Tuesday, February 9, 2010

And now back to JFK - Doug Horne and Jim Fetzer Part I

It's been hard to keep up with the advances in the case made by Doug Horne.  I still have not read his 5 volumes.  I have tried to make a point of listening to his interviews on radio and podcasts.  Recently, he was on in 4 parts on Jim Fetzer's podcast called "The Real Deal."  I have made a transcript.

First, a word about them.  I make them for my own benefit as they help me, and I offer them free to all as they will probably help you too.  I do so freely.  I would appreciate it if you find them valuable to consider making a donation, a whole dollar amount please.

And a word to Josiah Thompson, I am not up on the latest alteration vs. anti-alteration war waging on Simkin's Education Forum, and or elsewhere.  And Fetzer insults you pretty severely in these transcripts.  I do not share Fetzer's view of you.  So, to make this fair and or fun for you, play the Jim Fetzer drinking game.  Everytime Fetzer refers to himself, his books, his conference, and his podcast, always in the most humble of terms (cough) have a drink.

And have two when you notice how often the guest asks to interject to get a word in.  :)


Fetzer - This is James Fetzer, your host on the “Real Deal,” and today I am especially proud to have as my featured guest Douglas Horne a graduate from Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s degree in History, a Junior Officer in the U.S. Navy for 10 years. 10 more with the Navy as a Civil Servant in an anti-submarine warfare program, who went to work for the Assassination Records Review Board in Washington for the final three years of the Board’s four year life span from August 1995 through September 1998. He was hired as senior analyst for the military records team, later promoted to the position of chief analyst for military records.  He has produced 5 volumes recording his efforts and involvement here [there.].  And I will say that they are simply spectacular.  I have spent the last two days in anticipation of this occasion reading his chapter on the Zapruder film.  And it is a masterpiece! To me it is astonishing how this man could absorb all of this technical information, process it, apply it, and write a masterful exposition that is effortless to read and completely informative and convincing.  So, anyone out there who has a serious interest in the assassination of JFK I say the time has come, get out there, go to Amazon.com, obtain all five volumes, they are inexpensive, less than $20 dollars apiece.  You can start if you want to, to do one at a time with volume four which is utterly fascinating.  And as I am going to invite Doug now, for us to begin with a discussion of the Zapruder film, it is utterly crucial to understand the cover up, because by altering the film and removing significant events that were devastating indications of Secret Service complicity in the assassination of the President of the United States and by contracting the timeline it became logically impossible if you assume that the film is authentic to reconstruct what actually happened in Dealey Plaza on 22 November 1963 so that generations of students of the assassination have toiled in vain sincerely, dedicatedly, honestly, making their best efforts to understand what happened and all of it, alas, in a basically futile effort to reconstruct what could not be reconstructed because they were taking for granted a false premise, to wit, the authenticity of the film.
So, for me it is just a great privilege to welcome to the show, Doug Horne. 

Doug Horne - (via phone) Good evening Jim, I’m smiling, I’m just terribly pleased to be here and I’m glad that the chapter has resonated with you and with others, so thank you.

Fetzer - Doug, to say that we have reached a turning point is a modest statement of what you have accomplished, because I must say you have to have been the right person, with the right background, with the right intellect to deal with this massive complicated information and given your background in history I think you have turned out to be the perfect, detached, participant observer that the Social Sciences offer as their paradigm and I am just profoundly impressed and grateful beyond words that you have done what you have done.  And I am now, I cannot tell you how eager I am to read the other chapters.  But, the Zapruder [film] is the perfect place to begin by virtue of its pivotal role in relation to the cover up. Now as you yourself well know arguments have been made by a number of those who are dedicated to the proposition that the film is authentic including, of course, the author of the celebrated work, “Six Seconds in Dallas,” Josiah Thompson, which was published in 1967 which carried special weight because Josiah had actually gone to work with LIFE magazine, had actually viewed the original, or what was then thought to be the original frames of the film, even had surreptitiously photographed many of them in violation of his contractual agreements with LIFE magazine and who has become the most relentless critic of any of us who have sought to conduct research sufficient to establish the lack of authenticity of the film.  David Wrone, a professor at the campus of the University of Wisconsin who has published a book about the Zapruder film in which he offers positions that are grossly at odds with the evidence available to us, and third, but certainly not least, Rollie Zavada, who was a technical film expert for KODAK, who was brought back out of retirement where you had a role to play in arranging for him to serve as a consultant on the authenticity of the film, and I think perhaps a great place to start would be with Rollie Zavada, Doug, tell us a bit about Rollie’s background, Rollie’s contributions and your assessment of what he has done.

