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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

"JFK Revisited" Recklessly Accuses George Burkley of being Involved in a Cover-Up

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, paints Admiral George Burkley as a co-conspirator in the supposed cover-up in the JFK assassination. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. In this case, there is none.

Screen Shot from JFK Revisited

Here is an excerpt from a transcript: (1:01:28)

Whoopi Goldberg: The one physician present at both Parkland Hospital and the Bethesda morgue was George Burkley, Kennedy's personal doctor. Arlen Specter did not depose George Burkley, but Burkley did an interview with the JFK Library in 1967, and was asked this question:

Question: Do you agree with the Warren Report on the number of bullets that entered the President's body?

Burkley: I would not care to be quoted on that.

Dr. Donald Miller: The reason he didn't say anything was he was intimately involved in the cover-up.

Whoopi Goldberg: Burkley signed the autopsy descriptive sheet with the bullet in the back at the level of T3. He also signed Kennedy's death certificate, which also placed that wound in the back. That death certificate is not in the Warren Commission volumes and the descriptive sheet in the Commission volumes does not have Burkley's signature. In 1977, through his lawyer, he wrote a letter to Richard Sprague, Chief Counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. He said he had information indicating that "others besides Oswald must have participated" in the assassination.

Whoopi Goldberg: He was willing to talk about it at this time. Sprague, who made clear his intention to fully investigate the CIA's involvement, was forced out two weeks later. Dr. Burkley submitted a written statement to the House Select Committee but there is no official record of him being deposed as a witness.

Douglas Horne: In 1982, he told JFK researcher Henry Hurt "I know there was more than one gunman." And when Henry Hurt tried to recontact Burkley for more details, Burkley cut him off at the knees, "I don't want to talk about it anymore."

Douglas Horne: The very next year, Burkley talked to Michael Kurtz, another JFK researcher, told him that he knew there was a conspiracy to kill the President and that he recalled an exit wound in the back of President Kennedy's head. Now that's a very significant statement, that the only doctor we know of who was present at both Parkland, for treatment, and at Bethesda, during the autopsy, told Michael Kurtz in 1983 that Kennedy had an exit wound in the back of his head. When Kurtz tried to recontact Burkley, Burkley cut him off at the knees, "I don't want to talk about this anymore." Dr. Burkley was deceased by the time the Review Board was impaneled. So then [ARRB General Counsel] Jeremy [Gunn] decided, well, we can ask the executor of his estate, his daughter, to sign a waiver so that we could go to the law firm, that Mr. Illig used to work for, since he was deceased also, and see if there were any records in the files of Mr. Illig that would have revealed what it was he wanted to tell the HSCA, in detail. And she said she would do that.

Douglas Horne: And then Jeremy called her on the phone, she had completely changed her mind and adamantly refused to sign it and terminated the phone call.

Dr. Donald Miller: The face sheet for the autopsy where it shows the front and back silhouette of the body where you mark scars and bullet wounds and things. The face sheet showed the bullet wound in the back at the level of thoracic vertebra T3 which is 5 1/2 to six inches below.

Whoopi Goldberg: That location coincided with what Sibert and O'Neill wrote in their report. And in order to make the facts fit the single bullet theory, one bullet doing all this damage, the doctors needed an exit point for the back wound. The Warren Commission raised the wound in the back so that it would align with the alleged exit wound in the front of Kennedy's neck. Commissioner Gerald Ford did this simply with the stroke of a pen, changing the description in their report from 'back' to 'back of the neck.'

JFK Revisited then moves from reckless charges against Dr. Burkley to reckless charges against Gerald Ford for 'moving the wound' and confessing to d'Estaing.

Whoopi Goldberg: But then in 1979, the House Select Committee moved it lower in the back because they had pictures from the autopsy. It is conceivable that, at the time, the Warren Commission thought no one would ever see the autopsy photos. When the review board declassified the notations showing what Ford had done, the former commissioner replied that it had nothing to do with a conspiracy theory. He was only trying to be more precise.

