Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions on the JFK Assassination (Pt. 8): The Nix and Zapruder Films and the Evidence Therein.

What is the difference between Nix and Zapruder films?

The Nix film was filmed by Orville Nix, just on the opposite side of Elm St. from where Abraham Zapruder filmed his. More precisely, he was located at the corner of Main and Houston Streets. Both films show various details of the fatal head shot though, to be sure, the Z-film (as the Zapruder film has been called) has been the more extensively studied, and is perhaps the most analyzed film in history.

A frame from the Nix film may be seen in Robert Groden’s pictorial record of the assassination, (The Killing of a President, p32). There are also Nix film versions available on the internet (Youtube), but none of the ones I’ve seen are the original. How do I discern the original? It is the one featured in stop-motion on the Italian documentary The Two Kennedys which uses a reference circle for an obvious piece of dislodged skull hurtling over the rear of the limo. This is the film that needs to be seen. One can also clearly see a smoke puff rising from behind the fence of the Grassy Knoll - just as described by a number of witnesses standing on the Elm St. Overpass including: Richard Todd, and S.M. Holland (see, the video 'Rush to Judgment' and segments of interviews with Holland, Todd, Lee Bowers and others therein).

Re: the fragment of skull (occipital) bone seen rocketing over the trunk of the car in 'The Two Kennedys', there is not the least doubt in my mind that this is indeed a dislodged skull fragment, and more than likely the selfsame fragment (occipital) found by William Harper subsequently, about 25-35' behind where the limo was when the shot was fired.(Also noted by Mr. Charles Brehm who was standing only 30' from the limo at the time, but never called by the Warren Commission). A missing occipital bone would also comport with the hole in the head as described, for example, by Parkland surgeon Charles Crenshaw[1].

From a purely physics point of view, the motion of the fragment over the trunk clearly shows the direction of the projectile’s linear momentum.  Its motion is also perfectly consistent, and matched to the other kinetics visible. This also indicates irrefutably, that the shot that produced this backward propulsion of bone had to have come from the front. (Note Jackie can also be seen in the film starting to move over the trunk in an attempt to snatch the flying fragment (cf. Z-film  frames 325-58)and her own testimony appearing in transcripts confirms it[2]:

"I was looking this way, to the left, and I heard these terrible noises. You know. And my husband never made any sound. So I turned to  the right. All I remember seeing is my husband, he had this sort of quizzical look on his face, and his hand was up, it must have been his left hand. And just as I turned and looked at him, I could see a piece of his skull and I remember it was flesh-colored."


"You know, then, there were pictures later of me climbing out the back, but I don't remember that at all."

And from her secret (secluded) testimony (excised from original version):

"I was trying to hold his hair on. But from the front there was nothing. I suppose there must have been. But from the back you could see, you know, you were trying to hold his hair on, and his skull on."
Charles Brehm in a video interview ('Rush to Judgment', 1986) also notes  the displacement of what he believed to be a skull 'particle' to the left  and rear of the limo.

Reference has been made to Martin Shackelford commenting that "it seems like a skull fragment flying through the air would be in more than one frame"[3] - but it is clear that what Shackelford was looking at was not the original - intact Nix film, but rather a doctored substitute that emerged after "the original film was  lost during the HSCA investigations"[4].   As to the most plausible method for doctoring the image, it would have been aerial imaging photography.

Thus, the actual original Nix film was projected frame by frame onto the rear of a glass screen, This corrupted copy was then filmed frame by frame and when the frames nearing the skull fragment were approached, appropriate “touch ups” were performed to eliminate the unwanted whitish blob. It may have appeared then, at most, in one frame – but no more. Since only a few frames would have had to be re-filmed, and the touchups were generally non-descript, no one would have been the wiser. Why go to all this trouble? Because a key evidentiary piece (showing a shot from the grassy knoll) would be obfuscated.

