Electronic Assassinations Newsletter
Heretofore, I have remained silent with respect to the facts alleged to be the ultimate, final gospel as presented in Case Closed. I have kept this silence for two reasons: first, I hate waiting on long lines; secondly, I have tried to make it my practice to avoid truly bizarre JFK assassination theories.
Now, almost a year since Case Closed reared its ugly head, it has been bashed thousands of times by countless critics who, in fact, do know more about the res gestae of Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, and who will not close the case until we have found the absolute truth. If this sounds like a negative commentary on Case Closed, it will get worse when the critics get to Chapter Two and the subsequent pages of Mr. Posner's work.
Critics have, in fact, analyzed literally every sentence of the work under scrutiny, and where Posner has given an opinion cum fact, he is criticized by people who are giving their opinions cum facts. The truth is not always well served by this process.
I shall now begin my examination of the sentence I have taken for my text, and I promise to stick to the facts. You may check them as your eyesight persists, or if you read "The Warren Omission" chapter in my next book, Blue Death, Red Patsy, White Lies, or a monograph which expands on that chapter and will keep the name The Warren Omission.
On page 411 of Case Closed, the Warren Commission's failures are simplistically explained away: "Since all the Commissioners had full time careers, [one wonders what Allen Dulles' was ...] they could only spend part of their time at the hearings. Senator Russell had the poorest attendance, hearing only six percent [sic] of the testimony. Only three of the seven commissioners heard more than half the testimony."
Therein, Mr. Posner clearly demonstrates the shallowness of his "research", the gullibility he anticipated in his readers (not surprising in Warren Report believers), and his willingness to pass off pedantry as scholarship.
I have told many folks that I have read the 26 volumes of the Hearings and Exhibits three times, but I haven't requested notice in The Guiness Book of World Records. I do, however, assert that when I counted every question put to every witness, and analyzed the content of each of the 109,930 questions, it was a unique exercise. It also taught me where the Warren Commission, and its most recent apologist, went badly astray.
With respect to "Senator Russell ... hearing only six percent (sic) of the testimony," Posner gives the Georgia legislator, who had serious reservations about the whole fraudulent Warren Commission, more - much more - than his due.
The 15 volumes of testimony comprise 7,909 pages. Six per cent of that is 474.5 pages; Russell appears on only 140 pages, or l.7%. Is this the full extent of the Posnerian deception? No. All indicators bear out that Russell's apathy was far more serious than stated. The Warren Commission took testimony from 488 different witnesses, although some, like Marina Oswald, were deposed several times, and others, like Jesse Curry, were deposed once in Dallas by a commission attorney, and only then flown to D.C. The commission appearance appears in Volume IV, dated April 22, 1964; the staff appearance, which one could call a rehearsal, as virtually all questions that Curry handled well were re-asked in D.C., occurred a week earlier, on April 15, but was buried in Volume XII.
Of the 488 witnesses, Russell's 6% would amount to 29 witnesses; in fact, he heard testimony of six, and was walking into the hearing room during the last two questions put to Dr. Shaw (IV, 116-7). To use another variable, if Senator Russell had heard 6% of the questions asked, he would have heard 109,930 x.06, or 6,596; in fact, he heard 986, or .89%. Not even one percent of the almost 110 thousand questions, and hardly 6%. As a final variable, 6% of the questions asked would again be 6,596; Russell asked 249, or .22%. These findings are reflected in Table One.
TABLE ONE Posner Reality 6% of pages = 474 140 (1.7%) 6% of witnesses = 29 6 (1.2%) 6% of ?? heard = 6,596 986 (.89%) 6% of ?? asked = 6,596 249 (.22%) Composite (only available in reality) 4.01/4 = 1.0025%
Hardly approaching 6%, yet at 1% it is probative of the critics' arguments that Russell wanted no part of the proceedings, refusing at one point to sign the Report.
He heard one witness, Marguerite Oswald, in Volume I; no witness in Volumes II and III; Dr. Gregory and the Connallys in Volume IV, contributing three questions to the record of Dr. Gregory. On September 2, he asked Treasury Secretary Douglas Dillon one procedural question about the Secret Service (V, 575), and then, on September 6, he led the questioning of Marina at the US Naval Air Station in Dallas, asking 245 questions which revolved around ticket stubs from a bullfight in Mexico a year earlier. Of note, Russell asked the final question asked by a commissioner (V, 620). Somehow that is fitting for the one commissioner who did not ask a question until April 21; who did not ask a question (in the "presence" of commissioners) until 51 witnesses had been asked 24,893 questions, and an additional 305 witnesses had been deposed by counsel and were asked over 70,000 questions; who was absent from the proceedings from I, 186, to IV, 122, or 1,470 continuous pages, or 55.89% continuous absence of the testimony taken by commissioners.
Well, Mr. Posner, you didn't get it right on Richard Russell! What about the rest?
With respect to the remainder of slick wording on page 411 of Case Closed, [which perhaps should have been titled "Farce Posed" after its author], "Only three of the seven commissioners heard more than half the testimony," the accuracy here is different from the data Mr. Posner put forward regarding Senator Russell.
