[Editor's Note: A contributor to JFKresearch.com contends that a footnote
Posner added to his book for the 1994 edition makes a great deal of difference
relative to the McCarthy Affidavit published here. My comments are in
CAPS. Three others added their comments to mine, which I have paraphrased
for consistency of expression and identified by initials: "RCD"
for R. Charles-Dunn, "RT" for Robert Tindle, "MW"
for Martin White, and JF for myself. This piece, which
first appeared on 13 October 2001, shows how much can be learned from
studying a solitary note.]
According to Tracy Parnell, a 1994 footnote added to a reprinting of CASE
CLOSED exonerates its author, Gerald Posner, of any offenses, real or
imagined, related to his one-sided appropriation of research material
from Failure Analysis, Associates (FaAA), which was reported by FaAA's
Chief Executive Officer, Roger McCarthy, in an affidavit dated 6 December
1993 (reprinted above). The footnote appears on pp. 316-317 as follows:
"* At Dealey Plaza, more than 510 photographs that directly relate
to the assassination were taken by some seventy-five photographers, but
the Zapruder film is by far the most useful in determining what happened,
since it records the entire period of the shooting.
[JF: THIS REMARK BEGS THE QUESTION BY TAKING FOR GRANTED THAT THE
FILM HAS NOT BEEN EDITED. THIS WAS NOT AN ESPECIALLYCONTENTIOUS ISSUE
AT THE TIME, SO THIS IS LESS A CRITICISM OF POSNER THAN AN OBSERVATION
ABOUT THE TRUTH OF THE CONTENTION HE MAKES HERE. THE EVIDENCE THAT IS
CURRENTLY AVIALABLE, HOWEVER, MAKES THIS ASSUMPTION OPEN TO VERY SERIOUS
RCD: MOREOVER, HOW COULD ANYONE KNOW WHICH OF THESE PHOTOGRAPHS
IS THE MOST INFORMATIVE IF HE HAD NOT REVIEWED THEM ALL? HE IS MAKING
CLAIMS HE CANNOT SUPPORT.]
This chapter is based primarily on the latest enhancements of that film.
They include one done by Dr. Michael West, a medical examiner in Mississippi,
together with Johann Rush, the journalist who filmed Oswald during his
Fair Play for Cuba demonstration at the New Orleans Trade Mart; and another
completed by Failure Analysis Associates, a prominent firm specializing
in computer reconstructions for lawsuits. The Failure Analysis work was
an extensive undertaking for an American Bar Association (ABA) mock trial
of Lee Harvey Oswald (resulting in a hung jury) held at the ABA's 1992
convention. The Failure Analysis project involved 3-D scale generations
of Dealey Plaza, physical mock-ups of the presidential car, and stand-in
models for the President and the Governor, all to determine trajectory
angles and the feasibility of one bullet causing both sets of wounds.
[JF: FOR REASONS SET FORTH IN "The Lone-Nutter Challenge!",
THE PROBABILITY OF ONE BULLET CAUSING ALL THOSE WOUNDS IS ZERO, SINCE
THE ENTRY POINT ON JACK'S BACK WAS TOO LOW TO HAVE BEEN THE ENTRY FOR
A TRAJECTORY THAT EXITED FROM THE FRONT OF HIS THROAT, A WOUND THAT WAS
ITSELF A WOUND OF ENTRY, AS WE KNOW ON OTHER GROUNDS AS WELL, INCLUDING
THE PARKLAND PRESS CONFERENCE, NOT TO MENTION THAT ANY BULLET THAT ATTEMPTED
THE ALLEGED TRAJECTORY WOULD HAVE IMPACTED WITH CERVICAL VERTEBRA, MAKING
SUCH A TRANSIT ANATOMICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. INDEED, IF THE ENTRY HAD BEEN
AT THE BASE OF THE BACK OF THE NECK, THEN IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN NECESSARY
FOR GERALD FORD TO HAVE HAD THE DESCRIPTION OF ITS LOCATION CHANGED TO
MAKE THE "SINGLE BULLET THEORY" (SBT) MORE PLAUSIBLE. (SEE Assassination
Science (1998), p. 177.)]
Failure Analysis also re-created experiments with the 6.5mm ammunition,
using more updated information than was available to the Warren Commission,
to further test the 'single-bullet theory' and the condition of the missile.
