Some of my comments (which are indented) provide further reasons
why the word of Shackelford should not be viewed as trustworthy.
> LIFE published extensive black and white frames in 1963, quite a
>few color frames in 1964, an album of sprocket-area-included color
>frames in 1966, and various frames since then.
> Although some (on shaky evidence) consider the film we have,
>including the one on the CD-ROM, to be altered, what you have there,
>except for the poor resolution (much better in "Frames" mode) and the
>splices (which resulted from later damage), essentially what the
>reporters gathered in Zapruder's office on the morning of November 23,
>1963, viewed, and the Warren Commission viewed in special screenings.
>The closest to that original, of course, is the intact "Secret Service"
>copy included on Robert Groden's "The Assassination Films" videotape.
>Unfortunately, he didn't include it in his latest video.
> LIFE had the original and one copy (when Josiah Thompson
>published black and white copies of undamaged frames 207-212 in 1967,
>they were made from the LIFE copy, released in response to the
>controversy over the splice--no mention, however, was made then of the
>earlier splice at 154/157, so those damaged frames weren't released
>until the intact copy became available to us).
> I suppose Groden's 35mm copy could be considered a bootleg, as
>he obtained it through his photo lab employment when LIFE had the lab
>make 35mm copies of the film, and the lab made extras (Groden has one,
>David Lifton has one). Bootleg doesn't mean altered, just obtained
>without the owner's consent.
> The CIA provided a copy of "the real film" to Israeli
>intelligence for training purposes, as Victor Ostrovsky reported in his
>first book--it's the same film we've been watching all these years.
> The idea has been advanced that the CIA faked the film at its
>National Photographic Information Center, but this indicates that those
>making the argument don't know much about the NPIC's functions. It
>wasn't a photo lab of the kind where Groden worked. It processed film
>from U-2 planes and retrieved from surveillance sattelites. They didn't
>have the equipment to blow up 8mm film, alter it, and reduce it back to
>8mm. Fortunately, in recent years, much more about the NPIC has been
>released, including their working notes on their examination of the
>Zapruder film. The notes indicate that they examined the film at least a
>week after the assassination, and were doing the same kind of basic
>interpretation that anyone might do who has only had the film for a
>short time to study.
Martin maintains that those who suggest that the NPIC had the film
in its possession already Friday night 22 November 1963 "don't know
much about the NPIC's functions". That the film was in the hands
of the NPIC is not a guess or conjecture, as Martin ought to know.
Anyone with a serious interest in this question should locate the
important paper by Philip Melanson, "Hidden Exposure: Cover-Up and
Intrigue in the CIA's Secret Possession of the Zapruder Film", THE
THIRD DECADE (November 1984), pp. 13-21. No doubt, the formal dut-
ies of the NPIC do not include "fabricating assassination films",
but there can be little doubt the CIA had the ability to do so at
the time. ("Mary Poppins", with its legion of special effects, for
example, was produced in 1993 and released in 1994.) Martin seems
to think that, if the CIA had reprocessed the film, then it would
conveniently have kept its records of having done so. This is an
illusion. After having made the mistake of letting records of its
possession of the film fall into the hands of Paul Hoch, it would
be expected that the agency would strive to do better. If you are
going to trust the CIA on matters of this importance, why not just
ask if it had anything to do with the assassination of JFK? Then,
when they tell you "No!", you can fold your tent and head for home.
Before we go off on a tangent throwing out valuable evidence, we
need to examine the full context of each argument and the related
evidence. I have colleagues who have disagreed with me about alteration
for some time before the controversy of the past year exploded--they
think the film was altered, but they also think the range of
"evidentiary" claims made in Bloody Treason and Assassination Science
are so far without merit that they border on lunacy.
Notice the rhetorical technique employed here of a blanket dismissal
without providing any supporting evidence at all! Nice work, Martin.
Who knows who these "colleagues" are supposed to be or what aspects
of BLOODY TREASON (980 pages) or ASSASSINATION SCIENCE (480 pages)
"are so far without merit that they border on lunacy". If he were
more confident about his charges, surely he would make them explicit.
