Doug Horne, “INSIDE THE ARRB” – Part III

In the previous blog Doug Horne, “INSIDE THE ARRB” – Part II, I publish an excerpt from Chapter 13 (pages 1183-1184), plus provide links to 6 PDF files that provide some essential data tables from Horne’s book, Inside the Assassination Records Review Board (2009). In this blog I am publishing excerpts from Chapters 14 “The Zapruder Film Mystery”, 15 “The Setup – Planning the Texas Trip and the Dallas Motorcade”, and 16 “Inconvenient Truths”. You can visit Doug’s blog site at–the 5 December 2009 journal entry is his Errata Page, which is updated as appropriate.

The Zapruder Film – Doug Horne interviewed on “The Real Deal” with Jim Fetzer (13 January 2010) in four 25-minute segments:

Part I: Rollie Zavada and the strip of celluloid

Part II: David Wrone and the chain of possession

Part III: Josiah Thompson and the other JFK films

Part IV: The function of the film in the cover-up

If you would like to download the four segments, this is the link:

Doug has asked me to add the following note of clarification about the scan studied by the Hollywood film experts:

Each “6K” scan was a scan of a 35 mm dupe negative frame, on which was recorded an image of the 8 mm extant film, with empty space on either side of it. (In other words, the 8 mm film frame, by its very nature, could never fill the image frame of a 35 mm strip of film, even after it was magnified in an optical printer by Monaco film lab, the Archives contractor in San Francisco.)

The Hollywood group scanned the entire 35 mm film frame at 6K, but then cropped the image so that the extra space is not shown–so that only the full frame of the Z film is shown. Each cropped 6K image is 4096 x 3112 pixels (along the horizontal and vertical axes), which means that in its cropped form, it approximates a “4K” scan in terms of the number of pixels actually composing the useful image content.

Each one of these 4096 x 3112 pixel “6K” scans (sometimes called “4K” by the research group because they are cropped) consists of an amazing 12.75 million pixels of information (4096 x 3112=12,746,752 pixels)! And each one of these frames is 72.9 MB in size. (Too big to be transmitted on the internet.)

Excerpt from Chapter 14 (pages 1350-1351)

… night, and the McMahon/Hunter NPIC event, as recalled by both men, occurred a ‘couple of days’ after the assassination and before the funeral, which means that it had to be Sunday night when “Bill Smith” delivered the film to them.] Therefore, I conclude that Wainwright (who after all was not present in Chicago at the events he was writing about) was simply one day off in his description of when LIFE created its photo spread from the Zapruder film. Wainwright may even have believed that all of the Chicago events he described took place on Saturday simply because of Stolley’s certainty that he put the film on a plane for Chicago on Saturday afternoon. The events at NPIC on Saturday night, as recounted exhaustively by Dino Brugioni, and the subsequent events at NPIC on Sunday night, as recalled by Homer McMahon, prove that the film whose frames were reproduced in LIFE was not the 8 mm camera original processed by Brugioni, but rather a black-and-white copy (of poor resolution) made from an altered ‘original’ created at “Hawkeyeworks.” The cause of the poor quality of the images in LIFE’s November 29th issue can finally be explained: they come not from a camera original film, but from a black and white copy several generations removed from the true camera original film—from a 16 mm copy which was itself duplicated from an altered film masquerading as the ‘original’ home movie. No wonder there is a lack of detail, and high contrast buildup, in the black and white images first published in LIFE. They are made from prints, which were themselves rephotographed following the graphic design layout for each page, from what at best could only have been a fourth generation, 16 mm black and white copy of each camera original image frame.

