Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Twists & Turns of the Single Bullet Critics (Pt.2)


The fact that the defects in President Kennedy's shirt collar are of the nature that they are (i.e., slits rather than defined circular holes) is indicative that if they were caused by a projectile they are more likely exit holes rather than entry holes. But if they
are exit holes, then no bullet could have entered from the front, passing through the collar, to cause what many erroneously believe was an entry wound in the throat.

Raising the throat wound above the collar by misrepresenting what Dr. Carrico testified to, and then claiming that the defects in the shirt collar were caused by a doctor or nurse's scalpel, gets around that pesky little problem.

I strongly suspect that first generation conspiracy author Harold Weisberg realized this way back when and that's why in his book Post Mortem he grand-fathered all of the "Dr. Carrico testified that the wound was above the collar" crap. And no, if anyone is wondering, I don't believe for a minute Weisberg's claim in Post Mortem that Dr. Carrico "confirmed" that the wound was above the collar when Weisberg supposedly asked him about it - Weisberg offers no support for that claim, no citation, no quote, no transcript of an interview, nothing.

When I mentioned this in an email exchange, Jim Lesar, an attorney and friend of the late Weisberg, wrote:

"You attack Harold Weisberg's statement in Post Mortem that when he interviewed Dr.Carrico, Carrico confirmed that the throat wound was above the collar. Since you have been very critical of others for not being familiar with every scintilla of the enormous amount of material concerning the JFK case and for not having checked sources to see if there is some support for a particular statement, I would would be interested to know whether you made any attempt to find out whether there was any documentation of Weisberg's statement before you in effect charged him with lying about Carrico's statement. If you didn't make any effort to find this out, then on what is you statement that you don't believe Weisberg's claim for a minute other than sheer bias?"

Good questions. Here's the story:

The only documentation for Weisberg's statement that I'm aware exists, the only thing that I have ever seen, is what he wrote in Post Mortem. Since he provides no citation there for his claim, there's really not a lot to go on, is there?

I checked the HSCA records several years ago and found nothing to indicate that Weisberg told them anything about what Dr. Carrico may have told him. I also have some of Paul Rothermel's files, and have seen even more, and while there's material in them from and regarding Weisberg, there’s nothing about Dr. Carrico.

Unfortunately I’ve not had the opportunity to go through Weisberg's own files to see if perhaps he wrote a memorandum or to see if he tape recorded the interview (though he makes no mention of doing so) and perhaps has a transcript.

Regarding the basis of my statement that I don't believe Weisberg's claim, and is based on "sheer bias," as Lesar states?

The basis for my belief is the written record of the case, of course, and Weisberg's less than honest handling of that record as it relates to the entire Dr. Carrico throat wound location matter.

Once again, here's the actual passage of Dr. Carrico's testimony where the location of the throat wound is discussed:

Dr. CARRICO - There was a small wound, 5- to 8-mm. in size, located in the lower third of the neck, below the thyroid cartilage, the Adams apple.

Mr. DULLES - Will you show us about where it was?

Dr. CARRICO - Just about where your tie would be.

Mr. DULLES - Where did it enter?

Dr. CARRICO - It entered?

Mr. DULLES - Yes.

Dr. CARRICO - At the time we did not know

Mr. DULLES - I see.

Dr. CARRICO - The entrance. All we knew this was a small wound here.

Mr. DULLES - I see. And you put your hand right above where your tie is?

Dr. CARRICO - Yes, sir; just where the tie --

Mr. DULLES - A little bit to the left.

Dr. CARRICO - To the right.

Mr. DULLES - Yes; to the right. [3H361-362]

As I pointed out previously, the first time he was asked to locate the wound Dr. Carrico placed the wound “Just about where your tie would be.” Dr. Carrico was likely referring to the knot of Kennedy’s tie, which was certainly not “above the collar line” but rather exactly where the holes in the shirt collar and the nick in the tie knot were. Certainly no part of a man's properly fitted tie is ever located “above the collar line”.

