Author Topic: Program Transcript: Josiah Thompson (Part 2)  (Read 12209 times)

Alan Dale

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Program Transcript: Josiah Thompson (Part 2)
« on: March 26, 2014, 11:09:44 PM »
Transcription courtesy of Mary Constantine


Welcome to JFK Lancer Conversations, an on-line interview program featuring discussions with prominent authors, historical researchers and notable personalities associated with the study of President Kennedy's assassination.


DATE: JAN. 2014

DURATION: 00:49:52

ALAN DALE: Welcome to Conversations, my name is Alan Dale. We're very honored today to continue our conversation with Dr Josiah Thompson. Dr Thompson began his study of President Kennedy's assassination within days of the tragic event by noticing a discrepancy between 'Life' magazine and the 'New York Times' in their accounts of the shooting. His 1967 book 'Six Seconds in Dallas' introduced new information and new observations, which over the following decades have reached and influenced almost all who choose to investigate the case. In late December of 1967 Dr Thompson participated in a radio interview with William O'Connell on KPFK. In that interview Mr O'Connell referred to this statement attributed to Søren Kierkegaard: "I have not let go of my thoughts; I have not made my life comfortable."

After more than 40 years Dr Thompson has continued to study; has continued to think; has chosen not to make his life comfortable, and has returned to the subject of President Kennedy's assassination. Our topic today is the journey of Dr Josiah Thompson from those early days, through the intervening years to this time and his current attitudes and perspectives. His new, as yet unpublished, book is 'Last Second in Dallas'. I'm happy to welcome once again Dr Josiah Thompson to Conversations. Thank you very much for being with us.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Glad to be here, Alan.

ALAN DALE: Happy to have you back. Dr Thompson, sometime in the mid-60s – maybe 1966 – a man named Ray Marcus may be the first person - the first person of whom I'm aware to indicate that the Zapruder film showed a slight forward motion of President Kennedy's head between frame 312 and frame 313. He also described a measurable shoulder-drop on the part of Texas Governor John Connally between frames 237 and 238 in the Zapruder film. I wonder if that is a starting point for you in terms of what became so relevant in your original work from '67, 'Six Seconds in Dallas'.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Yes, it certainly was both a chronological starting point and also a logical starting point. And Ray Marcus was one of the original people who began really paying attention to the evidence; not just the Zapruder film but the evidence around Commission Exhibit 399, which was the basis for his book 'CE 399: The Bastard Bullet'. He was one of the few people, along with Vincent Salandria and Sylvia Meagher etc, people who were paying very close attention to the actual evidence as it trickled out through the 26 volumes and then through various releases at the National Archives.

I still remember to this day, as one of the really signal events in my gathering knowledge of this case, Ray Marcus and his discovery and going to Washington DC with Vincent Salandria to check it out. I carried my mother's carousel slide-projector, and Vince and I went to the National Archives. At that moment in time the only way you could see the Zapruder film was to call up the National Archives, make an appointment and go there. So we did.

ALAN DALE: But you didn't go empty-handed. You didn't go empty-handed; you brought your own projector?

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Yes, and that turned out to be extremely important, because that meant that when the Archives projected the 35mm slides we had two projectors: the Archives' projector and our projector, so we could sequentially project on the same screen, one after the other, individual frames. So we could put 312 up and then immediately afterwards 313, and it was blazingly obvious, blazingly obvious, that Ray Marcus was right; that Kennedy's head moved forward a significant distance: couldn't tell how far, but a really significant distance; in that 1/18th of a second.

And late that night as Vince Salandria and I were driving back along the Maryland Parkway – it was a hot July night – I can remember us discussing this and arguing this and wondering about it: what in the world could it mean? Because in 313 you see Kennedy's head explode, and immediately thereafter he's thrown backwards and to the left, right? But the forward movement meant to us immediately when we saw it that, well, that explosion that we see in 313, that had to be the exit of a bullet that hit him in the back of the head and caused his head to go forward, right? Had to be.

ALAN DALE: Makes sense.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: And at that point the backward movement didn't make any sense. A lot of this didn't make any sense.

