Monday, October 14, 2013

Larry Sabato's New Book Does NOT Disprove Conspiracy in the JFK Assassination

"How do we know that our own rational rejections of conspiracy theories are not themselves infected with beliefs so strong that they are, in effect, conspiracy theories too?" - Matt Ridley in 'Maybe We're All Conspiracy Theorists', The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 10-11, 2011

As I predicted, the conspiracy naysayers will be coming out of the woodwork for this , the 50 th anniversary of the JFK assassination, on Nov. 22, 1963. I already referenced Bob Schieffer's bollocks, and Tom Hanks' upcoming 13 part propaganda series (based on Vince Bugliosi's skewed theories), now we have Prof. Larry Sabato to join them.

Sabato, a University of Virginia Political Science Prof, in his new book, “The Kennedy Half Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy.”   insists that the 1979 House Select Committee (HSCA) Investigation concluding a conspiracy in the assassination "has been blown out of the water" by his own book and investigations.

Sabato bases this fulsome claim on some "new" analysis of the dictabelt  recordings, originally analyzed by a team led by Dr. James E. Barger.  (Acoustics analysts Mark Weiss and Ernest Aschkenasy, of Queens College, reviewed the Barger data and concluded that "with the probability of 95% or better, there was indeed a shot fired from the grassy knoll'.) Based on his version of the analysis, Sabato claims the microphone on a motorcycle cop’s radio was stuck, so it was believed to capture a full recording from the motorcade. They detected four gunshots on the tape, and according to Sabato, the two "academics" (HSCA original acoustic physicists)  "told the committee that they believed one came from the grassy knoll" — not the Texas School Book Depository.

Actually, it wasn't an issue of "belief" nor was it a matter of "estimation" as Sabato claims. The HSCA original team of acoustic physicists (who had vastly more credentials than the  subsequent Ramsey National Academy of Sciences group which featured NO acoustic specialists) in fact methodically matched specific gun impulses in the acoustic record to the evident impacts visible in the Zapruder film, In the course of doing this, they traced the final (4th impulse)  to the head shot - and that it most plausibly originated from the grassy knoll, NOT the Texas Book Depository (but under political pressure, the HSCA, like the Warrenites, lacked the political courage to say so.).  The conclusion of four separate shots then coincides with 4 impacts visible in the Z-film, and the reactions therein. The acoustic impulses were retested in a 2001 investigation ('Echo Correlation Analysis and the Acoustic Evidence in the Kennedy Assassination Revisited' ) by D.B. Thomas and published in the Journal Science and Justice., Vol. 41, p. 21, 2001.   The impulses are shown below, with the four highest amplitude peaks associated with rifle muzzle blasts (an association I will justify subsequently):
Thomas treated both the test evidence and actual data from the original date- aware of the same misgivings that Sabato now claims. Thomas' re- test evidence was obtained in August, 1978 when a test shot was fired in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza to provide a fiducial mark for the putative Grassy Knoll shot – such that it could be compared with the impulse record obtained on Nov. 22, 1963 and also how this mark lined up to events recorded on the Zapruder film. Thus, the test evidence (mainly in terms of echoes and echo delay times received via an echogram from a test shot (See Fig. 1) is essentially used to confirm the microphone recording & positions for the shots made on the actual date, by resort to microphones placed at the same (or approximately so) locations.

The hypergeometric p-function was used for differing weighting factor distribution sets, H{M..N, n, i} to assess significance or likelihood of occurrence. It's based on the no. of echo  'windows'  M,  with each spanning 190msec (total time)  at 2msec width per window and n for assigned impulses in the evidence pattern, with 'i' the "coincident impulses" or those matching the original (11/22/63)evidence and the test result. The question was whether a succession of first impulses of given amplitude could be manifesting a signal or was merely random noise. Thomas found that for a given configuration for 2 motorcycles at designated locations, 1 for (GK) shooter location and one for alignment of muzzle blasts with one pair of echoes, the p -value is 0.000012 or about 1 in 100,000 against the null hypothesis, i.e. that the impulses were from random noise. An alternative way to put this is that the odds are 100.000 to 1 in favor of the impulses comprising actual rifle shots.

For the test shot, using Thomas' sonar model and the muzzle velocity for a Norma 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano (which is very doubtful that the GK shooter used), one arrives at a 171 msec time for the shock wave to take the defined path to the microphone, from a distance of 28.3m. One must add the time taken for the putative bullet to travel the distance to the time for the shock wave. In this case: 126 msec + 45 msec. The first parameter is relatively fixed since the distance from bullet to test microphone is fixed at 44.2m and the speed of sound defined for the sonar model was 350 m/s.  The geometry used by Thomas (op. cit.) is shown below:

The second component will alter depending on the muzzle velocity. A German Mauser, with muzzle velocity not much greater than 760 m/s will have its bullet traverse the 28.3 m distance in 37 msec, so that the time will now be: 126 msec + 37 msec or 163 msec, which is some 8 msec shorter. If the rifle used is now a Remington Fireball with muzzle velocity 825 m/s then the total time becomes: t1 + t2 = 126 msec + 34 msec = 160 msec, or 3 msec shorter still.