"At the ABA trial, Failure Analysis presented scientific evidence
for both the prosecution and defense of Oswald. The only technical breakthroughs
were on the prosecution side, and they are presented in this chapter.
[JF: BUT THERE ARE NOW MANY NEW TECHNICAL BREAKTHROUGHS ON THE
DEFENSE SIDE, INCLUDING DISCOVERY OF THE FABRICATION OF THE AUTOPSY X-RAYS
AND ANATOMICAL IMPOSSIBILITY OF THE SBT, WHICH HE OUGHT TO ACKNOWLEDGE
IN FUTURE PRINTINGS OF HIS BOOK AND DURING HIS PERSONAL APPEARANCES. THESE
BREAKTROUGHS HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED IN Assassination Science (1998) AND IN
Murder in Dealey Plaza (2000), WORKS WITH WHICH ANY SERIOUS SCHOLAR OF
THE CASE SHOULD BE FAMILIAR.
RCD: MOREOVER, HOW COULD POSNER HAVE KNOWN THAT THE ONLY TECHNICAL
BREAKTHROUGHS WERE ON THE SIDE OF THE PROSECUTION IF HE HAD NOT REVIEWED
THE DEFENSE MATERIAL? HE APPEARS TO BE MAKING CLAIMS FOR WHICH HE HAD
NO SUPPORT AT THE TIME AND WHICH ARE NO LONGER TRUE, IF, INDEED, THEY
The defense presentation was fundamentally flawed . . .
[RCD: BUT HOW COULD POSNER HAVE KNOWN IF HE HAD NOT REVIEWED THE
DEFENSE MATERIAL AT THE TIME, AS THE MCCARTHY AFFIDAVIT REFLECTS WAS INDEED
THE CASE? HE IS TRYING TO MAKE IT LOOK AS THOUGH HE HAD NOT IGNORED EVIDENCE
THAT HE HAD IN FACT IGNORED IN AN EFFORT TO SPIN HIS WAY FROM CRITICISM.]
. . . and centered on two primary arguments. The first was why Oswald
did not take a supposedly better straight shot as JFK's car approached
the Depository on Houston Street. Failure Analysis tried illustrating
this contention by creating computer animation of Oswald's view of the
car. Since Connally was sitting in front of Kennedy in the car, he would
have blocked part of the assassin's view along Houston Street, and therefore
the computer animation was not an accurate representation of what Oswald
[JF: BUT OF COURSE THE LINE OF SIGHT WAS CREATING A BETTER AND
BETTER TARGET AS THE LIMOUSINE APPROACHED THE BOOK DEPOSITORY, AS THE
ANGLE TO THE TARGET INCREASED AND THE PRESIDENT'S CHEST AS WELL AS HIS
HEAD BECAME INCREASINGLY EXPOSED, UP TO THE MOMENTARY HALT IN FRONT OF
THE BOOK DEPOSITORY, WHEN GREER NEARLY HIT A CONCRETE ABUTMENT. AT THIS
POINT, CONNALLY WAS NOT EVEN IN THE LINE OF SIGHT AND WOULD HAVE CREATED
NO OBSTRUCTION AT ALL.
MW: AND HOW COULD POSNER KNOW WHAT "OSWALD" SAW OR EVEN
WHERE OSWALD WAS AT THE TIME? IT IS STRIKING THAT POSNER DISMISSES THE
COMPUTER ANIMATION OF WHAT "OSWALD" SAW AS THE LIMOUSINE HEADED
TOWARD THE BOOK DEPOSITORY ON HOUSTON (EVEN THOUGH THERE IS NO GOOD REASON
TO REJECT IT) WHILE HE ENDORSES THE COMPUTER ANIMATION OF WHAT "OSWALD"
DID AS THE LIMOUSINE DROVE AWAY FROM THE BOOK DEPOSITORY ON ELM (EVEN
THOUGH THERE IS GOOD REASON TO REJECT IT).
JF: INDEED, THE CONES THAT TRACE BACK TO THE 6TH FLOOR WINDOW WERE
BASED UPON UNVERIFIABLE PROJECTIONS AND CLEARLY EXCLUDE TWO MORE THAT
SHOULD HAVE REFLECTED SHOTS FIRED FROM IN FRONT--THE SHOT TO THE THROAT
AND THE SHOT TO THE RIGHT TEMPLE. SO THIS RECONSTRUCTION IS A NICE EXAMPLE
OF THE COMPUTER PRINCIPLE, "G-I/G-O": GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT!