ALAN DALE: I see, I understand, yeah.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: So various things led to various other things and ultimately I came to see how – this is back in 1966 or '67, and it's amazing how little the main parameters of evidence; the main contours of evidence, how little they've changed since then. I mean they're basically the same. Back then, for example, it was clear that Kennedy's head moved forward, right, between 312 and 313, and then a gigantic throw backwards and to the left in the frames after 313. So his head moves forward; his head moves back, at the same time blood and brain debris: blood and brain debris is thrown forward; blood and brain debris is thrown backwards and to the left.

Again in the medical evidence. On the one hand Parkland doctors, Clint Hill etc; these people see immediately that afternoon, within minutes of the shooting, what appears to be a big hole in the back of Kennedy's head on the right side, whereas the autopsy surgeons described much more a defect; a large defect or hole on the right side of his head but not in the back; more towards the front and the top.

And in addition to this, in addition to this you have the overarching dichotomy between witness testimony: that some witnesses clearly saw somebody shooting from the Sixth Floor Depository corner window; Brennan for example, and also the three who ended up with plaster in their hair from the concussion of bullets fired 10 feet over their heads. So no question; shots were fired from there. But then you also have the fact that on November 22nd people didn't run to the Depository; they ran to the knoll.

ALAN DALE: S M Holland, James Simmons – people that you actually ended up interviewing.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Absolutely. Well that was what became apparent, but immediately that afternoon both law enforcement and other people headed towards the knoll because it seemed to a bunch of people that that's where the shots came from. And then later on you have the fairly eloquent testimony of Holland and his friends on the overpass, Lee Bowers who sees two men behind the fence before the shooting and sees some sort of commotion at the fence at the time of the shooting, and ultimately of course the Moorman photograph, which shows a anomalous shape at just that point.

So my point is, to go back to the very beginning of this case you have this dichotomy in the evidence: a bipolar kind of evidence; some pointing to the right front, and some evidence pointing to the rear. And that's always been the case, and it's still the case; it's still the case right now. So it was in a way Ray Marcus's discovery, which I then measured. I measured what I thought was the actual distance of the movement of Kennedy's head forward in that 1/18th of a second.

ALAN DALE: And am I correct that the means by which you were able to make these more precise, specific measurements was that you had access to the original Zapruder film; a pristine clear version?

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Well let me be clear. The original, in-camera original, of the Zapruder film stayed in a safe in New York; I did not have access to the camera original.


JOSIAH THOMPSON: The world-renowned 'Life' photo lab made 4x5 color transparencies from the original film, and those are remarkably clear. And those were the photographic material that when I went to work for 'Life' that I was privileged to work with for some time, and which I copied while I worked there, and used to make these measurements that I made. Now, I want to point out that – how odd this is, because the very climax of the Zapruder film, right; which is without question the critical evidence in the case, which tells us what happened in Dealey Plaza; the very climax of that film is the explosion in Kennedy's head, and then this left backward snap, this violent throw of his head and body backwards and to the left. It's at the – it's the death of John Kennedy.


JOSIAH THOMPSON: And it's the climax of the film. And that is never mentioned: not a word about that phenomenon is mentioned in the 880-page Warren Report or in the 26 volumes of supporting information. It's just never mentioned. Why isn't it mentioned? It's pretty obvious why: because nobody in that august Commission could figure out how you're going to resolve that left backward violent snap with Kennedy getting hit in the back of the head.

So it was buried, and that meant that only very persistent guys like Salandria and me, who could venture to Washington DC and actually look at a kinda dim copy of the Zapruder film and its supporting slides; only we, at that point in time, could look at that and verify that. Now, the forward movement of 2" in 1/18th of a second is enormous, right? That's enormous, and it's clearly, clearly visible. You can see in 313 that the points of light that appear on the limousine, on the chrome strip that reaches over the passenger compartment; those points of light which are points in 312 have now become horizontal streaks, and they're streaks of several inches on the - in projected space out there.

Well, that's what my measurements showed; my measurements showed that Kennedy's head moved forward 2.16". That turns out to be one of these really odd, but logically fertile facts that bent the whole development of the case from that point on.

ALAN DALE: Nice word! Bent! Yeah, I hear ya.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Bent, right! Because up to that point people generally didn't know anything about this: it had never been stated that Kennedy's head was thrown backwards and to the left after the first shot.

