Thursday, April 15, 2010

Blogging about JFK & "Final Charade"--My first post

Many people know about my 1981 book, "BEST EVIDENCE: Disguise and Deception in the Assassination of President Kennedy." It was published by Macmillan, was a Book of the Month Selection, and was on the New York Times best seller list for about four months. The book was number one on the wire service lists--for about a month--and then remained in print for some seventeen years, through a sequence of four different publishers. (My favorite edition is the 1988 Carroll & Graf edition, published in trade paperback). Between January and April, 1981, I traveled all over the country, appearing on many shows, propounding what was a rather complex thesis, but one not only backed by critical evidence, but by videotaped interviews of key people connected with JFK's autopsy. Those video interviews were then compiled and released in 1989 (and again in 1991) as a 37 minute documentary titled "BEST EVIDENCE: The Research Video."

The central thesis of my book--now widely debated on the Internet (see, for example, the London Education Forum, or the JFK Lancer Forum)--is simply this: that the "best evidence" in the JFK case was the President's body, itself, and that the autopsy report in this case--the report relied upon by the Warren Commission as the legal basis for its "two shots struck JFK from behind" conclusions--was falsified by a simple (and rather ugly) mechanism, one that was, I believe, an integral part of the crime itself: the medical alteration of the wounds on the body, shortly after Kenned's death, and prior to the autopsy. (JFK was shot at 12:30 CST in Dallas; after he was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital --at 1 P.M.--his body was brought back to Washington aboard Air Force One, and then to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where an autopsy commenced at 8 P.M. EST). In a nutshell, the central thesis of Best Evidence--which starts with the recognition that the body of the deceased, in a gunshot case, offers a "diagram of the shooting," is that that "diagram" (i.e., the wound pattern on President Kennedy's body)--by 8 P.M. on the evening of 11/22/63--bore little resemblance to the wounds originally on the body immediately after the shooting. In short, by the time of autopsy, JFK's body was tantamount to a medical forgery, it told a false story of the shooting; and that "medical forgery" became the basis for the autopsy report that was accepted as the foundation for the "Oswald did it" version of President Kennedy's murder.

As those who have read my book well know, I do not believe that Oswald was JFK's assassin, and the appearance that he was in fact Kennedy's murderer is the result of a pattern of deliberately falsified evidence. This thorough falsification of a variety of evidence created the appearance not only that Oswald was "the assassin" but, in addition, that JFK was shot "from above and behind" ---and specifically, from the "sniper's nest" located on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository (today, the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas).

In 1988, BEST EVIDENCE was published in trade paperback (as stated above) and that edition carried the JFK autopsy photographs--then, and still, under seal at the National Archives. The publication in the 1988 edition of my book marked the first time they were published anywhere in the world. Furthermore, that edition carried an important "Epilogue" reporting not only my own feelings about the necessity of publishing these pictures, but also developments in my own personal investigation relating to this evidence--specifically, what happened when I showed these photographs to various Dallas doctors and nurses who had actually seen JFK 's wounds, at Parkland Hospital, on the day of his death. The general verdict was that these photographs did not show the wounds as the witnesses recalled them. (The 1993 edition of BEST EVIDENCE, published by New American Library, also carries the pictures, and the same AFTERWORD.)

In 1992, in the aftermath of Oliver Stone's movie "JFK," Congress passed the JFK Records Act, mandating the declassification of all records pertaining to this case. The JFK Act created a small Federal Agency called the "Assassination Records Review Board" ("the ARRB") and during their three year life, they had the power to subpoena records, and to call witnesses to "clarify the record." This they did and during the course of their investigation, some 10 depositions were taken from critical witnesses connected with JFK's autopsy, some of whose accounts had appeared, for the first time, in BEST EVIDENCE. Douglas Horne, a former Naval officer, held the title Chief Analyst for Military Records, and played a major role in pursuing all matters pertaining to the medical evidence and the Zapruder film (and many other issues as well). He has just published a massive five volume work "INSIDE THE ARRB" , which I highly recommend, and which strongly endorses the major thesis of BEST EVIDENCE. Several years ago, he posted the following statement on the Internet, from which I now quote--that BEST EVIDENCE "has been validated by the work of the ARRB staff. Our unsworn interviews and depositions of Dallas (Parkland Hospital) medical personnel and Bethesda autopsy participants confirm that the President's body arrived at Bethesda Naval Hospital in a markedly different condition than it was in when seen at Parkland for life-saving treatment. My conclusion is that wounds were indeed altered and bullets were indeed removed prior to the autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital. This procedure altered the autopsy conclusions and presented a false picture of how the shooting took place. In most essential details, David Lifton "got it right" in his 1981 bestseller." (END QUOTE)

From email and letters, I know that many who have followed my work have wondered what I have been doing since the publication of BEST EVIDENCE. The chief answer is: pursuing my own research on the JFK case, and, most important, writing a book on Oswald.

