I grow weary of responding to a seemingly endless series of un-
warranted and pointless attacks from Martin Shackelford, which
is the sort of thing that he evidently regards as "fun". In the
following, I shall address--one more time--the issues he poses in
an effort to expose his duplicity, which--one last time--ought to
offend every member of this list who ever took him seriously. As
I have already observed--more than once--Martin is UNTRUSTWORTHY.
(My comments, as before, are indented, while his remarks are not.)
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.
Martin seems to be specializing in "cute" remarks these days. It
would be better if he would make a commitment to truth and honesty.
Those who want to know who is practicing propaganda should read on.
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.
Nice distinction! When you accused me of "a slimeball approach"
you were not actually calling me a "slimeball"? Let me be sure
I have this right. If I suggest that your posts exhibit behavior
like that of a scum-sucking pig, then I am not actually calling
you a scum-sucking pig, right? Merely characterizing your acts.
OK, I think I got it. I will consider your other remarks below.
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.
Martin wrote (as I quoted him in my earlier post of 31 January):
"Although some (on shaky grounds) consider the film we have, in-
cluding 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), [is] 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."
Rereading this, I don't see where he acknowledges he is making an
assumption, namely: THAT THE ZAPRUDER FILM HAS NOT BEEN ALTERED!
The point I raised (to which he is obstensibly responding here)
is that HE COULD NOT POSSIBLY KNOW that what he is asserting in
this passage--casually, as though it could not be contested--
is true! Now, AS A DEFENSE, he acknowledges that he is merely
assuming that the film has never been altered! Well, that is
just great! Anyone can assume whatever they like about what-
ever they want, but that is a far cry from serious discourse or
reasoned argumentation. This is known as BEGGING THE QUESTION:
taking for granted the answer to the question at issue! If the
question is whether the Zapruder film we have today is complete
and unaltered, Martin Shackelford's replies by begging the ques-
tion. If this is not "blowing smoke", I don't know what is; and
If this approach does not exemplify slimeball tactics, what does?
The great American philosopher, Charles S. Peirce, has captured
the essence of Shackelford's method for fixing belief as follows:
"If the settlement of opinion is the sole object of inquiry, and
if belief is the nature of a habit, why should we not attain the
desired end, by taking as answer to a question any we may fancy,
and constantly reiterating it to ourselves, dwelling on all which
may conduce to that belief, and learning to turn with contempt and
hatred from anything that might disturb it? This simple and dir-
ect method is really pursued by many men." Justus Buchler, ed.,
PHILOSOPHICAL WRITINGS OF PEIRCE (New York: Dover, 1955, p. 11.
He goes on to say "This method has, from the earliest times, been
one of the chief means of upholding correct theological and poli-
tical doctrines", which appears to be why Martin adheres to it.
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.
Where does he come up with this stuff about who he is working with?
I don't care and have never asked, but I would warn them that they
are collaborating with SOMEONE WHO IS DEMONSTRABLY UNTRUSTWORTHY.
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.
Returning again to the post to which this is alleged to be a reply:
"The closest to the original, of course, is the intact "Secret Ser-
vice" copy included on Robert Groden's "The Assassination Films"
videotape. Unfortunately, he did not include it in his latest
My response was to ask again, how could Schakelford possibly know
THAT THIS COPY IS THE CLOSEST TO THE ORGINAL? How could he even
know where it came from? Unless Groden was in physical contact
with the original from its filming to its release at the time of
the Garrison trial, how could he know that what he has is not an
altered version of the original? Smoke-blowing and slimeballing.
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.
Having acknowledged that he really has no basis for his claim that
the film is unaltered, which was merely AN ASSUMPTION FOR WHICH
HE CAN PRODUCE NO EVIDENCE--you might have thought that this was
a peripheral issue!--he tries to make light of his own practice of
deceiving the members of this list, rather like a scum-sucking pig.
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"
Go back to the original post again and see what Shackelford said:
"Then he jumps to discussng Robert Livingston, out of context here,
someone else he calls 'a world expert'--apparently this is his
term for anyone who agrees to work with him."
