Re: Another Response to Shackelford
Mon, 2 Feb 1998 18:23:28 -0600 (CST)
Here are some additional comments on Martin's letter and on his latest
travesty. I include previously posted material in part because, to the
best of my knowledge, it was never sent out to "firstname.lastname@example.org".
My new comments can be distinguished from the old by the absence of ">"
marks. As in the case of my earlier comments, my remarks are indented.
Shackelford now maintains that I am "engaged in propaganda, not truth-
seeking"! Well, I would certainly agree that ONE OF US is engaged in
propaganda and is not seeking the truth! I hereby submit the follow-
ing comments on his recent letter as a litmus test in this matter. It
should not be too difficult to figure out which of us is a "slimeball".
On Sat, 31 Jan 1998, james fetzer wrote:
> Here are some comments on Martin's letter. Please post it for me.
> 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.
Here is fascinating evidence that Martin is blowing smoke and mis-
leading those who are interested in seeking the truth. HOW COULD
HE POSSIBLY KNOW, for example, that the Z-film that is currently
available is "essentially what the reporters gathered in Zapruder's
office on the morning of November 23, 1963, viewed", insofar as he
(Shackelford) was not present on that occasion? For all he knows,
they might have watched Donald Duck cartoons! Moreover, what does
he mean by "essentially the same"? Is he alluding to various minor
changes that have taken place since then? To know that, it would
be necessary to compare what was shown then with what is available
to us now! This is a very nice example of a claim that Shackelford
casually--ever so casually--advances for which he has no basis at
all that involves a crucial matter where HE COULD NOT POSSIBLY KNOW.
> >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.
Again, how could Shackelford KNOW that this is the case? To the
best of my knowledge, he, unlike Mantik, has never visited the
National Archives to compare prints. How does he know that the
copy Groden has originated from the Archives? How does he know,
if it did originate there, that it is a copy of what was taken
by Zapruder on the occasion of the assassination? (Even Zapruder
himself, as I understand it, suspected alteration!) The answer,
of course, is obvious: HE DOESN'T KNOW ANY OF THESE THINGS! He
is simply faking his way along in an attempt to deceive us all.
> > 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.
Why now introduce quotes around "the real film"? Surely Martin is
not now less omniscient than he has been in the past. He actually
has no idea and could not possibly know that this is the real film.
> > 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 1963 and released in 1964.) 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 (960 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 defect after Z313; the head snap; 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 alteration 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 things that I have written,
> then I suggest they not consult books I have authored or edited!)
In his latest post Shackelford questions whether Robert Livingston
is a world authority on the human brain: "someone else he (Fet-
zer) calls 'a world' expert--apparently this is his term for any-
one who agrees to work with him"! Well, perhaps if Shackelford
were not so hellbent to trash me at all costs he might actually
look at Livingston's credentials, which appear in ASSASSINATION
SCIENCE in several places, including, for example, p. 168 bottom
where he introduces himself to Lifton, and on pp. 190-192, where
I reprint his brief curriculum vita, which was an enclosure to my
original letter to the Department of Justice. Among other things,
Livingston has taught at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, UCLA, and found-
ed the very first department of neurosciences in the world at UCSD,
where he is now Professor Emeritus. When he came into the govern-
ment as the Scientific Director of the National Institute of Men-
tal Health and of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases
and Blindness--positions he held in both the Eisenhower and Ken-
nedy administrations--they had to create a new civil service rank
because his qualifications were so much greater than those of any-
one who had ever served in such a capacity before! He is not only
a world authority on the human brain but also a founding member of
the only organization to ever be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize! I
offer this as an instructive example of Shackelford's willingness
to trample the truth even when the evidence is simply overwhelming.
It is also another indication he has actually never read the book.
> 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.
Ask yourself, how is it that Groden KNOWS it is authentic? Think
about it. To know this you would have to know what was actually
orignally filmed, what was reprinted, who had the film and when,
its entire history (especially before copies began to surface at
the time of the Garrison trial). Is Shackelford telling us that
Groden has in fact slept with the film during its entire history?
If he hasn't in fact been in direct physical contact with it for
the entire duration of its history, HOW COULD HE POSSIBLY KNOW?
Indeed, even if he had been sleeping with it, how could Groden
be certain that no one had made a substitution while he slept?
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that Shackelford is
making claims that Shackelford CANNOT POSSIBLY KNOW ARE TRUE!
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
Here I am afraid there is an equivocation on the word "studied".
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! That is one
kind of "studying". Another, less passive approach, would be
to take specific frames and measure the relative magnification
that occurs from frame to frame, to gather together the eyewit-
ness testimony to see whether it is consistent with what is now
seen in the film, compare various parts of the film with those
of other films, and conduct observations, measurements, and ex-
periments to discover whether there are or are not indications
that it has been faked! In this sense, Mantik has "studied" the
the film far more than Groden and Shackelford. Indeed, what he
(Mantik) has discovered tends to confirm what others--such as
Ron Redmon, Chuck Marler, Milicent Cranor, Richard Bartholomew,
Harry Livingstone, Daryll Weatherly, Robert Morningstar, Alan
Eaglesham, Jack White, Michael Parks, and others--have noticed
independently. Mantik has done the most extensive, technical,
and painstaking research on the film of them all, as everyone
willing to read his chapter can discern for themselves. It is
in this sense that I describe him as the world's leading auth-
ority on the Zapruder film, a designation that he has earned!
--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
> McKnight Professor
> University of Minnesota
> Duluth, MN 55812