Message #8

Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 16:33:47 -0500 (CDT)
From: james fetzer 
To: bradford group,
Cc: james fetzer 
Subject: Re: Mantik's Mistakes 

Here is the message that I intended to send to Bradford BEFORE posting
any of this exchange.  It clarifies some key issues involved here and
places into perspective how David and I perceived his exaggerated views.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 04 Jul 1998 17:23:03 -0700
From: Clint Bradford 
To: james fetzer 
Subject: Re: Mantik's Mistakes

I do not entirely understand, James. You are now defending Mantik's
assertions raised in Assassination Science?

   From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

   You are persisting in grossly exaggering the nature and the signif-
   icance of the relatively minor points you have made within the con- 
   text of this exchange.  I certainly feel an obligation as editor to
   correct those exaggerations, which appear to me to be deliberate.

Dr. Mantik is now changing his tune, according to his message to me
He now states that the presidential limo may not have stopped, but
"slowed  significantly" - and making that point as if it didn't occur in
the Zapruder film. Bewildering.

   From David W. Mantik (5 July 1998):

   Regarding the limo stop, I have never insisted on a full stop, either
   in my talks or in the book, although that is probably very close to
   what happened.  I have always been quite content to accept a dramatic
   deceleration as being grossly in conflict with the extant Z film.  The
   point is really quite simple (see p. 274): the very modest deceleration
   seen in the extant film hardly seems likely to have prompted all these
   eye witness statements.  I am not here making an argument (old or new)
   --that was done in the book--I am merely restating a long held position. 
   As you look at pp. 272-276, it should be evident that I do not insist
   upon a full stop.  I recall being very sensitive to this issue as I was  
   writing this chapter.  See, for example, the first line (p. 275) under
   the subtitle "Did the Limo Stop?  Arguments Con".  If anyone insists 
   that I have changed my position on this, it is simply not true.

   From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

   David has not "changed his tune"; rather, you have grossly exaggerated
   the issue here, creating what is known as A STRAW MAN.  The motion he
   has always had in mind is a slowing of the vehicle that is significant-
   ly greater than anything that can be seen on the film--indeed, a slow-
   ing that was considered to be a complete stop by a large number of eye-
   witnesses.  (See Vince Palamra, "47 Witnesses:  Delay on Elm Street",
   THE THIRD DECADE (January/March 1992), for example, and the quotations
   from witnesses provided there.  (Of course, one of the objections that
   Bradford has raised concerns the first quotation, where Baker is quot-
   ing Cheney.  But, as David previously pointed out to you, Palamara has
   uncovered many such quotes.  This is therefore a rather minor mistake.)
   What is "bewildering" is that you should grossly distort his position.

Although Dr. Mantik has absolutely no background in this type of film
analysis, neither do I. But I sincerely do not believe it takes a
life-long analyst to see rationality and continuity in the copies of the
Zapruder film we currently have.

   From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

   The question of David's qualifications for this undertaking is one
   that I have addressed in several places.  Dr. Roderick Ryan, who is
   a long-time expert for Kodak, remarked after studying the anomalies
   that David had discovered that there were no "experts" on this kind
   of editing/image alteration, because "it was a custom job".  That is
   the opinion of a certified expert from Kodak about David's findings.

   Those who have viewed the film repeatedly over long periods of time
   tend to see what they expect to see.  There are great benefits to
   be derived from having fresh eyes take a look, especially those who
   are willing to consider possibilities that others may have closed for
   themselves long ago.  Saying you see "rationality and continuity" in
   the copies of the film we currently have is a peculiar claim, since
   if you only mean that it "looks OK to you", then that claim may be
   true, but it is certainly trivial; and if you mean that you can tell
   that the film has not been edited or altered by simply looking at it,
   then that finding, although significant, is obviously false.  Review
   again the kinds of meticulous and detailed studies that David under-
   took, involving comparisons of the SS and the FBI copies with frames
   from Zapruder as well as eyewitness reports, comparisons with other
   photographic records, and features internal to the film itself.  Your
   position would be silly if you did not sound so serious advancing it.

Dr. Mantik's thesis in continuously "evolving," for lack of a better
term. Remember his claim about the "white spot" being added to the film.
But then it was brought to his attention that it appeared in the Bothun
photo. His response? To
move the thrust of his argument to superhuman, unnatural movements made
by those filmed...and changes in shapes of objects. Some think it's hard
to keep up when the thesis changes its hypothesis ro many times.

