Covering up: A tale of two autopsies

Here’s a fine piece of work that ran on the front page of The New York Times recently. The article, written by Ellen Barry, concerns a suspicious death, a cover-up and a commission’s inquiry into the death. See if you can guess where this incident took place (“spoiler” details have been removed from the excerpts below):

It was more than a year ago when six members of an obscure oversight panel filed into [the prison] to look into the death of a prisoner.

They were hardly an intimidating bunch: retired women in hats, mostly, scribbling their observations in notebooks, regarded by the prison staff as a minor irritant, like fleas.

In a country whose law enforcement structures wield enormous power, it is easy enough to ignore civilian watchdog groups. But this day was different. When the doctors were led in and told to take a seat, the panel’s leader … felt something unfamiliar in the air.

“They lied to us, of course,” [he] later recalled. “But they were frightened. And the fact that they were frightened gave us hope that something would really change.” …

… A full account of [the victim’s] death, the group knew, could restore some confidence in [the] legal system. A whitewash, on the other hand, could erode what faith remained.

Investigating the death meant confronting [the nation’s] security structures – the police, prosecutors, courts, prisons and prison doctors, all links in a self-protective chain. The findings, however decisive, would have to compete with an official inquiry, which would ultimately determine if anyone would be prosecuted. …

Isn’t it exciting when American journalism really takes on the system? It is, except for one thing: the “system” in this case was Russia’s.

Too Close to Home?

The article was published as part of a series entitled “Above the Law,” which examined “corruption and abuse of power” and “the culture of impunity that pervades modern Russian society.” The Times obtained and examined a copy of the official autopsy report for this story on the death of a young Muscovite who exposed police corruption.

By comparison, what level of coverage has the paper of record devoted to a suspicious death and possible cover-up that took place much closer to home: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy?

Malign Neglect

Over the years, there has been a march of eyewitnesses and credible researchers whose findings have cast doubt on the official story. In particular, many of the most troubling questions have concerned irregularities surrounding the president’s autopsy.

By any measure, shouldn’t investigative reporting into a possible cover-up concerning the murder and autopsy of an American president and its implications about abuse of power in this country assume a much higher priority than a case of whistleblower retaliation in Russia?

Apparently not: the last story I could find about Kennedy’s autopsy doing a cursory search of the website was this, published more than 18 years ago in the wake of renewed interest in the case following the release of Oliver Stone’s 1992 film, “JFK”:

Doctors Affirm Kennedy Autopsy Report


Published: May 20, 1992

Breaking a 28-year silence, the two pathologists who performed the autopsy on President John F. Kennedy have affirmed their original findings that he was hit by only two bullets, fired from above and behind, and that one of them caused the massive head wound that killed him.

And four of five other doctors who attended the President in the emergency room of a Dallas hospital said they observed nothing while treating him that contradicts the pathologists’ findings. They also criticized another doctor in the emergency room that day, one whose new book asserts a conspiracy to cover up evidence that the President was shot from the front, not the back.

The two pathologists, who were Navy medical officers at the time of the autopsy, and the five other doctors have not previously discussed the Kennedy assassination, except before the Warren Commission that investigated it. They made their assertions in interviews reported in the May 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. …

… The two pathologists and many other medical experts agree that some of the questions raised about the assassination would have been avoided had the autopsy taken place in Dallas, as required by Texas law. No autopsy was performed there, the journal articles say, because security officials were anxious to get the new President back to the safety of Washington and Mr. Johnson refused to leave Dallas without Mrs. Kennedy and she refused to leave her husband’s body behind.

The interviews follow a new wave of conspiracy charges raised by Oliver Stone’s movie “J.F.K.” and a book, “J.F.K. Conspiracy of Silence” (Signet, 1992), by Dr. Charles A. Crenshaw, who was a junior member of the medical team that tried to save Kennedy’s life at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. …

So, let’s see. The Times reported that the super-establishment AMA emerged to challenge the popular Oliver Stone movie, “JFK” and a member of the medical team that treated the dying president. Then, it noted without comment or explanation that the pathologists who conducted the autopsy were Navy officers. It also reported without comment that the autopsy should properly have taken place in Dallas, not under Naval auspices in Washington.

Why was the autopsy handled by the Navy? And why does the article repeat without question the convenient daisy chain of excuses (about Johnson refusing to leave without Mrs. Kennedy, etc.) for taking the body to Washington in violation of Texas law?

No answer. No reporting. Fortunately, the Russians are more lucky-they’ve got the New York Times looking out for them.

