Friday, November 28, 2014

Max Holland, Alexander Cockburn, and the Warren Commission

Max Holland has been defending the Warren Commission for more than 20 years. He and the late Alexander Cockburn were a tag-team at The Nation magazine when the Oliver Stone movie "JFK" was released in 1991. Cockburn knew nothing about the issues surrounding the assassination, basing his early criticism of Stone's movie on a pirated version of the script before the movie was even released.

Holland pretends to be an expert by including irrelevant facts in his Newsweek version of events as per the Warren Report:

The Warren Commission staff, to its credit...came to realize that the president and the governor had been wounded in such a brief time span that Oswald could not have worked the bolt action on his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle to fire two shots so quickly and accurately. Consequently, the staff theorized that there were either two shooters, or one of the bullets hit both men. The latter seemed more plausible, in part because Oswald had used military ammunition designed to pass through people. 

Besides, there was another insurmountable problem with the Life-FBI scenario: If a bullet, traveling at an entrance velocity of 1,900 feet per second, penetrated the president’s upper back, where did it go after exiting his throat at a velocity of 1,800 feet per second? Only one other person or object in the limousine was struck by a bullet, and that was Connally, his 6-foot-plus frame shoehorned into a jump seat just inches in front of JFK. Of course the same bullet hit the Texas governor; it had to. Critics would deride the “single-bullet theory,” calling it a “magic bullet.” But the truly magical bullet would have been one that disappeared after exiting the president’s throat—which is what one has to believe if one believes it didn’t hit the governor.

Holland, like all defenders of the Warren Commission, "has to believe" a lot bullshit. Yes, the Commission determined that, since the bolt on the alleged assassination rifle took 2.3 seconds to operate, either two assassins were firing from behind the president or the "magic bullet" hit both the president and Governor Connolly.

The problem Holland has is the same one that the Warren Commission had: the Zapruder film shows that Connolly didn't react to being shot until after Kennedy was shot by supposedly the same bullet. Connolly was clearly hit by a different bullet, which means that two assassins were firing from behind the motorcade, and another was firing from the front, since the wound in the president's throat was obviously an entrance wound.[Later: As was the fatal shot to the president's head]

The other problem: the only bullet that hit the president in the "upper back" struck 5 3/4 inches below the collar line. How could a bullet on a downward trajectory hit 5 3/4 inches below the collar line and exit at the president's throat and then reverse course again and go downward to hit Connolly? Hence, the entirely justified and derogatory "magic bullet" designation (See the photos of the president's shirt and jacket showing the location of the bullet hole in his back).

Is Holland lying or is he just stupid? It looks like deliberate deception, since Holland sprinkles his piece with irrelevant facts that would convince the uninformed---like the editors of Newsweek---that he actually knew what he was talking about.

See my "Case Not Closed" on these issues.

See also Gary Aguilar's analysis of Max Holland's career defending the Warren Commission: Max Holland Rescues the Warren Commission and the Nation.

An interesting thread on the issues.

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