   From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

   I should have observed in relation to your claim that you see "ration-
   ality and continuity" in the film that rationality is a property of
   persons, not of inanimate objects, such as film, and therefore your
   claim not only cannot be true but commits what is known as A CATEG-
   ORY MISTAKE (like describing a rock as "honest").  Rationality comes
   in at least two species, rationality of action and rationality of be-
   lief.  Rationality of action involves adopting courses of action that
   tend to be effective in attaining your goals, given your beliefs, and
   rationality of belief involves tending to adopt beliefts with degrees
   of conviction that are proportional to the evidence in their support.
   David may have modified his views about the white object in the back-
   ground because of new evidence, which would be the appropriate thing
   for a person who is high in rationality of belief to do.  (I assume
   it was in response to the discovery of a piece of paper in a photo-
   graph taken by Bothun; see Richard Trask, PICTURES OF THE PAIN (19-
   94), p. 156.  One might have thought that for someone to change their
   mind (to suspending belief from a prior state of belief) in response
   to the discovery of new evidence would qualify as a virtue.  However,
   in your view, it turns out to be a vice.  This appears to be another
   example of your making a mistaken change based upon misunderstanding,
   in this case, misunderstanding about the nature of rationality itself.
   I am also bothered by your persistent exaggeration of the extent to
   which David's views may have changed across time, which, to whatever
   extent that may have occurred, appears to have been for reasons that
   concern logic and evidence.  Those who persist in adhering to views
   that have been undermined or refuted by the evidence are in fact dog-
   matists.  Those who distort the standards involved here are ignorant
   of those standards themselves or else are deliberately attempting to
   smear others for reasons of their own.  I assume that you are making
   these exaggerated claims because you are ignorant rather than corrupt.

I apologize for my error in believing that you had forwarded
Mantik-related critiques to Dr. Mantik as you have become aware of them
the past few months.

I find your letter to me today inrtriguing. Dr. Mantik agreed with the
four errors I wrote to him about, and desires to correct/amend them
either via an Errata sheet, or by chganging the text in a potential
second volume to Assassination
Science. Yet you feel somehow compelled to "step to the plate" for him -
even after his "at bat" was completed to both of our satisfaction.
    From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

    There are good reasons for me, as an expert on critical thinking, to
    respond to lapses in your reasoning.  I find this situation very odd,
    since a rational agent would at least not attempt to make mountains of
    molehills, especially when he is unqualified in this area by his own
    admission.  (The difference in qualifications between you and David,
    by the way, when he has made repeated trips to the National Archives
    to study the films relevant to this issue and has composed a master-
    ful 80-page study of the evidence, while you have done some carping
    on the side which has turned up a few relatively minor errors, speaks
    for itself.  In no respect are your qualifications comparable to his.)

    From David W. Mantik (5 July 1998):

    An incorrect citation qualifies as an error, but whether the remainder
    of Bradford's items qualify as errors is a matter of judgment.  I have
    already stated my position on these points as well as I am able.  Why
    is it so important to decide whether or not they are all errors?  If
    this is really the focus of the discussion, it begins to appear like
    an agenda. 

Oh, well...let's get to your points...

>>The fact that Groden has several consistent copies does nothing to show
>>whether the film has been edited/altered, since they are all copies of
>>what is presumably the edited/altered film.

Entirely incorrect. Groden brings together several versions of the
Zapruder film from several sources.

    From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

    I find it difficult to believe that you still do not understand even
    the most basic point at issue.  The question is not whether Groden's
    copies are consistent with each other but whether Groden has copies
    of the original film that Zapruder took on 22 November 1963.  That
    Groden has copies of SOMETHING is not in dispute, but the complete-
    ness and accuracy of what is present in those copies is the matter
    at hand.  Looking at an edited film for thousands of times over does
    not make it an unedited film.  And of course the kind of editing/al-
    tering we are discussing appears to have been initiated the night
    of 22 November 1963 and apparently completed in the hands of LIFE.

    From David W. Mantik (5 July 1998):

    Regarding the images I used in my analysis, I have made it very clear
    that I have used only those published by the Warren Commission.  I
    also added that I had available superior black and white prints of
    these (obtained from Josiah Thompson).  Is Bradford really objecting
    to my use of these?

