(PART 1118)


The CNN video below is totally misleading, with the commentators giving the CNN audience the impression that there was possibly something sinister, devious, or conspiratorial about the decision to take President Kennedy's body to Bethesda Naval Hospital instead of Walter Reed Hospital on the night of the President's assassination:

It's true that on the Air Force radio tapes (the 2-hour version released by NARA in January 2012), Dr. George Burkley does say that the body will be going to Walter Reed. But that was obviously not a finalized decision at the time Burkley made that statement aboard Air Force One on 11/22/63.

And much more important is the fact that we know exactly WHO it was who made the final decision to have the autopsy at Bethesda -- it was Jackie Kennedy herself. And the Warren Commission testimony of Ken O'Donnell confirms that fact for history (at 7 H 454-455):

KENNETH P. O'DONNELL -- "We arrived at Andrews and meanwhile the Attorney General had been notified, the decision had been made that he would go to Bethesda."

ARLEN SPECTER -- "Who made that decision, by the way?"

MR. O'DONNELL -- "Mrs. Kennedy."

MR. SPECTER -- "That the autopsy should be performed?"

MR. O'DONNELL -- "I don't think she knew anything about an autopsy. The question is where the body went. We didn't tell her there was to be an autopsy. And the choice was Walter Reed or Bethesda. He being a Navy man, she picked Bethesda."

MR. SPECTER -- "She chose Bethesda, as between Bethesda and Walter Reed?"

MR. O'DONNELL -- "She did."


So when Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley recently appeared on CNN and told the unaware audience that we are still "missing" any kind of an explanation for why JFK's autopsy was performed at Bethesda instead of Walter Reed, he simply didn't know what he was talking about. Because the above excerpt taken from Kenny O'Donnell's 1964 Warren Commission testimony put that question to rest 48 years ago.

It would be nice if the talking heads (like Douglas Brinkley) would do at least a small amount of homework and research before appearing on live television, in front of millions of people, and saying incorrect and uninformed things that can only add to the suspicions of the American public and lead them to the inaccurate notion that something sinister and underhanded just might have been going on with respect to the selection of Bethesda as the site for JFK's autopsy.

When, in reality, the truth is something quite non-sinister and innocent: the President's widow selected the location of the autopsy herself. And anyone who wants to doubt that fact is going to have to call one of JFK's best friends, Kenneth P. O'Donnell, an outright liar. And I doubt if there are even many hardcore conspiracy theorists who have a desire to do that.

In addition, JFK's personal physician, Admiral George Burkley, whose voice we hear on the newly-released expanded version of the Air Force One tape saying that JFK's body was going to go to Walter Reed, told the HSCA in this 1978 affidavit that it was, indeed, Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy who had made the final decision to have JFK's body taken to Bethesda:

"I had ordered the United States Naval Hospital to be prepared for performing an autopsy on the body of John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, the permission having been granted by Mrs. Kennedy while enroute. It was to be a complete autopsy with no limitations and no curtailment in time necessary for completion." -- George G. Burkley; November 28, 1978

Burkley, by the way, also said this in that same affidavit:

"I saw President Kennedy's wounds at Parkland Hospital and during the autopsy at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. There was no difference in the nature of the wounds I saw at Parkland Hospital and those I observed at the autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital." -- George Burkley; 11/28/78


In addition, I want to also emphasize something else that's very relevant to the CNN video embedded above feature Rice University's Douglas Brinkley:

Brinkley and the other talking heads in that CNN clip seem to be of the opinion that prior to late January 2012, when the National Archives released a new expanded 2.5-hour version of the Air Force One radio transmissions, nobody in the world had ever heard any audio clips from the AF1 tapes that even suggested that President Kennedy's body was going to be taken to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington.

But that's simply wrong. The previously available condensed versions of the Air Force One radio tapes contain multiple references to the body being taken to Walter Reed for the post-mortem examination. JFK's military aide, General Chester V. Clifton, can be heard giving instructions to Washington regarding the location of the autopsy. Clifton can be heard on the tape saying this:

"This is General Clifton. .... We do not want a helicopter for Bethesda Medical Center. We do want an ambulance and a ground return from Andrews to Walter Reed; and we want the regular post-mortem that has to be done by law under guard performed at Walter Reed." -- Chester V. Clifton; Aboard Air Force One; 11/22/63

And, to emphasize again, the above quote from General Clifton is not a "new" discovery at all (contrary to what the commentators and analysts at CNN seem to believe). The audio clip that contains General Clifton's "Walter Reed" quote has been available for years. And I've had that audio clip on my websites for quite some time prior to January 2012.

You can hear Clifton make the above statement regarding "Walter Reed" at the very beginning of the video below:

David Von Pein
February 2, 2012