Screen Shot from JFK Revisited

Dr. Donald Miller makes an extraordinary claim:

Whoopi Goldberg: The one physician present at both Parkland Hospital and the Bethesda morgue was George Burkley, Kennedy's personal doctor. Arlen Specter did not depose George Burkley, but Burkley did an interview with the JFK Library in 1967, and was asked this question:

Question: Do you agree with the Warren Report on the number of bullets that entered the President's body?

Burkley: I would not care to be quoted on that.

Dr. Donald Miller: The reason he didn't say anything was he was intimately involved in the cover-up.

Audio of Admiral George Burkley's Interview with the JFK Library

You can download a transcript of Dr. Burkley's interview with the Kennedy Library here:

oral history burkley jfk library
Download PDF • 153KB

In fact, Dr. Burkley had already answered a question about the cause of death:

McHUGH: I see. Do your conclusions differ at all with the Warren Report of the circumstances or cause of death?

BURKLEY: My conclusion in regard to the cause of death was the bullet wound which involved the skull. The discussion as to whether a previous bullet also enters into it, but as far as the cause of death the immediate cause was unquestionably the bullet which shattered the brain and the calvarium.

Notice that he didn't say bullets.

The most probable reason why Burkley did not want to answer the question on the number of bullets can be found in his interview with the HSCA, which I discussed in a previous blog post.

Dr. Burkley said the doctors didn't section the brain and that if it had been done, it might be possible to prove whether or not there were two bullets. Dr. Burkley thinks there was one but concedes the possibility of there having been two.

Most probably, Dr. Burkley felt that an interview with the Kennedy Library was not the time nor the place to talk about sectioning of the brain. And rather than go into a long explanation of brain sectioning, he decided not to answer the question.

However, Dr. Miller makes the claim that Dr. Burkley did not answer because he was "intimately involved in the cover-up." What is the evidence for this?

My teenage buddy George W. Burkley (both of us are now age 72) writes, "Dad never voiced much of an opinion about a conspiracy but frequently questioned why the Warren Commission never asked him to testify. Dad was [a] very close hold when it came to his professional life."

That doesn't provide any evidence to charge Admiral Burkley with being involved in a cover-up.

Miller's charge clearly comes from his discussion of JFK's death certificate and the back wound.

Dr. Burkley describes the wound in JFK's back as being at the "level of the third thoracic vertebra. Dr. Miller goes on to note that:

A second pathologist (of three performing it), Lt. Cmdr. J. Thornton Boswell, made a diagram of the wounds and scars he observed on the body. It places the bullet wound in the back at the same level, T-3, like the death certificate. Dr. Burkley signs the diagram (on the lower left side) and above his signature writes, "Verified."

Here is the diagram:

You can see Burkley's signature under "Verified" in the lower left. However, as Dr. Miller should know, the description of the wound indicates its true location:

14 cm from rt acromion” (the bony tip of the outer edge of your shoulder blade) and “14 cm below tip of rt mastoid process” (a conical prominence of the temporal bone behind the ear, to which neck muscles are attached).

This was all explained back in 1966: (Baltimore Sun, November 25, 1966)

The caption below the work sheet says:

Dr. J. Thornton Boswell said yesterday President Kennedy's neck wound should have been indicated where the X is, and not, as he did during the autopsy, where the dot on the back is. Notations on the drawing are correct and precise, he said, indicating neck wound.

Here is an excerpt from the second page of that article:

Is Dr. Burkley guilty of a cover-up or of making a mistake on the death certificate?

Why is this so important to Dr. Miller and the producers of JFK Revisited? Because they want to use Burkley to help prove that the single-bullet theory is impossible. Dr. Miller wrote:

Dr. Burkley's observations are equally damaging to the lone gunman scenario. He filled out and signed President Kennedy's Death Certificate (see here). It describes a bullet wound in Kennedy's back adjacent to the third thoracic vertebra (T-3). This is 5 inches below the neck. Dr. Burkley places the wound in the back far too low for the bullet to have exited through the throat at neck-tie level. The death certificate, alone, renders the single bullet theory ballistically and anatomically impossible.
The way it dealt with Dr. Boswell's autopsy diagram demonstrates the chicanery the Warren Commission practiced in its investigation of the assassination. The Commission published Boswell's diagram as Commission Exhibit 397, but Admiral Burkley's signature validating it is gone! It has been erased. The bullet hole's location as placed on CE 397 disproves the single bullet theory, the lynchpin of the Commission's case against Oswald. But like with Dr. Perry, when Dr. Boswell came before the Commission he also had a change of mind and testified that he had drawn the bullet hole in the back too low, saying now that it was actually considerably higher than shown on the diagram, high enough for the bullet to have come out and left an exit wound in the neck. With his signature not there, the Commission would not need to question Admiral Burkley about it.