Among the anomalies that Mantik discusses are foreground-background
discontinuities; enlarging Stemmons sign (Z212-218); absence of oc-
cipital head snap after Z313; the head snap; the white object in the
grass; no posterior airborne tissue debris; the Greer head turns;
single + double images in same frame; Jackie's torso and arm (Z315-
Z317); Jackie's hand (Z326-Z328); Moorman-Zapruder disparity; image
eccentricity during head shots; image of right motorcycle; right tail
light on 9 frames (Muchmore); image clarity changes in successive
frames; relative blurring of limousine/motorcycle; Bronson-Zapruder
disparity; Muchmore-Zapruder disparity; motorcycles overtaking limo-
usine; partial head absence (Z327-Z330); lamppost oddities; numerous
additional oddities (Z315-316). Moreover, the hypothesis of film al-
teration not only tends to explain these peculiar features found in
the film but also eyewitness data, including no head snap reported;
head came erect after first head shot; head went forward with last
shot; limousine slowed (or actually stopped); tissue debris went
backward; final shot closer to steps; and, with respect to the sur-
veyors' findings and the first re-enactment, successsful shot well
past Z313, altered surveyors' numbers, posterior flying debris in
3-4 frames, and the SS report on the last shot relative to CE 2111.
That he does not discuss specifics when there are so many specifics
available for discussion should render his sweeping claims suspect.
At one point, someone made the argument that, sure, some of
the claims were nonsense, but there were so many of them, the film must
have been altered. Well, folks, 100 false claims don't mean anything
more than three false claims--the accumulation doesn't prove a thing. If
no single alteration claim survives close scrutiny, it doesn't matter
how many there are. So far, almost none have survived even initial
examination, and those that have are gradually fading under closer
examination--some from folks on this newsgroup like Clint Bradford and
Anthony Marsh, among others.
There are several oddities concealed in this passage. For example,
what are the chances that David Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., would devote
himself to the painstaking, detailed study of this film using very
precise methods and measurements, discover, say, 100 claims of in-
dications that the film had been faked, and nevertheless be WRONG
IN EVERY SINGLE INSTANCE? This, I submit, is implausible on its
face, especially considering that his Ph.D. in physics as well as
his board certification in radiation oncology indicate a tendency
toward proficiency in very exacting, demanding forms of research,
including forms of research where life and death hang in the bal-
ance. He has the right general abilities for this type of study.
Additional work conducted since the publication of ASSASSINATION
SCIENCE is substantiating Mantik's discoveries and providing fur-
ther independent evidence. These include several sensational dis-
coveries by Michael Parks, first, of inconsistent changes in camera
perspective in Z397-Z407, second, of the increase in size of the
Stemmons Freeway sign, and, third, corroboration for Ray Redmon's
observation that the spectators in the immediate vicinity of the
sign do not appear to move (a claim that Martin Shackelford has in
the past claimed to have disconfirmed, but whose work has now been
superceded by the findings that Parks has advanced). Others, such
as Joe Durnavich, have detected flaws in the analysis of Mike Pin-
cher and Roy Schaeffer regarding the blink rate, a matter that Roy
has now addressed and will correct in future printings of the book.
I would hope that anyone with SERIOUS CRITICISM of our research will
forward it to me, to David Matnik, or to Jack White, as appropriate.
We do not imagine that our work is flawless and want to take into
account any new discoveries that may lead to its clarification and
corroboration or to its emendation and correction, as the case may
be. Speaking generally, however, the rather large number of anomal-
ies that are to be found here--let's use Martin's number of 100 for
the sake of argument--are going to require explanation. If they are
simply oddities each of which requires a separate explanation to be
accommodated, then given each such anomaly has a (presumably low)
probability of occurrence, there will be an improbabilily equal to
their product (as independent events) that will tend toward zero.