So, how does Weisberg handle the above segment of testimony where Dr. Carrico clearly states that the wound was located "Just about where your tie would be"?

By completely omitting it.

Weisberg begins his quotation of the testimony with Dulles' "Will you show us about where it was?” question. But then, rather than informing his reader that Dr. Carrico clearly answered that question with "Just about where your tie would be.” Weisberg jumps 6 and a half lines down to “..this was a small wound here". [Post Mortem, p. 357]

Weisberg then goes on to quote Dr. Carrico's answer the second time he was asked, to which Dulles asked “And you put your hand right above where your tie is?”, and to which Dr. Carrico in turn replied “Yes, sir; just where the tie —“, but was cut off in mid-sentence. Like I pointed out before, that was a question on Mr. Dulles’s part, not a statement by Dr. Carrico. And what was Dr. Carrico going to say? “Just where the tie isn’t.”? Of course not. It’s more than obvious that he was going to repeat the answer that he had already given – that the wound was located “Just about where your tie would be.”

After all this, and despite Dr. Carrico clearly stating that the wound was "Just about where your tie would be", Weisberg writes that Dr. Carrico "placed the front-neck wound above the knot of the tie." [Post Mortem, p. 357, Emphasis Weisberg's]

So I think it's very clear that Weisberg misrepresented what Dr. Carrico told Alan Dulles about the location of the wound.

But that's not all.

Dr. Carrico's other testimony in the record also makes it clear that the wound was below the top of the collar.

Dr. Carrico told the Warren Commission the wound was in the "lower third of the neck" [3H361], but Weisberg doesn’t see fit to tell his readers that. Is that because, as anyone can see, when a grown man is wearing a standard dress shirt with a buttoned collar and necktie, the area of the lower third of the neck is below the top of the collar? I suspect so.

Further, a simple comparison of films and photographs taken of President Kennedy on the day of the assassination (in Fort Worth, at Love Field, and in the motorcade) with the autopsy photographs clearly show that the tracheotomy incision was located at a point on the President’s throat that corresponds exactly with the holes in the shirt collar and the nick in the tie knot. Of course the throat wound had to exist somewhere within the borders of that tracheotomy incision.

So, by the time he wrote and published Post Mortem in 1975, Weisberg certainly should have known that Dr. Carrico described the wound as being in the "lower third of the neck" and should have also been aware of the implications of that description as they relate to the collar.

And after the autopsy photos became public in 1988, Weisberg certainly could have compared the location of the tracheotomy incision with photographs taken of President Kennedy on the day of the assassination. Yet he repeated his Post Mortem claim in his 1995 book Never Again.

And what is one to make of this from Weisberg...

"I asked Carrico what Specter did not dare ask, the simple question whether, in his opinion, and based on his experience in emergencies, the nick on the knot and the slits in the collar were made by the nurses, not by a bullet. Carrico considers it unlikely. He saw neither the nick in the tie nor the cuts in the shirt before the nurses started cutting." [Post Mortem, p.376, Emphasis mine]

...in light of the fact that Wesiberg later writes that Dr. Carrico "confirmed...that the damage to the shirt was done when the necktie was cut off by nurses under his supervision..." [Post Mortem, p.598]

As for the line, “He saw neither the nick in the tie nor the cuts in the shirt before the nurses started cutting.” Dr. Carrico told the Warren Commission that he never even examined the clothing. [3H362]

It seems pretty clear to me that Weisberg misrepresented Dr. Carrico's Warren Commission testimony by intentionally omitting and misrepresenting key portions of it. The fact that he would so blatantly do such a reckless thing doesn't leave room for putting much faith in anything else Weisberg has to say on the matter. In fact, as a juror in a court case, wouldn't it be my duty to question the entire testimony offered by any witness who was caught lying on the witness stand?

Sure, I’d like to know if there’s anything more to this in Weisberg’s files. Perhaps Jim Lesar, Gerald McKnight or David Wrone, can find the time to come up with whatever Weisberg might have had in his files that might explain his writings regarding Dr. Carrico. Considering the record as it currently stands, however, I'm not holding my breath.


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