US Government Official: JFK Cover-Up, Film Fabrication
by Jim Fetzer
Douglas Horne, who served as the Senior Analyst for Military Affairs of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), a five-member civilian panel that Congress entrusted with the authority to declassify documents and records related to the death of JFK held by the CIA, the FBI, the Secret Service, and other government agencies, where only the President could over-ride its decisions, recently published INSIDE THE ARRB (2009), a five-volume study of the efforts of the board to declassify documents and records held by the CIA, the FBI, the Secret Service, and other government organizations related to the assassination of JFK.
As a former government official, historian, and author, he is speaking out to disabuse the public of any lingering belief that THE WARREN REPORT (1964), THE HSCA FINAL REPORT (1979), Gerald Posner’s CASE CLOSED (1963), or Vincent Bugliosi’s RECLAIMING HISTORY (2007) represent the truth about what is known about the assassination of our 35th president, even remotely! Indeed, in relation to a new article, “Birds of a Feather: Subverting the Constitution at Harvard Law”, Horne has made a forceful declaration to set the record straight:
I know, from my former role as a government official on the staff of the ARRB (from 1995–1998), that there is overwhelming evidence of a government-directed medical cover-up in the death of JFK, and of wholesale destruction of autopsy photographs, autopsy x-rays, early versions of the autopsy report, and biological materials associated with the autopsy. Furthermore, dishonest autopsy photographs were created; skull x-rays were altered; the contents of the autopsy report changed over time as different versions were produced; and the brain photographs in the National Archives cannot be photographs of President Kennedy’s brain—they are fraudulent, substitute images of someone else’s brain.
Over and beyond the medical evidence, however, Horne—in Vol. IV of INSIDE THE ARRB (2009), has also demonstrated that the home movie of the assassination known as “the Zapruder film”—and others that correspond to it, such as the Nix and Muchmore films—have been massively edited to remove indications of Secret Service complicity in the crime and to add other events to these films in order to sow confusion and conceal evidence of the true causes of death of John F. Kennedy. For those unfamiliar with this question, see “Kennedy Assassination Questions”, in which I explain how even the consistent testimony of Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent who rushed forward to assist Jackie during the shooting in Dealey Plaza, confirms it.
There are many proofs that the film has been fabricated—including that the driver brought the limo to a halt to make sure he would be killed; that his brains were blown out to the left-rear; and that a motorcycle patrolman accompanying the limo rode forward at the time of the stop to inform Dallas Chief of Police Jessie Curry that the president had been hit. But none of these events appears in the extant version of the film, which has been massively edited. That these events occurred has been established by more than 60 witness reports of the limo stop, where the wound to the back of his head was confirmed by 40 witnesses, including virtually all the physicians at Parkland Hospital, who described cerebellum as well as cerebral tissue extruding from the wound. The blow-out to the right-front, as seen in the film, therefore, is not authentic.
Indeed, in an appendix to Vol. IV, Horne explains that a copy of the film has now been studied by Hollywood exerts, who found that the blow-out to the back of his head had been painted over in black in an amateurish effort to obfuscate the blow out, which can actually be seen in a few later frames, including 372 and 374. Those who have persisted in defense of the authenticity of the film have offered three major arguments—(1) that the features of the extant film correspond to those of the original processed in Dallas, (2) that there was an unbroken chain of custody, which precluded the film be changed; and (3) that the Dealey Plaza films are not only consistent with themselves but with one another, where the Zapruder could only have been faked if the others had been as well.
The following extracts from INSIDE THE ARRB (2009), Vol. IV, demonstrate that all three arguments are fallacious: (1) there are five features of the extant film that differ from those of the original and (2) that different films were brought to the NPIC on consecutive days, which vitiates the chain-of-custody argument. The consistency of the films with one another (3) turns out to be an interesting question, since they all seem to have been edited to remove the turn of the presidential limousine from Houston onto Elm. More significantly, there are subtle inconsistencies between the films and, most importantly, the Zapruder film is not even consistent with itself, which proves that it cannot possibly be authentic!
