Fred Litwin, Conspiracy Theorist
Updated: May 5
Some conspiracy theorists dispute my claim that I once believed in conspiracy. James DiEugenio writes:
"The very title of Litwin’s book, I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak, strikes this reviewer as being deliberately provocative, but at least a bit ersatz. The implication of that title would be that, at one time, the author really believed that a conspiracy killed President Kennedy. Litwin says this was so, yet somehow, he does not produce any evidence to demonstrate it was in his entire book. He notes articles and talks he gave which support the Warren Commission and ridicule the critics. (Litwin, p. 143)"
I am not sure why this is so important to him, nor why he does not believe what I have written.
My first article on the JFK assassination was for the November 11, 1975 issue of The Georgian, the student newspaper of the Sir George Williams Campus of Concordia University in Montreal. I was excited to learn that student programming was bringing in Rusty Rhodes to speak on the JFK assassination and I wrote this article to promote his talk. I was nineteen at the time.
Please note that I did not write the headline - otherwise, I would have written killers. As you can see from the article, I was greatly influenced by Dr. Cyril Wecht.
My next article on the JFK assassination was for January 9, 1976 edition of The Georgian, I was appalled by the Rusty Rhodes lecture. He showed the Zapruder film several times - in an attempt to prove the fatal head shot came from the front. But not once did he mention that the autopsy X-rays and photographs only support a shot from behind - and he never told the audience that Dr. Cyril Wecht, a leading forensic pathologist and Warren Report critic, wrote just two years earlier in Forensic Science that:
"The available evidence, assuming it to be valid, gives no support to theories which postulate gunmen to the front or right-front of the Presidential car. The wound in the President's head, as evidenced in the autopsy photographs and X-rays, can only have been fired from somewhere to the rear of the President."
I thought that that was intellectually dishonest and here is my article:
Look, the writing is not very good and I admit that up front. It's not easy to look at your old writing.
While I believed there was a conspiracy, I didn't believe it was necessary to mislead people.
My next article came about five months later in a publication called People and the PURSUIT of Truth. I put the front cover of the magazine in my book I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak,
I had just turned twenty when this was published. The entire issue can be seen here. I argue that the back/throat wound of JFK was a through-and-through wound. At the time, I was in contact with Dr. Cyril Wecht, and his belief was that the bullet that traversed Kennedy's neck exited over the left side of the limousine. Robert Forman had written an article in support of that thesis, and I was trying to rebut Robert Cutler, who had disputed that.
That's a typo on the second page in note 2. I know that conspiracy theorists will look at this and say I didn't even know when the head shot occurred in the Zapruder film.
Yes, this is not a grand conspiracy article. But, that was my thinking at the time - I rejected the single-bullet theory, and that reflected my interest back then in the medical evidence. I found the Prouty arguments, of a massive and grand conspiracy, silly and ridiculous.
My next conspiracy article was again in The Georgian in November 1977:
The article was written before the acoustics evidence. There was an interim report from the HSCA which mentioned that there was testimony, I believe from one of the nurses at Parkland, that too many fragments were removed from Connally's wrist. Of course, the HSCA ended up endorsing the single-bullet theory.
And that was the last thing I wrote on the Kennedy assassination until the early 1990s when I wrote my paper, "A Conspiracy Too Big." In 1978, I went to MBA school in Kingston, Ontario and I had no time for the JFK assassination. In 1983, I took a year off to go traveling and I gave away all my JFK books (I only saved Sylvia Meagher's Accessories After the Fact, and The Assassinations, an anthology co-edited by Paul Hoch) and I tossed all my correspondence with people like Cyril Wecht and Harold Weisberg.
Of course, conspiracy theorists will say this is not enough. That I wasn't enough of a conspiracy theorist to satisfy them. But then, nothing I do will satisfy them.