Miller ignores the notation on the autopsy work sheet and also ignores the autopsy report itself. So the Warren Commission published a copy of the autopsy work sheet without Burkley's signature. Is this what Miller considers a cover-up?

Dr. Burkley did, however, sign an Affidavit for the HSCA, which states that the casket was constantly observed and not opened or disturbed in its trip to the National Naval Medical Center autopsy laboratory in Bethesda, Maryland. It reads:

“I travelled from Andrew’s Air Force Base in the ambulance with the President’s body to the Bethesda Naval Hospital and accompanied the [bronze Dallas] coffin to the autopsy laboratory and saw the body removed from the coffin and placed on the autopsy table.”

Admiral Burkley lied. The bronze Dallas casket was opened and was empty when it arrived at the autopsy lab.

This firmly puts Miller into the David Lifton/Douglas Horne camp.

Why was Burkley so reticent to tell his children the truth about the JFK assassination? Miller claimed that Burkley's son had said that his father "frequently questioned why the Warren Commission never asked him to testify." Miller seemingly knows the answer:

His father knew very well why the Warren Commission never called him to testify. Admiral Burkley knew first-hand that the single bullet theory was bogus. He chose not to tell his children the true facts of the JFK assassination or his involvement in the cover-up. Perhaps to protect them?

Dr. Burkley was protecting his children?

I am sure that they can finally breathe freely now that his role in the cover-up has been exposed.

Where does this all come from? Dr. Miller writes:

Doug Horne nails it in his book Inside the Assassination Records Review Board,
“[Admiral Burkley’s behavior] can only be understood as that of a man who was filled with deep and profound guilt about the massive coverup he participated in—indeed, which he appears to have engineered—a man who wanted to confess his role and unburden himself on some occasions, and who would then abruptly change his mind on other occasions, when he considered the effect this would have had on his reputation and his family’s peace-of-mind. His behavior from the time of the assassination up until his death was that of a deeply conflicted man, ridden with guilt and shame, who wanted to confess his involvement in the cover-up for the moral absolution it would have provided to him but who at the same time, was afraid to do so for practical reasons involving his reputation and his family. History will not absolve him, either for his role in the cover-up, or for his failure to come clean when he had a chance to do so with the HSCA, which could have granted him immunity if he had decided to expose the cover-up.”

This is insanely reckless and stupid.

To ensure his silence President Johnson made Dr. Burkley his personal physician and promoted him from the rank of Rear Admiral to Vice Admiral.

Is Dr. Miller a credible commentator?

One of the books that Dr. Miller recommends on the JFK assassination is John Armstrong's Harvey and Lee How the CIA Framed Oswald:

Armstrong has done more field investigation on Oswald than anyone. One seasoned JFK assassination researcher states, “Of all the homerun hitters in this league, John Armstrong is the ‘Babe Ruth.’”
The CIA sent the fluent Russian-speaking Harvey to Russia posing as a disaffected southern-borne [sic] American. When it was later decided to use them in the Kennedy assassination the American-born Oswald helped the agency set up his Russian-speaking double as the patsy for it. The only problem with this was that Oswald kept being seen in two places at once—like when he (Lee) was in the Marines in Japan, from October 1957 to May 1958, while he (Harvey) was working at the Pfisterer Dental Lab in New Orleans. Right after the shooting eyewitnesses saw Oswald (Harvey) on a bus, while Dallas Deputy Sheriff observed him (Lee) getting into a Dodge Rambler on Elm Street in Dealey Plaza.

Again Carl Sagan's adage comes to mind, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Miller actually believes that saying Oswald is innocent is considered a thought-crime:

Unfortunately, we now live in a country where to say that Oswald is innocent is tantamount to committing a “thoughtcrime”. Americans increasingly practice what Orwell terms “crimestop,” the faculty of stopping short at the threshold of any dangerous thought. But given the facts of the matter, believing the Oswald-did-it-alone official truth is like saying 2 + 2 = 5.