Patterns of Deception

Patterns of fraud and forgery—the destruction or disappearance of original evidence, followed by the substitution of tainted evidence—appear consistently throughout this case. We have seen it in the case of the ‘magic bullet,’ CE 399; in the case of the alleged murder weapon; in the case of the autopsy photos and x-rays; in the case of the President’s brain; in the case of the evolving autopsy report; and now we see it again in the case of the Zapruder film, ‘the’ pre-eminent assassination record. Why should it surprise us that it has happened to the Zapruder film as well? It shouldn’t surprise anyone who is not sticking his head in the sand and ignoring what is wrong with the film. Josiah Thompson reiterated, in 2003 at his lecture given at Cyril Wecht’s assassination conference in Pittsburgh, that while in many murder cases we often do not know why a crime was committed or even who committed the crime, we always know what happened. He reminded his 2003 audience of what he had said 10 years previously in Chicago: that only in the Kennedy assassination are we unsure about what actually happened. I submit to the reader that this astute observation of Thompson’s, made twice, ten years apart, is extremely significant and supports my contention that the biggest problem in coming to grips with the Kennedy assassination is fraud in the evidence.

Evidence of Revision (1 of 5)

The second biggest problem we face right now in the JFK research community are the legions of ‘old guard’ researchers who refuse to face this fact, and who stubbornly cling to some piece of ‘bedrock evidence,’ which in their minds will lead them out of the wilderness if only they study it long enough and can divine its true meaning. For Thompson, Wrone, Weisberg, Groden, and many others, the Zapruder film has been this piece of bedrock evidence for over four decades. I say to the old guard who have continued to insist that the Zapruder film is an authentic and unaltered film in spite of the mounting evidence of its alteration, “Come on over, and see the light.” You will feel better for having done so—in fact, it will liberate you. Once you accept the fact that the Zapruder film is a clever (but imperfect) forgery, you are free to suddenly believe the Dealey Plaza car stop witnesses (which include several Dallas motorcycle policemen and Bill Newman); Marilyn Sitzman; the Kodak laboratory personnel (who all say the original film was slit the evening of the assassination); Marilyn Willis; Erwin Schwartz; Cartha DeLoach; Dan Rather; and the Parkland doctors and nurses. For if you believe the Zapruder film is authentic, you must, of necessity, believe that all of these people are either liars, or incompetent and unreliable witnesses.

And that’s no fun, is it? I reiterate to the old guard: admit you have been wrong for decades, and you will feel better because it will truly liberate you. There is plenty of evidence of crossfire and conspiracy in Dealey Plaza that exists independent of the Zapruder film; acknowledging that the Zapruder film is an altered film, which can only tell us a very limited amount about the assassination, does not mean that you cannot still conclude that there was a conspiracy to murder President Kennedy! Most significantly, for me, the robust evidence that the film has been altered confirms my faith in the reliability of the Parkland medical staff’s observations on the day of the assassination, and leads me irrevocably to the conclusion that the sketch made of JFK’s skull by Dr. Boswell at the autopsy, and the autopsy photos themselves, are clear evidence that the President’s wounds were altered by post mortem surgery to change the geometry of the shooting. Since I believe that there was already undeniable, independent evidence from the Bethesda morgue that JFK’s head wounds were altered by surgery immediately prior to the autopsy, it was not difficult for me to accept that the head wounds I see in the Zapruder film are painted-on artwork created by an aerial imaging process using an optical printer. What ‘liberated’ me to finally believe that the Zapruder film was a forgery were the undeniable breaks in the chain of custody represented by the Dino Brugioni/Homer McMahon events on successive nights at NPIC.

