Dr. Cyril Wecht distrusts the US authorities. And he’s happy with it.
The forensic pathologist — who declared in 1978 that Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone in assassinating President John F. Kennedy — is now 90 and nonetheless sticking to his story.
Wecht’s newest e book, “The JFK Assassination Dissected” (Exposit Books), summarizes his six a long time of analysis into the topic, and pokes holes within the conclusion made by the seven-man Warren Fee that Oswald, with none assist, shot and killed Kennedy when his motorcade drove previous the Texas Faculty E book Depository in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
“Younger persons are nonetheless being taught that the thirty fifth president was murdered by a lone gunman, and that’s merely bulls–t,” Wecht boomed throughout an interview at his modest workplace in downtown Pittsburgh final month.
Practically 60 years in the past, the fee concluded that Oswald killed Kennedy as a result of he was a disaffected, profoundly maladjusted loner with communist sympathies. However Wecht nonetheless believes the shooter could have been a employed gun committing homicide for the CIA.
Oswald “had nearly definitely been a CIA agent of some variety,” says Wecht, however the directive to kill could have come from increased up. Allen Dulles, director of the CIA from 1953 to 1961, had overseen the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion to oust Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and had motive to be disgruntled. Dulles additionally ended up in prime place to take part in a coverup, Wecht conjectured.
“Kennedy had fired Allen Dulles as a result of he was actually pissed off about what the CIA was doing,” stated Wecht. “Then who will get appointed to the Warren Fee? Dulles. It stinks to excessive heaven.”
Tanned, vigorous and dressed sharply in a black jacket and crimson necktie, Wecht stated he wrote his e book now for the sake of the reality — and his advancing age.
“I don’t intend to stay without end, simply for a very long time,” stated Wecht, who has a spouse, Sigrid Wecht, and 4 kids. “I felt I needed to put out all of the issues I’ve skilled and achieved and the individuals I’ve met, and it was time. I’ve been engaged on the e book for six years.”
The previous coroner of Allegheny County, Pa., Wecht is each a educated lawyer and physician who has performed greater than 17,000 autopsies and in addition supplied skilled testimony on high-profile circumstances together with the deaths of Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Elvis Presley, JonBenet Ramsey and Laci Peterson.
The primary non-governmental forensic pathologist to realize entry to the Nationwide Archives to look at the assassination supplies in 1972, Wecht found and uncovered the ghastly incontrovertible fact that the thirty fifth president’s mind had vanished.
“As we sit and discuss right this moment, the president’s mind stays lacking. Unaccounted for,” he stated.
Curiosity within the assassination — and hypothesis a few conspiracy — has simmered for many years, gaining steam after Oliver Stone’s 1991 film “JFK” disputed the assumption that Oswald acted alone. (Wecht consulted on Stone’s movie and devoted a chapter to his expertise on the film set. Stone, in flip, wrote the e book’s foreword).
In 1992, after a public outcry, Congress handed the JFK Assassination Data Assortment Act requiring launch of all JFK assassination recordsdata by 2017. The deadline has come and gone with US presidents citing nationwide safety issues Biden has scheduled launch of the ultimate paperwork for December 2022.
Wecht is doubtful that every one the related paperwork shall be launched however predicts that if they’re, it may very well be revelatory.
“There is perhaps one thing supporting multiple gunman, proof of witness manipulation, or failure to name key witnesses,” he stated.
Within the a long time because the assassination, most Individuals have continued to imagine that Oswald didn’t act alone. In 1976, one 12 months after the general public launch of the Zapruder movie, a 1963 house film made by Dallas clothier Abraham Zapruder capturing the second JFK was shot, 81 p.c stated they believed multiple gunman was concerned.
By 2017, that determine was nonetheless excessive at 60 p.c.
