Discussion:
Posner closing the case with witnesses
(too old to reply)
Raymond
2012-01-15 04:34:15 UTC
Permalink
There seems to be an intense difference of opinion about the reliability
of the contents of Gerald Posner's book Case Closed. I personally think
that his book is one of the worst that I have ever read,and I have read
many books dealing with the ambush and murder of JFK.

The author of Case Closed tells his readers that "Due to the bedlam at
Dealey Plaza, many contradictory statements were produced from scores of
witnesses resulting in conflicting accounts of what happened." Posner
says, " Testimony closer to the event must be given greater weight than
changes or additions made years later, when the witnesses' own memory is
often muddled or influenced by television programs, films, books, and
discussions with others.

This is good advice, especially for people that write for posterity. Does
Posner follow his own advice? In trying to solidify the concept that three
shots were fired on November 22, 1963, we read from Case Closed: "Beyond
the eyewitnesses already discussed, the author has discovered several
people who saw the assassination and have never before testified or told
their stories...most are now retired, some deceased, and their memories
nearly three decades after the event are not what they would have been
within days of the shooting. But their revelations are still pertinent,
The six interviewed for this book each remembered hearing three distinct
shots, and more important, three of them watched the assassination with a
pair of binoculars." pp.261-262.

Posner tells us that six were interviewed for the book and three watched
with binoculars, but leaves us in the dark as to who they were except for
one or two of them. Francine Burrows, who said she remembered three shots
told Gerald, " I was very close to him when he got shot. And I looked up
at that window immediately. I knew instinctively 'That's where the shots
came from.' She ran back to her office after the third shot, and she said
she ' was in shock - I didn't want to discuss it, I just wanted to forget
it'." p262.

And that's exactly what Francine did for thirty years; she didn't
discuss it and she just forgot it.
Thanks to Posner, Francine has come forward at last to help us close
the case.

Even more interesting than Francine is another tardy witness, Travis
Linn, once a reporter and now a professor of journalism. Posner says of
Linn, "Despite his reluctance, he finally agreed to tell, for the first
time publicly, the story of the only sound recording known to have been
made of the assassination." p.243.

It turns out that Linn had planted a tape recorder on one of the columns
near the reflective pool at the corner of Houston and Elm Streets. He
wanted to capture the sounds of the motorcade going by,

All went well until Linn transferred the recording to a reel-to-reel tape
machine and don't you know, it erased itself. (Shades of Mission
Impossible). Not to worry; when asked if he heard the sounds of the shots
on the tape when he played it back, Linn told Posner, " When I was dubbing
it, I did hear three shots and they were rifle shots. I know rifles and
pistols. There is no question about those sounds. They were huge over the
crowd noise...the first two, my recollection is, were close together and
there was a slightly longer pause until the third one, as the guy hurried
his shots, and then said, 'No, I am going to aim this time." p.244.

We are fortunate that Posner found Travis Linn before Oliver Stone
discovered him. Here we have not only a witness to the tragic event, but
someone who writes dialogue as well. Also, Linn was able to correct
witnesses who reported that it was the last two shots that were cose
together with a longer pause after the first shot.

If Linn would have come forward at the time, he could have saved Secret
Service Agent Forest Sorrels from giving false testimony to the
Commission. Sorrels was in the lead car of the motorcade and when asked if
he could testify to the spacing of the shots, Sorrels said, "Yes. There
was to me about twice as much time between the first and second shots as
there was between the second and third shots."

MR. STERN: Can you estimate the overall time from the first shot to
the third shot?
SORRELS: Yes, I have called it out to myself. I have timed it, and I
would say it was very, very close to six seconds.
MR.STERN: It sounds like you can still hear the shots.
SORRELS: I will hear them forever.

Vol VII, p.345.

Posner criticizes testimony of witnesses who made statements within hours
of the assassination, and uses Travis Linn thirty years later to describe
the shots from a self-destructed tape.

What happened to the author's advise about testimony closer to the event
being given greater weight than testimony made years later?