ALAN DALE: Well, this is why I was so surprised: I learned during our first conversation that even a not-very-clear version of the Zapruder film was available simply by requesting or petitioning the National Archives. I had thought that none of this film was available except through the stills published in 'Life' magazine, and that surely if anybody could go to the National Archives and watch the film, I guess I assumed that Walter Cronkite would have gone there, or David Brinkley or somebody, and then reported this astonishing incongruity about a shooter from behind and yet the violent back-and-to-the-left, so I didn't realize.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: You would think so, but remember this; I mean this was a real pain in the ass. Vince Salandria had to call up and make an appointment, then we had to get in the car, drive from Philadelphia to Washington DC, and lug our carousel projector in. So it was not something that anybody would do casually, but you would think that the media would have taken advantage of it, and they didn't. But get how important this is; how important this is. Ask the question: is there any other evidence, ANY other evidence, of Kennedy getting hit in the back of the head between 312 and 313; any other evidence but this forward movement, measured forward movement? Ask that question, and the answer is: "No". Right? The answer is: "No". That shows you that an enormous weight – logical weight – is put upon this measurement as being correct.


JOSIAH THOMPSON: Because if it's not correct, there is no evidence of Kennedy being hit in the back of the head at that point.

ALAN DALE: And what we have in its place is overwhelming evidence of him being struck from the front.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Absolutely, you got it just right; just perfectly. And that's what's happened; that's the real difference between 'Six Seconds in Dallas' and 'Last Second in Dallas'.

ALAN DALE: So let's refer to 'Six Seconds in Dallas' in 1967 as point A, and wherever it is that you find yourself in relation to the 'Last Second in Dallas' as point B. So what I'd really like to cover today, to whatever extent possible, is the process and the factors that went into that movement in terms of your awareness and your thinking from point A to point B.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Really great question; I'll try to do it justice. Let me point out this: after 'Six Seconds…' was published, and I get accused of being a government agent or a plagiarist or all sorts of crap, and Jim Garrison arrives on the scene and carries out a circus in New Orleans, I was really pissed off; I was really depressed over what the Kennedy assassination had become.

ALAN DALE: Yeah, but at least you made so much money off of 'Six Seconds in Dallas', because at least you could live off of that…

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Oh, yeah, right: Zero. No. No. I got a $500 advance. That's what I made.

ALAN DALE: And that's it. I know!

JOSIAH THOMPSON: That's all I made, because the lawyers had to be paid and they were, well…

ALAN DALE: Unbelievable!

JOSIAH THOMPSON: So, I kind of turned away from it, and I went to Denmark and wrote a book on Søren Kierkegaard, and I came back and pursued my academic career. And that's the way things stood until the House - well really until Bob Groden on I think it's March 8th; early March 1975, showed the Zapruder film on national television and guess what happened? Public outrage exploded. And why outrage? Because the public as a whole got to see that left backward snap of Kennedy's head and body, right, and said: "They've hidden this from us! We didn't know about this!" Right? So that led to the House Select Committee.

The House Select Committee went to work and in 1979 I joined with some other people to write a book on what the House Select Committee found. So that brought me back into the case and I looked around. So on the way to point B, let's call this point A-and-a-half, right?

ALAN DALE: OK, yeah.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: So in 1979 I look around and what do I find? I find that the acoustics evidence discovered by the House Select Committee is enormously important and it coincides precisely, exactly, with everything I'd found earlier about the most likely firing point from the knoll; twelve feet west of the corner of the stockade fence. Now one has scientific evidence of a completely different sort of the next-to-last shot as having been fired from there. That's enormously important, and that clearly, clearly backs, in this duplexity of evidence that we were talking about before; how the evidence is bipolar, right - front and rear? Well this is clearly very important evidence of a shot from the right front. And as you follow out the interstices of the House Select Committee's investigation and concerning the matching of the Zapruder film with the acoustics, it's clear that the next-to-last shot, which in the acoustics is the knoll shot. So you're getting very important scientific evidence coming into the case now, backing a shot from the right front.