The unassailable implications of those two events, when viewed in tandem, allowed what was a possibility in my mind to become a fact. The Zapruder film is an altered film; its alteration by the U.S. government at a classified government lab, with the assistance of the world’s foremost photographic company, is the strongest indicator we have, along with the evolving autopsy report and the creation of a tainted autopsy photo and x-ray collection, of how powerful and relentless the coverup of this assassination was in 1963. And the government’s direct involvement in heavy-handed manipulation of key physical evidence in this case is the surest indication that President Kennedy’s death was an ‘inside job,’ that he was eliminated by the national security state because he was viewed as a dangerous ‘change agent’ who was ‘rocking the boat’ too much at the height of the Cold War. For those of you who may not yet be convinced that this is the case, I have assiduously prepared for you, in Part III of this book, the final two chapters in our journey, about the Texas trip and Dallas motorcade planning (Chapter 15); and the deep politics of the America of 1963 (Chapter 16), which details the establishment’s fear of a truly independent foreign policy being enacted by a man dedicated to avoiding war—a national security establishment vehemently opposed to peace, and dominated by those with an apocalyptic mindset dedicated to military confrontation and victory over America’s Cold War adversaries—the Soviet Union and its proxy states.

Excerpt from Chapter 15 (pages 1465-1467)

Clearly, as summarized above, President Kennedy’s murder was an ‘inside job,’ a true coup d’etat, aided by individuals within the Secret Service who were responsible for his security, and covered-up by those who controlled how the crime was investigated (the Navy, the Secret Service and the FBI), and how the event was reported to the American people (LBJ, LIFE magazine, and the Warren Commission). This realization leads us to the final, and most important, questions about the Kennedy assassination: Who wanted him removed as Chief Executive, and Why? As the reader will learn in the final chapter of this book, the answer is a two-part one. First, Kennedy’s bold foreign policy had made clear, by early 1963, his intent to end the Cold War, rather than try to ‘win’ it, thus creating great fear and consternation within the domestic power structure at the height of the Cold War, and as a result destroying his political base within the national security establishment in this country. Second, the two individuals who had the most to lose, who were surely going to see their political careers end during Kennedy’s Presidency—Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover—were willingly complicit in helping the national security establishment to remove a disturbing change agent from the White House. Their complicity and active assistance was truly essential if the coup plotters were to get away with their crime, and they came through on their end of the deal. The reward for Hoover was the retention of his enormous power for the remainder of his life, instead of forced retirement in January of 1965. The reward for Lyndon Johnson was achievement of his lifelong ambition to become President; revenge against the despised Kennedy brothers; and the avoidance of political oblivion and a likely prison sentence. In return, LBJ and Hoover promised to maintain the ‘status quo’ afterwards, at least on the national security front. The result, as we all now know, was disaster for this country on the international stage, and a social revolution at home, driven by discontent over the Vietnam War and the moribund values then embodied by the status quo in American society—namely, the blind support of the state’s war making powers demanded by a suffocating jingoism misrepresented as ‘patriotism;’ and the all- consuming pursuit of wealth, represented as the ‘holy grail’ and prime mover in our society at that time by the establishment.

The unholy alliance between an extremely conservative, even reactionary national security establishment which was completely out of touch with, and had lost faith in, its progressive and forward-looking Commander-in-Chief; and the two principal government officials whose concurrence and cooperation were essential to successfully carrying out regime change in the United States—and more—will be explored in depth in the final chapter of this book, titled: “Inconvenient Truths.” Neither Lyndon Baines Johnson nor J. Edgar Hoover was the mastermind of the conspiracy to assassinate JFK, but they were its principal “enablers,” whose cooperation was essential if the plot was to succeed, and its perpetrators were to escape prosecution. And yet, as my final chapter will make clear, the removal of President Kennedy from office was an act of state: a consensus decision made by a national security establishment which strongly disapproved of the increasingly determined efforts by JFK to end the Cold War. President Kennedy’s assassination was the 20th century equivalent of the execution of a heretic by the orthodox members of the Church during the middle ages. Like another famous heretic, Giordano Bruno, President Kennedy was offered chances to “recant” and change his views on foreign policy, but courageously refused; and like Bruno (who was cruelly burned alive at the stake by the Inquisition), JFK was martyred for his beliefs on the streets of Dallas. Like Bruno (who correctly insisted that the earth revolved around the sun, and that the stars in the sky at night were actually other suns, and that the universe was populated by a wide variety of living creatures living on other worlds near those suns), history has proven JFK’s instincts and judgment right about not invading Cuba in October of 1962; about withdrawing from Vietnam; and about ending the Cold War and making the world safe for diversity.