Certainly, the version of the Nix film I have (from 'The Two Kennedys') shows more than one frame and, as I indicated, it is tracked with the aid of a reference circle (estimated duration: 0.5-0.6 s ). It’s evident to me that more than one version of the Nix film is in circulation, and that there is no assurance that anyone looking at a copy minus the reference circle is seeing the intact version.  Orville Nix himself (interview, 'Rush to Judgment' video) notes that there was an original of his film (which went to UPI) and a copy of which went to the federal investigators. When his film was returned to him by the government, Nix pointedly noted that it was not the same as the one he’d originally given them. In fact, he observed "a frame here and there was missing". Assuming that no one knows his film better than Nix himself, this leads one to suspect that at least three versions of the Nix film are in circulation:

- The original (UPI) unedited version (also in 'The Two Kennedys')

- The tampered version returned to Nix (frames missing)

- A 2nd tampered version - after a copy 'disappeared' during the HSCA investigation

Harrison Livingstone notes [5]:

"Doug Mizzer reports evidence of forgery with this film, with a frame having been removed following the headshot. His theory is that the first frame shows the vapor from the brain shot at the moment of impact on the front of the head, and the following frame shows a large piece of skull fragment in the air coming from the back of the head. This would be conclusive proof that the shot came from the front."
Mark Lane also notes, in regard to the Nix film, that it[6]:
"provides graphic evidence that she (Jackie) apparently was reaching for a portion of the President's skull that seemed to be driven over the back of the automobile.”

By contrast, the version of the Nix film shown at the beginning of Part 3 of the Nigel Turner  (BBC) series 'The Men Who Killed Kennedy' is decidedly different. It’s shorter (estimated 1/10 sec - 1/20 sec) and the bone fragment can’t be seen other  than in the very initial part of the sequence, maybe then for 1/10 second. Indeed, the fragment shot is so ephemeral that one could indeed come away with the impression it is an artifact or 'light trick'. I have little doubt that a similar version is the one viewed by Martin Shackelford, from which he opined that such a fragment should be visible in more than one frame.

Obviously, however, the perpetrators haven’t been able to get all copies replaced, since  as I indicated, mine shows the whole trajectory.  But does it really matter? Bear in mind as author Noel Twyman (Bloody Treason)  has put it, the cover-up conspirators were totally pragmatic in their methods. Obviously, they realized they only needed to compromise one or two versions then circulate them – with the clear objective to arouse ambiguity and obfuscate the identity of the real Nix film.

As with every other piece of evidence that made it though the covert net of concealment, the fallback defense is one of neutralization by counterpoint and spurious information. This has been the ongoing predicament faced by conspiracy researchers. The psy-ops warriors and pawns who have deliberately tainted the evidence, have kept the didactic dynamic in a state such that "anything can be believed" but "nothing can be known".

I have an intact (so far as I can ascertain) copy of the Nix film, but 'Joe Schmoe' will simply assert: “So what? How can you prove your version is more authentic than any others out there?”

2.  Was the Zapruder film tampered with? How?

Yes, according to H.E. Livingstone and photo-optics specialist Robert Groden[7]: "the only available print of the Zapruder film at the time was extensively tampered with. Frames 155 and 156 do not exist".  The film was spliced initially at this location, though the owner (TIME-LIFE, Inc.) denied this was the case.  Also: "the Warren Commission only began to print the film starting with frame 171".[8]

Eventually, the story making the rounds was that a 'junior employee' - put to work on it in the course of enlarging, 'damaged the key frames' [9]. Some personal (e-mail) communications (by persons referring to various copies of the Z-film (like the Nix film) assert it appears to have the skull fragment airbrushed out. (Jackie is seen pursuing it over the trunk - but now it isn't there).  Also, there has been speculation, still highly controversial, that the Z-film  was altered to conflate two separate shots into one, or 'nearly' one, near frames Z312-13.  In this case, if the alteration hadn't been done two rapid shots in succession would have been evident: the first from the rear propelling JFK slightly forward (and causing the forward blood spatter) and the second- from the front, or grassy knoll,  driving him backwards.

 Again, the aim of such film altering is obfuscation and ambiguation so that no clear, incontestable evidence exists. The aim of all the cover-up artists is to keep discussions going endlessly and never have anything resolved - so the Warrenite version always becomes the default.

Photo-analyst Mark Crouch has been quoted[10]:

“The truth about the Z-film is that it was never meant to be micro-analyzed the way it was…The ‘real evidence’ of the Z-film is more subjective than objective. If you believe- as I do-  that a trained and directed team of assassins was in the Plaza, then you must assume they observed Zapruder standing up there with his camera. The assassins would have no way of knowing if he innocently panned his camera toward them just before or during the assassination”

Crouch goes on to assert said assassins would thus have had to be “very concerned with what Zapruder’s camera recorded” …which would have necessitated the attention to manipulating the Z-film – and by extension, confiscating as many others as possible. (Since the Nix film was made from across Elm Street and may also have caught the assassins).  Again, aerial imaging photography would have been used to reduce blood spatter or back spatter – including any dislodged skull fragment.

