Tidbits From the ARRB Depositions

     Recently the Assassination Records Review Board released transcripts of depositions they took from personnel who were involved in the autopsy of President Kennedy at Bethesda Naval Hospital. After reading them for a few hours, I found some interesting information in these depositions, some never revealed before. I will provide a brief description of each topic and let you read the original pages of the deposition for yourself.
     Allow me to abuse an author's privilege for a moment. There were a few things in the accompanying cover letter and list of contents of the master set of exihibits which struck a nerve. And you might find the information interesting and useful. In the cover letter the ARRB said:
ARRB states that it has found all autopsy materials suggest by researchers
Yet, after reading all the material and the list of exhibits, I could find no indication that they had located a couple of items which I suggested that they track down. I had sent the ARRB an e-mail suggesting that a tape recording of the autopsy was made. I can find no indication that the ARRB actually looked for and tracked down any recording of the autopsy. We do not yet know if Humes was pressed about this matter. Until I see that the ARRB was able to resolve this matter, I believe that a recording was made during or after the autopsy by Commander Humes and that he deliberately destroyed the evidence after learning about the throat wound. Here is my first letter and my follow-up letter, which mentions the recording:
Subject: June 4, 1998 meeting
Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 10:10:33 -0400
From: AnthonyMarsh <amarsh@quik.com>
To: Eileen Sullivan <Eileen_Sullivan@jfk-arrb.gov>
I just received a notice from the ARRB about the June 4, 1998 meeting.
I am worried that this meeting may be the last opportunity to raise issues
about citizen suggestions of which JFK assassination materials the ARRB
should locate and acquire. Several researchers were hoping to compile a
list of suggestions and present it as a united effort. But I fear that
events and time will delay that effort past an unknown cutoff date. So, I
am submitting my own list in hopes that these items may be considered at
the June 4, 1998 meeting.
1. The Dallas Police Department tape of the motorcade on channel 1 which
was recorded on November 22, 1963, especially that portion which covered
the time frame of the shooting in Dealey Plaza. I have filed many FOIA
requests for that tape and all of the agencies have refused to release the
tape. A couple of years ago, I visited the National Archives and searched
through the HSCA collection of tapes and found that the DPD tape was missing.
When I asked about it, I was told that it was locked up in a safe and would
not be released to me. Independent researchers deserve the chance to
analyze the tape for themselves, especially since the US Department of
Justice declined to do so when the HSCA suggested that further analysis be
2. All research materials and work product from the acoustical firm of
Bolt, Beranek and Newman, and scientists Weiss and Aschkenasy from Queens
College, New York. The quality of the reproductions of these materials in the
HSCA volumes is so poor that serious research can not be accomplished using
them. And some exhibits could not be included in the volumes, such as the
strip charts of acoustical data and raw computer files. But now the
National Archives does have the ability to reproduce such materials.
Likewise, all research materials and work product from the National Academy of Sciences'
Committee on Ballistic Acoustics, including private studies done by its panel
members, such as raw computer files from Richard Garwin at the Tom Watson Research
Center at IBM. Although Garwin's paper had stated that he would make available
a copy of his raw computer files, he has refused to make them available to me
because I believe there was a conspiracy.
3. President Kennedy's brain. This is pure speculation on my part, but if
I don't tell you then you can claim that you had never considered the idea.
I do not believe that President Kennedy's brain was reburied with his body,
but there may be some non-invasive way to examine the grave site to determine
if it was at all possible, without the need to seek an exhumation order.
Several years ago, scientists were able to examine historic graves without
disturbing them at a historic church at St. Mary's City. The same technique
or a similar technique might be used to find out if there are any additional
objects in the grave. I would also suggest that a representative contact
the Boston Archdiocese and request that it search its holding. Living in the
Boston area for so many years, I have seen how closely affiliated the Kennedy
family was with the Catholic church. Now, I don't know enough about Catholic
doctrine to know if the Kennedy family would destroy the brain, but
perhaps they would have felt that destroying it would have been against their
religious beliefs and they would have sought the counsel of their friend
Cardinal Cushing. Most large Dioceses have very secure vaults where the most
Holy Relics are kept. Cardinal Cushing could have placed the container in one
of those vaults. And presumably placing it in such a vault would keep the
material safe from any government jurisdiction.
4. Do you want researchers and authors to submit copies of their books,
articles, and research materials for the benefit of future researchers?
Or would this be so unwieldy and open up such a can of worms that you
would rather not send out a request? Researchers already voluntarily
give materials and books to the Kennedy Library and the National Archives, but
should those be considered JFK records?
If there is a cutoff date for suggestions, please send out an advisory.
Anthony Marsh
10 Webster Ave. Apt. 1-2
Somerville, MA 02143
Subject: Re: June 4, 1998 meeting
Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 17:19:05 -0400
From: AnthonyMarsh <amarsh@quik.com>
To: Eileen Sullivan <Eileen_Sullivan@jfk-arrb.gov>