Horne - Sure, Jim.  Early on in the Review Board’s life span it was clear internally to the Board members and the senior staff, and when I say senior staff I mean David Marwell, the Executive Director, Jeremy Gunn, the legal counsel it was clear to them that the Board was going to take the film. Now the film was in courtesy storage at the Archives placed there by the Zapruder family after it got the film back from TIME-LIFE and placed in courtesy storage in ‘78, 1978.  And they tried to withdraw it after the JFK Act was passed.  And the Archives said not so fast that might be declared an assassination record, and they made a second attempt and they were rebuffed a second time. So, knowing that they were going to take the film legally, which they did in 1997, the Board became interested in it.  And I was the official pain in the ass on the staff, I talked a lot with Jeremy Gunn, my boss, about the doubts that people in the research community had had since the early 1990’s about the film’s authenticity, and as I explained to him the primary question then had become not what the image content of the film showed but whether, but the question, the main question had become is the film authentic? And I must have made the right pitch to Jeremy because he agreed with me when I suggested that we needed to do some kind of rudimentary authenticity study of the film since we were going to take the film legally, and since the Congress would then have to compensate the family for the film having been taken, that we should at least attempt to do what no one else had done which was to assess its authenticity in at least some basic way. So, we approached KODAK, the Review Board approached KODAK and asked right up front would you do some free work for us, some pro bone work, and KODAK said yes. And so we kicked around, for at least half a year or so the options of what might be done, and finally, and the two projects finally selected were to digitally copy and preserve the autopsy photographs and also to do an authenticity study, a limited authenticity study of the Zapruder film which would not assess image content but which would examine things like what type of film was it, what were the markings on the edge of the film, the date codes, like the factory markings, the developing markings, and look at authenticity from that angle.

Fetzer - You’re talking basically looking at the strip of celluloid-

Horne - Yes

Fetzer - and asking whether this is authentic KODAK film, for example that would be consistent with it having been processed in 1963.

Horne - and with having been done in Abe Zapruder’s camera, correct, correct.  So, KODAK brought out of retirement a gentleman named Rollie Zavada who had managed a couple of their product lines.  He was a film chemist.  He was not associated with Hollywood in any way, but he was a film chemist who had been involved in the KODOCHROME film project and in the introduction of the Super 8 movie system, which were both home movie projects in the early and mid ‘60s.  So, he came out of retirement and KODAK ending up paying him for his efforts, and he worked for, roughly, I’m doing this by memory, about a year and a half on this project and he spent more time on it than he thought he would, and more time than we thought he would, and produced this report right before we shut down, literally.  We got it in the mail like three days before we shut down.  And we just had to turn it over to the Archives.  So, he assessed authenticity questions surrounding the strip of film, but not the image content because we knew he was not qualified to comment on the possibility of visual effects or anything like that because he never worked in Hollywood or in the post-production of motion pictures.

So, Rollie and I had a good personal relationship in 1996, ‘7 and ‘8 and I was the devil’s advocate, I was the one that pressed him from time to time with the questions that had been expressed within the research community, the questions I was aware of at the time.  I talked about the car stop that witnesses have recalled, I talked about the different wounds seen at Parkland hospital than those that are seen in the film today, I talked about the many, many, anomalies that are seen in the inner sprocket area of the film, and he proceeded to do his investigation.  And one of the really good things he did is he went down to Dallas and interviewed the surviving witnesses who had worked in the KODAK developing plant down there, and in the Jamieson film lab. And so much of my chapter is devoted to analyzing some of his findings and examining how he came up with those findings based on his witness interviews.

Fetzer - Doug, let me intervene here just by reading from page 1292, some of your conclusions in relation to Rollie Zavada’s work that you might comment on them, you begin, “In his long essay published in 2007 on the Mary Ferrell Foundation website Josiah Thompson told us we should all trust Rollie Zavada’s judgment and defer to his authority. ‘ Rollie Zavada has a towering reputation in the field and no conceivable reason for cooking his conclusions.” Now that we have concluded examining his report and Zavada’s change of mind since that time it is clear that he has cooked his conclusions.  In particular, he has ignored - trashed - key testimony.

