News Archive


bluebulUPDATED 3-1-98

Doug Horne of ARRB provided this summary to Steve Barber:

The film found was a 120 roll, underexposed. Only 3 frames revealed anything at all. The quality is too dark and grainy to really see much of anything.

1. Photo #1 shows left side of body with a towel around the abdomen.

2. Photo #2 shows top of skull-but can't make out any detail.

3. Photo #3 is a 45 degree angle taken over the right shoulder, which also shows the towel over the abdomen.


Debra Conway 949-699-2744
Joe Backes 518-482-9049

bluebulSeptember 12, 1998 --Autopsy Photographs Digitized--Additional Photos Found But Not Available to the Public

The Washington, DC based Assassination Records Review Board identified additional latent autopsy photographs on a roll of film in the National Archives that had (inaccurately) been described as "exposed."

At the September 10th public meeting during a question and answer session, ARRB Staff member Doug Horne pronounced, "They are color. It appears to be a roll of film that is very much underexposed. So you really have to blast a lot of light through it. They look black to the naked eye until you put it in front of a bright light and that's what Kodak did. So they are very grainy and very dark, as though the flash wasn't in sync or something."

With the cooperation of Kodak, the National Archives, the FBI, and a representative of the Kennedy family, the Review Board was able to provide secure transportation to ship the autopsy photographs to Rochester, New York, to be digitized on the best digital scanner in the world. There the latent photographs were digitized and enhanced for further evaluation.

Board member Dr. Anna Nelson stated, "I think it was a sense that we thought we might be the last chance."

Burke Marshall, former assistant Attorney General, Kennedy family friend and representative of the executors of the president's estate, restricted access to the autopsy materials under a "Donor Deed of Gift" to the National Archives. These restrictions as set in October of 1969 were kept as an exemption of the JFK Act (Public Law 102-526) and thus the Board could not open them up to the public.

Judge John Tunheim, Chairman of the Records Review Board, said, "The digitized copies of the autopsy photographs were made with the express permission of Professor Marshall with the understanding that they would be a part of the same collection as the official autopsy photographs because they are indeed the same images as the official photographs. So they are at the National Archives and subject to the same restrictions that the original photographs." This means the public will not be allowed to view the three photos found.

Tunheim went on to state, "They are there for qualified researchers who can convince Professor Marshall of the need to see them."

A transcript by Assassination Records Review Board expert, Joe Backes, of this question and answer session includes updates on the Dallas Parkland Hospital personnel depositions, the KGB Files, and the Zapruder Film negotiations.



bluebulAutopsy Photographs Digitized--Additional Photos Found

(LINE)--by Joe Backes and Debra Conway

On July 31st, 1998 the Assassination Records Review Board released depositions of persons who were present at the autopsy of President John F. Kennedy or had knowledgeable information about the autopsy. This material consisted of about 3,500 pages. Among this material was a report from the ARRB's staff. As the release of this material was eagerly looked forward to by many in the JFK assassination research community, especially as it's release was promised more than a year prior, many zoomed right past the staff report to read the depositions. "The Associated Press" ran three stories relating to the depositions, but even the media paid little if any attention to the staff's report.

The first thing people should have read, and with care, was the staff report. A very few did. On August 31, 1998 Debra Conway of JFK Lancer typed the staff report and placed it on the LINE web site.



Now, it should be noted that there is one, and only one JFK assassination researcher was has attended nearly every ARRB meeting. His name is Joseph Backes. It was Mr. Backes who informed the JFK Assassination research community of the imminent release of these medical depositions following his attendance of an ARRB meeting July 8th, 1998. And it is that commitment to follow the activities of the ARRB closely that made acquiring the medical depositions as soon as they were available impossible for him.

Just when the newsworthiness of this new material seemed to be over, Mr. Backes was informed about a line in the staff's report about a new discovery. Based on information from LINE's web site Vern and Jeff Pascal informed Mr. Backes about new autopsy photographs being discovered. Mr. Backes had by now ordered the material but had not yet received them.

Joe Backes contacted Debra Conway on September 2, 1998 verified this story was correct. He stated his intention to attend the next open meeting of the ARRB and would attempt to get answers on these "found" photos. Mr. Backes also alerted a media contact from "The Associated Press," Ms. Deb Reichmann, who had written earlier reports on this medical evidence and asked her to please attend this next ARRB meeting.

Upon checking, Backes found these photos are included on the "Burke Marshall" listing of the "Deed of Gift" materials. (See Harold Weisberg's "Post Mortem" pp. 558-559. Also, see "The New York Times" Saturday, January 6, 1968.) and thus fell under the single exemption in the JFK Act (Public Law 102-526) defining what is not an "assassination record." This meant that the restrictions placed upon these materials by Professor Marshall, Kennedy family friend and attorney, remain in place and the ARRB cannot open them to the public.



blueline This photographic find was from a roll of color film thought to have been exposed to light prior to processing thus destroying the film. And is so listed as such in the Burke Marshall appendix to what was donated to the National Archives. In fact, that was not the case. The film was processed, however, the film was either horribly overexposed or underexposed and is very dark to the naked eye.

Robert Groden examined this material when he worked for the House Select Committee on Assassinations which investigated the assassination in the 1970's. He found that there were images on the film and requested further examination and study of this but his report was ignored.

The ARRB learned of the images being present and asked Prof. Marshall for permission to examine the roll of film to see if current technologies could produce any image. Permission was granted. The roll of film was examined by KODAK and RIT. This was the bit of news that was in the staff report that nearly everyone missed.

Unknown was how many images were found and what did they show? Also, of interest was the issue of public access. What follows is a transcript, prepared by Mr. Backes, of the Question and Answer period, graciously allowed by the Board after their latest (Sept 9th, 1998) open meeting.



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