Eileen Sullivan wrote:
> Dear Mr. Marsh:
> Thank you for your note and for your suggestions. I have forwarded it to
> the appropriate staff members.
> The meeting on June 4, 1998, is an open meeting.  It is not a hearing, and
> there will be no testimony from witnesses.  The Board will simply be
> conducting business in public, and the Board members will be discussing
> possible recommendations for the final report that have arisen out of the
> Review Board's experiences in releasing records.
> The Board is soliciting written comments and recommendations from the
> public about this issue, and all written submissions should be sent to the
> Review Board offices by July 1, 1998.
> With regard to suggestions from the public about specific materials that it
> believes the Board should locate and acquire, there is no cut-off date,
> however, keep in mind that the ARRB's mandate expires on September 30,
> 1998.
> I hope this clears up any misunderstandings about testimony from witnesses
> and deadlines.
> Sincerely,
> Eileen Sullivan

Thank you, Eileen, for the quick and helpful reply. I have thought of
one more thing
which the ARRB should at least consider looking for, but it is quite
speculative and
I am not even sure how they would look for it.

5. There may be a tape recording of the autopsy at Bethesda Hospital. In
most autopsies
the coroner or autopsy doctor makes a cassette tape recording of the
whole procedure.
If someone can prove that thousands of such tape recordings were made of
autopsy prior
November 22, 1963 at Bethesda, that makes it highly likely that such a
recording was
made of President Kennedy's autopsy. If so, it may still exist in the
records at
Bethesda or at a Naval facility, or possibly it is in Dr. Humes'
possession. Reportedly,
Dr. Humes was questioned by press and researchers after his HSCA
testimony and he
remarked that the HSCA had their chance and blew it. Perhaps he was
referring to the
fact that the HSCA had a chance to ask him on the record if he had made
a tape recording
of the autopsy and they simply overlooked that possibility. So, I do not
want the ARRB
to simply overlook that possibility.

Anthony Marsh
10 Webster Ave. Apt. 1-2
Somerville, MA 02143

     There are some interesting items in the list of almost 300 exhibits. One which caught my eye was MD 74 (M), which is unavailable for public release until September 30th. A few years ago I was attending a COPA conference at which various authors were debating the interpretation of the skull X-rays. I helped arrange a private meeting between Dr. David Mantik and Dr. Randy Robertson. I suggested to both of them that one thing which would help clarify their positions would be for them each to obtain a life-sized plastic model of a human skull and mark on them (independently, of course) what they think is the extent of the skull wound. Dr. Mantik belittled my suggestion and stated that serious investigations do not operate that way. Well, guess what MD 74 (M) is?

MD 74(M) is a life-sized model of a human skull on which Boswell illustrated the head wound
So, what did the ARRB do in its investigation? It had Dr. Boswell mark the location of the head wound on a life-sized plastic model of a human skull. I can't wait to see what the skull looks like. Now the only problem will be trying to figure how to put that skull illustration onto a web site. Another drawing of the skull wound which we have never seen before was made by a witness that no one had ever located before. The ARRB found a photo lab technician named Saundra Spencer who remembered developing what may be a second set of pictures taken of the dead President. Her recollection of the head wound is quite different from previous versions. Her drawing is MD 148.

MD 148 shows photo lab technician Saundra Spencer's version of the head wound

     Now, to the depositions themselves. I will not try to discuss them in order of importance. What may seem important to me may be trivial to you. I will go through them page by page where I found something that I thought was interesting. The first deposition in the packet is from FBI Special Agent James W. Sibert. One of Special Agent Sibert's pet peeves is the incompetence of the Warren Commission staff. In particular he claims that Arlen Specter deliberately lied about what Sibert had said and falsified the record.
Sibert page 136

     I didn't find anything interesting Riebe's deposition. David Lifton has covered his story very well.
Edward F. Reed was the radiologist who actually took the X-rays and had a very close-up view of the body. Again, Lifton has covered this area well, so I found only one curious thing. Along with each deposition is a word index which lists every word transcribed and cites all page and line references to each word. Just looking at that index I could find no mention of the word "Waters." It has been stated that one of the A-P X-rays was taken in the modified Waters position, yet neither the ARRB nor Reed brought up that subject. Some careless researchers have stated that the word "Waters" was actually written on the film. Yet when Reed was asked to describe what marker indications there were on each film, he only mentioned the well-known standard markings.
Reed page 82

     Likewise, Jerrol Custer has been well covered by Lifton. But Pierre Finck is the odd-man hypothesis. Here is a condensed version of the third autopsist's memory:

Q. Is your name Pierre Finck?
A. I don't remember.
Q. On November 22, 1963 did you perform an autopsy on President Kennedy?
A. I don't remember.
Q. Where do you live?
A. I don't remember.
Thank goodness the ARRB had all the original autopsy materials available to occassionally refresh Dr. Finck's memory. It seems that Dr. Finck did indeed take notes during the autopsy, but Dr. Humes collected them at the end of the autopsy and then took them home to burn them in his fireplace.
Finck page 16

     Dr. Finck confirmed that it was Captain Stover who had ordered the autopsy doctors not to talk to anyone about the autopsy.
Finck page 31

     Dr. Finck thought that Dr. Humes had X-rayed the brain, or maybe he did himself, but he can't remember. Reminds me of the 3 Stooges, "Hey Moe, I thought YOU X-rayed the brain.
Finck page 85

     Dr. Finck arrived at the auropsy room after the brain had been removed.
Finck page 120

     Francis X. O'Neill, Jr. was the other FBI agent with Sibert who observed the autopsy, took notes, and submitted a joint report. His recollections may be the cornerstone which proves that the autopsy itself was a cover-up. He stated that at the end of the autopsy, the conclusion that Commander Humes had reached was that one bullet struck the President in the back, only penetrated a couple of inches and worked its way out during cardiac massage. This was not just a passing theory or supposition by Humes. It was the only possible solution. Why, because none of the autopsy doctors knew that night before the autopsy was over that there had been a throat wound. There was no other point of exit for the back wound and no bullet was found in the body.
O'Neill page 31

     O'Neill suggests the likelihood that Dr. Humes was either recording the autopsy or narrating for the benefit of an assistant taking notes. His manner of speaking was the same as most autopsy doctors use when they are tape recording their observations.
O'Neill page 141

     Is this a cover-up or what? O'Neill intentionally destroyed his notes so that no one would be able to subpoena them. And he claims that this is standard FBI procedure.
O'Neill page 145

     O'Neill agrees with Sibert's opinion that Arlen Specter intentionally misquoted him and falsified the record.
O'Neill page 199

     Saundra Kay Spencer was a lab technician at the Naval Photographic Center on the night of November 22, 1963. Someone brought in 4 x5 holders of film for her to develop and warned her not to examine them. She examined the original autopsy photos at the National Archives and found that they were printed on a different type of Kodak paper than the prints she made for the unnamed agent. And the appearance of the President's body was markedly different from the autopsy photos.
Spencer page 49

     Saundra Spencer feels that the photos she developed that night were taken after the autopsy. This may corroborate that Knudsen did indeed take photos of the President in the autopsy room, but it suggests that the photos he took were not autopsy photos as defined under the JFK Records Act and thus must be turned in as JFK records. My guess is that Knudsen was asked to take these photos by Admiral Burkley for the benefit of the Kennedy family, and they were probably given to Robert Kennedy or one of his aides.
Spencer page 58

     John Stringer was one who actually took the official autopsy photos. He was ordered to not talk to anyone about the autopsy by Captain Stover, who seems to be the mastermind of this cover-up. Yet, interestingly, as I have been saying for many years, the masters of the cover-up would make an exception only for a pro-Warren Commission author, in this case John Lattimer. That is how a cover-up operates.
Stringer page 7

     Even Captain Stover, master of the cover-up was under orders from a higher authority. Stringer says that he was ordered to obey whatever orders were given to him by someone in plain clothes who might have been a CIA agent. This is the first time that we have heard that the CIA might have been in charge of the autopsy.
Stringer page 68

     Stringer did not want to sign the memorandum from Captain Stover to Secret Service agent Roy Kellerman verifying how many photos hade been taken. Stringer disagreed with Stover's flat statement that there were only 16 photos taken. But Stringer had no choice. Stover ordered him to sign the memorandum, changing the number of film holders from 11 to 8. That is direct evidence of the power to control the evidence. In a flash, 6 photos were made to never have existed, much like the way IngSoc could erase history in "Nineteen Eight-Four." This is direct evidence of the cover-up and an example of falsifying the record and suborning perjury.
Striner page 136

     Missing from this batch are the most important suspects, Humes and Boswell. I hope that someone will be able to upload examples from their depositions. And someone will have to visit the National Archives on September 30th and figure out a way to photograph MD 74(M) so that everyone can see it.
     One of the most exciting developments for someone like me who believes in the potential of technology is the announcement that Kodak digitized the autopsy photos and developed the autopsy photos which were previously thought to have been exposed blank. It is exciting that we may, in our lifetimes, finally be able see all the real evidence.
Kodak has digitized the autopsy photos

We should all thank Kodak for their generous efforts.
To me, this is a fine example of patriotism and democracy in action.