Horne’s new studies thus confirm the previous research that has previously been reported in THE GREAT ZAPRUDER FILM HOAX (2003), “New Proof of JFK Film Fakery” (2007), and “Zapruder JFK Film impeached by Moorman JFK Polaroid” (2008), “Dealey Plaza Revisited: What Happened to JFK?” (2009), “The JFK ‘Head Shot’ Paradox” (2010), where more can be found at assassinationscience.com. An especially valuable study, which uses the new enhanced version of the Zapruder film (by removing pincushion and aspect-ratio distortion and adding missing frames and correcting the order of others) has been produce by John P. Costella, Ph.D., as his “JFK assassination film hoax” tutorial.
(1) Five features of the original do not match the extant film
INSIDE THE ARRB, Vol. IV (2009), p. 1292:
In his long essay published in 2007 on the Mary Ferrell Foundation website, Josiah Thompson [NOTE: the author of SIX SECONDS IN DALLAS (1967), an early study based on the Zapruder film] told us we should all trust [retired Kodak expert on celluloid] Rollie Zavada’s judgment and defer to his authority:
“Roland Zavada has a towering reputation in the field and no conceivable reason for cooking his conclusions.”
Now that we have concluded examining his report and Zavada’s changes of mind since that time, it is clear that he has cooked his conclusions. In particular, he has ignored—trashed—key testimony:
*That the exposures were not bracketed at the Jamieson lab when the three ‘first day copies’ were struck, meaning that the three ‘first generation’ copies today should not be bracketed copies;
*That a ‘full frame’ aperture (picture plus soundtrack) was used when duplicating the Zapruder film, meaning that the intersprocket images should be present on the ‘first generation copies’;
*That the edge printer light was turned off when the original film was developed, meaning that there a double registration of processing edge prints in the family scenes on the extant ‘first generation’ copies; and,
*That the camera original film was slit at the Kodak plant in Dallas, meaning that the 16 mm wide, unslit black-and-white copies in existence today cannot have originated from the camera original film, and are instead indirect evidence that a new ‘original’ was created as an unslit 16 mm, double 8 movie (just as Homer McMahon’s expert testimony to the ARRB indicates).
Furthermore, Zavada’s opposition to the shooting of a control film in Zapruder’s actual camera in Dealey Plaza—which was inexplicable and extremely frustrating when it occurred in 1997—now takes on a very different taint, one of possibly intentional sabotage of the authentication effort by the ARRB staff. An incredible charge, you say? Not necessarily.
Read more on pages 1292 through 1294 as well as 1243 to 1292. And this does not take into account that the numbers on the extant film are not punched in the same location as the original. Read Horne to appreciate the depth of Zavada’s deception.
(2) Different films were brought to the NPIC on consecutive days
Not only has Doug Horne demonstrated that the strips of film—the actual celluloid—of the film that was processed in Dallas and the extant “Zapruder film” are not the same, but he has demonstrated that David Wrone has misled his audience and distorted the evidence about the chain-of-custody, where one film—apparently the original, was brought to the NPIC on Saturday, 23 November 1963, which was an 8mm, slit version, the processing of which Bruno Brugioni, Chief of the NPIC Information Branch, supervised, which even required opening a camera store to purchase an 8mm projector, which the NPIC did not possess, while a second, 16mm unslit version, was brought to the NPIC on Sunday, 24 December 1963, by Secret Service Agent “William Smith,” which was handled by Homer McMahon and by Ben Hunter, who had not been present the night before, and a very different film.