I find it difficult to understand what this means if he is not in
fact denying that Robert Livingston, M.D., is a "world authority"
on the human brain. If he is not denying that, then what sense
does it make to assert that "apparently this is his term for any-
one who agrees to work with him"? I don't see any reference to
David Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., in this passage. What am I missing?
Martin's response has an aura of scum-sucking pigness about it.
He accuses me of making claims that I can't possibly know are
true. Maybe he's been a bad influence on me.
This is really cute. When he is caught with his pants down, he
attempts to turn the tables! We aren't even supposed to notice.
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
Evidently it is easier for Martin Shackelford to conclude that the
Zapruder film has not been altered than it is for the rest of us.
All he has to do is TAKE FOR GRANTED THAT IT HAS NOT BEEN ALTERED.
I really cannot see why Shackelford needs to view the film at all,
given his commitment to the method of tenacity. Why even bother?
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.).
I mentioned a list of persons--including Ray Redmon, Chuck Marler,
Milicent Cranor, Richard Bartholomew, Harry Livingstone, Daryll
Weatherly, Robert Morningstar, Alan Eagelsham, Michael Parks, Jack
White, and others--because they have all, on independent grounds,
arrived at the conclusion that the Zapruder film has been altered,
NOT BECAUSE THEY AGREE WITH MANTIK IN EVERY RESPECT! How could
they even know without actually reading his work, which has only
now appeared? Indeed, this list is abbreviated, since others--
such as Harold Weisberg, Philip Melanson, and David Lifton--also
consider the film to have been edited. Since Shackelford works
as a colleague with Harry Livingstone and with Daryll Weatherly,
most of us, I believe, would find it refreshing to hear Martin's
criticism of their work! Because IF THEY ARE RIGHT, NO LESS THAN
IF DAVID IS RIGHT, THEN THE FILM HAS INDEED BEEN ALTERED. Now is
your chance to come clean, Martin: what's wrong with their work?
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.
The fact that I rely upon evidence and logic, while you rely upon
tenacity, might be one reason for viewing my opinions as better
founded than yours. The fact that you are constantly deceiving
members of this list about what is and is not known about alter-
ation. The fact that, when you are caught in a misrepresentation,
you attempt to revise what you said before, misreport it, and then
claim that I have misrepresented you! Those are slimeball tactics,
Martin! Lincoln observed that you can fool some of the people all
of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot
fool all of the people all of the time! I am afraid your time has
come, Martin! (And please do not attack my fine friend Jack White,
who is as decent a human being as you are scum-sucking pig-like.)
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.
If Martin thinks when it comes to evidence in this case that "lat-
er is better", he is laboring under profound misconception. There
is every reason to believe that materials found later--especially
after key items of evidence have been missing for some time--are
prime candidates for "planting". Consider Priscilla Johnson's
"discovery" of the missing Mexico City bus ticket stubs; the La-
Fontaine's "discovery" of the missing booking records for three
tramps; and now Shackelford's "discovery" of CIA film processing
records that give them "clean hands". Anyone this gullible is
a prime candidate for being deceived, mislead, and manipulated.
(Check the new post again, Martin; the dates there are correct.)
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).
Actually, the book has 960 pages, as I indicate in this post, but
it shouldn't matter to Martin, who has no plans to read them any-
way. I would assume, however, that, at this late date, after all
the heated exchanges that have occurred over this net and else-
where, that any serious scholar who wants to be taken seriously
would, at the very least, have read David Mantik's chapter on
the Zapruder film in ASSASSINATION SCIENCE (1998), pp. 263-344.
