Date: Tue, 03 Feb 1998 20:01:53 -0600
From: jack white
To: james fetzer
Subject: Re: Another Response to Shackelford
LATEST IN AN ENDLESS SAGA:
Re: Fetzer responds again
Tue, 03 Feb 1998 19:53:29 -0500
After debating Jim Fetzer at some length via e-mail a year ago, I
don't suppose I should be surprised that he responds to factual
arguments with "clever" negative language choices--to begin with,
instead of referring to my response, he calls it my "latest travesty,"
tacitly confirming my description of him as a propagandist (he omits the
segment in which I explain why he is a propagandist). He also needs to
learn that length and quality are not the same thing.
He implies that I called him a "slimeball," but again omits the
segment to which he refers, in which I referred to something as a
"slimeball approach," characterizing the action, not the individual. In
addition, he ignores the entire content of my "latest travesty," though
he claims this post is in response to it. This enables him to repeat
falsehoods from his previous response, so I will attach the response he
ignores at the end of this post.
My comments on what was seen on Saturday, November 23, are based
on the assumption that the film is unaltered. As, in my opinion,
alteration has not been proven, I stand by those comments. Rather than
"blowing smoke," I am clearly disagreeing with the position Mr. Fetzer
has chosen to take. He falsely implies that I have claimed personal
knowledge of the November 23 showing.
As for his claim that I haven't examined the Archives materials,
it is only partly true. I have examined the Archives slides at length,
but not the film strips, which weren't then available. Recently, I have
discussed the strips with another researcher who has had access to them,
and I was basing some of my comments on what I learned from that person.
Again, Mr. Fetzer will insist on the name, and again I will follow my
practice of not violating a confidence, and letting the researcher
publish his own work first. As a number of people in the research
community know, this has been my long-time practice.
I never said Groden's copy originated from the Archives, so Mr.
Fetzer's question of how I could know this is irrelevant. I have seen no
evidence that Zapruder himself suspected alteration--Mr. Fetzer is the
first person I've seen to make that claim, and he offers no source for
it except "as I understand it," which is thin at best. Zapruder's
partner, Erwin Schwartz (according to Noel Twyman) saw "JFK" and found
nothing amiss with the Zapruder footage included in that film.
As for deceiving "us all," I am not making an attempt to deceive
anyone. I am certainly not trying to deceive Mr. Fetzer, who seems to be
doing a far better job on himself than anyone else could do on him. I
would note, however, in response to his next point, that I am just as
omniscient as I have ever been; thanks for asking, Jim.
He also seems to have a problem with reading comprehension. I
never questioned that Dr. Robert Livingston was a world authority on the
brain. I simply noted that Mr. Fetzer has a tendency to throw the term
"world authority" around rather loosely, making Dr. Mantik a "world
authority" on the Zapruder film, etc. Naturally, Mr. Fetzer spends a
long paragraph attacking the "he denies Livingston's credentials"
He accuses me of making claims that I can't possibly know are
true. Maybe he's been a bad influence on me.
No equivocation at all on the word "studied" with regard to the
Zapruder film. I've studied it in a variety of ways, including stereo
viewing; in various formats; as a film, frame by frame, and by other
means. Mr. Fetzer says "I am willing to believe that Groden--and
Shackelford, too, for that matter--have spent a lot of time sitting
around looking at the film while they were sitting on their thumbs." Mr.
Fetzer is willing to believe a lot of things, either without much
evidence, or in the face of the evidence. In this case, he simply
doesn't have a clue what he is talking about. Using his "belief" as a
factual basis, he concludes that Robert and I have taken a "passive"
approach to studying the film. He selects some of Dr. Mantik's supposed
"discoveries," takes for granted that they are valid, and suggests that
we should have taken the same approach, to be "less passive."