INSIDE THE ARRB, Vol. IV, pages 1226 and 1227:
Analysis: First of all, we can now say with certainty that the NPIC never copied the Zapruder film as a motion picture, even though for years the NPIC notes had mislead some researchers into believing that it had. However, Homer McMahon’s rock-solid certainty that the film brought to him was an original, unslit 16 mm wide, double 8 movie—and that it came from a classified CIA photo lab run by Kodak at Rochester—implies that McMahon and Hunter were not working with the true camera original developed in Dallas, but were instead working with a re-created, altered film masquerading as ‘the original.’ I suspected in 1997, and I am more certain than ever today at this writing in 2009, that ‘Bill Smith’ told the truth when he said that the film he couriered to NPIC was developed in Rochester—after all, how could he possible make a mistake about something so elementary, since he brought it from Rochester to Washington, D.C. himself? He was only lying about one thing: it could not have been the original film exposed inside Abe Zapruder’s camera, because we know from the Dallas Affidavit trail, and from the interviews Rollie Zavada conducted with the surviving personnel from the Dallas Kodak lab, that the original film was indeed developed in Dallas on Friday, November 22, 1963. If McMahon was correct that he had viewed an original, 16 mm wide, unslit double 8 movie film the weekend of the assassination, and if it was really developed in Rochester at a CIA lab run by Kodak (as he was unambiguously told it was), then the extant film in the Archives is not a camera original film, but a simulated ‘original’ created with an optical printer at the CIA’s secret film lab in Rochester.
The critical information published in the ARRB call and meeting reports about our interviews with McMahon and Hunter in 1997 was published in full by Jim Fetzer in the year 2000 in MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA, but was subsequently ignored by Josiah Thompson in a 2007 essay posted on the Mary Ferrell website (note 14) and was intentionally under-reported and misrepresented by David Wrone in his 2003 book on the Zapruder film. This is what many advocates of a specific hypothesis or a historical position resort to when the heat is on and their longstanding positions on key issues are threatened by new evidence: all too often they either ignore the argument of their opponents as if they do not exist, or they will misrepresent them, intentionally setting up a false ‘straw man,’ and then knock it down. In the case of the serious chain-of-custody implications of the McMahon interviews, Thompson chose to ignore the problem in 2005 and again in 2007, while David Wrone has not only misreported/misrepresented their import, but he has overstated the case for authenticity, as I shall demonstrate below.
In his 2003 book THE ZAPRUDER FILM: REFRAMING JFK’S ASSASSINATION, Wrone fails to report the specific content of the Homer McMahon interviews (nor does McMahon’s name even appear in Wrone’s index), and then completely misreports what I have said about them (on page 127), as follows:
Similarly spurious is Douglas Orme’s charge (yes, he misspelled my name, too) that Time, Inc. allowed the film to be altered. In MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA, Horne argues that Time, Inc. permitted the film to be taken by Federal Officials for doctoring. [This statement was followed by endnote 36, which simply refers to page 319 of MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA, without telling the reader what is on page 319. Page 319 is the interview report I wrote of the Homer McMahon interview of July 14, 1997 at the National Archives.] Like Zapruder, however, Time knew it had a treasure in the Zapruder film, and it would do nothing to endanger the flow of revenue it expected from those 26 seconds of film. [boldface added by author]
Shame on you David Wrone! There are so many things wrong with this short paragraph that I hardly know where to begin. First of all, and most importantly, Wrone never mentioned in his text that the Head of the Color Lab at NPIC, the world’s pre-eminent photo interpretation lab in 1963, claimed that he had [had] delivered to him by the Secret Service, prior to the President’s funeral, a 16 mm wide, unslit original double 8 film of the Kennedy assassination that was developed in Rochester, the location from which the courier brought him the film!!! So David Wrone’s first sin is that of intellectual dishonesty—hiding facts from his readers which might have contradicted his own thesis that the extant film in the Archives today is authentic and unaltered. His second sin is that of putting words in my mouth: it is simply not true that I said anywhere in Fetzer’s book that Time, Inc. had allowed the film to be altered! The editor of the anthology, Jim Fetzer, published only my call reports and meeting reports of what the witnesses told the ARRB staff, and no one used that language in their interviews with us. So Wrone set up a straw man here which he attempted to knock down with a private enterprise profit motive, while all the time ignoring facts about C.D. Jackson’s long standing associations with the CIA and the national security establishment during the decade of the 1950s. If Wrone had been intellectually above-board, he would have talked honestly about the content of the McMahon/Hunter interviews, and then stated why he did not find these eyewitness recollections persuasive, if that was the case; instead, he took the coward’s way out and intentionally failed to report what McMahon had said. . . .
