ABC's Simulation:
Spectacular Disinformation
by Jim Fetzer

ABC has announced a simulation of the death of President John F. Kennedy will be broadcast as part of a two-hour special on Thursday, 20 November 2003. The study supports the official Warren Commission conclusion that Lee Oswald acted alone. According to one release, Dale Myers, an award-winning animator, has spent the past decade creating a computer-generated reconstruction of the assassination based upon maps, blueprints, physical measurements, more than 500 photographs, the Zapruder film, and the official autopsy report.

The program will be narrated by Peter Jennings. "There has been so much innuendo and presumption in the conspiracy theories that, on this 40th anniversary of the President's murder, the subject cries out for review", said Jennings. According to the program's executive producer, Tom Yellin, "It leaves no room for doubt!" He calls the results of ABC's study "enormously powerful. It's irrefutable." Yellin's declarations, however, leave some room for doubt and raise the suspicion that this broadcast may actually be an exercise in disinformation on a spectacular scale.

Even in pure mathematics, proofs are only irrefutable relative to an assumed set of assumptions. That the interior angles of a triangle equal 180 degrees, for example, is true in plane geometry but not in spherical or in hyperbolic. That this program, which vindicates The Warren Report (1964), is not "irrefutable" is easy to demonstrate. There were at least two shots from the front-one of which hit Jack's neck, the other his right temple-and a shot from behind hit his back about 5 1/2 inches below the collar.

If there were shooters in front and the "magic bullet" theory--which assumes that the shot to the back hit at the base of the back of his neck--is false, The Warren Report is not only "refutable" but has actually been "refuted"! Even Gerald Ford admitted that he had had the description of the wound to the back changed to "the base of the back of the neck", which otherwise destroyed the "magic bullet" theory before it was launched.

And David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., has taken a CAT scan of a patient with neck and chest dimensions similar to those of President Kennedy and has demonstrated that no bullet could have passed through the neck without hitting any bony structures, as the "magic bullet" theory requires. So the "magic bullet" theory is not only false but provably false and not even anatomically possible--which not only refutes The Warren Report (1964) but also The House Select Committee on Assassinations Report (1979) and Gerald Posner's Case Closed (1993), all of which take the "magic bullet" for granted.

So what's going on here? GI/GO, "garbage in/garbage out", is an axiom of computer science. A phony "computer reconstruction" appears as a diagram in Case Closed, but data about the President's position, the location of the limousine and his wounds' exact properties are not provided. Indeed, that kind of information even in grossly inaccurate forms is not to be found in the pages of this book. Shots to the throat and to the right temple from in front were widely reported on radio and television that day. Studies now published in Assassination Science and in Murder in Dealey Plaza have shown that those reports were correct.

Posner, like the HSCA before him, represents trajectories by using "cones". So where are the computer reconstruction "cones" for these shots? If this is indeed a Posnerite reconstruction, then where is the data on which the reconstruction is allegedly based? Such a reconstruction has to assume that the Zapruder film is authentic, that the autopsy report is correct, and all the rest--hook, line, and sinker.

Any computer reconstruction must be based upon assumptions and data. What data did Dale Myers assume about the location of the limousine, the position of the President's body, and the trajectories based upon the wounds? The limo's location is clearly up for grabs, especially because of uncertainty about when shots were even fired. So when were the shots fired, according to Myers? This is even separate from the possibility that the limo was some 30-40 feet further down Elm Street, which is discussed in The Great Zapruder Film Hoax (2003).

Moreover, Stewart Galanor, Cover-Up (1998), has juxtaposed Warren Commission drawings of the trajectory with the position of the President's head in frame 312 of the film, which the government contends was the last frame before the fatal head shot. When it is properly oriented, however, the trajectory has a slightly upward direction, which, given the slop of Elm Street, appears to be consistent with a shot from the Dal-Tex Building but not from the Book Depository.

And does anyone think the massive, messy, wound to the head allowed any precise measurements about the trajectory? Without them, there can be no calculation of any trajectory and no foundation for simulation. So the government's own evidence contradicts the government's own official findings--and provides no foundation for a "computer reconstruction" of the assassination.

Study the autopsy report, which may be found in Assassination Science, Appendix F, and tell me where you find the kind of data that would be required for an "irrefutable computer reconstruction"? It is not there. And if it is not there, it does not exist. The fellow who drew the diagrams--H. Rydberg--was not even allowed to view the body. So his drawings showed whatever he was instructed to draw. There is no basis here for the kind of data an accurate computerized reconstruction would require.

What we know now disproves the "magic bullet" theory on many different grounds. Consider: JFK's jacket shows a bullet hole about 5 1/2 inches below the collar. His shirt also shows a bullet hole about 5 1/2 inches below the collar. Autopsy pathologist J. Thornton Boswell diagrammed a wound about 5 1/2 inches below the collar-a diagram verified by the President's personal physician. And FBI Agent James Sibert, who observed the autopsy on behalf of J. Edgar Hoover, its Director, shows the wound to the back well below the wound to the throat.

The President's personal physician, moreover, identified a wound at the same location in his death certificate. The mortician who prepared the body for burial also describes it. And reenactment photographs show the President's stand-in with a large, circular patch about 5 1/2 inches below his collar. And The New York Times (3 July 1997) reported that Gerald Ford had acknowledged having the description of the wound moved upward from "the uppermost back" (which is already an exaggeration) to "the base of the back of the neck".

If the shot to the back hit about 5 1/2 inches below the collar, as all of this evidence implies, then it did not hit at the base of the back of the neck. If it did not hit at the base of the back of the neck, then the "magic bullet" theory is false. If the "magic bullet" theory is false, then the wound to the throat and wounds to Texas Governor John Connally have to be explained on the basis of other shots and other shooters.

Other shots and other shooters, in turn, imply a conspiracy to kill the President. That means every study based upon it--including The Warren Report, The HSCA Report, Case Closed, and ABC's simulations--are inconsistent with the evidence and cannot be sustained. There was no magic bullet. Which means there is no foundation for ABC's computer simulation.

These points reflect the obvious. Any computerized reconstruction must be based upon a reconstruction. The foundation for this fantasy is taking The Warren Report itself as the basis for this simulation. It then becomes painfully apparent why this computerized simulation matches The Warren Report: it takes The Warren Report for granted!

Yet The Warren Report suffers from the problems identified above, which introduce outright falsehoods and uncertainties that are not even measurable in their magnitude. GI/GO is the right attitude to adopt about this simulation. ABC has begged the question by taking for granted the conclusion to its own study. Coming soon on network TV.

Jim Fetzer, a professor of philosophy, is the editor of Assassination Science (1998), Murder in Dealey Plaza (2000), and The Great Zapruder Film Hoax (2003). He has made more than 250 radio talk shows appearances discussing the death of JFK.