That the exposures were not bracketed at the Jamieson lab when the three “first day copies,” were struck, meaning that the three ‘first generation copies today should not be bracketed copies;

That a ‘full frame aperture (picture plus soundtrack) was used when duplicating the Zapruder film, meaning that the intersprocket images should be present on the ‘first generation copies;’

That the edge printer light was turned off when the original film was developed, meaning that there should not be a double registration of processing edge print in the family scenes on the extant ‘first generation.’ copies; and

That the camera original film was slit at the KODAK plant in Dallas, meaning that the 16mm wide, unslit black and white copies in existence today cannot have originated from the camera original film, and are instead indirect evidence that a new ‘original’ was created as an unslit 16mm, double 8 movie (just as Homer McMahon’s expert testimony to the ARRB indicates.)

You conclude this paragraph, “Furthermore Zavada’s opposition to the shooting of a control film in Zapruder’s actual camera in Dealey Plaza - which was inexplicable and extremely frustrating when it occurred in 1997 - now takes on a very different taint, one of possibly intentional sabotage of the authentication effort by the ARRB staff. An incredible charge you say? Not necessarily.”

Horne - Well, that was the perfect page to read.  That sums it all up.

Fetzer - Well, what I want to say Doug is the fact is you’re faulting Rollie Zavada for issuing false conclusions in the precise area of his expertise where he has been endorsed as an unchangeable authority by Josiah Thompson which in turn impugns his integrity in offering such an endorsement in the light of your findings.

Horne - Yeah, you certainly have to question what was going on with Rollie when he came up with conclusions that opposed the findings of his own witnesses, repeatedly.  It’s really beyond me, in fact it’s quite alarming as I wrote this chapter last Spring I really became quite agitated at what I was looking at.  You know the people at the KODAK developing plant told him that the original, the camera original film and the three copies exposed that day were all slit to 8mm, told him that the edge printer light was turned off and that the first day copies should have had the inner sprocket images copied onto them, and significantly that and the Jamieson people with the Jamieson lab told him that the copies were not bracketed, and, of course, the three so called first generation copies that exist today are clearly bracketed.  So, Rollie’s contribution is to prove that yes they’re bracketed in exposure you know there is a dark, medium, and perfect, and a light version of the three first generation copies, but, they should look that way based on his witnesses they should all look the same.  And for someone to say that he had no reason to cook his conclusions really starts to look bad when we realize where, we haven’t gotten into this yet tonight, but where the film was the weekend of the assassination at KODAK headquarters in Rochester, then you begin to see a motive for possibly cooking these conclusion.  The company, I think, was protecting its reputation, and its hind end, and its interests over three decades later in the way this report was written. 

Fetzer - Doug, KODAK must have been ecstatic that the ARRB would approach it to authenticate the very film that it had been responsible for faking. 

Horne - And I doubt that they are very ecstatic right now.  (laughs)

Fetzer - Well, I’ll just tell you, in general, I don’t think that those others who were managing the ARRB, who subverted your effort to use Zapruder’s own camera and made it impossible to even conduct experiments with a similar camera in Dealey Plaza and who performed a host of other forms of deception and deceit in trying to suppress the kinds of findings you were turning up can be remotely pleased that you have written this magnificent five volume work, because Doug what you have done is of such a caliber, it’s so detailed, it’s so convincing, it’s so beautifully written that no one can read it and not understand what actually happened.  It’s almost as though they were there.

Horne - Well, thank you Jim, and you know I welcome, I wish, if people want to start my book out the way you suggested and just buy volume 4 first, that’s fine that might grab them more than any other single volume.   And I welcome people reading everything, read Josiah Thompson’s book, read David Wrone’s book but definitely read my chapter before you form your opinions about it, don’t defer to the opinions of others in chat rooms on what to think about this chapter.  People should read it themselves because I designed it to be extremely accessible to the average reader and I’m pleased that you found it to be that way.

Fetzer - Oh, it’s superb, I mean it so exceeded my highest expectations, Doug.  As you well know I’d already published two pieces of your research in “Murder in Dealey Plaza,” about the handling of the film at the National Photographic Interpretation Center and about the two supplemental brain examinations, and I therefore already had a very high opinion of your work. But, to discover that you could process such a mass of very complex technical data and offer an exposition that is completely and utterly coherent that lays every detail in its proper place, that establishes a logical structure of the relationships involved here between the evidence and the hypothesis and to make it so unbelievably readable, I’m just saying you have a gift, and the fact that you were in this position is just incredibly fortuitous for those of us who have been striving so diligently for so many years to uncover the truth because you have offered us a synoptic synthesis here that really makes these complex issues accessible to the average intelligent layman, Doug, you have done that.

Horne - Well thanks Jim.  How much time do we have before the first break?