Since I do not believe Oswald shot Kennedy, the question is not only "who did?"--but also, "Just who was Oswald?" and how did he become entangled in this entire affair? To cast a similarly important question in terms of the physical evidence, the issue is not "who put the bullets INTO President Kennedy's body" but rather "who took them out?" Only by answering the second question can we hope to obtain a "global" picture of just what happened on November 22, 1963. In short, if President Kennedy's body was altered (post-mortem) and the autopsy conclusions falsified, then the answer to "who killed Kennedy?" can only be found by learning how this was accomplished, how was this entire event was arranged, and how such a conglomeration of evidence was falsified, so as to create--after it was over, i.e., in the aftermath of the shooting--the false appearance that Lee Oswald was President Kennedy's assassin.

Because that, I believe, is what happened in this case. That, to use the vernacular, is what "went down" on November 22, 1963. So one way of attempting to get to the bottom of all this is to find the answer(s) to the question: who was Oswald?

This is the question that is primarily addressed in my forthcoming work, FINAL CHARADE: Lee Oswald and the Assassination of President Kennedy.

In my own writing, I view Oswald as "the man who didn't do it", and .the question I address (and answer) is: Who was this "man who didn't do it?"

On a more personal note:

I was born on September 20, 1939, and am just three weeks older than Oswald would have been (had he lived)--so it is very easy for me to relate to someone who was a "child of the fifties" (I was high school "class of '57" and then Cornell "class of '62"). Had he not lost a year, from all the moving around, and then dropped out of school early to join the Marines, Oswald, too, would have been "class of '57." But he joined the Marines (October, 1956), and then--immediately after his discharge (9/11/59)--departed for the Soviet Union, arriving there on October 16, 1959, just two days prior to his 20th birthday. To put this in perspective, I had just begun my junior year at Cornell (in the School of Engineering Physics) and was just beginning my second course in electromagnetic theory, at the time that Oswald was telling the KGB that he would like to live int he Soviet Union for the rest of his life, and--if permitted to do so--had certain radar secrets to ofer. Oswald then remained there for just over two and a half years, returning in mid-June, 1962, about halfway through JFK's "1000 days." Utilizing this chronological correlation between Oswald and myelf helps put a more human face on Oswald, and helps "tell the story" of my investigation of his life, in the first person (just as I narrated my investigation of the medical evidence, in BEST EVIDENCE).

FINAL CHARADE was under contract some years ago (which explains some of the Amazon listings), but has undergone a major redesign, and is not currently under contract. Rest assured it will be published, and will be an important sequel to BEST EVIDENCE; and a very important book when it comes to understanding the events of November 22, 1963.

For the time being, I will keep future readers informed of my activities, via this blog; and address certain other issues as the need arises.

If I don't answer questions, please bear with me, as my time is limited and I am primarily focused on completing my work.

For those who want to know more about BEST EVIDENCE, be aware that 37 minute documentary film, "BEST EVIDENCE: The Research Video" is probably available, as a VHS, and we are trying to get that re-released as a DVD. There you will find some of the key witnesses who appeared in the book--witnesses I interviewed in 1980, when there was far less use of "home video" (and, of course, no Internet, no cell phones, no You Tube, etc.. My video contains the accounts of witnesses filmed "the old fashioned way" (i.e., on 16 mm film, using a professional film crew) and who much later appeared (circa 1996/97) before the ARRB. For those who want to learn more about my work in the area of the Zapruder film, I recommend my essay, "PIG ON A LEASH," which has been posted on the Internet.

Again, just as in the case of the President's body (and the official autopsy), the key issue is authenticity. In my essay, you will find a detailed account of my experiences (and research) concerning this most critical matter. Ultimately at issue is whether the "extant film" --the one which became "the evidence" on which the FBI and the Warren Commission relied for the timing of "the shots"--was in fact the genuine camera original, or an edited version. You will also learn the story of how in 1990, in New York City, I obtained access to an original 35 mm copy of the "original" film (a high quality copy made in 1967 by a private firm, then under contract with LIFE, the putative owner of the Zapruder film at that time); how I then obtained access to an optical printer, and then made extraordinarily clear copies of that 35mm item, one of which I then donated to the Kennedy Collection at the National Archives, when I testified before the ARRB in September, 1996. (A far more complete and extensive analysis addressing Zapruder film authenticity is to be found in Volume 4 of Horne's work, previously mentioned, the fine work of film editor David Healy, and I also refer any interested reader to the work of Australian physicist John Costella, which can also be found on the Internet.)