This Post By Russ Baker and Lisa M.

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  • Jed

    thanks Russ and Lisa.

    Wish we had something to be hopeful in this new year, something like true(truth &) justice when it comes to these seminal crimes in US history. Maybe it’s so depressing because, with the internet, we can now be more aware of the great injustices that have occurred in US history. Does that awareness help bring us closer to healing and accountability? I’ve come to doubt it.

    It is beyond doubt for me that JFK was killed by the(a) shadow establishment. The story of Oswald makes it clear. See his trip to USSR and return into the hands of intelligence handlers; de Mohrenschilt, the Paines. The clearly false story of his trip to Mexico planted well before 11/22/63 – this alone, confirmed by Hoover, is proof of the patsy set-up.

    The US then proceeds on a path of war and more assassinations thru the 60’s and 70’s resulting in the slaughter of millions. The Reagan/Bush era brings us more mind numbing war in the 3rd world that Americans have seemingly little knowledge of – South/Central America, Afghanistan, etc.

    The Clinton terms continue the militaristic path abroad with a vain PR compaign to make them look like peace makers – no thanks R. Holbrooke. The Clinton treasury team also greatly assisted the wall street crime spree that we are now enjoying.

    Like Russ and many around the world, I too couldn’t believe W Bush was “elected”…twice.
    I know it inspired Russ to write Family of Secrets and thus opened up the US blackhole of criminality regarding the Bush clan. Now I see Poppy Bush for the treasonous crime boss that he is.

    9/11/01 – I’ve read and researched too much to regard it as anything but what the 911 Commission says it was. WTC 7 and molten metal – that’s all you need to know. We live in this modern age of science and yet we deny the evidence in front of our faces.

    False flag terrorism or as recent academic scholars are now calling it – SCADs – State Crimes Against Democracy.

    Was Israel complicit? Saudi Arabia? The White House? Seems likely on all accounts. The mind spins. They are getting away with it and I sense more horrific events in the future.

    I met a seemingly intelligent man the other day at lunch with a baseball cap that had a hammer/sickle on it. When I asked about the hat he said he was wearing it in protest.
    He explained that we are being taken over by the communist/Zionist world conspiracy or words to that effect. He too, believed that 911 was a false-flag attack but he saw it as a Zionist plot that is intended to usher in communism…?!! This was in nice suburban Boston.

    This is where despair starts to set it. We now see first hand how Germany slid into the horror of their recent past. If we continue to have economic collapse we have the potential to slide into a dark age of destruction, death and degradation that we can only imagine.

    I was going to apologize for this dark note on a day when we should be hopeful but I won’t. It’s all too real.

    Hoping for better days.

  • Jed

    Russ & co. –

    I had been meaning to forward this great piece of investigative reporting by researcher and engineer Kevin Ryan that was posted in 9/2010. Maybe you have run across it.

    He simply traces a family history of a central figure in the security business related to 9/11. Like your work with the Bush’s, this family – male heirs, that is – research by Ryan shows the Walkers(distant relation to the Bush’s) rise in the RR industry of the 1800’s and how fortunes were made in the Opium wars in China, the typical Yale grads/Skull&Bones connections and then into modern times with infamous Wall Street firm – Glore Forgan – with it’s CIA ties and dramatic financial meltdown.

    This is a fascinating study that shows, like the Bush clan, the undercurrent of criminal conspiracies that run thru generations. See JFK connections too.

    FYI – no outrageous 911 claims here – just good citizen investigative reporting with verifiable footnotes.

  • Jack

    I suggest reading the book about Barry Seal called,”Barry and the Boys”.It goes into alot of detail about the JFK assassination and subsequent coverup.Seal was CIA and grew up with Lee Harvey Oswald.The cover photo is a one of a kind classic.

  • Russ Baker

    That cover photo on “Barry and the Boys” is indeed remarkable. As described on the Education Forum: “This photograph was taken in a nightclub in Mexico City on 22nd January, 1963. It is believed that the men in the photograph are all members of Operation 40. Closest to the camera on the left is Felix Rodriguez. Next to him is Porter Goss and Barry Seal. Tosh Plumlee is attempting to hide his face with his coat. Others in the picture are Alberto Blanco (3rd right) and Jorgo Robreno (4th right).” Goss and Rodriguez, if not others, had direct close contact with George HW Bush over the years.

  • Howard Stucker

    I started believing our government had something to do with Kennedy’s assassination when President Johnson sealed the records for 100 years!

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