3. Who was Abraham Zapruder?
While the media scuttlebutt is that Abraham Zapruder was just a little clothing store owner who happened to be at the right place and right time to film the assassination, researcher Russ Baker points out ('Family of Secrets', p. 116):
"Innocent he may well have been but hardly unknown in Dallas intelligence circles. It turns out that the short, bald recorder of history was also a former colleague of Mrs. de Mohrenschildt, who worked with her at Nardis when she first moved to Dallas. Zapruder also sat on the board of Neil Mallon's Dallas Council on World Affairs."
Meanwhile, some researchers have speculated that when the CIA's Mafia Axis (useful in the ZR/Rifle program)  recruited Italian mob assistance for a 3rd (GK) sniper  (via Carlo Marcello), their (Mafia) operatives wanted proof of the kill shot to be delivered to them intact. This came via the Nix film, and at least this same version was obtained by the Italian film maker Giovanni Bisach for his (1976) documentary.
4. Are there any other films of which we ought to be aware?
Yes, and perhaps the foremost one is (Mary) Muchmore's  film near the time of the shot. See a comparison of four still images from excised frames of four films here :

Based on a computer-enhanced analysis of the next to last frame of the Muchmore film  by Jack White at least one assassin was caught in outline on the grassy knoll- aiming his rifle. The flash of a badge discloses he was wearing a police uniform. The interesting aspect here, is that from White’s analysis (see in episode 6 of ‘The Men Who Killed Kennedy’) the shooter was within about 1-2 m of the position assigned using the acoustic testing evidence, and reconfirmed by D.B. Thomas in his (2001) analysis.

5. Would tampering with the Zapruder or Nix film affect out interpretations of the events in terms of the dynamics? If not, why not?

The computation of putative changes is based on what’s called the ‘hypergeometric p-function’ assuming a sonar model of  the acoustic impulses is used in conjunction with the film(s).  What I did is (based on the rifle tests carried out in Dealey Plaza by the HSCA in August, 1978), assume that at least 4-5 frames of the Z-film have been tampered with- then asked how this would have affected the actual echograms of the shots that day. The primary effect would be to introduce an uncertainty into the position of the grassy knoll shooter, such that one must remove (subtract) one degree of freedom from the statistical computations. With the single degree of freedom subtracted, the new hypergeometric p –function is calculated from the set {M, N, n,i} = {86, 10, 8, 5}.  The new result yields: p= 0.000333  = 3.3 x 10-4 .

Or about 3 in 10,000 odds against the null hypothesis.  (The null hypothesis is that which states the echo patterns recorded can be explained by random noised, i.e. the backfires of motorcycle engines).  Similar results apply for supposed tampering in the Nix film – since again, a grassy knoll shooter is  assumed there as well.

[1] The Harper bone fragment itself (found 25' behind the limo) was later identified as a piece of the rear skull, Or "occipital region" bone. The report of the "occipital bone" missing would comport with the statements of Drs. Carrico and Crenshaw (in his book, JFK: Conspiracy of Silence, 1993) and also with the finding of the occipital bone fragment - which had clearly been dislodged.

[2] WC Testimony, Vol. V, p. 180

[3] H.E. Livingstone, Killing The Truth, pp. 76-77

[4] G. Fonzi, The Last Investigation, p. 78.

[5] Livingstone, op. cit., p. 77.

[6] Mark Lane, 1992: Rush to Judgment, Thunders Mouth Press, p. 57.

[7] Groden and Livingstone, op. cit., p. 185.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Op. cit., p. 186.

[10] Livingstone, op. cit., p. 140. Crouch also goes into extensive detail on the following page to do with how  minor touchups” could have concealed the extent of head damage and also “conceal the evidence of a bullet striking the forehead at the hairline”. All this would be to assist in reinforcing the perception of Oswald as the perpetrator – while hiding the key evidence that the kill shot came from the right front.


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Copernicus said...

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