RT: MOREOVER, IF CONNALLY WAS SITTING FAR ENOUGH TO THE RIGHT TO
BLOCK "OSWALD'S" SHOT AS THE LIMOUSINE APPROACHED ON HOUSTON,
THEN HE WAS TOO FAR TO THE RIGHT TO HAVE BEEN WOUNDED BY THE ALLEGED SINGLE
BULLET, WHICH WOULD HAVE HAD TO HAVE HIT CONNALLY ON HIS LEFT SIDE. POSNER
CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. IF HIS ARGUMENT ON HOUSTON IS RIGHT, THEN HIS
ARGUMENT ON ELM IS WRONG; AND IF HIS ARGUMENT ON ELM IS RIGHT, THEN HIS
ARGUMENT ON HOUSTON IS WRONG.]
Moreover, the Failure Analysis presentation did not take into account
that ballistics experts conclude that a target coming toward and below
a shooter is a more difficult shot with a telescopic sight, and that Oswald
was better hidden from the view of neighboring buildings by choosing a
line of fire along Elm Street.
[JF: EXCEPT THAT THE PRESIDENT WAS GETTING CLOSER AND CLOSER, MAKING
THE SHOT EASIER AND EASIER, AND CERTAINLY MUCH EASIER THAN WAITING UNTIL
THE LIMOUSINE WAS DRIVING AWAY AND HE HAD TO SHOOT THROUGH A TREE!
RCD: MOREOVER, A HANDFUL OF WITNESSES NOTICED A RIFLEMAN (OR MEN)
ON THE 6TH FLOOR PRIOR TO THE ASSASSINATION, WHOM THEY ASSUMED WERE PERFORMING
SECURITY ASSIGNMENTS. BUT WHOEVER WAS THERE HAD NO WAY OF KNOWING THAT
THIS PRESUMPTION WOULD BE DRAWN. THERE WAS NOTHING "SECRET"
ABOUT THEIR PRESENCE AND NO ATTEMPT TO CONCEAL IT FROM PUBLIC VIEW. SO
WHY IS THIS GUY INTIMATING THAT "OSWALD" WOULD HAVE HAD REASON
TO CONCEAL HIMSELF?]
The second Failure Analysis defense argument was that a glycerin bullet
could have been fired from the grassy knoll and not have exited on the
left side of JFK's head. To illustrate the contention, Failure Analysis
shot glycerin bullets into full, plastic water bottles. Yet the mock jury
was was never told that glycerin bullets are almost completely unstable
at the distance between JFK's car and the grassy knoll.
[RCD: WHY SHOULD THE MOCK JURY HAVE BEEN TOLD THIS? BECAUSE IT
IS TRUE OR BECAUSE POSNER WANTS US TO BELIEVE THAT IT IS TRUE WITHOUT
HAVING TO PRODUCE ANY EVIDENCE IN ITS SUPPORT, AS IN THE CASE OF OTHER
Also, Failure Analysis did not establish whether a glycerin bullet could
penetrate a human skull at the Dealey Plaza distance."
[JF: BUT OF COURSE FAILURE ANALYSIS ALSO DID NOT STUDY ICE BULLETS
OR, MORE TO THE POINT, FRANGIBLE OR EXPLODING BULLETS OF THE KIND THAT
IN FACT ENTERED THE RIGHT TEMPLE AND BLEW OUT HIS BRAINS. SO THIS GLYCERIN
BULLET BUSINESS IS REALLY NO MORE THAN A RED HERRING.
RCD: MOREOVER, JOHN LATTIMER USED GOAT CARCASSES AND LUIS ALVAREZ
USED DUCT-TAPED MELONS IN THEIR STUDIES, WHICH ARE SUPPORTED THE GOVERNMENT'S
POSITION. THAT'S OK WITH POSNER, BUT THE CRITICS MUST USE HUMAN SKULLS
IF THEY WANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY, WHICH IS A NICE EXAMPLE OF HIS USE
OF A DOUBLE-STANDARD. AND AGAIN HE IMPLIES THAT A GLYCERIN BULLET COULD
NOT PENETRATE A HUMAN SKULL WITHOUT PRODUCING ANY EVIDENCE IN ITS SUPPORT.