At the same time, at the same time, you have equally persuasive evidence of only shots from the rear. I speak of Vincent Guinn's neutron activation analysis, which showed that every fragment that ever got tested with neutron activation analysis turns out to track back to a larger fragment or a complete projectile that is itself firearms-ID matched to Oswald's rifle. So in other words, no matter all these different fragments that get tested, they all track back to Oswald's rifle. Well Kennedy got hit in the head from the right front, right, so how could this be? How could this be?

ALAN DALE: Good question, yeah.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: It certainly completely mitigates in the other direction. In addition, although this wasn't part of the House Select Committee's report, it was mentioned several times in the report and the House Committee relied upon it, and that is that the ITEC Corporation did a study of the Zapruder film and confirmed my finding. They confirmed that Kennedy's head moved forwards between 312 and 313 – I think their figure was 2.26"; mine was 2.16".

OK, so what have we got now? We've got Kennedy's head moved forwards, and that has to be due to an impact of a shot from the rear; all the bullets – the fragments from Kennedy's head that are tested, they all matched Oswald's rifle. Profound evidence, and what that means is what you're seeing there, the explosion that you see above the right temple of Kennedy's head, that's the exit of the bullet that's hit him in the back of the head, right, OK? Well if he gets hit from the right front where's the impact? Where's the impact? It doesn't show; you see only one impact.

In other words the scenario of 'Six Seconds…' has Kennedy getting hit twice in the head, because of all this bipolar evidence, but visually you see only one and that has to be the impact of a shot from the rear, OK?


JOSIAH THOMPSON: Well, the result of all of this is I was given the job of doing Dealey Plaza for this book that Peter Dale Scott and Paul Hoch and Russ Stetler and I were writing. And at the end of this; at the end of this chapter that I wrote, I said: "Look, the evidence really is in gridlock here. Something is profoundly wrong. The only sense I can make of this is if some of the evidence isn't evidence. Because what we do know, and what I know as a detective is, that real evidence always comes together with all other real evidence, and never is contrary to it. Here we have two bodies of evidence that are directly contrary to it. All of this can't be evidence. But right now – this is 1979 – we don't know what's real evidence and what's not real evidence, right? So I guess we gotta stop." And I did stop. I stopped and shut up, and didn't pay a hell of a lot of attention to the Kennedy assassination for about 25 years.

And now we get to how we get from point A.5 to point B. And that has to do with, again, science. Because this whole case is basically been science, Alan, since about 1975, with no new discoveries in terms of witness testimony or anything since then.

All right, science. The first thing is Vincent Guinn, this distinguished scientist. In the years between 2003 and 2007 various scientists, Erik Randich principally, who's a metallurgist at the Large Radiation – or the Lawrence lab in Livermore, California…

ALAN DALE: What's his last name?

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Randich – first name Erik. He began testifying in cases against government experts – FBI agents usually - who were testifying about bullet composition. The idea was to get a slug out of a victim, who's dead. They then find, in the suspect's home, a bunch of 38 caliber unfired bullets, right? And they test them and the FBI agent tests that the slugs in the victim came from the same melt, or the same lot, batch, as these, right?

Well Randich got into this, and saw that this was absolutely silly science – there was no real scientific background to this at all. And several people – one guy got off death row in New Jersey, I believe – and Randich testified in Alaska in another case, and then he was joined by William Tobin, who was the head of metallurgy for the FBI Bullet Composition Lab, and Tobin agreed with him. And ultimately the FBI lab was closed. It was closed, and it was the only lab that did this kind of work in the country, and FBI agents were ordered; were ordered by the US Justice Department not to testify about bullet composition any more.

ALAN DALE: Wow! I had never heard any of this.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: That's all true. Because that's the way it went. Now, but Erik Randich went further: in the 'Journal of Forensic Sciences' he wrote a brilliant article – I think it was in 2005 or '6 – which just took Vincent Guinn's conclusions apart. He left them in little pieces, quivering on the ground. The truth of the matter is that the only thing – the bullets that were tested by Guinn – I think there were five of them, could have come from up to five different weapons. The bullet – bullet lead basically comes in two types; the kind of bullet lead which is strengthened and made harder by the addition of antimony, and that is generally used in small arms ammunition, or hand-gun ammunition: or military jacketed bullets, which have softer lead because they're covered by a jacket, right?

