Message #3

Date: Sun, 11 Jan 1998 14:42:42 -0800
From: Debra Conway 
To: james fetzer 
Cc: George Michael Evica 

                 Re: Assassination Science
                 Sun, 11 Jan 1998 02:26:24 -0500
                 Martin Shackelford 
                 Concentric Internet Services
                 1 , 2 , 3 , 4


      Jim Fetzer's post does nothing to increase my confidence in his
credibility. He claims that the writers in his book include:
1) "an expert on photographic evidence who assisted the HSCA during its
re-investigation of the case and later advised Oliver stone in the
preparation of the film 'JFK'.": you'd think he was talking about Robert
Groden here, as the description would be fairly accurate in that case,
but he's talking about Jack White, who was subjected by the HSCA to
hostile cross-examination and was simply among the critics who were
consulted by the HSCA. I don't know what his role was in "JFK." I see
that Jack devotes his post on this thread to a putdown of credentials
(those things HSCA said he didn't have).
2) the "former Marine Corps officer" is Fetzer himself; for an "expert
on critical thinking and scientific reasoning," he doesn't engage in
much of either.
          Let's take a more objective look at the book's contents:
1) A Preface by James Fetzer, explaining what the book "proves."
2) A Prologue by James Fetzer, which indicates that his involvement in
the case didn't begin until after the May 1992 JAMA press conference.
Then, as he indicates, there is a section on the JAMA treatment of the
assassination (apparently for those who had missed Harrison
Livingstone's thorough discussion of the subject four years earlier in
Killing the Truth).
It begins with an essay by, guess who, James Fetzer. It is followed by
reprints of a previously available article by Dr. Charles Crenshaw, an
excerpt from Crenshaw's book JFK: Conspiracy 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.
Part Two is misleadingly called "The Press Conference That Never Was",
as it definitely took place (I have a videotape of it). What it "Never
Was," after Fetzer took it over, was anything resembling what it had
originally been intended to be, as several of the participants have told
me. This section begins, as expected, with an essay by James Fetzer,
during which he throws in a discussion of a "spiral nebula" image he
claims can be seen in the Altgens photo (unfortunately for his analysis,
it is only in some printed copies, not in the original photo), a topic
seemingly unrelated to the subject of the section. There follow, not
one, but two press conference texts by James Fetzer, one by Dave Mantik,
and one by Robert Livingston (none by the third participant, Gary
Aguilar--for his opinions, see Killing the Truth, a more complete
discussion of the subject).
There follows a subsection, "Supporting Documents." These consist of a
December 1963 New Republic article by St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter
Richard Dudman, long known in the research community; and three pieces
of correspondence by Robert Livingston (apparently Livingston the
correspondent is considered supporting evidence for Livingston the press
conference participant--a novel idea of supporting evidence).
Then, for no apparent reason, there are three letters by James Fetzer to
the New York Times, totally unrelated to the press conference which is
the subject of the section.
The third section is "The Pursuit of Justice in a Bureaucracy,"
apparently designed to document James Fetzer's dogged one-man crusade
for truth in the case, as there's no indication of anyone else's
"pursuit of justice." It begins, of course, with an essay by James
Fetzer, followed by a five-letter exchange between Fetzer and a Section
Chief at the Justice Department.
There are then three letters to Fetzer:
1) Elliot Richardson tells Fetzer he would have preferred that Fetzer
had consulted him in advance before using his name.
2) Robert McNamara's secretary says he believes in the Warren Report and
has no comment.
3) A standard White House thank you for sending Bill Clinton a copy of
the videotape Fetzer made.
Next there is a two-letter exchange between James Fetzer and ARRB chair
John Tunheim, in which Fetzer complains that he is being ignored by the
Justice Department, and Tunheim responds with a pretty standard reply.
Part Four is devoted to the Zapruder film, alteration of which is
Fetzer's second "Johnny-Come-Lately" enthusiasm, and of course it begins
with an introductory essay by James Fetzer. In his post, Fetzer repeats
the claim that the CIA had the film the night of the assassination, a
claim for which there is no evidence. There are five contributions:
1) 20 Years of reflection by Jack White on the Zapruder film, which
contains simple factual errors (the money for the Groden slide sets was
collected in 1977, but due to lab problems, the slide sets themselves
weren't available until 1978); White's admission that he has no
expertise in motion picture films, but based his conclusions on "common
sense"--among them are:
a) the "spray" of brain matter should be seen for several frames (it can
be seen in 313, 314, and 315), but is obvious in only one ("obvious" and
"seen" are two different criteria--but I find the spray "obvious" in all
three frames).
b) the "unnatural" Greer head turn, which has already been fully
discussed here.
c) confusing "nearly came to a complete stop" with an actual complete
d) a false claim that the film doesn't show Connally turning to his
left, then right.
e) the fact that Connally continues to hold his hat after he is
supposedly wounded--apparently Jack has forgotten he is discussing film
alteration, and is including a point refuting the Single Bullet Theory.
f) having admitted he has no expertise in film, he questions the field
of view in the film, on no valid grounds.
g) again, with no expertise, he finds the jerkiness and focal details
anomalous, and sees things "I believe" are "impossible." They aren't.
h) and he borrows Dr. Mantik's analysis of the white spot.
He then adds ten "observations" which is is careful to attribute to
others, not surprisingly.
2) The blink pattern study by Mike Pincher and Roy Schaeffer, which has
been discussed here in some detail.
3) Ron Hepler's piece on the wounding of Gov. Connally, which makes no
claim of Zapruder film alteration, and in fact relies on the film for
its analysis.
I have no idea how it ended up in this section the book.
4) An essay by Chuck Marler on  the May 1964 re-enactment, which has
only a few references (like the "bionic" Greer head turn) to alteration
5) A 79-page essay on Zapruder alteration by Dave Mantik; Fetzer
correctly reports that David has spent a lot of time studying the film.
He incorrectly assumes that this makes David an expert on film
alteration; it doesn't. Fetzer wants you to believe David is "the
world's leading expert on the Zapruder film." If amount of study
determines this, I've spent more time studying the film than David has,
and Robert Groden has spent FAR more time--but this would be
inconvenient for Fetzer to acknowledge, as Robert doesn't believe the
film was altered, so apparently he can't qualify as the "leading
expert," though he has far more background in FILM than anyone in
Fetzer's book.
Finally, there is an Epilogue by James Fetzer, FOLLOWED by another essay
by James Fetzer (in which he explains what "proof" REALLY means), a
Postscript by James Fetzer, another Postscript by Ronald White,
Appendices (a collection of familiar documents and photos),
Acknowledgments and capsule descriptions of contributors.
Mr. Fetzer's post indicates that he is upset that Howard criticized him;
I'm sure no one looking at the above summary of contents of the book
would think that Fetzer might be engaged in a self-aggrandizing effort.
Why would anyone's comments differ from those on the cover of the book?
Thanks to Debra for passing this revealing communication onto us.


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  It is time for us to unite behind these simple facts:
there was more than one shooter and there was a
government coverup to JFK's political assassination.