JFK ASSASSINATION ARGUMENTS
(PART 1084)


SANDY LARSEN SAID:

Not all damaging WC [Warren Commission] testimony was changed! What gives?

Here is Mark Lane exposing the changed testimony of witnesses who said the shots came from the grassy knoll.

And yet the WC allowed others to give the same damaging testimony. For example, Bill Shelley and Billy Lovelady.

Many believe that these guys lied for the WC. So why didn't they also lie about the origin of the shots?

Thoughts?


PAT SPEER SAID:

From my research, I've come to believe that very little testimony was actually changed. There is a tremendous amount of testimony that runs counter to the WC's conclusions. This testimony was not cited in the WR [Warren Report], and was not published in the NY Times' best-selling summary of the witness testimony entitled The Witnesses. It was, however, included in the 26 volumes published months after the publication of the Warren Report, which was published against the wishes of Warren, Dulles, and McCloy, and was only published when the other four members--all elected officials--realized they would risk not being re-elected if they refused to make the testimony from which the public had been barred available for study.

To be clear, then, the WC didn't make much of an attempt to bury the contradictory evidence forever. They just wanted to put out their report without the contradictory evidence being publicly available, both so that Johnson could face re-election in relative peace, and that they could have a two-month head start in winning over the media. This two-month head start lasted about three years, after which the media--spurred on by Lane, Weisberg, Epstein--began clamoring for a new investigation.


SANDY LARSEN SAID:

Thanks for offering your observations, Pat. You reminded me what I already knew, that there is great deal of testimony in the 26 volumes that contradicts the report.

Clearly some of the published testimony was changed. Apparently those doing the changing didn't do so systematically... just when they saw a clear need for it. I'm not sure, however, why they changed some testimony that didn't make it to the report.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

Whose testimony was changed? Can you cite it please?


PAT SPEER SAID:

I discuss the changing of the testimony in chapter 20, David, and cite a few examples.

From chapter 20 at patspeer.com:

"There's no getting around the nightmarish ramifications of the HSCA's questions and answers having been scripted and re-written, with certain substantive statements excised from the record. This means the supposed "historical record" of the hearings most commonly used by historians--the transcripts--are not reliable records of what actually transpired. Still, this problem is partially offset by the fact there are video and audio tapes of much of the testimony, which may one day be widely available. But what about the Warren Commission? Their hearings were not only conducted in secret, they were not recorded in any way, outside the transcripts. Could their transcripts have been changed as well?

Unfortunately, yes. We know, beyond any doubt, that at least some of the transcripts have been doctored. An apparently unedited transcript of Jacqueline Kennedy's testimony, we should recall, revealed that she originally reported that Governor Connally screamed "like a stuck pig" when shot. This reference was deleted from the published transcript. An 8-28-64 memorandum from Commission Counsel Wesley Liebeler, in which he cites an early version of the commission's report, moreover, quotes the testimony of the FBI's fiber expert Paul Stombaugh as follows: "In my mind I feel that these fibers came from this shirt, but I know of no scientific method to prove this, so therefore I am unable to say this." This differs greatly from the same paragraph in the commission's published volumes, where his words were changed to "There is no doubt in my mind that these fibers could have come from the [sic; this] shirt. There is no way, however, to eliminate the possibility of the fibers having come from another identical shirt." As the former line appears nowhere in the published transcript, and reads much more like human speech, it seems apparent that this line was re-written and that the new line was added into both the transcript and the report in the final days of the Commission's existence, when their sole focus was on the issuance of the report.

When one delves even deeper into the commission's files, this mystery grows even more mysterious. In the commission's Key Persons file on Stombaugh, now available on the National Archives website, there is an 8-4-64 memo from J. Edgar Hoover outlining a number of changes that should be made to Stombaugh's testimony. Hoover notes that these changes are to be made "In accordance with the oral request of Mr. Howard Willens." Now, this is troubling enough. The Warren Commission's staff, while preparing their final report, sent the testimony of the FBI's experts back to the FBI and requested that confusing or otherwise undesirable sections be corrected by the FBI, as opposed to the men who'd actually testified. But there's something even more troubling. The change in Stombaugh's testimony proved by Liebeler's 8-28-64 memo was not among these changes. This, then, suggests that Stombaugh's testimony was sent back yet again, after 8-28-64, and changed yet again, but that no memo was created to reflect these subsequent changes.