Ultimately, these matters of "physical evidence" relate to the "Oswald story" because it is via the "official evidence" (i.e., the autopsy, the Zapruder film, etc.) that the official "Oswald story" emerges--and the key issue is whether the evidence is legitimate.

On that score, it is important to remember what Lee Oswald--who had repeatedly and very publicly protested his innocence--said to his older brother Robert, during their brief meeting in the Dallas jail on Saturday, November 23, 1963, the day before he was murdered: "Do not believe the so-called 'evidence'."

The most important evidence in this case was the President's body--and I addressed that in BEST EVIDENCE. I will be covering the rest in FINAL CHARADE.

I wish everyone well, and will try to update this blog as time permits.

David S. Lifton
4/15/2010; 4:45 AM, PDT
West Los Angeles, California


  1. David L.,
    An update concerning "Final Charade" please?

  2. Hi David. Surfing the internet today (of all days...) and came upon your blog. I so thoroughly enjoyed "Best Evidence" and your interpretation of the medical evidence and capturing, for history's sake, the interviews with so many key people involved that day. I too am wondering about "Final Charade" and when I will be able to delve into what I am sure will be a fascinating account.


  3. Dear Mr.Lifton,I'm a Japanese writer Hideji
    Okina,I know privately your book Japanese
    version translater Prof. Hiroshi Tsuchida.
    He published his book "Message from Heaven:Secret Opertion of Assassination Kennedy" in 1993.
    And I meet Oswald Japanese girlfriend Y.O
    few years before.She is very angry.
    She not want talk about him.
    I want read a your new book 16 years before.
    At first I know your boook will publish in 1995 from "OSWALD AND CIA" First edition.

    Best Regards.

  4. Hi David .... it is great to locate your blog and to hear that you are working on the Oswald Project. I am sure I speak for many, that we are very eagerly awaiting the release of your newest work ... in the meantime, be well ....... all the best to you!

  5. This is the first time I have found your blog on the internet and want to wish you the best of success in Final Charade. It is a travesty that Best Evidence has not received a much wider audience since the publication of Horne's magnum opus. Let us hope that Final Charade wakes up JFK research from its current slumbers. All best wishes, Dan

  6. I haven't read your book Best Evidence, but I saw your presentation at the Deluth 2003 symposium on the Zapruda hoax film which was excellent!

    I am hoping that you will be updating Best Evidence at some point. If not I will get round to buying it anyway.

    Looking forward to your Oswald work ... hopefully you can shed some new light on the officer Tippett killing.


  7. David,

    Thank you for your efforts.

    A few questions.

    1. Your thoughts about Homer McMahon testimoney with the ARRB on the original Z-film.

    2. Do you have any additional information on the Red Bird Airport incident?

    3. I have read a little about 'FDR Assisination' and Neslon Rockerfeller's secret bid for the presidency. I am not real sure of the accuracy of the subject or the primary author however it has a similar footprint as the JFK murder. Do you have any thoughts on the matter?

    4. Any comments on the movie 'Shooter' by Stephen Hunter? Hunter openly parallels the novel with JFK.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.


  8. A little help on finding a copy of FINAL CHARADE.
    Every place I look on the internet, all state that the book in not available.

  9. I read somewhere that Jackie Kennedy was given red roses so she was clearly identifiable among other women who were given yellow roses.

    I just saw a video of Oswald being escorted out to when he was shot. All the officers were wearing black suits with the exception of the one who was 'holding onto' Oswald. Sounds similar?

  10. Regarding E Lindsey's comment above, in recent days, watching all the commemorations of the events of November 22, 1963, I was struck by the shot of the back seat of the limousine at Parkland Hospital showing abandoned on the seat and floor a bunch of tattered YELLOW roses, precisely where we would expect to see Mrs. Kennedy's RED roses.

    1. That was a photo of LBJ's limo/car at Parkland.

  11. David,
    I remember Paul O'Conner speaking about the body being in a grey shipping casket when it arrived at Bethesda and the president's body being in a body bag.Also there is a video on youtube where you can hear Helicopters that must have been on the starboard side the AF1 These things back all your evidence. so I can't wait to read fFinal Charade thanks

  12. You need to check out what Nellie does with the yellow roses.
    Bob Mady

  13. Who were the people who off loaded the casket off of AF1? Either they knew they were handling an empty casket, or they knew that they would have to lie about it, or some one added weight to the casket. Assuming that the removal of JFK's body was fast and messy, then one is to assume that the casket was empty.

