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The Kennedy Autopsy, Part 10


The Kennedy Assassination Series:

The Kennedy Casket Conspiracy, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Shot That Killed Kennedy, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Kennedy Autopsy, Part 1, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Kennedy Autopsy, Part 2, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Kennedy Autopsy, Part 3, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Kennedy Autopsy, Part 4, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Kennedy Autopsy, Part 5, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Kennedy Autopsy, Part 6 by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Kennedy Autopsy, Part 7 by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Kennedy Autopsy, Part 8 by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Kennedy Autopsy, Part 9 by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Kennedy Autopsy, Part 10 by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Kennedy Autopsy, Part 11 by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Kennedy Autopsy, Part 12 by Jacob G. Hornberger


Suppose that on the flight back from Dallas on November 22, 1963, President Johnson made the following telephone call to the two military pathologists who would be conducting the autopsy on President Kennedy’s body, Navy commanders James Humes and J. Thornton Boswell:

Gentlemen, this is the president speaking. Our nation finds itself in a grave emergency, one involving the greatest threat to national security in our nations history. As you know, President Kennedy has just been shot and killed.

The assassin, a man named Lee Harvey Oswald, has been taken into custody. CIA Director Helms has informed me that the man is a communist. He is a former U.S. Marine who rejected his country, moved to the Soviet Union, and attempted to defect. In the process, he gave top-secret, classified information to the Soviets, information that he acquired while stationed at the Atsugi Naval Air Facility in Japan, where our U2 spy planes were based. Don’t ask me why he wasn’t charged with treason on his return to the United States. Well deal with that later when hes prosecuted for murdering President Kennedy.

The problem is that Oswald did not operate alone. Shots were also fired from the front of the motorcade, with one shot hitting the president in the throat and another hitting him in front of the head and exiting the rear. This has been confirmed by President Kennedy’s personal physician, Navy Admiral George Burkley, who was present in the presidents emergency room at Parkland. We also have the statement of a Dallas police officer who encountered a man flashing a Secret Service badge in the area from which the frontal shots were fired. We have confirmed that there were no Secret Service agents in that area.

Director Helms informs me that as recently as two months ago, Oswald was engaged in pro-Castro activities in New Orleans. More ominously, the CIA has photographic and audiotape evidence establishing that one month ago, Oswald traveled to Mexico City, where he visited both the Cuban and Soviet embassies. At the latter, he met with a known Soviet assassin, a man named Valery Kostikov.

I am sure you understand the implications of all this, but let me make them clear: our country is once again faced with the imminent prospect of nuclear war, and the danger is even more real than it was 13 months ago during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Given the evidence, there is only one reasonable possibility: Oswald and his confederates were acting on behalf of Cuba and the Soviet Union.

I don’t need to tell you that this assassination is an act of war an attack by the communists on our president and on our country. Ordinarily, I would be ordering an immediate mobilization of the U.S. armed forces in preparation for retaliation by the United States, beginning with a military invasion of Cuba.

However, Director Helms has also provided me with extremely disquieting information. It turns out that President Kennedy and his brother Robert, the attorney general, have been operating a damned Murder, Inc., in the Caribbean, involving repeated assassination attempts by the CIA on Castro. Even worse, Helms informs me that the CIA had a full-fledged assassination partnership with the Mafia to assassinate Castro, with the full approval of the Kennedy brothers. Yes, the Mafia.

Under these circumstances, I have decided that I cannot take our nation to war, a nuclear war that would inevitably kill tens of millions Americans and countless more people around the world. How could I wreak so much death and destruction knowing that we were the ones who started this assassination business and that Castro and the Soviets were simply retaliating?

I need your help to prevent such a war from breaking out. Having removed the presidents body from Dallas to prevent the Dallas authorities from conducting an autopsy, we are now returning the body to Washington so that our military will have control over the autopsy.

I am hereby ordering you, on the basis of national security, to do whatever is necessary to hide any evidence of shots having been fired from the front. We need to pin this thing solely on that no-good, dirty communist traitor Oswald. We need to do whatever is necessary to prevent mushroom clouds from rising above American cities.

I don’t need to tell you the importance of secrecy here. If the American people were to discover that their beloved president has been killed by Castro and Khrushchev, the pressure for retaliation would be insurmountable. Therefore, I am hereby ordering you to never, ever disclose what you are about to do to anyone, including any investigative body.

I fully understand that I am ordering you to do some unsavory and unpleasant things, but as you can see, they are absolutely essential to national security. I take full responsibility for your actions, and if they are ever uncovered I will issue an immediate presidential pardon to everyone who followed my orders.

What you are about to do must be taken to the grave with you. Your role in saving our country and the world from nuclear war will never be acknowledged. But one of these days you will be able to go to your deathbeds knowing that you played a critical role in saving the lives of tens of millions of innocent people, including perhaps your own families, from an illegitimate and ill-founded nuclear war.

There will be a CIA officer present at the autopsy. He is a trained pathologist. He is in charge. He will be standing in my stead, as your commander in chief. You are to follow his orders during the autopsy.