INSINUATION IS NOT PROOF.
MW: WHEN YOU READ THE FOOTNOTE CAREFULLY, YOU OBSERVE THAT POSNER
HAS CONVEYED THE IMPRESSISON THAT HE HAS REVIEWED THE DEFENSE MATERIAL
AND DISCOVERED "FATAL FLAWS", WHEN IN FACT NO SUCH THING HAS
TAKEN PLACE. AT THE VERY LEAST, HE HAS BEEN PROFOUNDLY DISHONEST IN COMPOSING
Tracy Parnell wants to claim that this new note exonerates Posner for
his failure to mention his appropriation of Failure Analysis material
in the first edition. Thus, for example, in one of his many posts on this
subject (10/08/01 15:59:09), he observes (correctly) that this new note
includes the following information about the ABA mock trial, specifically:
(1) that the jury was hung;
(2) that FaAA presented evidence for both the defense and the prosecution;
(3) that Posner "felt only the prosecution work was significant (his
(4) that Posner "gives reasons why he feels the defense work was
(5) that Posner states that the FaAA work was done for the ABA.
While Tracy makes everything sound nice and cozy, he (mistakenly) does
not address the crucial issue, namely: that Posner clearly never even
intended to consider evidence from the other side, WHICH HE DID NOT EVEN
REQUEST AT THE TIME! Having been caught with his pants down, he wants
to put the best "spin" he can on a most embarrassing situation.
How can Posner feign to explain why he didn't use material HE HAD NEVER
READ? Here is the key McCarthy section:
"7. Subsequent to our presentation one Gerald Posner contacted Dr.
Robert Piziali, the leader of the prosecution team, and requested copies
of the prosecution material, BUT NOT DEFENSE MATERIAL (emphasis added),
which we provided."
It is all well and good that Posner belatedly acknowledges other issues
raised in this section of the affidavit, but this crucial point betrays
his bias and lack of objectivity, insofar as he did not even REQUEST copies
of FaAA's defense material, which FaAA would also have provided to him.
But of course Posner had no need of material he had no intention to use.
This is a blatant case of the fallacy known as SPECIAL PLEADING, in which
you cite only the evidence favorable to your side and disregard the rest.
It can be employed to prove that every human is male, every coin is silver,
or every number is even, merely by producing only male humans, silver
coins, and even numbers--all of which are available in copious quantities!
It is not a method for seeking truth.
Moreover, the strained objections Posner lodges as reasons to reject the
defense work could be multiplied a hundredfold against the prosecution
work, including the failure to properly locate the wound to Jack's back,
which was far too low to be the entry point of a shot fired from above
and behind that exited at the throat! Nor does he even acknowledge that
the defense brief from AaAA included a great deal of evidence going far
beyond the trajectory as the limo traveled on Houston or the prospect
of glycerin bullets! So, even in his mock apology for special pleading,
Posner cannot resist SPECIAL PLEADING once again! The study of Posner's
1994 footnote substantiates the shoddy character of Posner's work.
Indeed, given what we know today, there is no more reason to take this
book published in 1993 seriously than there is the HSCA report published
in 1979 than there is the Warren Commission report of 1964! All of them
were based upon autopsy evidence that has been demonstrated to have been
faked, fabricated and manufactured, from the autopsy X-rays to the autopsy
photos to the autopsy report to the diagrams and photographs of a brain
to the alteration of the Zapruder film of the assassination itself, as
studies published in ASSASSINATION SCIENCE (1998) and in MURDER IN DEALEY
PLAZA (2000) clearly display.
Yet there is no need to go any further than elsewhere on this site to
discover that these books--THE WARREN REPORT (1964), THE HSCA REPORT (1979),
and CASE CLOSED (1993)--are themselves fatally flawed by the mislocation
of the wound to the back, which BY ITSELF renders the "single bullet
theory" hopelessly indefensible. So it is not even necessary to track
down other flaws in Posner's work to disprove the suggestion that it ought
to be taken seriously. The SBT is a fraud, the lone-nut scenario is a
fantasy, and all of these books belong with other works of fiction. If
Posner wants to exonerate himself, it is going to take more than a new
footnote. Let him come to grips with "The Lone-Nutter Challenge!"
and the sixteen "smoking guns" of the Prologue to MURDER as
a new beginning!