This should force us to question what else was changed, when, why, and by whom. It should also make us wonder what guarantees were used to make sure that changes like this one, presumably undertaken to remove the implication of Stombaugh's words--that if there was a scientific method to prove the fibers on the gun came from Oswald's shirt he would have gladly said it had been proven--were the exception, and not the rule, and that greater, more substantive changes were not made as well.

This is a real concern. In 1992, a presumably unaltered transcript of the 4-30-64 testimony of FBI paper expert James Cadigan was released by the National Archives. As reported by Jim Marrs, this transcript revealed that, when asked if he knew why an identification card of Oswald's was damaged by silver nitrate, a chemical used to unveil hidden fingerprints, Cadigan responded "I could only speculate...It may be that there was a very large volume of evidence being examined at the time. Time was of the essence, and this material, I believe, was returned to the Dallas Police within two or three days, and it was merely in my opinion a question of time. We have a very large volume of evidence. There was insufficient time to desilver it. And I think in many instances where latent prints are developed they do not desilver it." Well, one can see how the FBI might find this embarrassing. But this was sworn testimony, supposedly taken to create a permanent record of the murder of a president and its aftermath. How can changing Cadigan's rambling answer to "No, this is a latent fingerprint issue", as was done, possibly be justified?

Particularly when, as Marrs reports, the cover sheet to the transcript reveals "Stenotype Tape, Master Sheets, Carbon and Waste turned over to Commission for destruction"? I mean, how is this even legal? If anonymous FBI officials and political appointees have the right to change the words of people representing the Bureau in sworn testimony, and to destroy the record of what's been changed, who is responsible if the changes amount to perjury? Someone in the Bureau who never appeared in court? Or the man with the lies shoved in his mouth? I mean, don't the accused have the right to face their accuser, and not have their accuser hide in an office and sneak words into the transcripts of others?

That the cornerstone of the judicial process--the taking of sworn testimony under penalty of perjury--was undermined by the very body tasked with protecting the integrity of the judicial process--the FBI--and done so as a matter of routine--should not be readily dismissed.

Perhaps, then, with time, a scholar will undertake the journey of reading through all the available transcripts, and all the versions of the report, and note the changes, and note all the quotes that were changed in the process. Such an undertaking would be of enormous interest to historians, and possibly win the undertaker a prize or two.

Anyone interested?"



DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

Thanks, Pat.

I find it interesting, however, to note that the "change" in Paul Stombaugh's Warren Commission testimony only SOFTENS the testimony and makes Stombaugh look a little LESS certain in his opinion that the fibers came from Oswald's shirt.

If the Warren Commission had been on a dastardly mission to paint Lee Oswald as the lone gunman at all costs, there's no way on this Earth that we would have had this comment....

"In my mind I feel that these fibers came from this shirt..."

....changed to this....

"There is no doubt in my mind that these fibers could have come from this shirt..."

If there was, in fact, any "change" made to Paul Stombaugh's above testimony, the final result of what we now see on Page 88 of Warren Commission Volume #4 are altered words that nobody would have wanted to alter if their desire was to make people think that the fibers found on the butt plate of Mannlicher-Carcano Rifle #C2766 had come from the shirt worn by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963.

Some cover-up there.

~Yawn~


PAT SPEER SAID:

Your point would seem valid, provided that the quotes were as you claimed. But you cut the first one to change the context. Here again is what Stombaugh said:

"In my mind I feel that these fibers came from this shirt, but I know of no scientific method to prove this, so therefore I am unable to say this."

And here is what it was changed to:

"There is no doubt in my mind that these fibers could have come from the [sic; this] shirt. There is no way, however, to eliminate the possibility of the fibers having come from another identical shirt."

