- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 7524 KB
- Print Length: 496 pages
- Publisher: University Press of Kansas; Reprint edition (4 October 2005)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B019CVB93Y
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 22 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #801,466 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why Kindle Edition
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"Fifty years from now, writers may still be grinding out new studies and theories about the Kennedy assassination. If so, Breach of Trust probably will be one of their important starting points."--Dallas Morning News
"McKnight's meticulous and well written book manages to expose the political bias that infiltrated so much of the Warren Commission's methods."--Law and Politics Review
"This lucid and persuasive critique of the official version of the assassination is the best book on the subject in years."--Salon.com
"The Warren Commission Report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy . . . was instantly implausible because the authors hid the secrets they knew (and ignored the ones they didn't)."--David Ignatius, Washington Post Book World
"A shrewd, well-researched, deeply provocative investigation into the gross delinquencies of the Warren Commission. Essential reading."--Douglas Brinkley, author of Cronkite
"An extraordinary and exceptionally well-written work that convincingly proves that political reasons, not high investigative standards, formed the Warren Commission, guided its inquiry, and dictated its conclusions."--David R. Wrone, author of The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK's Assassination
"It's impossible in brief to do full justice to McKnight's persuasive study, which adds immeasurably to our knowledge of the assassination and ensuing investigation."--Michael L. Kurtz, author of The Crime of the Century: The Kennedy Assassination from a Historian's Perspective
"Reopens old questions and poses new challenges to the 'official story.' No one interested in the Kennedy 'case' can afford not to read it."--Lloyd C. Gardner, author of The Case That Never Dies: The Lindbergh Kidnapping --This text refers to the paperback edition.
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My anger is further stirred by being mystified as to how the commissioners could, in a "conclusion" of about 900 words, blatantly condemn Oswald when 26 volumes of evidence being the real substance of the report say otherwise. I would argue that this provides prima facie evidence for the impeachment of the commissioners. But unlike the commissioners themselves I would not condemn them without the proper procedures being adopted, particularly their being given all the rights that were denied Oswald.
In particular I would considering a case for the impeachment of the chairman - Earl Warren. I would refer readers to "definitions" in the website uslegal.com Go to "abuse of discretion". There is a general article on the subject. At the end there a a series of click-ons.
On the basis of those definitions, what should have happened back then is then that impeachment proceedings should have been considered. But, naturally, no firm action should have been taken against the Chief Justice without the proper procedures of justice being taken.
All of which was denied Lee Harvey Oswald in the report of the Commission chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren.
McKnight explains, "The government's own documents establish the transparent truth that Oswald did not kill President Kennedy."
"Where there is no mystery, no shadow of a doubt, is that planning for provocation to justify major US military action against Cuba was a persistent theme in some government circles, most notably the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA, during the Kennedy presidency."
In regard to the early leaking of stories to the press about Castro being behind the assassination: "The unappreciated irony in this whole business was that the first JFK conspiracy theory to find its way into print was paid for by George E. Joannides, a CIA psychological warfare specialist."
era in modern American history. Professor McKnight is one of the few genuine scholars of the first Kennedy assassination and the commission
that substituted too many sham efforts instead of remaining true to the normal protocols used in something as standard as accurate representation
of an individual's comments in an affidavit, or testimony given to commission researchers, or the same given to members of the Commission the few times they convened as a group in search of the facts and the truth of the events that unfolded 11-22-63 to 11-25-63.
Any serious citizen expecting honest scholarly conception and absolutely rigorous pursuit of pertinent documents and reliable conclusions derived therefrom, must read Dr. McKnight's, " Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why."
Now this is not your average conspiracy book.You won't find here any confession by an alledged participant in the crime, or any sensational claim by untill-then unknown witness.
The author's specific focus is the Warren Commission, its inner working and its relations with the investigative agencies (mainly the FBI and the Secret Service)and representatives of the Government.
Only in the last 5 pages does the author give us his own interpretation of the wealth of data that he has presented in the book, which focuses exclusively on reconstructing complicated paper trail of apparently innocuous documents and establishing decision making timelines.
And if you think (like I did) that this must make for some quite unexciting read, be prepared for a real surprise...
Though serious researchers will probably not find anything new in the book as far as information is concerned, the specific angle of the author's research has the immense merit to bring new shine to old data. And the facts, as they say, are stubborn.
