by Doug Horne
I just read Mr. Bugliosi’s rather severe criticism of my work on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board, where I served initially as a Senior Analyst on the Military Records team, and was eventually promoted to the position of Chief Analyst for Military Records. Specifically, he took issue with my conclusion in a 1998 research memo that 2 different brains were examined following President Kennedy’s death:
-President Kennedy’s brain, on Monday, November 25, 1963; and
-A second (fraudulent) brain---not that of President Kennedy---during the period between November 29-December 2, 1963.
Based upon testimony and interviews conducted by the Warren Commission staff, the HSCA staff, and the ARRB staff, I concluded that President Kennedy’s severely damaged brain, which provided unassailable evidence of President Kennedy being shot from the front, was examined by Navy pathologists Humes and Boswell less than 3 days after the conclusion of the autopsy on the body, and was photographed by Navy civilian photographer John Stringer on that day, November 25, 1963.
I concluded that Stringer’s photographs of JFK’s brain, which would have provided proof that JFK was shot from the front and that a bullet exited the back of his skull, were suppressed by the Federal government and are not the brain photographs found in the autopsy collection in the National Archives today.
I also concluded that a second brain---not President Kennedy’s---was examined by Humes and Boswell between November 29 and December 2, 1963, that Army pathologist Pierre Finck (the “outside man” involved in the autopsy, in more ways than one) was invited to this second examination, and that an unknown Navy photographer (not John Stringer) photographed the specimen being examined. It is the photographs of this fraudulent specimen, I concluded, which showed a completely different pattern of damage than JFK’s brain (namely, rear to front), that are in the autopsy collection in the National Archives today. It is my firm belief that Dr. Finck, who arrived late at the autopsy on the body Friday night after the brain had been removed, and who was excluded from the review of the first draft of the autopsy report on Saturday, November 23, was used as a “dupe” for purposes of “authenticating” the photographs of the second brain specimen introduced into the official record, in the event that was ever required.
In summary, my findings that Dr. Humes and Dr. Boswell participated in an officially sanctioned coverup of the medical evidence are based upon several foundations:
-Navy photographer John Stringer, under oath before the ARRB, disowned the brain photographs in the Archives, because (1) they were taken on a type of film he did not use; (2) they depict “inferior”” views of the underside of the brain which he was certain he did not shoot; and (3) the photographs of several individual sections of brain tissue that he did photograph were not present.
-Retired FBI Agent Frank O’Neill, who was present at the autopsy on the body on November 22, testified to the ARRB that the brain photos in the National Archives could not possibly be of President Kennedy’s brain, because there was too much tissue present; O’Neill testified that more than half of President Kennedy’s brain was missing when he saw it at the autopsy following its removal from the cranium, and his objections to the brain photographs in the Archives were that they depict what he called “almost a complete brain.” Furthermore, both O’Neill and Gawler’s Funeral Home mortician Tom Robinson told the ARRB staff that a large portion of the rear of President Kennedy’s brain was missing, and each man unequivocally demonstrated the location of the missing brain tissue in my presence by dramatically placing his right hand on the back of the right side of his own head, behind the right ear. In contrast, in the brain depicted in the Archives photographs, the right cerebellum is completely intact, and the occipital lobe of the right cerebrum is largely intact.
This concludes a brief---and accurate---summary of the research memo that Mr. Bugliosi takes such objection to.
Now, I will address Mr. Bugliosi’s criticisms.
He called my research memo of June 1998 “obscenely irresponsible,” and yet admits that he did not even try to contact me to discuss his objections to it. I will let the reader decide who was “obscenely irresponsible.”
The tone of Mr. Bugliosi’s attack on my work is unbalanced---it is pejorative and sarcastic, in the extreme. In attempting (unsuccessfully) to rebut my work, he used a combination of ridicule, distortion, omission, and circular reasoning. There is nothing scholarly about his attack on my work, in contrast to the tone of my research memo, which attempted to interpret all of the relevant evidence in a balanced fashion.
When one strips away the ridicule and ad hominem attacks, Bugliosi is essentially saying that because he knows that there was only one brain exam following JFK’s autopsy, that any time I find evidence that indicates otherwise, that I am wrong and engaging in fantasy.
Anyone who reads this section of Bugliosi’s book (pages 434-447), and nothing else, will be unaware that virtually all of the objections he raises to the logic of my hypothesis are already addressed in my research memo of 1998.
Bugliosi attempts to smear me with the use of the word “insane” three different times, as well as with the use of the words “crazy” and “aberration.” This is nothing more than a cheap prosecutor’s trick, employed in court every day by prosecuting attorneys presenting a one-sided version of the evidence in an adversarial proceeding, in an attempt to impugn any evidence that contradicts their own argument. Anyone who reads the relevant pages in his book will recognize Bugliosi’s sophistry for what it is: a desperate attempt to discredit the opposition’s evidence.
I learned long ago that when an opponent cannot successfully counter his opposition’s arguments with logic, he will often employ ridicule and personal attacks. In doing so, Bugliosi has engaged in “the last refuge of a scoundrel,” has revealed the depth of his desperation, and has done nothing to advance the scholarly debate of the JFK assassination in this country.
I can only conclude that Mr. Bugliosi must have felt that his personal belief system (supporting the Warren Commission’s basic conclusions) was severely imperiled by my work, for him to use such scurrilous tactics to try to discredit my hypothesis.
I therefore implore and encourage anyone who is intrigued by the subject of the post-autopsy examination and photography of President Kennedy’s brain to first read my 32-page research memo (it is not 15 pages long, as Bugliosi claims) entitled “Questions Regarding Supplementary Brain Examination(s) Following the Autopsy on President John F. Kennedy,” dated June 2, 1998, before you reach your own independent conclusion about what happened in 1963. Mr. Bugliosi’s invective cannot be properly evaluated without reading, for yourself, that with which it takes issue. My research memo can be obtained at minimal cost from the JFK Records Collection at Archives II in College Park, Maryland.