If they are unintended effects of deliberate editing, however, then
these anomalies are attributable to a common cause, whose operation
confers upon them (as dependent events) higher probabilities that
will tend toward one. The more anomalies that can be explained by
the hypothesis of film alteration, the stronger the hypothesis; and
the more anomalies to be explained by independent causes, the weak-
er the alternative explanation that no film alteration has occurred.
Proper understanding of the inferential situation requires grasping
inference to the best explanation, a matter discussed especially in
the introduction to Part IV, including, for example, pages 207-210.
The Zapruder chapter in Bloody Treason is utterly without
substance in terms of actual evidence of alteration. Although I haven't
read all of the material, as published, on the subject in Assassination
Science, I previewed most of it at Lancer in 96 and in e-mail form in
late 96 and early 97--that, and what I have looked at in the book at the
recommendation of alterationist colleagues, is also insubstantial.
If you read this passage carefully, you will discover that Martin
Shackelford is actually tacitly conceding that he has not actually
read the book ASSASSIATION SCIENCE but is basing his opinions on
what he "previewed" at Lancer in 1996 and some (rather heated) ex-
changes on email in late 1996 and early 1997. This is highly de-
ceptive on his part. The Lancer Conference was held in November
1996 and the book did not appear until October 1997. As the per-
son responsible for preparing camera-ready copy for publication,
I can report that David Mantik was working on his Zapruder film
chapter right down to the wire! (In fact, I sent the publisher
three different versions of the book in response to time demands
because David continued to discover further evidence of altera-
tion over and beyond his earlier work. To accommodate his lat-
est findings, I had to remove other material, including a study
of CASE CLOSED now published in THE FOURTH DECADE.) Shackelford
literally does not know what he is talking about, because in the
11 months between the Lancer Conference and publication, Mantik
made many extensions and revisions in his work, extensions and
revisions of which Shackelford remains blissfully unaware for
the simple reason that he has not actually read David's chapter!
This is not the only indication I have found in posts from Mar-
tin Shackelford demonstrating that he is willing to discuss the
book without having actually read it. In an earlier post, for
example, in which he sought to portray me (the editor) as "self-
aggrandizing" BECAUSE I HAD AUTHORED VARIOUS PARTS OF THE BOOK
I HAD EDITED (one of the more bizarre of Martin's recent objec-
tions to the book), he claimed that a chapter by Bradley Kizzia
was extracted from the book, CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE, as follows:
>It begins with an essay by, guess who, James Fetzer. It is fol-
>lowed by reprints of a previously available article by Dr.
>Charles Crenshaw, AN EXCERPT FROM CRENSHAW'S BOOK JFK: CONSPIR-
>ACY OF SILENCE, ATTRIBUTED TO BRAD KIZZIA; then ANOTHER essay
>by James Fetzer, this one critiquing Dr. Robert Artwohl; then a
>revised version of a 1993 paper by Dr. David Mantik, and a piece
>by Dr. Mantik on the skull X-rays. (I have added some emphasis)
This remark, "an excerpt from Crenshaw's book JFK: Conspiracy of
Silence, attributed to Brad Kizzia", is very odd for quite a few
reasons. First, it was not from Crenshaw's book but from a new
work entitled CONSPIRACY TO SILENCE, which is cited in the notes
(on page 83). Second, if it had been from Crenshaw's book, then
why would it be attributed to Bradley Kizzia, who was not among
the book's authors? Third, this article describes a law suit by
Charles Crenshaw against the JOURNAL OF THE AMA for defamatory
attacks in articles in JAMA published after the book had appear-
ed! If Shackelford were correct, then this article has to be re-
porting an event that had not yet occurred when it was written!
The historical sequence is summarized several places in ASSASSIN-
ATION SCIENCE, including, for example, the Prologue (especially
page 19) and the introduction to Part I (especially pp. 25-26).
It is inconceivable that anyone who had actually read ASSASSINA-
TION SCIENCE could have committed such a blunder. I therefore
submit that Martin has never actually read ASSASSINATION SCIENCE.
(And if anyone wants to avoid reading something I have written,
then I suggest they not consult books I have authored or edited!)
