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Zapruder’s JFK Assassination Footage Altered by Nefarious Forces

NPIC Zapruder Film Briefing Panel 1

‘It is misleading to claim that scientific advances and scholarly experiments can cause all photo fakes to be unmasked. Questions about authenticity remain. Many photos that once were considered genuine have recently been determined to be faked.’ —Dino Brugioni (1921-2015), legendary CIA photo interpreter and author of Photofakery: The History and Techniques of Photographic Deception and Manipulation

Doug Horne, is the former chief analyst of military records at the Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board. The interview below is long, repetitive and meticulous, so I will summarize it. In the video, legendary CIA photo interpreter Dino Brugioni speaks for the first time about his examination of the Zapruder footage while at the CIA’s National Photographic Interpretation Center on one Saturday evening, the day after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. In addition to this interview, Horne’s analysis may be read here. In my view, this provides some of the most compelling evidence yet that the murder of JFK was a coup d’état.

Brugioni was one of the first in the chain of custody of the Zapruder film. He was unaware that a different team at NPIC performed a second examination of the footage the following evening and believes that the Zapruder film that resides in CIA’s archives today is not the film he saw the day after the assassination.

Dino Brugioni of the NPIC

After he personally prepared a frame-by-frame panel board of the film, Brugioni was surprised to discover that the film shown to the public was altered. Furthermore, the film’s chain of custody has been misrepresented for decades. In reality, the Zapruder film was in the custody of the CIA (including Brugioni initially) and an element of the Secret Service — not LIFE magazine — from late Saturday evening through Monday morning of that fateful weekend.

Even though TIME, Inc. (more commonly referred to in this instance as LIFE magazine) had purchased the Zapruder film on Nov. 25, 1963, the Monday following JFK’s assassination for $150,000, it was never shown publicly by TIME or LIFE as a moving picture.

LIFE magazine’s Zapruder film coverage.

The New Nationalist (TNN) has spotted other red flags concerning TIME-LIFE that suggest it was a key deep-state Crime Syndicate operative during this era. In fact, Timothy O’Leary said as much in a newly revealed video of an LSD project reunion in 1979, which we covered here.

Incredibly, it wasn’t until Aug. 1, 1998, that the Zapruder film was designated as an “assassination record.” A legal “taking” of the film was required in order to preserve it in perpetuity for the American people as part of the JFK Records Collection. As we will discuss, Abraham Zapruder, a Ukrainian-born Jewish clothing manufacturer, was the “Lucky Larry” Silverstein of the whole sordid JFK affair. His heirs were given $16 million in “just compensation” for the taking of the film by the U.S. government.

The Review Board commissioned an authenticity study of the Zapruder film. Noted retired Kodak film chemist Roland Zavada performed the one-man study. Zavada studied the film’s edge print and perceived anomalies in the bleed-over imagery in the intersprocket area of the footage. Zavada’s formal conclusion in his report concerning the supposed original that was taken by Zapruder to the Kodak plant in Dallas was this: “After the dupes were found satisfactory, the original film was slit to 8 mm.” The official narrative is that within 24 hours, Zapruder was cutting a deal with TIME-LIFE for the film. This account can be read in Horns’ article.

Following a pattern to this day that TNN mockingly calls the “Dealey Plaza” effect, newsstand copies of the Nov. 29 issue of LIFE came out with a total of 31 fuzzy, poor-resolution, black-and-white images of enlarged individual frames of the film. Twenty-eight of them were quite small, two were medium-sized and one was a large-format reproduction. What is hard to understand, in retrospect, is why LIFE magazine published such muddy, indistinct images of a film on which its parent company, TIME, Inc., had spent $150,000?

The True Chain of Custody of the Zapruder Film

There are three recorded interviews of the men who handled the briefing boards of the film. Dino A. Brugioni was the chief information officer and “briefing board czar” at NPIC for about two-and-a-half decades. Next, at the second event, an altered film was handed off to Homer A. McMahon, the former head of NPIC Color Lab, and Morgan Bennett “Ben” Hunter, McMahon’s assistant at that time.

Brugioni categorically states in the aforementioned interview that his primary assistants — Bill Banfield, the head of the photography and the graphics departments, and Ralph Pearse, lead photogrammatrist at NPIC — were present during his examination, as were two secret service agents, one of whom had the dubious name “Bill Smith.” McMahon and Hunter were not present. Two sets of briefing boards were made by Brugoni and his crew at NPIC: one for the customer (the Secret Service), and one for CIA Director John McCone. The two Secret Service officials only took the film with them and departed without saying where they were going.

This offers stagecraft clues as to how honest officials to this day can be manipulated though the use of a compartmentalized operation with a few moles inserted between. In the first operation, the NPIC work crew (Brugioni’s) made briefing boards, using enlargements of individual frames from the true camera and original Zapruder film. In the second, NPIC work crew (McMahon’s) also made briefing boards, the very next night, using enlargements of frames from an altered Zapruder film, masquerading as the camera original. As Burgini exclaims throughout the interview, neither group was aware of the other group’s activity that weekend, nor were they intended to be. Furthermore, Brugioni stated that if there had been additional activity, as duty officer that entire weekend (including Monday, the day of President Kennedy’s funeral) he should have been the person notified.