>> You do not say whether or not you have subjected the film to minute anaysis
>>of individual frames or comparison with other films, etc., as David has done
>>so I find only the slightest reason to think that by viewing these films over
and >>over you have a basis for maintaining that the film was not

I am a professional photographer, and like to think I have a "good eye."
I do not need to blow up individual frames to see that Greer's head
movements are fluid, natural, and are NOT made in 1/18th of a second,
for example.

    From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

    That's great!  I am reminded of common sense physics, where you can
    tell simply by looking that objects that go up must come down, even
    without the benefit of the study of mathematics.  One of the great
    contributions of Galileo to the study of nature was the application
    of mathematics to the phenomena.  You are disregarding many studies
    of some of these events that provide powerful empirical evidence that
    possesses far more evidential value than your naked-eye observations.
    Take a look at Noel Twyman's studies of the Greer head-turn.  I can-
    not imagine that any serious student of these matters would rest his
    case on the claim that he has a "good eye" and doesn't need any ad-
    ditional evidence to convince himself of what he finds convincing.  I
    am beginning to sense that you are not high in rationality of belief.

    From David W. Mantik (5 July 1998):

    Whether a movement is too fast cannot be assessed quantitatively
    merely by looking at a film or video.  This definitely requires a
    more detailed analysis, of which frame by frame analysis is critical.
    If we cannot agree on this issue, we are oceans apart on proper 
    methods of analysis, and will no doubt disagree on much more.

>> Jack White is a meticulous investigator.  That you and he may or may not
>> have been looking at the same thing is possible, but that does not show
>> that you are right and he is wrong.  That is a presumption on your part.

Jack White offers eight or nine "points that prove tampering" in
Assassination Science. Not a single one is evident in Lifton's Research
Copy nor in any of the renditions on Groden's video. Jack White almost
defines the heritage of what he
is examining - it is a slide set obtained from Groden many years ago.
What Jack refuses to do is (a) tell us what he thinks after viewing
Groden's videotape (Jack DOES have a copy), and (b) compare his slide
set with, say, the "pristine"
copy that Groden offers on the videotape. THAT would be an interesting
article, because I have not met a sole who believes that Jack White is
anything other than an honorable man.

>> See my point above.  Nothing here "demolishes" claims of alteration in

    From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

    Jack's contributions to this case are legendary.  I believe that many
    of us are going to regard your remarks here as especially cheap shots.

    From David W. Mantik (5 July 1998):

    Groden's copies were not even discussed in my chapter.  I don't know
    why these were even introduced into the discussion.  I used only
    Warren Commission copies.  I am bewildered by these comments.

You have authors who don't document the heritage of what they are
examining. I find that nothing short of atrocious and reckless.

    From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

    Until the authenticity of the film was called into question, it was
    not usually regarded as important, since it was assumed that there
    was one film and that it showed the same scenes.  Tracing the record
    has now become important.  Why not go back to earlier works and see
    whether they have traced their sources?  I doubt that very much.  Of
    course, now that it has become an issue, it is something that ought
    to be expected of students of the film in relation to future studies.

>>[...regarding witness statements who were directly behind the limo...]
>>...That is instead a misrepresentation of research...

I would never want anyone to "dismiss without documenting" what these
witnesses stated. I do believe, though, that we need to take reasonable
man perceptions into account.

>>Every critique that was worth passing along was passed along, just as I
>>passed along this latest post of yours.

Passed along...and then what? As "editor" of Assassination Science, you
haven't come across any critique/correction that you would deem fit for
an Errata page on your Web site? Dr. Mantik believes an Errata page is

    From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

    Roy Schaeffer has made corrections to his work for subsequent print-
    ings of the book, and we shall do so regarding other matters as they
    arise.  But your points certainly do not warrant an "Errata" page.

>>A book of 480 pages on any technical or complex subject is unlikely to
>>be flawless.  I consider the points you have noted to be worth making
>>but also incidental to the major conclusions drawn in the book.  They
>>do no have enough significance to alter the findings David has drawn.

Even after Dr. Mantik has altered his hypothesis AGAIN? He used
Assassination Science to state that the limo "stopped." Now he will be
satisfied with "significantly slowed."