CASE CLOSED? Maybe not.
bigdog
2012-01-15 16:54:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raymond
There seems to be an intense difference of opinion about the reliability
of the contents of Gerald Posner's book Case Closed. I personally think
that his book is one of the worst that I have ever read,and I have read
many books dealing with the ambush and murder of JFK.
The author of Case Closed tells his readers that "Due to the bedlam at
Dealey Plaza, many contradictory statements were produced from scores of
witnesses resulting in conflicting accounts of what happened." Posner
says, " Testimony closer to the event must be given greater weight than
changes or additions made years later, when the witnesses' own memory is
often muddled or influenced by television programs, films, books, and
discussions with others.
This is good advice, especially for people that write for posterity. Does
Posner follow his own advice? In trying to solidify the concept that three
shots were fired on November 22, 1963, we read from Case Closed: "Beyond
the eyewitnesses already discussed, the author has discovered several
people who saw the assassination and have never before testified or told
their stories...most are now retired, some deceased, and their memories
nearly three decades after the event are not what they would have been
within days of the shooting. But their revelations are still pertinent,
The six interviewed for this book each remembered hearing three distinct
shots, and more important, three of them watched the assassination with a
pair of binoculars." pp.261-262.
There is nothing inconsistent about what Posner has said and written.
He says that greater weight should be given to statements made closer
to the event than those made years later. In these cases, these people
didn't give statements in the immediate aftermath so there is nothing
to give greater weight to. Posner also is acknowledging that these
recollections are not as compelling as they would have been had these
people made their statements immediately afterwards. Any witness
testimony is suspect because people don't remember events perfectly
and the further from an event, the less reliable the memories. Posner
would be a hypocrite if he gave the later statements more credibility
than their earlier ones, but since they made no earlier ones, he
hasn't done that.
Post by Raymond
 Posner tells us that six were interviewed for the book and three watched
with binoculars, but leaves us in the dark as to who they were except for
one or two of them. Francine Burrows, who said she remembered three shots
told Gerald, " I was very close to him when he got shot. And I looked up
at that window immediately. I knew instinctively 'That's where the shots
came from.' She ran back to her office after the third shot, and she said
she ' was in shock - I didn't want to discuss it, I just wanted to forget
it'." p262.
 And that's exactly what Francine did for thirty years; she didn't
discuss it and she just forgot it.
Thanks to Posner,  Francine  has come forward at last to help us close
the case.
 Even more interesting than Francine is another tardy witness, Travis
Linn, once a reporter and now a professor of journalism. Posner says of
Linn, "Despite his reluctance, he finally agreed to tell, for the first
time publicly, the story of the only sound recording known to have been
made of the assassination." p.243.
 It turns out that Linn had planted a tape recorder on one of the columns
near the reflective pool at the corner of Houston and Elm Streets. He
wanted to capture the sounds of the motorcade going by,
 All went well until Linn transferred the recording to a reel-to-reel tape
machine and don't you know, it erased itself. (Shades of Mission
Impossible). Not to worry; when asked if he heard the sounds of the shots
on the tape when he played it back, Linn told Posner, " When I was dubbing
it, I did hear three shots and they were rifle shots. I know rifles and
pistols. There is no question about those sounds. They were huge over the
crowd noise...the first two, my recollection is, were close together and
there was a slightly longer pause until the third one, as the guy hurried
his shots, and then said, 'No, I am going to aim this time." p.244.
Damn, if he we had that tape it would be invaluable. It could lay to
rest many arguments about the spacing and the timing of the shots. It
would give us the one element the Z-film lacks. Sound. Syncing it with
the Z-film would be most illuminating. It would give us a definitive
point in time when that first shot occurred. As it is, our only audio
clue is this man's recollections for what that's worth. If he is
correct about the spacing, that works for a missed shot in the
Z150-160 range and and a second shot striking around Z223. It would
settle a lot of arguments, but we would still have the diehards who
would claim it was faked.
Post by Raymond
We are fortunate that Posner found Travis Linn before Oliver Stone
discovered him. Here we have not only a witness to the tragic event, but
someone who writes dialogue as well. Also, Linn was able to correct
witnesses who reported that it was the last two shots that were cose
together with a longer pause after the first shot.
If Linn would have come forward at the time, he could have saved Secret
Service Agent Forest Sorrels from giving false testimony to the
Commission. Sorrels was in the lead car of the motorcade and when asked if
he could testify to the spacing of the shots, Sorrels said, "Yes. There
was to me about twice as much time between the first and second shots as
there was between the second and third shots."
I have no reason to believe Sorrels wasn't testifying to the best of
his recollections. It is his recollection which is probably faulty.
Post by Raymond
     MR. STERN: Can you estimate the overall time from the first shot to
the third shot?
     SORRELS: Yes, I have called it out to myself. I have timed it, and I
would say it was very, very close to six seconds.
     MR.STERN: It sounds like you can still hear the shots.
     SORRELS: I will hear them forever.
 Vol VII, p.345.
Posner criticizes testimony of witnesses who made statements within hours
of the assassination, and uses Travis Linn thirty years later to describe
the shots from a self-destructed tape.
The only statements from Linn were made many years after the event.
It's not like there was a choice unless he wanted to ignore Linn
altogether which would be a mistake. Statements made immediately after
the event aren't necessarily true nor are those made many years later
necessarily false. What is compelling about what Linn tells us is that
he did not have to rely on his first hand impression. He could have
played that tape numerous times which would give him an advantage over
those who only saw and heard the event once. For that reason Linn's
statements have value. They would be much more valueable if we could
corroborate them with the actual tape. If he hadn't been such a klutz,
he would be as famous as Zapruder.
Post by Raymond
What happened to the author's advise about testimony closer to the event
being given greater weight than testimony made years later?
CASE CLOSED? Maybe not.
Posner did not give any witness's later statements greater weight than
their earlier ones. These statements were the earliest ones these
witnesses gave. because they were the only ones they gave.
Lt.Bullitt
2012-01-15 19:21:20 UTC
Permalink
The key phrase is "changes or additions."
These were, as you say, first hand witnesses giving their story for
the first time. They weren't interviewed in 1963 and thus, weren't
"adding" or "changing" previous testimony.

