never know. The actual response ratio may be 99% pro conspiracy.