The political bias that subverted the WC working is dully detailled and exposed. The ominous poker game between the FBI, the CIA and the Commission regarding crucial elements of the assassination record is irrefutably documented and takes on even more sinister undertones.
And the "Journal de Bord" of the day-to-day progress of the investigation does make for interesting reading.
Hard-core Lone Nuttists (yes, everybody can play that game...)might be interested in considering the following facts:
µThe WC, which relied for its investigation on the FBI and the Secret Service, reached a solution to the crime (the single bullet theory) which contradicts the findings of these two agencies (which by the way don't agree either with one another, but that's another story...). This unbelievable and fondamental discrepancy has never been explained (probably because it can not)
*Similarly, the medical staff who attended to JFK and Connally (and who should have known about gunshot wounds, working in one of America's most violent environment)
rejected the single bullet theory
*the crime was declared "solved" (one shooter, no accomplices) by Hoover a couple of hours after Oswald'S arrest. Even surmising that they could have, in such a short time, established beyond doubt that Oswald was the assassin, there is no conceivable way that the FBI could have determined at that point that Oswald had received absolutely no help whatsoever in his endeavour.
And on and on....The detailing of the Mexico City disinformation saga (or "Oswald as a KGB contract killer") is also priceless, and confirms the scenario of the crime on which most serious researchers agree today (even if they would fight one another to death about specific details...): a conspiracy reaching to the highest level of the American power structure, originating from irreversible opposition to Kennedy's foreign policy, a conspiracy which most probably was started by the "Bay of Pigs Thing", as Nixon crytically hinted, and got in full gear after the Missile Crisis and Kennedy direct negociations with Krutschev, in effect putting the US Intelligence apparatus "out of the loop" (except very probably for the NSA...)on a matter considered vital to the country's interests. It is more than evident that some may have considered Kennedy a National Security Threat, and felt entitled to take radical measures "for the good of the country".
Don't miss this one.
The political origins of the Commission are described incredibly well. Virtually no objective reader can have any doubt whatsoever that the Warren Commission went into the investigation already armed with an assigned and foregone conclusion.
This is the book that non-academic namecalling authors, such as Vincent Bugliosi, are afraid to tackle in an open forum.
The Warren Commission is the missing piece, and the ultimate book on their treasonous work, WARRENGATE, has yet to be written. But this one, and mine, will do for now.
After commencing to read BOT, it was apparent that the comparisons between Bugliosi's WC versus McKnight's WC are poles apart, and it is clearly McKnight's critical analysis that triumphs over Bugliosi's attempt to trade off of the credentials of the commissioners, attempt to patch up the dissent within the WC itself, and attempt to rehabilitate WC counsels like Specter, Belin, Liebeler, Redlich, Ball, etc, which have been completely mauled over the last nearly five decades by the critical community.
Another reason for my purchase is that BOT is highly recommended by Jim DiEugenio, an excellent researcher, and the book is often mentioned on his appearances on Black Op Radio with host Len Osanic.
While I think this is an excellent reinforcement for those who have a strong knowledge of the topic, it is probably going to be of greatest value for someone who has a working knowledge of the events leading up to Dealey Plaza. It was kind of like Edward Jay Epstein's "Inquest" in some aspects, but modernized & with several other topics covered, while some of Epstein's work is not covered. I would probably consider reading it after "Accessories After The Fact" by Sylvia Meagher, but before "Oswald & The CIA" by John Newman. I say this because Meagher's book probably gives the best account of some of the questionable aspects of the case, while BOT gives a more concise overview of what is discussed in the more difficult to absorb Newman book. Thus, Newman's book would serve as a great extension to what the reader learns in BOT.
Reading Meagher's book & BOT essentially skewers the old chestnut about how Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired a shot at General Edwin Walker at his Dallas home in April 1963. Interestingly, McKnight doesn't name the alleged caliber of the bullet fired at Walker as originally reporter (a 30-06 according to the Dallas PD - not the caliber of the so-called Oswald rifle), but he does conclude that it is unlikely that a 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano bullet could damage a window frame & then go on to penetrate a cinder block (ie, Walker's wall). He also reports Walker seeing a vehicle (of which Oswald allegedly couldn't drive & definitely didn't have a car), and of Walker's reaction to seeing the alleged "Walker bullet" during a televised session of the HSCA and complaining to all & sundry that the bullet in evidence was not the one he held in his hand. In BOT, the evidence left is the somewhat dubious "Walker note", and the testimony of Marina Oswald, which has gone into folklore for it's questionable nature (even the WC documented their doubts towards Marina).