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
Actually, Martin, I was baiting you by listing all of the items that
David discussed at the Lancer Conference in 1996 to see if you would
notice the extent to which he has altered his position by revising
and extending his research as reported in ASSASSINATION SCIENCE. I
suspected that, having not read David's chapter, you would in fact
not notice the difference, that the list was no longer current and
did not properly represent the state of his current research. For
example, before Lancer, David had not gone to the National Archives
to compare the properties of the Secret Service and FBI copies that
are stored there, results of which are summarized on p. 328. You
did not disappoint me, Martin, and never noticed a thing! There are
many respects in which his work differs from the list I provided,
but it didn't faze you at all! Any why should it? Your objective
appears to be TO PERSUADE PEOPLE TO NOT READ THE BOOK AT ALL much
less to take its arguments seriously. At this point, however, any-
one who has engaged in this much debate over the net and who has
made such strong claims WITHOUT EVEN READING THE RELEVANT CHAPTER
has completely discredited himself from being considered a serious
scholar. Your performance, Martin, is rather like that of a scum-
sucking pig or, perhaps, a disinformation specialist. It is cer-
tainly not the behavior to be expected from a serious film scholar.
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.
I really don't care what you think. You have discredited yourself.
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.
Martin, I am sure, is going to continue trashing everyone who is
of the opinion that the film has been edited (except for Harry
Livingstone and Darryl Weatherly--what about their work, Martin?)
I would certainly take the work of a Michael Parks more seriously
than the work of a (discredited) disseminator of misinformation.
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.
I repeat: anyone who has SERIOUS CRITICISM of our work on the
film should forward it to me, to David Mantik, or to Jack White.
We have followed up on Joe Durnavich's critique of the paper by
Mike Pincher and Roy Schaeffer and have made appropriate replies
that will appear in forthcoming printings of the book. We are
perfectly willing to consider SERIOUS CRITICSM, not the kind of
stuff that Martin has been dishing out by the bucketful. Your
comments, suggestions, and criticism will be taken seriously if
they are relevant to the actual content of ASSASSINATION SCIENCE.
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.
Here he admits that his behavior has been like that of a scum-
sucking pig in taking up list space and reader's time with his
arrogant posts that are predicated upon the method of tenacity
rather than even the simple necessity of scholarly research of
actually reading the work that you pretend to be criticizing!
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.
I have already observed that Martin appears to not understand the
nature of "camera ready" copy. Someone should explain it to him.
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.
Typical of a disinformation specialist: dismiss it on the ground
that you are "still unimpressed"! But notice: he is confirming
that he has not read Mantik's chapter, because this response (of
being "still unimpressed") ONLY OCCURS AFTER HE ACTUALLY TAKES A
LOOK AT PARTS OF DAVID'S CHAPTER WHEN OTHERS HAVE ENCOURAGED HIM!
Why should anyone care whether he is or is not "impressed" when
he displays behavior that would be disgraceful in a true scholar?
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.
The point I made was three-fold, not just that he had mistaken the
title--of course, that is how the mistake was made!--but that he
should have known that could not be right (since Bradley Kizzia is
not an author of CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE), and, significantly, that
ANYONE WHO HAD ACTUALLY READ THE BOOK could not possibly have made
that particular mistake! (I sense scum-sucking pigness again!)
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.
If your past work is on a par with your current pretentions, then
it doesn't bear comment. I find these claims to be pompous and
arrogant in the extreme from someone who pretends to critique work
he has--by his own admission!--never read! What complete rubbish!
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.
I am perfectly willing for our relative qualifications, honesty and
integrity with respect to our research be judged by the recent set
of posts we have exchanged. But I would hope by now that the utter
poverty of your position has become sufficently clear for everyone
on this list to understand what I have been reporting now for some
time, namely: THAT MARTIN SHACKELFORD IS COMPLETELY UNTRUSTWORTHY.
If his deceitful, deceptive, and misleading practices have finally
been exposed, then perhaps even this painful process will have been
worthwhile. I can only recommend to those who actually care about
the issues involved here: READ THIS BOOK AND JUDGE FOR YOURSELF!
James H. Fetzer
University of Minnesota
Duluth, MN 55812
P.S. Anyone who is having trouble obtaining a copy of the book
should call 1-800-888-9999 between 9 AM and 9 PM throughout
the week, where you can obtain ASSASSINATION SCIENCE, BLOODY
TREASON, TEXAS IN THE MORNING, and my four-and-a-half hour
video, "JFK: The Assassination, the Cover-Up, and Beyond".