    From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

    See the previous comments from David and me concerning this issue.

    From David W. Mantik (5 July 1998):

    The slowing of the limousine was only ONE of many arguments for film
    alteration.  And the points Bradford raises seem rather minor even
    for this point--they are editorial in nature, not substantive.  I
    think his points have been worthwhile but, until he has something
    more penetrating to say, they have been exhausted at this point.
    Let's move on to the bigger issues.

>>As I recall, I sent Roy Schaeffer a copy of Lifton's version of the
>> film, whether or not he recalls my having done so.

He uses a Clay Shaw trial-era copy to back his assertion that Greer
killed the President. He never mentioned owning any other copy to me.

>>Are you implying that if anyone has an opinion with which you disagree,
>>that his work on other subjects ought to be discounted?

It's not ME,'s every serious researcher of the assassination.
Do you really know of any article touting the "Greer Killed JFK" claim
that you would publish yourself?

>>Since we have lots of evidence the film has been edited/altered...

What? What Assassination Science gives us is authors using very poor
copies to make claims of tampering...authors who refuse to define the
heritage of what they are analyzing...and "points" that no reasonable
person can see in copies of the
Zapruder film that Groden DOES define the heritage of.

>>In a situation where the evidence is inconclusive...

...a responsible "editor" would DEMAND that source material be properly
defined before publishing.

   From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

   See my closing note below.  To the best of my knowledge, you have no
   experience editing books or journals in any field, so I do not under-
   stand your basis of opinion.  The standards of ASSASSINATION SCIENCE
   are completely appropriate and far above the norm for work in this
   area, in my judgment.  (I edit books and journals professionally.)

ALL researchers should take the tactic adopted by the JFK/Lancer group
last year: Debra Conway refuses to publish any Zapruder-film analysis
articles UNLESS the author specifically cites the heritage of the
film/slides they are analyzing.

    From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

    Perhaps you are unaware of the history of studies of the Zapruder
    film, but I was invited to arrange a symposium for the 1996 JFK
    Lancer meeting, which eventually led to the publication of several
    articles on the film in ASSASSINATION SCIENCE.  So I imagine that
    it was our discoveries of evidence of alteration that motivated 
    Debra to impose such a condition, which seems to be appropriate.

>>I would have to look back for the post, but I was offering my assistance
>> to you...

If that was the case, I humbly apologize. But I came away from reading
that message with a different "take" of it. (I'll try to dig it up, too,
James...and will apolozige in writing to the original four recipients of
yesterday's emails if I
was incorrect.)

>>...Clint, at least you have taken the time to consider some of these issues 
>>seriously and in some detail.  That is far more than has been the case with
>>certain other critics, whose remarks do not appear to have been motived by
>>the search for truth.

Geeze, THANKS for that, James. This week alone I have received a death
threat from someone who didn't like my Web site on the assassination,
and another mental midget who saw the SAME Web site, and claims I'm a
CIA plant.

    From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

    I hold in suspense any beliefs about your motivation in this matter.
    But I am bothered by your apparent campaign against work that is in
    every appropriate respect highly accurate, complete, and competent.

Thanks for your time this federal holiday . Now go enjoy the
evening, and let me know next week when we can expect to see an Errate
page on your site!

 - Clint Bradford

P.S. - Hey - is your message to me and my reply above staying between
you and I? Or should copies be forwarded to Dr. Mantik?

    From James H. Fetzer (17 July 1998):

    David and I really have better things to do than spend endless
    hours responding to remarks such as these.  Let serious students
    of the assassination read ASSASSINATION SCIENCE and arrive at their
    own evaluations of the quality of our work.  It may be worth men-
    tioning, however, that in my capacity as the Editor of MINDS AND
    MACHINES, the Co-Editor of SYNTHESE, and the Series Editor of two
    OSOPHY), I regularly pass judgment on scholarly research and have
    the responsiblity for implementing appropriate standards of re-
    search.  There is no reasonable standard for works in a complex
    and contentious area of this kind that our book does not meet.  I
    make that assertion as a professional scholar and as the author
    and as the editor of many books, who is frequently called upon to
    evaluate book manuscripts and articles in draft for publication by 
    many different journals and publishers.  Unlike some of those who
    have criticized our work, my profession involves work of this kind.


    James H. Fetzer