Apparently, he assumes that only his "alteration" allies have ever
compared the film to eyewitness testimony, studied the Stemmons sign (on
which I did a memo well before Mr. Fetzer was aware of the topic),
compared films, etc. In other words, if you haven't "studied" the film
the ways Dr. Mantik has, or come to the same conclusions, you haven't
really studied it. Dr. Mantik's claims become "discoveries," and proof
of his expertise. If he is wrong about them, a different picture
Mr. Fetzer cites a list of others whose findings are
"confirmed" by Dr. Mantik. He should ask Dr. Mantik if Harry Livingstone
is indeed in agreement with his findings, and Darryl Weatherly is one of
those whose mathematical work confirmed my angle calculations for the
Greer head turns (as opposed to those by Noel Twyman). He is apparently
listing everyone who has ever agreed with A SINGLE ITEM postulated by
Dr. Mantik, and ignoring their, often broader, critical comments. Dr.
Mantik's "expertise" on the Zapruder film is broad in some respects, but
not very deep. He is far from being "a world authority" on the film,
except in the mind of James Fetzer (I haven't heard Dr. Mantik make this
claim, by the way--I don't think his integrity would allow it.).
Ignored previous post:
In his reply to me (why doesn't he post his own communications,
by the way?), Fetzer seems to assume that people are going to take his
word on anyone else's credibility. Why anyone would, given his record, I
have no idea, but let's play anyway, just for fun.
Fetzer is simply wrong about NPIC having the film on Friday
night, November 22, 1963. He knows that I am familiar with Phil
Melanson's article, as well as Paul Hoch's early work on this. He also
knows that I have pointed out additional information which has come to
light since Melanson's article was written, which helps us to more
accurately time the CIA's study of the film. There is NO evidence the
CIA had the film Friday night. If this is indicative of Fetzer's idea of
"proof," many of his other claims are more understandable. I mentioned
NPIC's functions, of course, because they provide us with some idea of
what kinds of equipment they would have--and none of it was designed for
work with 8mm film. His claims of relevance for "Mary Poppins" are as
far-fetched as the dates he gives (it's 1963/64, not 1993/94, Jim). Its
"legion of special effects" involved superimposing live action onto
animation, a different process than superimposing live action onto live
action (a problem that wasn't solved until Industrial Light and Magic's
1977 breakthrough with "Star Wars"). He then suggests that I am placing
my trust in the CIA, which is crap, but again, typical of his
propagandistic approach to argument.
Jim shows his further lack of awareness of recent newsgroup
discussions (apparently Jack posts for him, but doesn't provide him with
any background). I didn't name the colleagues to whom I referred, as I
felt it out of place to do so without obtaining their consent--as some
are engaged in research on the matter at present, and don't wish to
publish yet, I honored their wishes not to further disclose details.
As Jack apparently hasn't informed Jim, I have repeatedly made
explicit criticisms of material in Assassination Science and Bloody
Treason, including a post specifically devoted to the Zapruder chapter
of the latter book (50 pages, but Jim obfuscates this by citing the
total number of pages in the book, 980).
Jim continues to cite "the white object in the grass" as
evidence of alteration. This has been a great sleight of hand trick over
the past year. First, the white spot was described as a feature added to
the film, never present in early copies or at the scene. Then Cecil
Jones pointed out that the object also appears in the Bothun 4 photo,
and appears to be a Polaroid photo backing discarded by Jean Hill for
Mary Moorman. Instead of discarding this nonsense, the "white spot" was
simply transformed by giving a different explanation of why it "proved"
alteration. Jack White (p. 214) says the spot "seems to move erratically
rather than smoothly as it should," never explaining why it "should"
move smoothly--it was paper and there was wind. Later, he says it
changes size and shape (p. 218), but this is only relative to the camera
position. Dr. Mantik concedes that his first assumption, that the "white
spot" had been added, was incorrect (p. 317)--though he gives Jack
White, rather than Cecil Jones, credit for noting the Bothun photo. Now,
he says instead that the object has "peculiar features," makes a few
assumption which ignore the behaviors of blown-about paper, and
concludes that the "white spot" is playing "a remarkably effective role"
(p. 318), thus implying it is added in, without so stating. He says the
spot "yields a convincing impression that the limousine is moving
uniformly." Instead of noticing that this is evidence AGAINST
alteration, as the "spot" was actually present on the grass, he begins
talking about eyewitness testimony, as though that can somehow suggest
that something that was there was actually added in--or something--one
doesn't quite know what he is attempting to say with these logical
twists and turns.