In the “analytically determined” schema (e.g. actual data obtained on 11/22/63), all the above values change slightly. For example, the distance to Kennedy (from the GK shooter) becomes 30.5 m, and the speed of sound is 342 m/s given the air temperature was 18  C (64.4 F)  at the time of the assassination. The distance from the (GK) assassin to the nearest motorcycle was 67 m leading to the muzzle blast arriving at the motorcycle some Delta t = [67m/ 342 m/s] = 196 msec, after the shot. When air resistance is corrected for by + 11.5% (from the shooter location) the muzzle velocity resulting becomes 748 m/s (using a starting assumed bullet speed of 672 m/s). Because of a shooter “location uncertainty” of +/- 1.5 m (A<-> A') the muzzle velocity uncertainty is at least +/- 32m/s, so one is left with a range of: 748 +/- 32 m/s. Assuming Thomas’ parameters are correct, then this excludes a Remington Fireball as a possible candidate weapon, but it does permit either a German Mauser or a .30-30 Winchester.
The bottom line is that Thomas' investigation soundly reconfirmed the original acoustic tests and that the kill shot came from the grassy knoll.   Note, however, as I stated earlier, this diverged from the HSCA conclusion that the shot came from the rear (Texas School Book Depository). Many investigators (e.g. Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation) have complained bitterly about this tomfoolery, and that the HSCA didn't want to diverge too much from the WC.  But in examining the actual autopsy photos it's clear the HSCA conclusion of a rear shot is absurd, no matter who said what on what panel (i.e. Clark Panel).  A mere examination of the bogus Warren autopsy photo (below left) and the real one sets the record straight, and exposes the HSCA's own brand of cowardice: you simply cannot physically have the rear of a skull blown out by a rear shot! Rather the linear momentum of a bullet fired from the FRONT will blow out the rear of a skull!

For reference, the Warren Commissioners used (NOT as an exhibit!)  the fake photo without a blown out rear skull, to try to make people believe the shot came from behind, i.e. the Texas School Book Depository. The HSCA - rather than accepting the evidence of the actual autopsy photos, opted to stick with the earlier ones from the WC, and hence arrived at a contradictory conclusion to the evidence. 

Note also, the actual rear shot hit Kennedy in the middle of the upper back. (Bullet hole in suit coat to prove it, but the suit coat was destroyed). It thus seems the HSCA was trying to "square the circle" by finding for conspiracy on the one hand yet unwilling to diverge from the Warrenites' misbegotten fake evidence for the head shot on the other!  (See also my FAQ, Part 8, on the HSCA Investigation and how it was co-opted by the CIA, once G. Robert Blakey succeeded the original chairman, R. Sprague.)

What D.B. Thomas did then, was to rectify the disparity with his own investigation and trace the head shot correctly to where the HSCA ought to have tracked it, had they the courage to do so. (Which, if they'd done this, would also have eliminated Oswald as the killer, since he'd been claimed to have been at the TBSD not the grassy knoll.)

This despite Sabato's claim that: "The long-hoped-for Rosetta Stone of the Kennedy assassination is nothing of the sort. And the much-publicized conclusion of proven conspiracy … was deeply flawed and demonstrably wrong.”

 Actually, the conclusion was not "deeply flawed" or "demonstrably wrong" - but rather those descriptions are more aptly relevant to the pretenders, incompetents and obfuscators who attempted to apply flawed methods in the wake of the original acoustic tests. That includes the NAS team of Dr. Norman Ramsey, which never made its data generally available, and none of whom were even acoustic experts - as the original team had been. Indeed, as per an email from another acoustic researcher, W. Antony Marsh, the Ramsey team even exceeded the claimed errors of the original  team and at a more fundamental level. Thomas himself pointed out their claimed use of a Poisson distribution - which wasn't that at all. And deliberately choosing absurd, unphysical  H{M..N, n, i} sets (for the hypergeometric p-function)  to try to make their conclusion conform to the null hypothesis of random noise.

One example, was counting two distinct echoes as "coincident" - thereby immediately altering the p-value. In this sense, the most venerable principles of good faith scientific testing were violated.  Many researchers, obviously, have wondered about the real purpose of a government-based team, given the government is four square behind the Warren Commission conclusion. (Not surprising, given the government has likely orchestrated the ensuing cover up from the get go with its politically -based Warren farce. After all, why destroy key evidence like JFK's suit coat, as well as have the limo disassembled, if they had nothing to hide? Why plant fake Secret Service agents in Dealey with fake IDs (commission books), to throw people off?)