But should we really be surprised that LBJ and Hoover—and the covert action and propaganda professionals from the intelligence community who actually planned and carried out the assassination at the operational level—literally “got away with murder” in 1963? It is appropriate and fitting that we should feel disappointed, repelled, and appalled at the way truth was suppressed, and justice was subverted in this country, in 1963 and 1964—and at the way the mainstream media, and the political and academic establishments, quickly fell into lockstep with the official party line of LIFE magazine, LBJ’s Warren Commission, and Hoover’s FBI and its simplistic investigative reports on the crime (which are written at a fourth or fifth grade level). But we should not be surprised. Englishman John Harrington once wrote:

Excerpt from Chapter 16 (pages 1771-1775)

President Kennedy’s Attitudes Toward War

David Talbot wrote the following about President Kennedy’s attitudes toward war in Brothers (on pages 35-36):

Jack Kennedy was haunted by the specter of cataclysmic war. An avid reader of human history from boyhood on, he was acutely aware of how the Great War had been stumbled into by the great powers, decimating the flower of Europe’s youth and leaving behind scarring images of muddy, blood-soaked trenches and the dead stillness of poisoned air. “All war is stupid,” he had written home from the Pacific in 1943, while fighting the next war, the one that World War I—the war to end all wars—had led to. The death of his older brother, Joe, in a fiery aerial explosion over the English Channel during a suicidal mission, brought home the raw misery of it all. “He was very close to my brother Joe, and it was a devastating loss to him personally, and he saw the enormous impact it had on my father,” Ted Kennedy told me. “He was a very different person when he came back from the war. I think this burned inside of him.”

But it was the Cold War, with its constant threat of instant annihilation, that confirmed the ultimate absurdity of war. Kennedy came to recognize that war in the nuclear age was unthinkable. “I think that the principal reason Kennedy ran for the Presidency was he thought the Eisenhower-Dulles policy of massive retaliation and all of that was heading the country toward nuclear war,” said Theodore Sorensen, contemplating his days with JFK years later in the offices of his Manhattan law firm. “He felt the policy of massive retaliation—in which we supposedly kept the peace by saying if you step one foot over the line in West Berlin or somewhere else, we will respond by annihilating you with nuclear weapons—he felt that was mad. He also felt it was a policy that had no credibility and would [therefore] not prevent Soviet pressures or incursions in one place or another.”

In the 2003 documentary Fog of War, Robert McNamara observed, with some passion:

Any military commander who is honest with himself…will admit that he has made mistakes in the application of military power. He’s killed people, unnecessarily—his own troops or other troops, through mistakes, through errors of judgment—a hundred, or thousands, or tens of thousands, maybe even a hundred thousand, but he hasn’t destroyed nations. And the conventional wisdom is, ‘don’t make the same mistake twice, learn from your mistakes.’ And we all do—maybe we make the same mistake 3 times, but hopefully not 4 or 5. There will be no learning period with nuclear weapons—you make one mistake, and you’re going to destroy nations. [emphasis as spoken]

The Fog of War

It took Robert McNamara seven years as Secretary of Defense, and several years of perspective afterward, to learn this lesson; President Kennedy, thankfully, understood it upon assuming office, and therefore exercised considerable restraint when the Bay of Pigs exile invasion so miserably failed; when the Communist insurgency in Laos gained the ascendancy over the Royalist regime and the U.S. military leadership so foolishly encouraged the use of nuclear weapons; during the Berlin Crisis; throughout the Cuban Missile Crisis; and in Vietnam.