Wecht’s e book accommodates never-before revealed particulars of his conferences with Oswald’s widow, Marina, who, though unhappily married to Oswald, validated her husband’s declare that he was “only a patsy,” in addition to of Wecht’s assembly with George de Mohrenschildt, a shadowy CIA-connected determine who befriended the Oswalds previous to the assassination and, earlier than committing suicide himself in 1977, corroborated Marina’s evaluation of Oswald as a fall man.
The e book describes the defection of Oswald, a educated marksman, Marine, and fluent Russian speaker, to the USSR for two-and-a-half years, and his trouble-free return to the US with bride Marina, niece of a high-ranking KGB officer, on the peak of the Chilly Battle. (The implication is that Oswald had mates in excessive locations).
After a 10-month investigation, the Warren Fee concluded that Oswald fired thrice. One shot missed, one other hit Kennedy within the again, and the third hit him within the head. Slightly than clarify the sequence of the hits, the fee offered three barely totally different situations, however every situation ended with the conclusion that only one gunman killed the president.
In 1978, Wecht, as a member of the forensic pathology panel assembled by the Home Choose Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), testified in favor of a second gunman. He was the lone dissenter.
“I actually stood alone,” he stated.
For one, the gunshot wound in Kennedy’s again — which the Warren Fee stated had an upward trajectory — couldn’t have been brought on by Oswald as the only real murderer firing from above, Wecht stated.
“Below the one bullet idea, Oswald is the only real murderer, he’s firing from the sixth-floor window of the Texas Faculty E book Depository constructing, so the bullet is transferring from up, downward, proper? So how the hell might it go upward?”
Wecht believes an extra shot, from a second gunman, was “fired from the entrance, behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll” and that “two bullets hit Kennedy . . . one from the rear, one from the entrance.”
He additionally recounts that the chief health worker for the Dallas Coroner’s workplace, Dr. Earl Rose, whose workplace was situated at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas the place JFK acquired remedy and died, was manhandled by the Secret Service to stop him from conducting the post-mortem.
“The agent . . . put his arms underneath Rose’s armpits, lifted him into the air, and set him down gently in opposition to a wall. It wasn’t an motion designed to harm Dr. Rose however to indicate him who was boss,” Wecht writes.
“They swore, they put Dr. Rose up in opposition to the wall,” he added.
As a substitute, JFK’s corpse was flown to Washington, DC, the place an post-mortem was achieved by two physicians, neither of whom was board licensed in forensic pathology, and neither of whom “had ever achieved a gunshot wound post-mortem of their complete careers,” he stated.
The post-mortem supplies, “together with clothes, X-rays, bullet,” “amazingly, belonged to Jacqueline Kennedy,” who donated them to the Nationwide Archives in Washington, DC, with the proviso that no one might see these results for 75 years, besides that after 5 years, a “acknowledged skilled within the discipline of pathology with a severe historic function” might apply to look at them, Wecht stated.
Wecht fought to fill that slot and was given permission to conduct the probe in 1972. That’s when he found that JFK’s mind, regardless of being listed within the stock of assassination supplies, was “now not out there.”
“If that they had dissected the mind, they might’ve seen there have been two bullets that hit Kennedy within the mind, one from the rear, and one from the entrance,” stated Wecht. His idea that the president was hit within the head twice is “based mostly on witness testimony, the Zapruder movie, and medical proof.”
Critics argue that professionals like Wecht questioning the Warren Fee’s findings have contributed to a common erosion of belief in authority and spawned an trade of conspiracy-theorizing, prompting probably dangerous doubts about every thing from vaccines to elections.
However Wecht doesn’t thoughts the time period “conspiracy theorist.”
“I’m amused by the audacity and hypocrisy of individuals calling me a conspiratorialist,” he stated. “I’ve all the time had a majority of Individuals on my aspect. What number of issues are there that keep a majority consensus?
“Return and discuss with older individuals, earlier than Watergate and Vietnam,” he says. “Just about what the federal government stated, that was it, you didn’t query.
“We’re nonetheless studying issues the federal government lined up.”