The key, IMO, is that he'd admitted to bias in his testimony, and that he was willing to go as far as he possibly could go. This is not how the FBI wants to be seen. It wants to be seen as being entirely impartial. In the 90s, of course, the roof caved in and it came out that many FBI experts were routinely testifying way beyond where the science would lead them.

The key issue for me, moreover, is that this change was made by "someone," and that there is no record of who this "someone" was. I'm fairly certain that's not legal. But I know full well it's not ethical.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

But my point is still entirely valid.

I.E.,

If the Warren Commission was truly the corrupt and evil Oswald-framing entity that many (most) Internet conspiracy advocates think it was, then Stombaugh's original remark --- "In my mind I feel that these fibers came from this shirt" --- would most certainly have been left intact in WC Volume #4.

Such a change in the wording of expert testimony to a conclusion that makes it LESS likely that Oswald was the guilty party, albeit marginally so, only tends to indicate that the Warren Commission was most certainly not railroading Oswald at all costs--even when, in this instance, they could have made it look as if Oswald was just a tad bit more guilty by merely leaving Stombaugh's original testimony alone.

Is that the way Earl Warren's Commission would have behaved if they were on a dedicated mission to convince the American public of Lee Oswald's guilt?


SANDY LARSEN SAID THIS.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

So, Sandy, you think these two comments (which I did not mention in Post #6, because they weren't necessary to make the point I was making about the Warren Commission) are miles apart in meaning? ....

"...but I know of no scientific method to prove this, so therefore I am unable to say this."

Vs.:

"...There is no way, however, to eliminate the possibility of the fibers having come from another identical shirt."

The two remarks above are virtually identical in meaning. In each statement, Stombaugh is saying he cannot say for certain that the butt-plate fibers positively came from Oswald's shirt.

So, once more, we have CTers making enormous mountains out of things that aren't really even bumps in the road.


SANDY LARSEN SAID:

I did a little experiment. I read the Before sentence as Pat Speer wrote it, and wrote down in my own words the meaning it conveyed to me. Then I did the same with Pat Speer's After sentences. Afterward I did the same with DVP's versions of the Before and After sentences.

Here is what I got:

PAT SPEER'S VERSION....

Before:

There is no way of knowing if these fibers came from this shirt.

After:
These fibers could have come from this shirt.


DVP'S VERSION....

Before:

I believe these fibers came from this shirt.

After:
I'm certain these fibers could have come from this shirt.


The change in Pat Speer's version seems to increase the likelihood of the fibers coming from the shirt.

The change in DVP's version seems to make little difference.

Anyway, the mere fact that changes were made in testimony should be alarming. Not only was it wrong, but surely it was done for a reason. Clearly changes were made to suit the Warren Commission's aims, not to thwart them.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

Then you should be wondering how testimony like this ended up in the 26 volumes....


S.M. HOLLAND -- I counted four shots. .... There were definitely four reports.

Mr. STERN -- You have no doubt about that?

Mr. HOLLAND -- I have no doubt about it. I have no doubt about seeing that puff of smoke come out from under those trees either.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JEAN HILL --- I have always said there were some four to six shots. There were three shots---one right after the other, and a distinct pause, or just a moment's pause, and then I heard more. .... At that time I didn't realize that the shots were coming from the building. I frankly thought they were coming from the knoll.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mr. SPECTER -- What is your opinion as to whether bullet 399 could have inflicted all of the wounds on the Governor, then, without respect at this point to the wound of the President's neck?

DR. ROBERT SHAW -- I feel that there would be some difficulty in explaining all of the wounds as being inflicted by bullet Exhibit 399 without causing more in the way of loss of substance to the bullet or deformation of the bullet.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mr. BALL -- Where was the direction of the sound?

BILLY LOVELADY -- Right there around that concrete little deal on that knoll.

Mr. BALL -- That's where it sounded to you?

Mr. LOVELADY -- Yes, sir; to my right. I was standing as you are going down the steps, I was standing on the right, sounded like it was in that area.

Mr. BALL -- From the underpass area?

Mr. LOVELADY -- Between the underpass and the building right on that knoll.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mr. BALL -- You say you heard these three sounds which you later thought were probably shots, you thought it came from a certain direction. Can you tell us from what direction as illustrated on the map? ....