Robert McNamara continued:

Rationality will not save us. Rational individuals came ‘that close’ to total destruction of their societies. The major lesson of the Cuban Missile Crisis is this: The indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons will destroy nations. That danger exists today [in 2003]. It isn’t right and proper that today there are 7,500 strategic offensive nuclear warheads, of which 2,500 are on 15 minute alert to be launched by the decision of one human being. [author’s emphasis]

For these reasons, President Kennedy’s ‘Peace Speech’ at American University in June of 1963, and his nationwide address the following month about the Limited Test Ban Treaty (and the dangers of the nuclear arms race), should properly be considered his primary legacy. I say this even though I am also immensely proud of the successful Apollo Program to land Americans on the moon and return them to the earth, and of JFK’s somewhat belated, yet firm support for Civil Rights, in 1962 and 1963. Kennedy’s accelerated attempts in 1963 to end the Cold War, and his clearly expressed intention to slow down—and halt—the spiraling nuclear arms race, were extremely bold actions, even revolutionary in the context of his times. As his murder proved, these stands were also extraordinarily courageous, given the consensus of the establishment. Senator Gary Hart is correct that JFK’s success as a reformer in the foreign policy arena did indeed prove life-threatening. Although his assassination delayed the end of the Cold War by more than 25 years, and ensured that his desire to slow and halt the arms race would not be pursued in this country until the Soviets achieved true nuclear parity with the United States, his courageous efforts pointed the way for actions a generation later.

In a dictabelt tape recorded by President Kennedy as source material for a future autobiography, he said:

“Politics has become one of our most abused and neglected professions, yet it is this profession, it is these politicians, who make the great decisions of war and peace, prosperity and recession, the decision whether we look to the future or the past.”

It is fitting to end this work with two Robert McNamara quotes. The first one, from Fog of War, is well worth remembering, for it markedly separates JFK from many of his successors:

“President Kennedy believed a primary responsibility of a President—indeed, the primary responsibility of a President—is to keep the nation out of war, if at all possible.”

At the conclusion of the 2003 documentary JFK: A Presidency Revealed, McNamara also said:

“He was not a perfect human being. Who among us is? He made mistakes in his private life and his public life. But—had he lived—the world would be a different world today, and it would be a very, very much better world.”

In the April 4, 1967 edition of Look magazine, William Manchester quoted a speech of JFK’s (in which JFK was himself quoting President Theodore Roosevelt):

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of a high achievement, and…if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Because JFK did not live to serve a second term, he was unable to implement the American withdrawal from Vietnam that he had ordered in NSAM 263. Likewise, his grand strategy for ending the Cold War, as announced in the ‘Peace Speech’ at American University in June of 1963, and for de-escalating the nuclear arms race, were stillborn—extinguished when his life was snuffed out on Elm Street in Dallas. However, given the American fiasco in Iraq following our invasion of that country in 2003, JFK’s wisdom in not invading and occupying Cuba in 1961 or 1962 (in the immediate wake of the Bay of Pigs disaster) has again been vindicated. Kennedy, like George W. Bush in Iraq, wanted to implement regime change in Cuba, but thankfully, he intuitively followed the advice Sherman Kent gave to CIA Director McCone in April of 1962, and decided not to invade and occupy that Caribbean nation. History has proven John F. Kennedy correct in his twin judgments not to invade and occupy Cuba with U.S. conventional forces; and to unilaterally withdraw from Vietnam after his reelection in 1964. His wisdom in not invading Cuba during the spring and summer of 1962 avoided the reputation of ‘international bully’ that such action would have earned for the United States in its own hemisphere, and prevented an unwholesome, no-win U.S. occupation of Cuba, and the guerilla war predicted by Sherman Kent that would inevitably have followed. Furthermore, as subsequent events in South Vietnam under LBJ and Nixon demonstrated, his plan to withdraw from that unwinnable quagmire before the United States got stuck in the quicksand was the right call, and would have avoided the loss of countless lives.