Finally, the argument has been made that, yes, Robert Groden
has a solid technical background in film, but he argues against
alteration because he has a vested interest in the film being authentic.
Think about that for a minute--it shouldn't take any longer than that.
Robert suffered a severe blow to his prestige as a result of the O.J.
civil trial; he has experienced financial problems; he has come through
a divorce; he is no longer a TV regular; and he is hawking his wares
personally in Dealey Plaza. If he could prove the Zapruder film was
altered, he would be back on center stage. He says the film is authentic
because he KNOWS it's authentic. He's studied it far more than anyone I
know about--far more than Dr. Mantik, despite Dr. Fetzer's "world's
greatest expert" claims for him. I've studied the film for 23 years,
with a good set of frame slides for 20 years, and with whatever other
materials have become available during that period--but I don't have
Robert's technical background in motion picture film lab work, nor does
ANYONE that I'm aware of in the alteration camp (Dr. Roderick Ryan's
claims, as reported by Noel Twyman, do more to indicate his lack of
knowledge of 8mm films than they do to provide any evidence of
alteration--his "limo stop proof" consists of features which are present
in frames elsewhere in the film--leading me to wonder if Twyman only
showed him the two frames mentioned in the book!
As I have elsewhere remarked, as I understand it, Robert Groden
is a high-school dropout and Martin Shackelford is a social work-
er. While I may admire many of their contributions (Groden's, to
assassination research, including his books THE KILLING OF A PRES-
IDENT and IN SEARCH OF LEE HARVEY OSWALD; Shackelford, to society),
their past work does nothing to increase confidence that they know
what they are talking about when it comes to the Zapruder film. I
have mentioned in earlier posts that Groden has defended the film
as unaltered WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE EVIDENCE! Similarly, Shackel-
ford, as I have explained above, is criticizing a book he appears
to have never read! The scholarly qualifications of these persons
are not remotely comparable to those of David Mantik, M.D., Ph.D.,
regardless of the number of times they might have viewed the film!
I am reminded of the suggestion that an endless number of monkeys
typing on an endless number of typewriters would eventually write
HAMLET, MACBETH, and every other work of literature the world has
ever seen. This sounds plausible until you realize that these mon-
keys are being treated as though they were random number generators
for which every keystroke is independent of every other and where
every possible combination would eventually be produced. That is
a flawed conception, however, because the monkeys would almost cer-
tainly fall into habitual repetitions that would severely preclude
their generation of more than a tiny fragment of world literature.
In a similar fashion, the fact that Groden and Shackelford may have
viewed the film over and over again does nothing to establish that
they have considered the film from every possible point of view.
That an endless number of social workers might viewed the film an
endless number of times provides no assurance that they would have
considered the film from every possible perspective. Indeed, as I
explain in ASSASSINATION SCIENCE, from a logical point of view, the
hypothesis that the film has not be subjected to alteration is a gen-
eral hypothesis which encompasses an endless number of ways in which
it might have been subjected to alteration. That a Groden or a Shack-
elford or anyone else might be able to establish specific respects in
which the film has NOT been altered does not preclude the existence of
other respects in which it HAS been altered. Thus, strictly speaking,
it is possible to prove the film has been altered by establishing one
respect in which it has been altered (apart from those respects that
are already acknowledged), but it is impossible to prove it has not.
I am quite certain that one of the most important reasons we are now
in the midst of making great progress in understanding the assassin-
ation of JFK is because new and fresh minds with types of background
and training the field has not seen before are devoting themselves to
studies of assassination materials that would almost certainly never
have occurred but for the abuse of JAMA by George Lundberg. Persons
of the qualifications of David Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., and of Robert B.
Livingston, M.D., are making a dramatic difference to this case, one
that represents a turning point in assassination science. If we are
now in the position of having cracked the cover-up, it is because of
the outstanding contributions that they and others are making to the
scientific and objective study of the death of our 35th President.
James H. Fetzer
University of Minnesota
Duluth, MN 55812