Message #18

        Concluding the Exchange with Howard and Martin 
        Sun, 8 Feb 1998 15:17:01 -0600 (CST) 
        james fetzer 
        jack white   james fetzer 


Please post this to the other groups that I have missed.  Meanwhile, for
those interested, I now have a web site at


In my considered opinion (which I am confident is shared by most of those
who have followed these posts), my exchanges with Martin Shackelford and
with Howard P. have gone far beyond the point of diminshing returns.  In-
sofar as neither of them would ever consider their discontinuance, I am
declaring that "enough is enough" and shall not respond to further posts
from either of them.  (If I do otherwise, may lightning strike me down!)

Since I do not consider their "objections" to have the same motivation,
however, I would like to distinguish between them in the following way:

(1) MARTIN S.:  On the basis of my repeated exchanges with Martin, which
                first began after the JFL Lancer Conference in November
                1996, I am convinced that he has a role to play within
                the research community, namely:  to appear to be pro-con-
                spiracy while actually espousing loyalist views and sub-
                jecting the views of others to criticism and ridicule in
                a deliberate effort to sow seeds of confusion among us.

    This is not simply my opinion, but that of others on this list who
    have contacted me.  In all my experience in dissecting arguments, I
    have never met anyone who was so ferocious about it, deliberately vio-
    lating the canons of rational discourse, and so skillful in delivering
    false and misleading (but often plausible-sounding) replies and rebut-
    tals.  These are not the sorts of skills that one develops when their
    professional career lies in social work!  Indeed, if I were not ade-
    quately prepared to dissect his arguments (because of a background in
    critical thinking), I suspect I should have found them overwhelming.

    I also think that, even when they miss their mark, his attacks have
    the additional potential benefit of turning off everyone, including
    me, where all of us simply tend to dismiss the whole thing, even to
    wanting to avoid crucial issues, such as whether the findings that
    are reported in ASSASSINATION SCIENCE are well-founded or not.  The
    suggestion I am making--that Martin is an agent of disinformation,
    which is my tentative conclusion--has to be considered against his-
    torical background.  When the KKK was at its strongest, it was infil-
    trated with many informants for the FBI!  During the red-scares of
    more recent times, there were cell meetings where everyone present
    was an informant or a double-agent!  If anyone thinks there are no
    infiltrators or informants within the assassination research commun-
    ity, they are being very naive!  Everyone should arrive at their own
    conclusions--and in that regard, I strongly recommend reviewing our
    whole exhange!--but I believe that the evidence is very persuasive.

(2) HOWARD P.:  Somehow, we got off on the wrong foot with each other and
                a high price has been paid.  Howard is proud of his back-
                ground in philosophy and, for reasons that I do not fully
                understand, has become whole-heartedly committed to a cam-
                paign to ridicule and attack virtually everything I have
                to say.  (I hope he will understand this message and not
                leap to conclusions and bitterly attack again!)  I don't
                think that Howard P. is an agent of disinformation; I do
                believe he is sincere.  The psychodynamics of the situ-
                ation, I think, are complicated and rather hard to sort.

    That said, I think that some of Howard's remarks, when formulated in
    more temperate and less belligerent language, have some merit.  A re-
    cent post that he sent to Gary Aguilar, for example, suggesting the
    desirability of the involvement of other experts in replicating and
    corroborating David's autopsy X-ray findings, was, for the most part,
    reasonable and appropriate, unlike the extremely scurrilous post by
    David Stern that has also appeared.  (Stern claims to be unable to
    follow what David is doing, even though optical densitometry is not
    theoretically complicated and his measurements are provided!)  Both
    seem to think that David Mantik is opposed to corroborating support
    from other experts, which is contradicted by his own practice as it
    has been reported in ASSASSINATION SCIENCE.  Those who read his new
    "Postscript" on the 6.5 mm metal fragment will notice, for example,
    that, prior to its publication, his manuscript was reviewed by the
    leading expert at Kodak, who found nothing objectionable (p. 134).

    So neither David nor I nor Bob Livingston nor anyone with whom we
    have collaborated (including Gary Aguilar) have any objections to
    this general idea.  The problem becomes how it should be implement-
    ed.  Another government inquiry does not appear to me to be espec-
    ially promising.  Our work demonstrates that the Warren Commission
    inquiry was conducted as a political charade, with a phoney bullet,
    phoney limo, and phoney wounds.  We do not want to invite political
    corruption in resolving scientific questions (which, of course, was
    the basis for my outrage over the absurd response of the Department
    of Justice to the discovery of new evidence completely undermining
    past governmental inquiries by the Warren Commission and the HSCA)!

    What we need are objective and unbiased individuals with the proper
    qualifications to undertake such studies, perhaps within the frame-
    work of a leading radiological laboratory.  This kind of activity is
    no doubt expensive and will require suitable financing.  I therefore
    ask of the members of this list (a) which radiological laboratories
    might be appropriate for this purpose (bearing in mind that their
    reputations for honesty and objectivity be unblemished, including
    that they be uncontaminated by governtment contracts and funding--
    a desideratum that could prove difficult to satisfy)?; and (b) who
    out there in the community who cares about these matters would be
    willing to assume some portion of the financial responsibility for
    having this research undertaken?  Please let me hear from you soon.


    James H. Fetzer
    McKnight Professor
    University of Minnesota
    Duluth, MN 55812

        Sun, 8 Feb 1998 15:57:07 -0600 (CST) 
        james fetzer 


Now and then David responds to something I
have sent him.  I think this message was
intended for you.  You are welcome to put
it on the various nets if it would help.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 1998 02:19:25 -0500 (EST)

I did send my X-ray article to the best expert I could find--the chief
medical physicist at Kodak. This seems to have been forgotten.

Regarding the Z film, it's not likely that I'd have written an article if a
qualified expert had written one. But, during 34 years, none have seemed
interested, and I believed that  something should be available in print to
interested parties on all of these still unanswered questions. Because of my
background, my article could not be definitive. My goal was to integrate a
wide variety of data and to raise some new questions. Furthermore, it seems
to be overlooked, but significant portions of my paper do not require the
assistance of experts: e.g., experts on 8 mm film could hardly provide much
help with the eyewitness testimony that disagrees so greatly with the extant
film. And I doubt that they could count frames any better than I can (see my
calculation of the camera speed based on the reenactment film). We are
currently seeking help from experts on matters where their expertise is
germane, but I don't personally know any. I must rely on others for such
contacts. And why are there insinuations that I'd not like such
reviews--particularly when I sought precisely that kind of review from Kodak?
The proper thing for such critics to do is really quite simple: help us find
qualified experts. That's much more useful than whining that I haven't
located any. Anyone who really knows me is aware that I am willing to admit
error--or have we forgotten this, too?

David Mantik