Peter Dale Scott on Kennedy and Vietnam, part 1 of 6

However, it was President Kennedy’s coolness under severe domestic fire during the Cuban Missile Crisis—his resistance to repeated calls to bomb and invade Cuba—that are his true legacy, and represent his finest hour. Most Presidents, and certainly either of his two successors (both Richard Nixon and Lyndon Baines Johnson), would have caved to the pressures of the moment and would have launched massive air strikes against the Soviet missile sites, followed by the large U.S. invasion so favored by the Pentagon in 1962 and 1963. We now know what we did not know in October of 1962: that the USSR had placed about 100 tactical, or ‘battlefield’ nuclear weapons on the island for the specific purpose of opposing a U.S. invasion, and that some of these weapons would surely have been used against invading U.S. forces, resulting in inevitable nuclear retaliation by the United States. The end result would have been World War III, a nuclear holocaust that would have destroyed Cuba, Europe, and the Soviet Union at a minimum; and would shortly thereafter have created a planetwide ecological disaster, from the ravages of nuclear fallout. In short order, Nuclear Winter, and a new dark age (unanticipated in 1963) would have descended upon our small and fragile planet. Had these events occurred, the words “The United States of America” would now be spoken with hatred and contempt by the miserable survivors in a ravaged, starving world full of cancers and mutations caused by nuclear fallout. Just possibly, the worldwide failure of agriculture (during the Nuclear Winter that would have followed World War III) might have meant the end of industrial civilization on earth. Paraphrasing what Chairman Khruschev once told the Chinese Communists, the survivors would have envied the dead.

Because of President Kennedy’s core beliefs—his humanism, and his innate skepticism about the wisdom of seeking simplistic military solutions to complex problems (born out of his World War II combat experiences, and the bad advice he received about Laos and Cuba in 1961)—his cool detachment prevailed over the passions of the moment, and a worldwide catastrophe was averted in October of 1962. The heroic status afforded him by the common people in America and in other nations of the world is richly deserved—to the chagrin of the intelligentsia in the United States, who are in denial of his greatness. In October of 1962 President John F. Kennedy was indeed a Profile in Courage. Having survived the crucible—and sensing how close Western Civilization had come to disaster—he felt liberated, and proceeded to enact a bold agenda during the final year of his life in the areas of arms control, detente, and Civil Rights. The Civil Rights Bill he introduced in 1963 was passed the year after his death, and the nuclear Test Ban Treaty he engineered in 1963 is still in effect at the time of this book’s publication, more than 46 years after it was signed. His Apollo moon landing program provided us with the first beautiful images of the earth showing it to be a small, fragile body—a true “oasis” (in the words of Apollo 8 astronaut Jim Lovell), floating in the vastness of space; the still photographs and television images of the earth floating in the cosmic void, captured from 1968-1972, provided all of humanity with a true planetary perspective for the very first time, and gave birth to the environmental movement. These priceless images, and the message subliminally conveyed, were confirmation of the themes of JFK’s commencement address at American University in June of 1963.

Had JFK lived to serve one more term, it would indeed have been a much better world: the Cold War might have been ending as he left office in 1968; and fifty eight thousand American lives, and at least one million Vietnamese lives, would have been spared. Yet in his short time in office, JFK managed to avert nuclear catastrophe at the ‘hour of maximum danger’ when many believed that World War III was inevitable, and provided untold millions in many different countries hope for a better future with his positive vision of human progress. That is legacy enough for any man.

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One thought on “Doug Horne, “INSIDE THE ARRB” – Part III”

  1. Take the case of Groden, for example. He burst onto the scene and became famous on the Geraldo show in 1975 showing the Z film. Trouble is, it is a phony film he showed the American public. In his own psych, he just can't admit this: because if he does, it means he was a dupe unwittingly carrying out the dirty work of the devious conspirators by showing a phony depiction of events. Groden abhors these conspirators, and he can't admit, even to himself, that he was used.

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