Now in a propaganda piece there are multiple ways to do that. One of them is distorting well known facts, statements of other authors or omitting key elements. Another is massive use of ad hominem or wholesale smearing the integrity of the source or sources by invoking all manner of deficiencies, including insanity, deficient intellect, lack of judgment or whatever. As a former prosecutor, of course, Bugliosi would be privy to the full array of these. No surprise then that these heavy-handed tactics show up throughout his book, which to a savvy and knowledgeable student of the assassination makes it appear he's trying to compensate with bluster and bombast - for his own deficient knowledge.
In this and the next blog I want to show readers why they saved a lot of money and time-wasting by NOT getting his cinder block book. And why, indeed, he is engaged in a massive enterprise to redact the real history of the JFK assassination rather than "reclaiming" it. (So, Vince, Posner's 'Case Closed' wasn't adequate to the task? I thought the case was CLOSED. So, what will the next title of these historical poseurs be? 'CASE RE-CLOSED - or Re-RE-CLAIMING HISTORY'? Jeebus, give me a break already.)
Anyway, let's go through the hit list of egregious Bugliosi bunkum:
1) Bogus Assaults on Critics:
Bugliosi states that the critics have always written that no rifleman has ever duplicated Oswald's feat at the Texas School Book Depository on 11/22/63. That is firing three shots, and getting two hits in the head and shoulder areas in less than six seconds. He says that this charge is not accurate. He then points to an example in the Warren Commission of a mysterious soldier named Miller (no first name given) who a commanding officer said actually bettered Oswald's feat.
Here, Bugliosi is factually wrong. First, there never was any such person as “Miller”. He is a confection and nothing more, a red herring. The Warren Commission actually enlisted three “master marksmen” also professionals, and members of the National Rifle Association – NONE of whom had the name “Miller”. (Hearings Before the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, 1964: Vol. II, p. 243 (Government Printing Office))
The bottom line is that the choice of these three (two of whom were civilian gunners in the Small Arms Division of an Army Ballistic Research Laboratory, the other regular Army) was not a faithful replication of the human factor.
Oswald was presumed to have fired from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository, so effectively six stories up or 60’ in altitude. However, the experts were allowed to fire from a tower only half this altitude (30’). See Warren Commission Report, p. 137.
In addition, while Oswald had to have fired at a limousine moving at 11 mile per hour, the experts fired at stationary targets . The target area was also magnified for the experts, to the whole upper torso of the target prop’s body – while Oswald was limited to the head and neck.
More to the point, the rifle was altered away from the one Oswald used. The rifle sight itself was rebuilt and “metal shims were fitted to provide a degree of accuracy previously absent’. When Ronald Simmons, the Chief of the Infantry Weapons Evaluation Branch of the Army’s Ballistics Research Division was asked about this he replied: “Well, they could not sight the weapon in using the telescope" (Op. cit, Vol. 2, p. 250)
He added that the aiming apparatus had to be rebuilt by a machinist (ibid.) , with two shims added, one to adjust for the elevation, the other for the azimuth. In other words, had they actually used the rifle in the same condition Oswald was alleged to have had it, then they’d likely not have hit the side of a barn. Again, the replication was contrived, and unfaithful to the facts of the case as claimed by the Warren Commission
These Master Marksmen each fired two series of three shots each (18 rounds in all) at 3 stationary targets placed at distances of 175’, 240’ and 265’ (the last coming nearest to the distance from the Texas School Book Depository to the head shot). Even Chief Simmons admitted that the targets were not placed where they ought to have been to emulate conditions on November 22, 1963.
Just one of the three expert riflemen was able to get off three shots in under 5.6 seconds – the designated time interval for total shots declared by the Warren Commission. And most to the point: none of the total 18 shots fired struck the targets in the head or the neck. In other words, from a technical standpoint of duplicating Oswald’s alleged shots- this trio of experts failed. Another key aspect: for the duration of the 18 rounds, two of the “master” riflemen were unable to reload and fire at the stationary target as rapidly as Oswald purportedly did for the moving limo! (The Mannlicher-Carcano had a bolt action recycling time of 2. 33 secs)
The full results were not disclosed in the Warren Commission Report itself, so Bugliosi is caught in a second lie. He then tries to qualify this by saying there may be references in the millions of pages on the subject that he simply never encountered. But how could he have missed this content on the expert marksmen if he makes the assertion all the critics are wrong? Either he deliberately omitted the details on their actual accomplishments in the attempted replications, or he’s lying.
2) More Lies and Distortions:
Bugliosi compounds this by writing (p. xxxix) "I will not knowingly omit or distort anything." But he has and did! Another classic mega-distortion inheres in his misrepresentation of the world famous forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht (highlighted in the documentary, ‘The Single Bullet Theory’). Dr. Wecht has long insisted the single bullet theory is malarkey and that two bullets struck Kennedy in the head simultaneously. (One bullet fired from the rear initiating a slight forward thrust and a second fired from the grassy knoll eliciting the backward head motion.)
In his chapter on Wecht, ‘A Conversation with Dr. Cyril Wecht’, Bugliosi concluded by insisting that Wecht “demonstrated there is no credible evidence whatsoever that any shots were fired from the president’s right side or right front” adding that “the conspiracy theorists’ main forensic expert cannot even hypothesize a shooting from the right side or right front that is intellectually feasible.”But in fact, Wecht can and DID! (In the aforementioned documentary). Moreover he did it in meticulous detail including using anatomical sketches, and diagrams sowing the putative single bullet’s path and why it couldn’t work. In addition, Wecht hasn’t budged from this position since that documentary was completed ca. 1993! Indeed, when Wecht was confronted with Bugliosi’s words (‘Last Word’, 2011, by Mark Lane, p. 153) he responded that Bugliosi’s words were “inexplicable” since Wecht had “stated to Bugliosi that all the relevant evidence – including the medical evidence, the x-rays of the president that he had examined and the statements of the physicians, had long ago convinced him that a shot had been fired from the grassy knoll area.”
So why didn’t Bugliosi faithfully report Wecht’s words instead of lying about them and yes, distorting them? Because to do so would not have served his agenda of holding up the Warren Commission Report as the “Holy Grail” of the assassination and the last word! However, this misstep, like the hundreds of Gerald Posner in his ‘Case Closed’ – merely shows both to be in the service of disinformationists, most likely the CIA who in their own document 1035- 960 (marked ‘Psych’ for psychological warfare operations) clearly state under Sec. 3(b) ‘Propaganda assets’:
“To employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose.”
And clearly not merely reviews but whole (even 2,600 -plus page) books too! Since you may likely be able to count on the gullible such as Tom Hanks to help spread the word!
Bugliosi (p. 1003) insists that one of the first critical authors of the Warren Commission , Mark Lane, never mentioned in his book Rush to Judgment, that Oswald had been arrested. Bugliosi’s exact words are: “He doesn’t even mention Oswald’s arrest”.
Bugliosi must not think many readers have access to his book (which I finally located at a Colorado Springs library last year) or Lane’s, but he’s wrong. When I checked my copy of Lane’s book I found (p. 81) not only the details of the place of arrest but the time and the words “Oswald was arrested in the Texas Theater at approximately 1.50 p.m. that day” but other confirmations.
The question that emerges is: If Bugliosi can lie with impunity about even a minor pro forma (generally accepted) event as concerns the critical pro-conspiracy community, how many larger events would he be prepared to misrepresent in the interest of his propaganda?