Fetzer - We have about seven minutes.  And what I want to say first is I was also struck by two aspects of the Rollie Zavada modus operation [operandi] one is his change of mind after assuring you that indeed the original film had been slit at the Jamieson lab in Dallas and then later on realizing that was a gaffe no doubt because he had now come to appreciate that this 16mm unslit copy was taken to the National Photographic Interpretation Center on Sunday the 24th and trying to undo his original commitment I know was for you the final, the last straw.

Horne - That was the last straw and he revealed, his change of position on whether the camera original film had been slit from 16mm to 8mm he reversed that position probably in two ways one in a posting which Richard Trask published in his Zapruder film book and another one in an interview at the home of Harry Livingstone, which fortunately Harry published it in his book in 2004 and I was astounded at what I was reading, that Rollie had flip flopped on whether the film was slit, that is the most basic, central fact that he was charged with coming up with, what happened to the film the day it was shot, how was it developed, and to try to change your mind about something that basic, after the fact, after you have issued your report, and in contradiction of your own witnesses was just; it was mind blowing to me, and so if I have deconstructed his report and helped people to understand that it is not to be considered the bible, or the holy book of the Zapruder film then I’ve done what I’ve intended to do because it is not the bible.

Fetzer - (chomping at the bit to get a word in) On the contrary, it’s an exemplar of deceit and deception!  His own conclusions contradict his own evidence-

Horne - Right.

Fetzer - and the major conclusions he has drawn are demonstrably false.  And that’s about the technical aspects of a strip of celluloid!  I mean, it’s got nothing to do with the image content.

Horne - That’s right, Jim.

Fetzer - What you have exposed here Doug has completely discredited Rollie Zavada and I will say categorically that anyone who seeks to defend authenticity of the Zapruder film in the future and offers Rollie Zavada as a source will thereby have displayed their own, either incompetence or their gross intent to deceive their audience because those are unjustifiable positions in the wake of what you have disclosed here.  And to me moreover it is blatantly obvious that in withholding his report until just, the conclusions, days before you had to shut your office was another form of deceit in precluding the possibility that you would be able to examine it and subject it to critical scrutiny.  Rollie Zavada must be in anguish now that you have published this work which he never foresaw and he must be absolutely petrified about this

Horne - Yeah, I have a feeling we may not be speaking [to each other] anymore. (Laughs)

Fetzer - (laughing) Well, well, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to speak with him.  And it’s going to be extremely revealing if any of those who are so prominent in seeking to defend authenticity make any claims about the film based upon the properties of the celluloid that have been so thoroughly discredited.

Horne - Yeah, Jim (wanting to say something, starts to say something) I, ah...

Fetzer - (is also about to say something)

Horne - Go ahead jim.  I just had a senior moment. 

Fetzer - He didn’t even certify the fact that the numbers were punched in the wrong place, I mean what could be more blatant than that?

Horne - Right.

Fetzer - That is simple, obvious, direct, patent, you know, that doesn’t require a complex form of reasoning, it doesn’t require any chemical analysis of the film.

Horne - Right, these punched identification numbers that were put into every 8mm film by every KODAK processing plant are in the wrong place, were in the wrong place on the original, they are missing now on the original, and are in the wrong place, in different ways on the three so called first generation copies also a very, very glaring discrepancy that didn’t seem to trouble him, but it sure troubles me.

Fetzer - And let me just mention, virtually as an aside, that one missing copy number 0184 or 1084 that may, or may not have gone to the Hunt family.  Have you had any further reflections about that missing, that missing copy?

Horne - Only to say that it’s still a completely unresolved mystery.  There is no resolution to that.  The original film had 0183 punched in it, and three copies were exposed at another lab and brought back for developing they had 0185, 6, and 7, and no one has explained what was 0184, and Richard Trask has only speculated that somebody adjusted the number on the machine but really no one has any clue what that means-

Fetzer - I would categorically reject the idea that it was a fluke with the machine but I would certainly support the idea that H. L. Hunt had a very keen interest in obtaining a copy and to me its still a perfectly plausible [idea] that his designated representative with a vast sum of money in his hands was able to purchase that copy. 

Horne - Well, and his representative said he did.  So, how about that?  He told Dick Russell that he did.

Fetzer - Which leaves the possibility that perhaps that one authentic copy of the film remains in an archive somewhere as a macabre momento of a gruesome event in American history one that has had fateful consequences for the nation. 

Horne - Right.  A hunting trophy for the right-wing. you know

Fetzer - Doug, we are going to take our first break and then continue our conversation, this is Jim Fetzer your host on The Real Deal, with my very special guest today, Doug Horne, talking about his book, “Inside the ARRB,” we’ll be right back.

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