But wait, there's more!

A small bomb placed on the aircraft that exploded in mid-air may have caused the plane to dive into the ocean.

Some of his articles speak for themselves: (click for the link)

By the way, in that last article, Dr. Miller has some advice for all of us:

In The Real Anthony Fauci, RFK Jr. shows conclusively that ivermectin has a far better safety record than “Dr. Fauci’s two chosen COVID remedies, [intravenous] remdesivir (which hospital nurses have dubbed ‘Run-death-is-near’) and COVID vaccines.”

Can ivermectin perhaps cure conspiracy fever?

Previous Relevant Blog Posts on JFK Revisited

Tracy Parnell debunks a series about JFK Revisited on the WhoWhatWhy website, and Andrews debunks the film on Quora. Both articles are well worth your time.

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, greatly misleads viewers on Admiral George Burkley and his interactions with the HSCA.

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary puts words in Burkley's mouth.

Did Saundra Spencer really develop a completely different set of autopsy photographs?

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary tries to make the case that a White House photographer took photos at the autopsy. The only problem is that there is no evidence he was actually there.

Stone misspeaks on the Joe Rogan show about JFK's brain.

Stone misspeaks on the Joe Rogan show and I present a challenge to conspiracy theorists.

Tracy Parnell dissects Morley's article on JFK assassination documents and "JFK Revisited"

Did President Kennedy actually say that he was going to shatter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the wind?

David Talbot claims that JFK told the French Ambassador that he was not in full control of his entire government. There is no evidence he ever said that.

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary claims the CIA supported the 1961 coup attempt against French President Charles de Gaulle in 1961. The only thing missing is evidence.

Max Boot: Oliver Stone just can't stop spreading lies about JFK's assassination.

Did Gerald Ford really disclose to French President Valery Giscard D'Estaing that the JFK assassination was a conspiracy? Perhaps not.

Robert Kennedy, Jr. believes in a massive conspiracy regarding Covid and the intelligence agencies.

While Gerald Ford edited some language in the Warren Report, he did not change the location of the back wound. Autopsy photographs show exactly the location of the back wound.

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary alleges that Oswald was "moved" to Dallas and "placed" in the Texas School Book Depository. This is totally ridiculous.

The preponderance of the evidence indicates JFK's throat wound was one of exit.

There is no evidence that there was actually a plot against JFK in Chicago.

Gochenaur's writings don't back up his allegations in JFK Revisited.

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary claims that Guy Banister gave Oswald a room at 544 Camp Street. The evidence does not support the allegation.

Dr. Robert Kirschner's consultation with the ARRB explains a mystery in the documentary.

JFK Revisited makes a big deal about the weight of JFK's brain and ignores a non-conspiratorial explanation.

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary makes it sound like the autopsy photographer said that he did not take the photos of JFK's brain that are in the current inventory,

Oliver Stone took to Twitter last weekend to bemoan the fact that the mainstream press is ignoring his so-called documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass.

There is something really obscene about Oliver Stone once again going after Clay Shaw.

You won't learn everything you need to know about Connally's position on the shots from Oliver Stone's so-called documentary.

Oliver Stone tries to make it seem like Marina Porter has denied taking the backyard photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Oliver Stone once again raises the issue of the legitimacy of the backyard photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald.

This post debunks every witness that ever claimed Shaw was Bertrand.

He cannot imagine any sort of non-conspiratorial explanations for any of the suspicious pieces of evidence in his film.

No, Clay Shaw was not a "contract agent."

Steve Roe Blog Posts on JFK Revisited

"Stone/DiEugenio hatch another Bogus Mystery with Sinister Strap/Sling Mounts on Oswald's Rifle"

Oliver Stone claims that Oswald could not have been in the sniper's nest on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Steve Roe exposes Stone's mistakes.

In an interview on RT [Russia Today], Oliver Stone says that the throat wound might have been made by a flechette.

Steve Roe presents some examples of Oliver Stone's 'creative' abilities.

Oliver Stone distorts the testimony about Oswald's palmprint on the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.


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