Note 14: The name of the lengthy 3-part essay is “Bedrock Evidence in the Kennedy Assassination,” and is based upon a somewhat shorter version delivered by Thompson on November 19, 2005 at a conference sponsored by Jim Lesar’s Assassination Archives and Research Center (ARRC) and the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law.
(3) The Zapruder film displays inconsistencies with other films and with itself
INSIDE THE ARRB, Vol. IV, pages 1336 to 1337:
The Alteration of the Zapruder Film was Rushed and Imperfect
Because there are physical limitations to what can be altered in a film—particularly on a tight schedule and when faced with time pressure—the alteration of the Zapruder film was imperfect, and it therefore had to be suppressed as a motion picture even after its gross alteration to conceal what the forgers had been unable to remove. My working hypothesis postulates that because the cabal that killed the president (and which was feverishly covering up the crime that weekend) did not yet know, on the weekend of the assassination, what type of investigation(s) would be conducted of the crime, or by which governmental bodies, speed was of the essence. By late Sunday afternoon—after discussing the limitations to the film’s alteration with the technicians at “Hawkeyeworks” in Rochester—they would have known that while the car stop had been removed from the film, and the exit debris leaving the back of President Kennedy’s skull had also been removed, that a serious problem remained: the so-called ‘head snap,’ or violent movement of the President’s head and upper body to the left and rear, in response to the frontal head shots. This was a simple and persuasive demonstration of the law of conservation of momentum that even a layperson without a physics degree could viscerally understand, and the public could not be permitted to see it, or the lone assassination cover story would not sell . . .
The film’s imperfect alteration was revealed in other ways aside from the ‘headsnap.’ As later discovered by Josiah Thompson, Ray Marcus, and other researchers, and as written about in scores of books now and as mentioned in hundreds of lectures, the extant film contains evidence of a very serious ‘timing problem’: President Kennedy and Governor Connally react to separate shots that occur too close together to have been fired in succession by the rather slow mechanism of the alleged murder weapon. The Warren Commission staff expressed great concern about this internally, and ultimately dealt with it dishonestly by concluding that the same bullet had hit both men, and that Connally had unaccountably exhibited a ‘delayed reaction’ to his very severe and painful wounds. What we do not know today is whether the ‘timing problem’ is an artifact of frame removal, or whether those frames of the film prior to the headshot were not tampered with, and reflected the true reality of the assassination farther up Elm Street in the vicinity of the Stemmons Freeway sign. Either possibility is [better: could be] true. Given what we know about the robust evidence in favor of alteration of the Zapruder film, it would be imprudent for JFK researchers to continue to claim that the ‘timing problem’ is the primary evidence of conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination. It isn’t. Given the overwhelming evidence that the camera original has been altered, the ‘timing problem’ should now be demoted to simply being ‘possible evidence’ of conspiracy. Eyewitness and earwitness testimony from Dealey Plaza alone, and the behavior of the impact debris after the head shots, are the true ‘bedrock evidence’ that proves conspiracy, not the ‘timing problem,’ which is inevitably suspect now, because of the overwhelming evidence that the camera original Zapruder film was altered on Sunday, November 24, 1963.