A favourite chapter of mine was "Birth Of The Single Bullet Theory Fabrication", simply for the games that WC Counsel Arlen Specter played with which ballistics experts he was going to use. McKnight points out that the most qualified person to give testimony on the viability of the SBT was Dr Joseph Dolce, who was the chairman of the US Army Wound Ballistics Board & part of the Biophysics Division of Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland, but when Dolce wouldn't support the SBT, Specter went with Dr Alfred Olivier (a veterinarian at Edgewood Arsenal), and his assistant, Dr Arthur Dzieman (a Ph.D. in physiology), to prop up the SBT. Then Specter called in Dolce's offsider, Dr Frederick Light, who ducked & weaved through his Commission appearance, neither debunking or supporting Olivier/Dzieman. Incredibly, McKnight points out that during the entire testimony, none of them were asked about their experiments on human cadavers !
Another great chapter was "Senatore Russell Dissents", where the Senator, one of the Commissioners, threatens to not commit to the Commission's conclusions, and sneaky way in which Chief Counsel J. Lee Rankin duped Russell into believing his disagreements on the single bullet theory would be noted (Rankin later suppressed the transcripts of the Commission showdown on the 18th of September 1964). Russell eventually accepted that his dissent was "noted" in the conclusions of the report in a paragraph that McKnight particularly notes for it's dishonesty.
I am always interested in the medical evidence, and the actions of autopsy doctors Humes/Boswell/Finck are extensively covered, although McKnight's study seems to be limited almost exclusively to JFK's wounds that are related to the single bullet theory. Of particular interest, but covered in other books extensively, is why Humes burned his autopsy notes, and why the neck wound was not dissected. It's a pity that McKnight didn't really go into the head wound as much, as I think it is fascinating, particularly how the autopsy doctors identified the (or at least, one) head wound in the area below & right of the EOP (lump on the back of the head). Years later, the wound was shifted up to the cowlick area by the Church Committee, and agreed to by the HSCA, with many people trying to claim that a smear of dried blood on the cowlick equates to an entrance wound. We therefore have to assume that the autopsy doctors were a trio of boobs that didn't know what they were doing. I think Humes/Boswell/Finck were actually right in that regard, and on the same photo as the cowlick blood smear, there is a darkened patch below & right of the EOP (near the piece of skull fragment or brain matter that is between the EOP & the hairline), however, that wound alone doesn't explain the explosion of JFK's head.
Not that I think BOT necessarily needs this - McKnight's study of Dr Malcolm Perry's claims about the throat wound, the strange absence of Dr Burkley (JFK's personal physician), and the precise location of the rear non-fatal wound (back or neck) is worthwhile reading on it's own. McKnight does briefly go into one area of the rear head wound - namely, that to buy the sole assassin theory, you have to believe that a 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano full metal jacket round broke apart upon hitting JFK's skull, which in itself is bizarre because FMJ rounds are designed specifically not to fragment like that, especially on hitting the relatively weak skull bone. What McKnight doesn't mention about this oddity is that when the round fragmented, it appears only the middle of the round exited, which seems to defy the logic of ballistics.
The chapters on whether Oswald was a government agent was very interesting. Early in the book, McKnight discusses whether the agent numbers that were attributed to Oswald from the CIA & FBI were correct/consistent, and the Commission's rather lame attempts to appear to debunk these "rumors" without a proper investigation into the validity of the claims. Later in the book, McKnight chronicles the movement of Oswald's CIA file, particularly during Oswald's alleged Mexico City trip. The overview to Newman's more technical account shows that the file went to the counter-intelligence wing of the CIA, indicative of an operation being in play at the time.
Interestingly, McKnight writes that the FBI & CIA studies of the Zapruder film confirm his thesis - that JFK & John Connally were struck by separate bullets, something that I have thought since 1988, when I first saw the Z-film on TV, back when I was in junior high school, which subsequently fueled my interest in the case.
McKnight raps his book up with his own conclusions, a thesis that is not unfamiliar when compared to many of the first & second generation readers. The advantage he has over these writers is access to the documents declassified by the ARRB, as well as the autopsy material, and in some cases, the release of the Z-film. If anyone wants to hear McKnight speak about his book, try to get a hold of show #353 of Black Op Radio, which aired in 2007.