I have also discussed the Greer head turns in detail, as Jack
well knows. There is no "Moorman-Zapruder disparity" or
"Bronson-Zapruder disparity". I love "image eccentricity" and "lamppost
oddities"--they say nothing, but sounds suspicious. The "partial head
absence" is a myth, resulting from study of poor copies of later frames.
As the films all show the limousine slowing, that item is a particularly
slippery one. He says "final shot closer to steps," and assumes the
final shot was the head shot, but offers no support for this.
He accuses me of citing items "without providing any supporting
evidence" and says I do "not discuss specifics when there are so many
specifics available for discussion," then proceeds to give a vague list
of items WITHOUT ANY SPECIFICS to support them, or even clearly define
most of them. He wants you to buy the book to find out what the hell
he's talking about. He's writing ad copy, not argument. I guess Jack IS
the appropriate choice for posting his piece, as that's Jack's field of
He would like you to believe that Dr. Mantik couldn't be wrong
in every instance. Why not? He wants us to believe in alteration based
on his own claims about the odds. This is silliness, not science.
He correctly describes Michael Park's recent "discoveries" as
"sensational." Unfortunately, beneath the "sensation," I have seen
nothing credible about the alteration claims, and others have also
criticized them. He pretends that Michael has proven the "cardboard
cutout" theory of the North Elm crowd, but all he has done is repeat
it--there is still movement in the crowd. Fetzer mistakes an
accumulation of claims for "confirmation." Repetition of a discredited
claim doesn't supersede anything.
At least he admits flaws in the "blink rate" analysis, but
gives no specifics, as usual. But, then, he again returns to the
calculation of odds as though it were supporting evidence.
At no point do I "tacitly concede" that I haven't read
Assassination Science fully--I have flatly stated that in many posts. He
claims deception where there has been none. "I haven't read all the
material" in the book meant just that--no deception there. If this
"discovery" is supposed to show how clever Fetzer's deductive powers
are, we now have a pretty good idea.
Then, of course, we have another bit of slipperiness--he refers
to the 11 months between the Lancer conference and the book's
publication as though Mantik was refining his work the whole time. There
are two problems with this:
1) At some point, well before the release of the book, it had to be in
final form for typesetting, etc., so 11 months is an exaggeration.
2) And what was David working on? Was it corrections and clarifications?
Fetzer tells us what he was working on:"David continued to discover
further evidence of alteration." He wasn't double-checking his work, he
was adding bulk to it, requiring that another chapter be deleted. In
fact, I have read parts of David's chapter, relating to issues not
raised at Lancer--still unimpressed.
Fetzer notes the single real error he could find in my previous
post about the book--but fails to note that I posted acknowledgement of
the error as soon as I double-checked it. He also fails to note that the
error resulted from the similarity of titles between Crenshaw's JFK:
Conspiracy of Silence, and Kizzia's forthcoming book Conspiracy to
Silence. As there are apparently no honest mistakes in Fetzer's
universe, he spends two paragraphs misleading the reader on the subject.
Fetzer says my "past work does nothing to increase confidence
that they [I and Robert Groden] know what they are talking about when it
comes to the Zapruder film." This is a completely stupid statement with
regard to Robert Groden, of course. With regard to me, it is clear from
his comments that Fetzer knows very little about my past work, so his
characterizations of it are worthless. He says our credentials don't
compare with Dr. Mantik's--this is true--neither of us would presume to
match him in oncology or physics--but in regard to 8mm film and evidence
of alteration, he has NO credentials. To suggest that Robert's
background and my own are simply based on repeated viewings of the film
is devious fraudulence, on which he proceeds to base another two
paragraphs, followed by a closing paragraph of generalities which adds
nothing to his arguments except emotion.
Maybe Mr. Fetzer believes what he is saying, but the way in
which he is saying it leads me to believe that he is aware of the
weakness of his claims, and is desperate to discredit those who argue
against them. Perhaps he feels that the length and vehemence of his
diatribes will discourage continued criticism, or cause people to ignore
it. Dream on, Jim.