ALAN DALE: Of course.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Those are the two kinds, so all you can say about lead, basically, as Randich had found out, is: Hey! It comes from one of the two.


JOSIAH THOMPSON: OK, so what that means; that's enormously powerful. That means we don't know where the little fragments of lead that were removed from Kennedy's head and were tested by Guinn, we don't know where they came from. There is no more evidence they came from one of Oswald's bullets than the man in the moon.

ALAN DALE: So this applies to those fragments that were found in the automobile, and it's something that we have to incorporate into our re-evaluation of the evidence?

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Yeah, we have – what we have to incorporate is our ignorance about those bullets. That's what we have to incorporate, right? We thought we had knowledge…So wait a minute, remember what I said about evidence not being evidence?


JOSIAH THOMPSON: Well Guinn's tests are exactly that. They are evidence that posed as evidence and was not evidence; had been exposed, right? OK, that's A. Now, the most important thing, and the most important thing for me, was the work of a computer systems engineer by the name of David Wimp who published this on the Internet starting in about 2003/2004 and has followed up since then. The point is that when you look at Zapruder frame 212 and 213 you'll see that 212 is preternaturally clear.


JOSIAH THOMPSON: It's just right. I mean there's hardly a frame in the whole film that's as clear as this one, because everything cooperated to get it right; Zapruder's panning movements were perfect for the limousine's movement at the time; followed it exactly, and the film seemed to line up exactly at the right distance from the lens etc. Now, 313 is quite different.

ALAN DALE: It's kinda blurry. I mean, speaking as a layperson it seems a little blurry to me.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Well, it's blurred, and this is – Louis Alvarez first noticed this in the 1960s. It was then fully studied by the House Select Committee in 1978, and what you see is that the camera was moved while the shutter was open, right? That's what happened, and it was moved horizontally, so what that means is that small pinpoints of light that appear on the chrome strip over the passenger compartment; they're pinpoints in 312. In 313 they've now become horizontal smears.

ALAN DALE: Streaks.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Of several inches in length, right?

ALAN DALE: Mmm-hmm.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Well what Wimp was able to show – he then figured out what the magnitude of the smear was, and this is all very complicated mathematically etc and he published three articles on this on the Internet about it. What he was able to show was: Wow! Well, if you measure this exactly, as he could, right, it turns out that John Kennedy's head does move forward a little bit; maybe half an inch, three-quarters of an inch – something like that; but it also moves forwards and backwards about that much in the 10 frames earlier. In other words there would be that kind of movement between two frames several times earlier on, so what that means is it's not a significant movement. And we're not even sure exactly what it is because measurement error will eat up up to four tenths of an inch of measurement in any frame. So what this means is…

ALAN DALE: Drumroll!

JOSIAH THOMPSON: …that we can't use the Zapruder film to measure any significant movement of Kennedy's head between 312 and 313.

ALAN DALE: Well, that's news! That's news.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Well, the point is it's one of these things, one of these hidden kinds of logical nodes hidden in the fabric of the case. You don't know how important this is until you lose it, right? And when you lose it, for the first time you recognize: "Oh my God! That's the only evidence of a shot from the rear to Kennedy's head in that interval of time – the only". But, now hold it, now here's the third. The third – these are not discoveries that I make, right? – these are discoveries that ordinary folks like David Wimp or Erik Randich…

Third in this triumvirate of heroes, or discoverers, is Keith FitzGerald, and Keith FitzGerald got into this by trying to figure out when Connally got hit in the wrist, and what he ends up doing is being able to show definitively when Kennedy got hit in the head from the rear. Remember, there's all this evidence that Kennedy did get hit in the head at some point in time from the rear. Remember you've got a bullet hit on the interior surface of the windshield; you've got blood and brain debris as far forward as the hood ornament. So it's clear Kennedy got hit in the head with a bullet from the rear, but the question is when, right?


JOSIAH THOMPSON: And now we know the only evidence of that occurring between 312 and 313 – Whoops! We just lost that one, right?