  14. Abraham zapruder shoots jfk with a gun/ camera..patsey takes the fall while real assassin gets away to spend payday after exchanging his proof of killing jfk...jfk snuff do you people not see this...LIFE MAG.MAKES A MARTYR OF JFK AND MAKES BILLIONS OFF A 150OOO PAY OFF TO ASSASSIN...LIFE OWNS THE RIGHTS TO JFKS DEATH....LIFE MAGAZINE LIES FOR THE LAST 50 YRS...THEY PAID OFF THE ASSASIN...DUH..


  16. just your first post also your last post?

  17. Another well researched book titled "Oswald Talked" has a lot of pertinent information on LHO and the Dallas/New Orleans nexus that played a key role in the events of 11/22/63.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. David,

    What is the current status of Final Charade?

  20. Hi David, I've read "Best Evidence" several times over the years, and in my opinion it's still the best book written about the Kennedy assassination. However, I was wondering if anyone who has viewed the Zapruder film has noticed that at Z frame #369 you can see the EXIT wound at the rear of Kennedy's head, and it(the wound) remains visible until about frame #387.

    1. What did you think about the part where they stole Kennedy's body out of the back of Air Force One after it landed at Andrews AF Base ... right under the nose of Mrs. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy and about 50 other close Kennedy staffers and news people ?

    2. How exactly do you start a conversation with some Army pathologist or surgeon at Walter Reed Army Hospital where you ask this individual to participate in a conspiracy to cover up the murder of the President of the U.S. ? What if he says "No" ? What do you do then ?

  21. A little bit of bad news. In 2013 some TV channel produced a show claiming that the fatal shot to Kennedy's head came from a rifle accidentally discharged by a Secret Service Agent in the car immediately behind the President's. As a consequence you have now been 'demoted' from sole ownership of First Place in the Most Ludicrous Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Sweepstakes to merely tied for first. Sorry

  22. Has anyone done any research on employees of the Hawkeye Works and if any of them joined the untimely deaths as other key witnesses?

  23. Have you found any evidence that Oswald was in Chicago (either physically or allegedly viz-a-viz "sightings")? This would be an organized crime connection.

  24. Have you found any evidence that Oswald was in Chicago (either physically or allegedly viz-a-viz "sightings")? This would be an organized crime connection.

  25. Could the body that entered in the shipping casket, described by Dennis David, be J. D. Tippit?

  26. Mr. Lifton, could you please summarize the major differences between the 1980 edition of Best Evidence which I recently read and the 1988 paperback edition you mention above?

    In the 1988 edition did you include addition evidence that would futher buttrice your belief that Kennedy's wounds were altered somewhere between Parkland Hospital and Bethesda to creat the false evidence trail that Humes and the Warren Commission considerd "best evidence?"

  27. Lately I have been researching coup's in general through history and have discovered some interesting things.

    Julius Caesar, 4 attempts, the final one being successful, the Roman Senate was the only place that Julius Caesar did not have his protective guards. And there were over 80 individuals involved in the assassination.

    Many assassinations in Egyptian history, all about seizing power from those close to the ruler.

    Valkyrie - many similarities to the JFK assassination.

    During the closing of WWII, there was an operation to gather German intelligence operatives out of Europe and into the USA similar to Operation Paperclip. Those individuals were absorbed into the OSS and ultimately the CIA.

    There is evidence that British Intelligence told Churchill about the coming attack on Pearl Harbor 9 months before the event and Churchill told FDR. I have seen an actual newspaper article where the attack was announced 7 days before it happened in the Hilo Tribune (the newspaper in the Pearl Harbor area.)

    There is growing evidence that FDR himself was assassinated at Warm Springs, Ga. It is on the internet, do your homework.

    There is growing evidence that Nelson Rockefeller made a bid to maneuver himself into the White House. Also on the internet.

    If one was going to pull off an assassination, one only would have to study these areas and the put together a plan. There are way too many similaries.

  28. PS - I am still waiting anxiously for Final Charade.

  29. Sorry,

    Why has not anyone pulled the original cover story of Life Magazine (I think that was the magazine) where the illegal actions of LBJ were going to be the featured story. I have read that had the JFK assassination had not occurred, that edition would have been about LBJ.

    LBJ had reason, motive and the ability to set it about.

    And Eisenhower had it 2/3 correct, it was the Military, Industrial and Banking establishment.

  30. Mr. Lifton, the autopsy on JFK was totally illegal. Many laws and legal ethics were violated in order to control the WC. These laws were broken when Oswald was either in jail or dead, so the WC is completely false. I'm reading Best Evidence now.

  31. In your research have you come across anything relating to a Marcia G. Baringer who may have known LHO in 1963?

  32. In your research have you come across anything relating to a Marcia G. Baringer who may have known LHO in 1963?