Bugliosi supposedly discredited Linn's story in his book, which was
published after R.F. Gallagher wrote this 1997 article- " POSNER - THE
EIGHTH COMMISSIONER"
Post by Raymond
There seems to be an intense difference of opinion about the reliability
of the contents of Gerald Posner's book Case Closed. I personally think
that his book is one of the worst that I have ever read,and I have read
many books dealing with the ambush and murder of JFK.
The author of Case Closed tells his readers that "Due to the bedlam at
Dealey Plaza, many contradictory statements were produced from scores of
witnesses resulting in conflicting accounts of what happened." Posner
says, " Testimony closer to the event must be given greater weight than
changes or additions made years later, when the witnesses' own memory is
often muddled or influenced by television programs, films, books, and
discussions with others.
This is good advice, especially for people that write for posterity. Does
Posner follow his own advice? In trying to solidify the concept that three
shots were fired on November 22, 1963, we read from Case Closed: "Beyond
the eyewitnesses already discussed, the author has discovered several
people who saw the assassination and have never before testified or told
their stories...most are now retired, some deceased, and their memories
nearly three decades after the event are not what they would have been
within days of the shooting. But their revelations are still pertinent,
The six interviewed for this book each remembered hearing three distinct
shots, and more important, three of them watched the assassination with a
pair of binoculars." pp.261-262.
 Posner tells us that six were interviewed for the book and three watched
with binoculars, but leaves us in the dark as to who they were except for
one or two of them. Francine Burrows, who said she remembered three shots
told Gerald, " I was very close to him when he got shot. And I looked up
at that window immediately. I knew instinctively 'That's where the shots
came from.' She ran back to her office after the third shot, and she said
she ' was in shock - I didn't want to discuss it, I just wanted to forget
it'." p262.
 And that's exactly what Francine did for thirty years; she didn't
discuss it and she just forgot it.
Thanks to Posner,  Francine  has come forward at last to help us close
the case.
 Even more interesting than Francine is another tardy witness, Travis
Linn, once a reporter and now a professor of journalism. Posner says of
Linn, "Despite his reluctance, he finally agreed to tell, for the first
time publicly, the story of the only sound recording known to have been
made of the assassination." p.243.
 It turns out that Linn had planted a tape recorder on one of the columns
near the reflective pool at the corner of Houston and Elm Streets. He
wanted to capture the sounds of the motorcade going by,
 All went well until Linn transferred the recording to a reel-to-reel tape
machine and don't you know, it erased itself. (Shades of Mission
Impossible). Not to worry; when asked if he heard the sounds of the shots
on the tape when he played it back, Linn told Posner, " When I was dubbing
it, I did hear three shots and they were rifle shots. I know rifles and
pistols. There is no question about those sounds. They were huge over the
crowd noise...the first two, my recollection is, were close together and
there was a slightly longer pause until the third one, as the guy hurried
his shots, and then said, 'No, I am going to aim this time." p.244.
We are fortunate that Posner found Travis Linn before Oliver Stone
discovered him. Here we have not only a witness to the tragic event, but
someone who writes dialogue as well. Also, Linn was able to correct
witnesses who reported that it was the last two shots that were cose
together with a longer pause after the first shot.
If Linn would have come forward at the time, he could have saved Secret
Service Agent Forest Sorrels from giving false testimony to the
Commission. Sorrels was in the lead car of the motorcade and when asked if
he could testify to the spacing of the shots, Sorrels said, "Yes. There
was to me about twice as much time between the first and second shots as
there was between the second and third shots."
     MR. STERN: Can you estimate the overall time from the first shot to
the third shot?
     SORRELS: Yes, I have called it out to myself. I have timed it, and I
would say it was very, very close to six seconds.
     MR.STERN: It sounds like you can still hear the shots.
     SORRELS: I will hear them forever.
 Vol VII, p.345.
Posner criticizes testimony of witnesses who made statements within hours
of the assassination, and uses Travis Linn thirty years later to describe
the shots from a self-destructed tape.
What happened to the author's advise about testimony closer to the event
being given greater weight than testimony made years later?
CASE CLOSED? Maybe not.
Loading...