Put another way, this part is even more grossly inaccurate. Mr. Posner has again somehow, well, let's say "overlooked" the fact that his original researchers, the seven Warren Commissioners, only were "present" in varying degrees, at the testimony of 93 of the 488 witnesses. The fact that no witness ever gave testimony before the entire Warren Commission bespeaks volumes.
We know Russell's achievements. What of the others? Chairman Earl Warren was "present" (the term used by the WC stenos, and for good reason) for all 93 witnesses heard by Commissioners, but he played an extremely limited role, often just lending dignity, if that was possible, to the proceedings, by swearing in the witness and then asking a throw-away question or two before turning the witness over to the staff counsel, who asked 81.22% of the questions put to witnesses in the presence of commissioners. A classic Earl Warren question was put to Marina: "Well, Mrs. Oswald, did you have a good trip here?" (I,1) It is the first question asked by the Commission, and since Marina was not yet sworn, one wonders at the range of her possible answers: "Yes, Mr. Warren, there was not much turbulence. Now can we talk about my dead husband whose guilt you have already decided, so I can go back to my usual FBI harassment?"
The two government "insiders," Allen Dulles and Gerald Ford, attended 70 and 60 hearings, respectively, and asked the highest totals of WC questions, 2,154 and 1,772 respectively (not surprising given their roles on the Commission.) John Sherman Cooper attended 50 hearings, John McCloy 35, and Hale Boggs 20. We have already had passing mention of Richard Russell's 6. The totality of their efforts [and recall our premise, "only three of the seven commissioners heard more than half the testimony..."] is reflected in Table Two:
TABLE TWO Commissioner Hearings # of ?? % of WC ?? % of total ?? Role E. Warren 93 608 8.7 .55% Chair A. Dulles 70 2,154 30.9 1.96% Cover CIA ass G. Ford 60 1,772 25.4* 1.61% FBI mole J.S. Cooper 50 926 13.2 .84% W.B. ** J. McCloy 35 795 11.4 .72% Big $$ H. Boggs 20 460 6.6 .41% G.F. *** (R. Russell) 6 249 3.5 .22 Gadfly 334/7 = 47.7 6964/7 = 994.8 (100) 6.33/7 = .904% *The two suggested government insiders asked over 50% of the questions posed by Commissioners, although they were hardly probative; **"Warm Body"; ***"Go figure."
The final "omission" [no plug intended) in Case Closeds' depth of research is its failure to understand what "present" meant with respect to a Commissioner and a witness. Most simply put, it means that the Commissioner named was "present" at some time during the questioning of that witness.
The testimony of Dallas Ringmaster Jesse Curry is instructive (IV, 150ff). Listed as "present" were Warren, Cooper, Ford, McCloy, and Dulles. Only Warren and Dulles were present at the outset of the 683 question session. Dulles remained throughout; Warren left at question 122. John McCloy arrived at question 125, and since the others arrived later, Ford at 130, departing at 450, and Cooper, arriving at 314 and departing at 492, we are left with the fact that only one, not five, or four, but one was present at question 123 put to Jesse Curry. The results of his overall session are illustrated in Table Three:
TABLE THREE WC Arrived Left # of ?? heard % of ?? heard Warren 0 122 122 17.86% Dulles 0 683 683 100.00% McCloy 125 683 558 81.69% Ford 130 450 320 46.85% Cooper 314 492 178 26,06% TOTALS 569/5=114 2430/5=486 1861/5=372 272.46/5=54.49%
It would thus appear that Mr. Posner has committed a series of egregious if unintentional errors in his conclusions regarding the time spent "on task" by the seven Presidential dwarves. Richard Russell did not hear 6% of anything, except possibly D. C. traffic. Only Earl Warren was "present" for a number as high as 19.2% of the witnesses, but not even remotely that much testimony. The others lent their names to a governmental fiasco typified in the following exchange, which occurred during the testimony of Ruth Paine:
The CHAIRMAN: Senator Cooper, at this time I am obliged to leave for our all-day conference on Friday at the Supreme Court, and I may be back later in the day, but if I don't, you continue, of course.
Senator COOPER: I will this morning. If I can't be here this afternoon, whom do you want to preside?
The CHAIRMAN: Congressman Ford, would you be here this afternoon at all?
Representative FORD: Unfortunately Mr. McCloy and I have to go to a conference out of town.
The CHAIRMAN: You are both going out of town, aren't you?
Senator COOPER: I can go and come back if it is necessary.
The CHAIRMAN: I will try to be here myself. Will Mr. Dulles be here?
Mr. McCLOY: He is out of town.
The CHAIRMAN: If you should not finish, Mr. Jenner [he was asking the questions ...], will you phone me at the Court and I will try to suspend my own conference over there and come over.
Senator COOPER: I will be here anyway all morning and will try to come back this afternoon.
The CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. (III, 55 - 56)
You, good reader, can judge which of the researchers whose names appear in this commentary have done their homework and not relied on an outfit which carries failure in its name. As for you, Mr. Posner, I surely hope you enjoyed my little "omission" here, because I surely enjoyed all of yours.