One final and undeniable mistake by the forgers was their failure to black out the real exit wound(s) in the posterior skull in all frames. I believe one of two exit wounds can been seen today, with proper magnification, in frames 335 and 337 of the extant film [NOTE: and in frames 372 and 374, where a comparison between David Mantik’s study of “Area P” in the lateral cranial X-rays and the blow-out to the back of the head can be viewed in “Dealey Plaza Revisited,” Chapter 30 of JOHN F. KENNEDY: HISTORY, MEMORY, LEGACY (2009), which can be downloaded here.] The best images of this to date have been published in HIGH TREASON (the color plate in the cloth edition, opposite page 387), in [Harrison Livingston’s] THE HOAX OF THE CENTURY: DECODING THE FORGERY OF THE ZAPRUDER FILM (on page 264) and in [Robert Groden’s] THE KILLING OF A PRESIDENT (on page 38). While the forgers were ‘successful’ in superimposing rather poor aerial imaging artwork of an enormous head wound on the top and right side of President Kennedy’s head in the Zapruder film—a head wound which is grossly inconsistent with the localized posterior blowout observed at Parkland Hospital, and only roughly consistent with the autopsy photos taken after clandestine post mortem surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital—they failed to properly execute their most basic task, which was to hide all evidence of posterior exit wounds in the back of JFK’s head. Persons in the government were clearly aware of this problem, for the last frame of the Zapruder film published in volume XVIII of the Warren Commission’s 26 supporting volumes was frame 334, the frame immediately prior to those which show one of the two exit defects in the back of the head. ‘Coincidences’ like this are not worthy of belief, and the fact that the Warren Commission stopped publishing at frame 334 strongly implies that someone on the staff—presumably Specter and Rankin—knew they had a problem in frames 335 and 337, and so simply decided not to publish those frames. For them, discretion was the better part of valor. . . .
INSIDE THE ARRB (2009), Vol. IV, pages 1317 to 1320 (in part):
If the Zapruder Film is an Alteration, Doesn’t This Mean That Other Films of the Assassination Must Have Been Altered Also? Also, Are There Inconsistencies Between Other Films and the Zapruder Film?
Absolutely—alteration of the Zapruder film does indeed imply that in a perfect conspiracy, that other films would have been altered also, and in the same way as the Zapruder film. If they were not altered and the Zapruder film was, this would have left undeniable evidence in the photographic record that “the” pre-eminent record of the assassination is indeed an alteration. In fact, what we do find in the evidence is one suggestion of identical alteration; and numerous indications of disagreement between various Dealey Plaza films and the Zapruder film.
The Turn from Houston Onto Elm May Have Been Removed from the Zapruder Film, the Nix Film, and the Muchmore Film
First, let us examine the suggested identical alteration of the Zapruder film, the Nix film, and the Muchmore film. Neither the Nix film, the Muchmore film,nor the Zapruder film show the Presidential limousine turning left from Houston Street onto Elm Street. Orville Nix told Mark Lane (on film) in 1966 that his film has initially been ‘lost’ by the processing plant and that when the FBI returned his film to him, some of the frames had been ‘damaged’ and were missing. The originals of both the Nix film and the Muchmore film (taken from the opposite side of thje plaza from which Zapruder was shooting his film, and from much farther away) are missing today. How convenient. The absence of first-frame overexposure in frame 133 of the Zapruder film suggests, but in my view does not prove, that the limousine’s turn from Houston onto Elm was removed when the film was altered and recreated, using an optical printer. The fact that the originals of the Nix and Muchmore films are missing is extremely suspicious; they may have been removed from circulation to prevent detection of their alteration—specifically, removal of the limousine’s turn onto Elm from Houston and of the car stop during the assassination. If ever found, one of the first things that should be checked is to see if the limousine’s turn onto Elm Street in these two films has been excised—either crudely, with splices, or via reprinting those films in an optical printer.