During the interview at Brugioni’s home on April 28, 2011, he was shown a good image of frame 313 from the extant Zapruder film — the so-called “head explosion” — obtained from the National Archives. Mr. Brugioni was quite startled to find out that this was the only frame graphically depicting the “head explosion” in the extant film, which the National Archives has characterized as “the original film.” He insisted that the head explosion he viewed multiple times on Nov. 23, 1963, was of such a great size and duration (in terms of time) that there should be many more frames depicting that explosion than “just the one frame” (frame 313), as shown in the Zapruder film today. Furthermore, he said the “head explosion” depicted in the Zapruder film today is too small in size and too low in the frame to be the same graphic depiction he recalls witnessing in the Zapruder film. Brugioni also stated that the head explosion he viewed was a large “white cloud” that surrounded President Kennedy’s head and was not pink or red, as shown in the extant Zapruder film.

Per Horne, the main goal with the Zapruder film was to match the clandestine, post-mortem surgery on JFK’s head wounds at Bethesda Naval Hospital, as it would have provided a rough guide for the massive head wound in the top and right side of the skull that had to be painted onto selected Zapruder film frames the next day, on Sunday. No such parietal-temporal-frontal wound was seen at Parkland Hospital in Dallas by any of the treatment staff the day Kennedy was shot and treated there. It had to be added to selected Zapruder film frames to match the illicit post-mortem cranial surgery at Bethesda that was being misrepresented in the autopsy photos as “damage from the assassin’s bullet.” In addition to painting on a false wound, of course, the forgers at “Hawkeyeworks” would have had to obscure — black out — the real exit wound, in the right rear of JFK’s head, that was seen in Trauma Room One at Parkland Hospital.

Captain Sands and ‘Bill Smith’ as Operational Crime Syndicate Moles

Homer McMahon, during his tape-recorded ARRB interview, stated he was not contacted by the duty officer at NPIC (Brugioni), which would have been normal procedure. Ben Hunter recalled a Navy Captain named “Sands” being present, but he did not initially recall a Secret Service agent being present, only someone in civilian clothes. Homer McMahon did not independently recall Captain Sands; but when informed of Hunter’s recollection, McMahon did subsequently remember the presence of a Navy captain, who had met the customer and granted him access to NPIC.

Brugioni revealed both in 2009 and 2011 that U.S. Navy Capt. Pierre Sands was the NPIC executive director — the No. 2 man in the chain of command — in November 1963. No mention was made during the interviews, by either McMahon or Hunter, of Dino Brugioni, Bill Banfield, Ralph Pearse or any other NPIC personnel. Only Sands. Homer McMahon vividly remembered that the “customer” at NPIC that night was a single Secret Service agent named “Bill Smith.”

According to McMahon, “Bill Smith” came to NPIC in Washington, D.C., having already examined the home movie and was already pushing a narrative that only three shots had been fired at the occupants of President Kennedy’s limousine on Elm Street, and that they had all been fired from the Texas School Book Depository by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Smith told McMahon and Hunter that the work was to be treated as “above Top Secret,” on a strictly “need-to-know” basis, and that not even McMahon’s boss was to know anything about it. McMahon and Hunter were instructed that they could not even answer questions from their immediate supervisors. This would have to be referred to Captain Sands.

Both McMahon and Hunter agreed that the prints mounted on the four briefing board panels (shown below) in the National Archives were indeed the prints they made the night of their “NPIC event.” McMahon stated that the prints had been trimmed down to a slightly smaller size for what they had printed.

The NPIC’s Director,  Arthur C. Lundahl by every indication was involved in the background throughout this operation.

The section in Horne’s article called Brazen Deception by ‘Bill Smith’ of the Secret Service should be read.  For the impatient, the money quote and conclusion is: “The film brought to NPIC from ‘Hawkeyeworks’ by ‘Bill Smith’ was created there, but it was not just ‘developed’ — it was a re-creation of the Zapruder film after its alteration at that facility, intended to masquerade as an original out-of-camera, unslit (16 mm wide), ‘double 8’ film.”  

The Role of Abraham Zapruder

Many have observed that Zapruder’s vantage point filming the motorcade was obscured by a large sign for Stemmons Freeway. It’s behind this sign that JFK appeared to be hit in the neck area and emerged grabbing his throat. There are also about 50 eyewitnesses who suggest the vehicle went into a rolling stop in the area behind this sign. This stop is not shown on the Zapruder film. It’s important to note that other films were taken that could collaborate this rolling stop aspect, but they were seized by agents afterward. Some of those were returned after being altered to conform to the narrative. However, even though the Zapruder film had the advantage of a Stemmons Freeway sign to obscure the event, it was also necessary to remove film frames to conform to the narrative, and that appears to be exactly what happened as shown below.