ALAN DALE: I hear you.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: So when did it happen? Well, Wimp can tell you when it happened: it happened at 328, where you have a significant change beginning in the character of the wound in Kennedy's head. You have the beginning of the most awesome acceleration of the head forward at any point: much faster even than what was fallaciously measured between 312 and 313. So you have a whole lot of this.

Now, the point of this, the point of this; let's get to the point of this. The point of this is that once you pull the plug on that one piece of evidence – the movement of Kennedy's head between 312 and 313 – you pull that out and you recognize for the first time that that's phony evidence; it's not real, right? I claimed it was real: I was wrong, it's not real.

ALAN DALE: Mea culpa.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Right! When you pull that out, Al, when you pull that out, the rest of the evidence shifts and comes together in a remarkable kind of smoothness and symmetry. And what that means is - how does it come together?

Kennedy was hit in the head from the right front at 313; the explosion that you see there was not the leaving of a bullet from his head: it was the impact of a bullet from his head. And it's that impact which threw blood and brain debris up on the motorcyclists to the left rear – not to the right rear – and onto Clint Hill as he's running between the cars. That's what happens then. Later on…

ALAN DALE: Followed by…


ALAN DALE: Followed by…

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Followed by: Kennedy is driven backwards by that shot which impacted high above the right temple, and exploded largely upwards, but the momentum transfer of that impact drove him backwards and to the left; in the opposite direction from where the shot was fired. With such force, I might add, with such force that Kennedy is driven back against the seat; the upright back seat and bounces forward. And as he's coming forward he's hit the second time, and his head accelerates and the character of his head wound changes dramatically, with blood and gore driven out the front of his temple and dripping down in front of his head and a whole – how to put it? – a whole piece of skull is now – a flap of skull is opened up by the second hit and hangs down by his right ear.

ALAN DALE: By the scalp, yeah.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: By his right ear – by the scalp, right, held on by the scalp by his right ear.

ALAN DALE: And this is the first time I've ever, ever thought about something of this magnitude happening after frame 312. I mean, we're conditioned over decades to take for granted the dogma that – I mean 313 is the dramatic conclusion of this ghastly event that's captured on Abraham Zapruder's film. But I'm reminded of a conversation that I've shared – that you and I shared, and that I've had with other people about Mary Moorman's black and white Polaroid photograph, which I believe we have reason to be confident that it was taken at Zapruder frame 315 – is that the right number?

JOSIAH THOMPSON: That's correct, yes.

ALAN DALE: And so I've looked at this thing, like everybody else, and it seems to me I've never been able to make sense of how the back of his head, from Mary Moorman's perspective at that precise instant, seems intact.


ALAN DALE: So we're talking about the Moorman photograph taking place immediately after the shot from the front and before the last shot from the back. Is that correct?

JOSIAH THOMPSON: That's correct.

ALAN DALE: Well, that's an interesting new view.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Well, if you – here's the point: the question is raised by many people: "If he was shot from the right front at 313, why isn't this enormous hole visible in the right rear of his head?"

ALAN DALE: Exactly.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Well, look to 313 and you'll see why, and look to the successive frames and you'll see why. The impact of the shot from the right front largely directed upwards.


JOSIAH THOMPSON: Largely directed upwards. That doesn't mean that there was not damage directed backwards, but the damage that was directed backwards was not sufficient to breach the scalp etc in the rear of the head. Now subsequent – OK, so then the question is: "Well how come there's a hole in the back of his head when he gets to Parkland?" I'll tell you why: because something really – two things fairly important happen. First is, at 328 he does get hit in the back of the head, right, by a second shot from the rear. Now the pressure vessel of the cranial cavity has been ruptured.

ALAN DALE: Has already been ruptured! Right.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: So you're not going to see the explosive rupture, the explosion that you see at 313.

ALAN DALE: The initial impact.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Right, you're not going to see that explosive rupture that you see in 313. Here, a bullet – probably fired from the Depository sixth floor window – a military-jacketed bullet - penetrates, goes through, blows a lot of shit out the front of his head, right, and continues on to hit the windshield, with a fragment hitting Connally at the same time.

ALAN DALE: Could conceivably have even been responsible for a wound of exit by a minute particle of bone or something that could maybe have been interpreted as a wound of entrance. That may be another…

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Yeah, who knows, right? But I don't want to go farther than what I'm talking about. But what's remarkable is that when you take this two-inch movement out of the package of that evidence, right, the rest of it comes together.