BUELL WESLEY FRAZIER -- It is my true opinion, that is what I thought, it sounded like it came from over there, in the railroad tracks.


SANDY LARSEN SAID:

I named this thread "Not all damaging WC testimony was changed. What gives?"

What you [wrote] above makes my point exactly.

Nevertheless, let me clarify my statement, which you apparently misunderstood. I said:

"Clearly changes were made to suit the Warren Commission's aims, not to thwart them."

What I meant by that was this:

"Clearly THE changes THAT WERE MADE were made to suit the Warren Commission's aims, not to thwart them."


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

Your statement above, of course, assumes that the Warren Commission had any "aims" to begin with (such as nailing Oswald to the wall at all costs).

I don't think they had any such "aim".


SANDY LARSEN SAID:

Well of course they did. The Katzenbach memo spelled it out.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

And the Katzenbach memo is yet another thing that conspiracy theorists have been misrepresenting and misinterpreting for decades now.

There is certainly more than one way to interpret the words that Nicholas Katzenbach wrote in his memo to Bill Moyers on 11/25/63, as I discuss HERE and as Mr. Katzenbach himself explains in the HSCA audio excerpt below:

video


SANDY LARSEN SAID:

Katzenbach made it perfectly clear that the public should be shown that Oswald was the assassin, even though he hadn't even been tried, let alone convicted. And that there was no conspiracy, even though there had hardly been an investigation to show such a thing. And that all the facts be presented in a way that would convince the public of these things.

And that is exactly what the Warren Commission did.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

As I said, it's a matter of interpretation. There's not just one way to interpret what Katzenbach meant in his memo. Play the video I posted above. Listen to Katzenbach explain it himself.

Plus, why on Earth would Katz write such a memo if his objective was a secretive one involving a cover-up and a bunch of lies? In such a situation, you think Katzenbach would commit it to WRITING? That's absurd.


REPRISE....
SANDY LARSEN SAID:

The mere fact that changes were made in testimony should be alarming.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

I don't think ANY official testimony should be changed--ever--regardless of whether it's Warren Commission testimony, HSCA testimony, or some other case not related in any way to the JFK assassination.

If Paul Stombaugh said something on the record, it should stay on the record forever--and in print.

As I just demonstrated in the above examples of WC testimony from witnesses who said things that certainly didn't lead down a path of Oswald's sole involvement in the assassination, the Warren Commission obviously had no qualms about eliciting testimony from witnesses whom they had to know before they ever called them to the witness stand were going to testify, on the record, in a manner that would seem to point in the direction of conspiracy. But they didn't shy away from taking testimony from people like S.M. Holland and Jean Hill and Billy Lovelady and a host of others as well.

Regarding Paul Stombaugh....

My guess is that these words attributed to Stombaugh, which appear in WC Volume 4 and are after the so-called "change" was made to his testimony, very likely were actually uttered by Mr. Stombaugh himself at some point in time....

"There is no doubt in my mind that these fibers could have come from this shirt. There is no way, however, to eliminate the possibility of the fibers having come from another identical shirt."

So the end result was probably looked upon by the Warren Commission as a necessary "revision", as opposed to the wicked and underhanded "change" or "alteration" that conspiracy theorists seem to want to label it as being.

However, I do agree with Sandy Larsen on this issue. I think ALL of Stombaugh's testimony ("revised" and otherwise) should be available to read in the WC volumes. Any omission or deletion of testimony from the official record only makes the Warren Commission more of a "suspect" in the eyes of many people who are already not exactly big fans of Earl Warren's investigation.

But let me again repeat this main point I made earlier, which I think is important (especially if you believe the WC was as crooked as they come right from Day #1 of its existence)....

"The final result of what we now see on Page 88 of Warren Commission Volume #4 are altered words that nobody would have wanted to alter if their desire was to make people think that the fibers found on the butt plate of Mannlicher-Carcano Rifle #C2766 had come from the shirt worn by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963."

David Von Pein
January 3-4, 2016