The question also begs: Why Abraham Zapruder? After all, there were many residents in Dealey Plaza filming the motorcade and all were compelled by characters claiming to be FBI or CIA to give up their cameras and film. Unlike Zapruder, none were given the opportunity to accompany their film to a lab, authorize copies and eventually negotiate a selling price with major media.

Secret Service agent “Bill Smith” provided a clue that links him directly to Abraham Zupruder. He told Homer McMahon that a patriotic citizen in Dallas had donated the camera-original film to the Secret Service out of a sense of duty, and that the individual did not want to make any money off of the film, and so he had given it to the Secret Service for free. In reality, Abraham Zapruder was determined to make as much money as he could off of the film, and did.

Smith told McMahon he had personally couriered the undeveloped film himself to a Top Secret Kodak film lab called “Hawkeyeworks,” which McMahon knew to be in Rochester, New York, at Kodak headquarters. Dino Brugioni himself repeatedly mentioned the “Hawkeye Plant” and the capabilities of that state-of-the-art, high-tech laboratory during his 2009 and 2001 interviews with Peter Janney and Doug Horne. Brugioni said with great reverence, on several occasions, “They could do anything.”

Orville Nix Treated Differently

Orville Nix filmed the scene from the south side of Elm and had his copy returned to him after considerable editing. Furthermore, nobody offered Nix, nor any of the other dozen or so witnesses filming that day, large compensation for their footage. Zapruder was a top-ranked 33rd-degree Freemason and inspector general of the Scottish Rite. He was also a member of several influential Dallas County political bodies. What a coincidence. Nix was an air conditioning engineer who apparently left school after the fourth grade.

A $16 million payday for the Zapruders is strange to say the least, with Nix receiving $5,000 for his efforts. His was sold to UPI. Jewish journalist Reese Schonfeld, who later became one of the co-founders of CNN, stewarded the film at UPI. When UPI returned the copyright and all of its copies to the Nix family in 1992, the original film was missing.

Additionally, when Nix was interviewed for a documentary by CBS about what he witnessed, Nix stated he heard shots coming from the direction of the grassy knoll. They would then say to him “Cut!” each time he answered. Finally, they asked him what the Warren Commission said about the shots. Nix stated, “The schoolbook depository building.” When they edited the tape for broadcast, the sequence was blatantly changed to show Nix saying he heard the shots coming from the schoolbook depository building. His original statement had been cut out! Bernard Birnbaum was the Jewish producer of the documentary for CBS, as was CBS’ president William Paley. Paley was also a former OSS agent and was entwined with the national security state. Nix always maintained, including in an interview with Mark Lane, that he heard shots coming from the grassy knoll.

The following is Nix’s footage, which shows the assassination in the later stages. In his recorded interview with Lane, Nix stated that the film he received back was not identical to the one that he shot. He told Lane that at the time of the assassination, he believed that the shots came from behind the fence on the grassy knoll, the James Files shooting location.

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  • Brabantian

    Superb piece by Russ here, quickly giving a clear window into the fact that the real truth has been suppressed. Interesting the detail about spooky Mason Zapruder as useful Johnny-on-the-spot.

    Talking sometimes to teen-agers born after Sep 11 2001, I am increasingly aware of how a certain amount of the impact of various truth investigations, is due to the fact we older people first experienced many events as ‘news’, & so subsequent unravelling of the official story has a certain profundity.

    But for young people who ‘weren’t there’, there is more of a ‘haze’ of just ‘history’ – ‘one damn thing after another’ as the famous saying goes. Though significantly, young people, having less ‘invested’ in the past, & also having seen various things exposed as media hoaxes in almost real-time, can be quite quick to consider alternative revisionist history … tho it seems schools are noticeably teaching somewhat less ‘history’ in general.

    My favourite question of this type to teen-agers, is to ask about the claim that the USA ‘travelled to the moon’ 9 times in 1968-72, with 3 fly-bys & 6 ‘landings’ & no one going back ever since … Sometimes the young people just laugh … and sometimes it’s ‘Wot, they said they went to the moon? I never heard that.’

  • Alexandra Zapruder the granddaughter of Abe Zapruder also mentioned the non-existent Secret Service agent “Bill Smith” in her book on the topic and that “Smith” delivered the film to NPIC..

  • Mudhole

    Good article, Russ.
    Oddly enough, Jews have the copyrights to the videos of ALL terrorist attacks, mass shootings, assassinations, etc. every single one. Do Jews just stand around on street corners, hoping to get lucky? Are they simply able to switch on the cameras in their phones faster than the rest of us? Or do they have foreknowledge of these events?
    If Jews are only 1 in 40,000 of the earths population, then one would expect Jews to have perhaps one copyright in 40,000 – if these were random events. Instead, they have ALL the copyrights. Does anyone doubt who the terrorists really are?