Let me now address the issue of the nature or signature of the impulses shown in Fig. 1. Are they "noise", motorcycle backfires, or actual rifle shots?  The clue is the steepness of the 4 highest peaks which the original MIT physicists associated with gun shot impulses. The technical term is that each  impulse conforms to a Dirac delta function (e.g.   ). The point is such extreme profiles would not be confused with any white noise, distant motorcycles or backfires or the like.  It is precisely the timing spaces between these four major impulses in the acoustic record which led the MIT physicists to conclude gun shots  - FOUR in all- and then tie them chronologically to the action in the Zapruder film - leading to four shots fired (the upper back shot - from behind, the missed shot near James Tague, the shot wounding Connally in the wrist, and the head shot). The imprint for the missed (Tague) shot is shown below:

Lastly, for what it's worth, I reiterate Harrison Livingstone's remark that "only an idiot" would accept or believe that the truth or falsity of conspiracy rests exclusively on the acoustic record. ('Killing Kennedy and the Hoax of the Century, Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1995  )

There is simply too much supplemental supporting evidence, i.e. including from the ballistics, the additional films taken that day, e.g. Nix film, and the actual autopsy photos, as well as skull radiographs and the negative  test results from the purported Oswald weapon by a team of sharpshooters appointed by the Warren Commission. Not to mention the inordinately improbable deaths of  witnesses, see e.g.

At least Sabato is honest by admitting: “It is beyond question that the CIA lied to the Warren Commission in 1964 and then again to the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970s.”

Though he doesn't register Agent Regis Blahut's attempted destruction of the autopsy photos in the HSCA investigation, reported by Gaeton Fonzi (The Last Investigation)

Also, he has admitted (on that:

a conspiracy of some sort … cannot be dismissed out of hand.” But adding that Oswald was:

at least one of” Kennedy’s assassins. Just because the tape could not prove a conspiracy, does not mean there was not someone on the grassy knoll."

Which is consistent with H. Livingstone's point.

However, nearly all serious researchers dispute that Lee Oswald had any role at all in the hit. More than likely he'd been set up as the patsy to allow the actual perps to escape, by telling him he'd be the one to help expose the plot. But, by the time the head shot had transpired, he knew he'd been played, and he was the decoy - soon to be nailed.  Author James Douglass  (JFK and the Unspeakable) conjectures Lee became the patsy after he likely called the Chicago FBI to expose the earlier (Nov. 2nd) plot that nailed Thomas Arthur Vallee.

Stay tuned.  There's more 'Whack-a-mole' to come!


Richard Charnin said...

Great analysis, clearly written. Covers all the bases. Thanks for linking to my blog. Here is a graphical proof of a conspiracy:

Copernicus said...

Thanks for that, Richard! You have done impressive work on the Poisson statistical probabilities to do with the deaths of assassination witnesses and I do hope blog readers will take the time to go through your graphical proof of conspiracy. To me, it constitutes one firm leg of the evidentiary 'tetrad for truth' - the others being: the autopsy photos & radiographs of the skull, the evidence of the cover -up in the wake (i.e. dismantling the limo, destroying the suit coat) and of course, the original acoustic tests.

Copernicus said...

I just looked again at your grqaphic (1) from the link, identified as: 'JFK Assassination Timeline of witness deaths'. If those 2 spikes (at the two primary investigation times) don't convince people of conspiracy, I really don't know what would.

But people, especially the doubters, really need to go through your full analysis.

I would also like to suggest here that interested readers get hold of the 2013 book: 'Hit List: An In-Depth Investigation Into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination' - by Richard Belzer and David wayne, which I believe nicely complements your own work.

Richard Charnin said...

Thanks for that. My analysis is mentioned in "Hit List" and in the updated version of Jim Marrs' "Crossfire".

As for the doubters, I have posted my analysis for the Warren Commission apologists many times. They resort to ridicule, but cannot refute the logic or the math. That their agenda is to spread disinformation is obvious. My analysis is no longer meant to convince them as they are wedded to their agenda. My posts are for rational thinkers with open minds.

spearman said...

The photo caption of J. tague says it shows where he was standing when the shot's richocheting cement flew up & hit him. Accd to my interview with Tague 5 yrs. ago he said he was not where the photo shows when hit. He had walked 20 ft out from the abutment & was hit @ that point. JT told me he scurried back to the abutment to find cover as he was hearing more shots. That's when the picture was taken. It's also the case that the pictures of his cut chin is not the cement chip wound. He told me he cut himself shaving a few weeks earlier. The cement chips in fact left multiple small punctures on his cheek showing dots of blood for each puncture.

Copernicus said...

Spearman - thanks for the update on Tague's wounds from the cement chips and clarification!

Mike Griffith said...

You need to correct this otherwise-great article when it comes to the BBN scientists. Barger was not an MIT scientist. He graduated from Harvard. I don't think any of the other BBN scientists were from MIT either. So it is not accurate to refer to them as "the MIT scientists."

Copernicus said...

Thnx for heads up. This appears to have been an error made after a private communication from W. Antony Marsh in 1999 on the acoustics teams involved in HSCA tests.

Correction: Note that James E. Barger was not part of an MIT team but part of a private research team (Bolt, Beranek & Newman, Inc.) along with Scott Robinson, Edward Schmidt and Jared Wolf.

Copernicus said...

Note FYI: I am registering the correction here in comments, as the new Blogger makes it nearly impossible to get to the original post and correct-edit text within.