Clint Hill’s Interactions with Jackie Kennedy on the Trunk of the Limousine Appear to be Inconsistent in the Nix Film and the Zapruder Film
There is also significant disagreement between the Nix film and the Zapruder film. In Harry Livingstone’s 2004 book about the Zapruder film, he discusses differences between the images of Clint Hall and Jackie Kennedy on the trunk of the limousine in the Nix film, versus what is shown in the Zapruder film. Livingstone correctly points out that in the Nix Film, Clint Hill appears to place his left arm around Jackie Kennedy’s right shoulder and push her back into her seat—where as in the Zapruder film, he barely touches her with his right hand, and is not seen embracing her with his left arm at all. (See pages 250–251 of Livingstone for the pertinent Nix frames, and the MPI video of the Zapruder film for comparison. A projected version of the portion of the Nix film showing Clint Hill on the trunk of the limousine can been seen in the 1973 film “Executive Action,” and it can be seen in its entirety in the Groden DVD JFK Assassination Films: The Case for Conspiracy.)
Is the “Headsnap” Different in the Zapruder, Nix and Muchmore films?
The ‘headsnap” in the Nix film appears to be slightly slower, and less violent than in the Zapruder film; in the Muchmore film, there appears to be no ‘headsnap’ visible at all, but this may be inconclusive because of the camera angle at the time of the headshot(s) and because the line of sight to the President’s head is obstructed by Dealey Plaza bystanders immediately afterwards. (See episode 3 of “The Men Who Killed Kennedy” for footage oft he headshot(s) in both the Nix and the Muchmore films; both films can also been seen in their entirety in Robert Groden’s DVD JFK Assassination Films: The Case for Conspiracy.) The perceived differences between the headshot(s) in the Zapruder, Nix, and Muchmore films suggests that when debris exiting from the back of President Kennedy’s head was removed from the three films, that it was not done uniformly, resulting in three slightly different versions of the motion of the President’s head caused by the fatal shot(s). This has not been conclusively proven, but is worthy of further investigation. . . .
There is much more, but the Addendum, “The Zapruder Film Goes to Hollywood,” pages 1352 to 1363, is of special interest, where highly qualified experts on film restoration viewed a digital version of the forensic copy of the Zapruder film obtained from the National Archives and found that the massive blow out at the back of the head had been painted over in black, which was a stunning confirmation of the observation of Roderick Ryan, reported in Noel Twyman, BLOODY TREASON (1997), that the bulging out of brains—called the “blob”—and the blood spray visible in frames 314 and thereafter had also been painted in, where Ryan would receive the Academy Award in 2000 for his contributions to cinematography, where his area of specialization was special effects.
As of this date, seven Hollywood film experts—eight, if we include Ryan—have agreed that the fakery used to cover up the blow out to the back of the head by painting it over in black was very primitive and highly amateurish, a finding that they have based upon a 6k version of the forensic copy of the Zapruder film obtained from the National Archives. David Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., has verified these artifacts using the 4×5 slides created by MPI when it produced a digital version of the film—which are archived at The 6th Floor Museum—the inadequacies of which are explained in “Which Film is ‘the Zapruder Film’?,” by me and Scott Lederer, THE GREAT ZAPRUDER FILM HOAX (2003), page 31, which is now available on-line as the first of the (total of) 66-segments of The Duluth Conference on YouTube (under “Zapruder Fakery” or “JFK Zapruder Hoax”). The creation of this visual deception was an elaborate undertaking but contained the elements of its own refutation.
“Chapter 14: The Zapruder Film Mystery” is an astonishing achievement. For Horne to have assimilated and synthesized such a complicated and technical assortment of arguments and evidence impresses me beyond words. This chapter alone is worth the price of the whole. No matter what reservations or differences I may have with any other parts of his work, what he has done on the film is extraordinary. He was my featured guest on “The Real Deal” on Wednesday, 13 January 2010,
(2009); on Wednesday, 24 February 2010, “Post-Mortem Surgery”, “Witnesses were Present”, “Humes and Boswell Lied”, and “How to Sort Things Out”; and then again on Wednesday, 31 March 2010, on
. In addition, I have published a three-part blog about him and his work, which can be found at there: Part I, Part II, and Part III. Those who want to pursue these fascinating and historic developments in JFK assassination research are welcome to pursue these leads.
Jim Fetzer, a former Marine Corps officer, is McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth and maintains an on-line research journal with John P. Costella at http://assassinationresearch.com.
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