One more thing, gentlemen: I need your solemn, sworn oath as military officers that you will never, ever disclose this conversation and what you are about to do to anyone for any reason, including congressional hearings and investigative bodies. Thank you for your service to our country, and God bless America.

Given such a grave threat to national security on November 22, 1963, there is no way that any military officer would have refused to follow the orders of his commander in chief. Once the president explained the nature of the emergency and the very real threat to national security with the very real prospect of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union every single military officer in the country would have faithfully followed whatever orders were issued to him by the president, especially if by doing so the officer would have been helping to save his country from a wrongfully instigated nuclear war. And having sworn on his oath to take such highly classified information to his grave, he would have done so.

The circumstantial evidence indicates that the national-security/nuclear-war rationale was being employed in the aftermath of the assassination at the same time that determined efforts were being made to immediately shut down the investigation and pin the assassination solely on Oswald.

When Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren refused Johnson’s invitation to serve on what later became known as the Warren Commission, based on the impropriety of a Supreme Court justices serving on an executive-branch panel, Johnson persuaded him to change his mind by referring to the possibility of a nuclear war that would kill some millions of Americans. Consider this excerpt from the page entitled Walkthrough: Formation of the Warren Commission on the Mary Ferrell Foundation website, a site dedicated to exploring the Kennedy assassination:

Nov 29, 8:55PM Phone call between President Johnson and Richard Russell

In this fascinating call, the last of the day, Johnson tells Russell that he has named him to the Commission over Russell’s objections, because you’ve got to lend your name to this thing and because we’ve got to take this out of the arena where they’re testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and kicking us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour LBJ also tells Russell the story of how Warren turned him down repeatedly, until Johnson pulled out what Hoover told me about a little incident in Mexico City.

Consider the following excerpt on the same website page:

Nov 24, 4:00PM Account of phone call between FBI Director Hoover and White House Aide Walter Jenkins

Hoover began by reporting that There is nothing further on the Oswald case except that he is dead. At the end of the call, Hoover noted the need to have something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin, and that (Assistant Attorney General) Katzenbach thinks that the President might appoint a Presidential Commission of three outstanding citizens to make a determination.

Consider this excerpt from the same website page regarding a memo issued by Deputy U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach issued just 3 days after the assassination:

Nov 25, time unknown Katzenbach Memo

Titled Memorandum for Mr. Moyers, Katzenbach lays out the need for a public statement on the assassination. Katzenbach states that The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that the evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial.

On page 1507 of volume 5 of his book Inside the Assassination Records Review Board author Douglas Horne recounts a fascinating incident that indicates that Robert Kennedy had been provided with the national-security/nuclear-war scenario:,

In the days immediately following President Kennedy’s assassination, the Kennedy family reportedly the late Presidents brother, Bobby sent an unofficial emissary to the Soviet Union to inform its leadership, via the KGB, that in spite of the fact that the accused assassin had been a defector to the Soviet Union, and apparently had emotional and ideological ties to Castro’s Cuba, the Kennedy family did not believe that the USSR had anything to do with the assassination, but instead was convinced that JFK’s murder was the result of a large, right-wing domestic political conspiracy.

Under this national-security/nuclear-war paradigm, then, the pieces of the JFK assassination seem to fall into place. What appear to be anomalies and strange actions, especially during Kennedy’s autopsy, become reasonable and rational. Shots are purportedly fired from both the front and the back. The authorities take into custody the purported shooter from the back, Lee Harvey Oswald. Given Oswald’s pro-Cuba sympathies and connections to the Soviet Union (e.g., his attempted defection to the Soviet Union, his recent pro-Castro activities in New Orleans, and his recent visits to the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City), the only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn is that Oswald and the shooter in the front were operating as agents of Cuba and the Soviet Union, which would almost certainly mean nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Since Kennedy’s assassination, however, would have been retaliatory in nature, given Kennedy’s repeated attempts to assassinate Castro, it would have been reasonable for Johnson to do what was necessary to hide the conspiracy from the American people and to pin the assassination entirely on Oswald, in order to avoid nuclear war. Johnson would have ordered the Secret Service to take control over Kennedy’s body at Parkland and put it in the hands of the military, which could then be relied upon to loyally follow orders based on national security by doing whatever was necessary to conceal evidence of shots fired from the front during the autopsy. It would then be logical to keep matters relating to the autopsy and, for that matter, matters relating to the later Warren Commission investigation into the assassination, secret from the American people for 75 years.

If this is what actually happened if President Kennedy was actually hit from shots fired from the front, and if the aim of President Johnson and other high officials of the national-security state was to conceal the evidence of such shots in order to avoid an illegitimate nuclear war wouldn’t this mean then that we should be as grateful to Johnson for avoiding a nuclear war as we are to President Kennedy for avoiding nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis thirteen months before? Wouldn’t this mean that we should be grateful to the national-security establishment, especially those military officials who conducted the Kennedy autopsy, for doing what was necessary to protect us in what arguably was the biggest national-security crisis in our nations history?

Well, not exactly, because, you see, there is a fatal flaw in this scenario, a critically important one that we will examine in the next segment.

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    Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.