ALAN DALE: I hear you.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: And that's what I – that has been my frustration in this case, because, yeah, for the last 35 years I've been making my living as a detective and I know – I specialized in criminal defence – I had countless cases of gunshot victims and things of this sort, and in those cases I know the event happens in one way rather than another; in only one way.

ALAN DALE: Yeah, I've heard you say that. I hear you, Yeah.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: And the evidence comes together in one way rather than another. Yet in this case, it seemed like for 25 years, like the evidence was coming together in two ways, right?

ALAN DALE: Oh, I'll say!

JOSIAH THOMPSON: See, and that's – you know, and what's remarkable about this is: all of this, since the initial investigation, was simply botched by the Government. You know, prosecutorial agencies; government agencies; usually do a pretty good job of criminal investigations: in this case it was just botched. And then what happens is, it's turned over to all the rest of us, right?

ALAN DALE: Yeah. It's a remarkable analysis. Dr Thompson, it's time for us to take a brief intermission. We're speaking with Dr Josiah Thompson, whose latest book, as yet unpublished, is 'The Last Second in Dallas'. We'll be back in just a moment.


ALAN DALE: We're back with Dr Josiah Thomspon. His as yet unpublished book 'Last Second in Dallas' – in case there are any publishers listening to this interview, you can reach Dr Thompson through JFK Lancer. Dr Thompson, you've been dealing with these complexities; you've been focusing in great detail, and with great measure, and cautiously, and as thoroughly and as professionally as you're able; for 50 years now – fully 50 years. Tell me what you would like to see happen. What would be preferable for you in terms of the next stage, the next period of awareness and progress in these related stories?

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Well, I guess if one takes the arc that runs from 'Six Seconds…', published in '67 to 'Last Second…', which isn't published yet, and if one takes the activities and experiences that I've had over that arc, it paints a picture of investigation or inquiry as a completely, thoroughly human enterprize. I mean, I screwed up: look, I came up with the two-inch forward movement, which had misled people for forty-some years, right? But that's the way it is: human inquiry is human inquiry, and it brings with it all the comedy and tragedy of individual human lives; the mistakes people make; the biases they have; the prejudices that they're subject to; all of this. It's all human, as Nietzsche would put it: "Menschliches, Allzumenschliches." Now, what I would hope: there will be a first-rate, a first-tier American historian who will look into this case. That hasn't happened yet.

ALAN DALE: Courageously.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: No first-rate American historian has had the guts to venture into this swamp of controversy and argument and stuff. He will come, or she will come, and when he or she comes I would like her to be able – or him to be able – to use the arc from 'Six Seconds…' to 'Last Second…' as a kind of jump-off point. I would like to think that maybe I've done things in 'Last Second…' that will help that historian get to a firmer and more comprehensive position with regard to what happened than he or she would have without it. I mean we all work on the - it's how inquiry works - we work on the shoulders of those who worked before us.

ALAN DALE: And we have the potential to be self-correcting: we're not machines; we have the potential to be self-correcting.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Exactly. And that's why I – I have this funny little dream in the back of my head: that finally I will end up with a publisher who will see the commercial possibility - since I own 'Six Seconds…' myself now, and can give permission to re-publish - to see the commercial possibility of publishing both books, written on the same subject 45 years apart, right?

ALAN DALE: Mmm-hmm.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Publish them in a box set; if some publisher would do that for me, that would be great, right.

ALAN DALE: I hear you.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: I'd be really happy about that.

ALAN DALE: That's nice. Well, I want to thank you so much for allowing us this opportunity for continuing the conversation that we began some time ago, and for giving us the benefit of your insight, your research, your commitment, and your integrity. We're very grateful and it's an honor to speak with you. Our guest has been Dr Josiah Thompson. Thank you, Doctor, for being with us.

JOSIAH THOMPSON: Hey Alan, you do a really nice job, man.

ALAN DALE: It's my pleasure.


ALAN DALE: I appreciate it. You've been listening to Conversations, a JFK Lancer production. Good evening.

« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 11:19:28 PM by Alan Dale »
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