Fetzer and Snyder Exchange

Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 18:26:24 -0600 (CST)
From: james fetzer 
To: research@queenbee.net
Subject: TWENTY QUESTIONS ABOUT A RECENT POST

A recent post from Art and Margaret Snyder--which may be found on the
web site, namely, http://www.pe.net/~atd/zapr-2.htm--reflects a number
of elementary mistakes in presenting a critique of the work of David W.
Mantik published in ASSASSINATION SCIENCE.  I would like to raise some
of the issues involved here in an effort to elevate the sensitivity of
this group to scientific and mathematical issues that may arise in the
study of the assassination of JFK.  Those who look at this study ought
at the very least to ask themselves the following very basic questions:

(1) According to Snyder, Josiah Thompson has described Mantik's argument
--that the improbability of every member of a group of ten eyewitnesses
being wrong, when there is only a 2% chance of each one being wrong, is
10 to -17, which is a very small number--as "loony".  What does "loony"
mean within this context?  Is this a clear and precise scientific term?

(2) According to a table reprinted in this article, which is drawn from
Elizabeth Loftus, EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY (1996), p. 27, which in turn is
based upon an article by Marshall et al. in THE HARVARD LAW REVIEW 84
(1971), p. 1620, when the salience of an observation is greater than 50%,
the accuracy and completeness of the observations by the participants in
the study of 151 observers of a movie was accuracy 98%/completeness 98%.
What was their percentage of inaccuracy?  percentage of incompleteness?

(3) According to the Snyders, there are two kinds of statistical errors
that can occur:  Type I errors, which are false negatives (in this case,
failing to see the limo stop when it did stop) and Type II errors, which
are false positives (in this case, seeing the limo stop when it did not).
Since Mantik's study is based upon reports of a limo stop by fifteen or
more witnesses, which kind of error--Type I or Type II--is relevant here?

(4) With different sized populations of observers, of course, the proba-
bility of inaccuracy or incompleteness may vary.  If the probability of
inaccuracy by N-membered groups were .02 (.03, .05, .10, .20, .30, .40,
or .50), for example, how would the improbability that they were wrong
--all of them, since they are making identical reports--be calculated?
                                             10
(5) The Synders state, "10 to the -17 = (.02)   is the probability that
10 witnesses each with an independent (uncorrelated) 2% probability of
failing to correctly observe an event (e.g., a "limo stop") would ALL
fail to correctly observe it!  It is the probability they would ALL say
it had not stopped when it had stopped."  Is this the right hypothesis
to consider in this case?  If not, what would be the right probability?

(6) They continue their remark by stating, "It is NOT the probability of
finding a group of 10 or so witnesses all saying the same wrong thing,
e.g., the limo stopped when it did not stop."  But is the probability of
FINDING a group of 10 or so witnesses all saying the same wrong thing a
relevant question here?  Are we LOOKING FOR groups of witnesses here?

(7) The Snyders concede that there is a conflict between the eyewitnesses
who say the limo stopped and the Zapruder film, which does not show it.
They suggest we must consider two hypotheses to explain this conflict:

    I.  The film has been altered.
   II.  The witnesses are mistaken.

They claim that, "to compare these two hypotheses, we need the probabil-
ity that this conflict could have arisen under each hypothesis".  They
then claim that "For the film alteration hypothesis (I) the probability
is small but not computable".  What is the source of this "probability"?

(8) They also claim, "The relevant probability for the mistaken witness
hypothesis (II) is the probability that a group of witnesses (large enough
to catch our attention) would turn up".  But hasn't a group of witnesses
(large enough to catch our attention) ALREADY "turned up"?  And if that 
is indeed the case, why do they say, "The probability that a specific
group of witnesses is mistaken is IRRELEVANT.  The relevant question is
what is the probability of finding such a group.  This probability is
much larger."?  If they have been found, does not that probability = 1?

(9) What about their comparison to a lottery?  They claim, "It is like a
lottery.  The odds of any particular person winning are very small, but
the odds of somebody winning are high.  The limo stop witnesses are the
winners in a lottery to attract the attention of alteration advocates.
The odds of any particular group winning are small; the odds that some
group would win are much higher!"  But why are they even discussing the
limo stop witnesses as "winners in a lottery to attract the attention of
alteration advocates"?  What sense does that make?  Did they enter some
lottery of which we are all unaware?  What sort of comparison is implied?

(10) They remark, "Given that the limo did slow down (losing 1/3 of its
velocity in a fairly short time) and that the brake lights were on, it is
not that surprising that some people thought it stopped or nearly stopped.
The MMO [Marshall et al.] results have NO BEARING on the probability of
this error being made.  There is no reason it is as small as 2%."  But is
it not simply BEGGING THE QUESTION by taking for granted that the limo
did NOT stop to make the assumption that the limo MERELY SLOWED without
stopping?  After all, it would have had to slow in order to stop, so what
independent evidence supports their contention that it MERELY SLOWED AND
DID NOT STOP?  Wouldn't it be likely that some people would only see it
slow EVEN IF IT STOPPED?  What could possibly justify their assumption?

(11) They also claim, "If there were 250 witnesses in a position to see
the limo stop, a false positive rate of 2% gives an expected number of
false stop reports of 5.  The probability of 10 or more false reports
would be about 3%.  Given the ambiguity of the situation the false pos-
tive rate could easily have been larger than 2%."  But where do they
get the idea that there were 250 witnesses "in a position to see the
limo stop"?  Josiah Thompson lists more than 250 witnesses to some as-
pect of the assassination in SIX SECONDS IN DALLAS (1967), pp. 254-271.
Are they assuming that all of them were "in a position to see the limo
stop" if it did stop?  Is that a very reasonable assumption to make?

(12) Thompson also provides a map of the location of these witnesses
in his book on pp. 252-253.  Anyone who takes a look will see that the
witnesses are asymmetrically distributed around Dealey Plaza and that
most of them would have been ill-positioned to have observed the limo
stop, if it had stopped.  This point was made during David W. Mantik's 
presentation at Lancer in Dallas by presenting an overhead that marked
the location of the witnesses whose testimony he was discussing.  Is
it just a bit disingenuous of the Snyders to fail to report that fact?
Would not the location of these witnesses make a crucial difference?

(13) They say any probability analysis done "after the fact" is poten-
tially subject to large selection biases.  Why is that?  Does the out-
come of a toss with a coin change after it has been tossed?  If it was
a fair coin, did it not have a 1/2 probability for heads and 1/2 prob-
ability for tails even after it has landed?  Should sports teams object
to the use of tosses of coins to determine who kicks off and who re-
ceives because the outcome of the toss of a coin is "after the fact"?

(14) If studies of salience substantiate high degrees of accuracy and
completeness under relatively controlled conditions, why should these
results not be extrapolated into uncontrolled situations, especially
when the are sufficiently like those controlled situations?  The Sny-
ders claim the 2% chance of being wrong was "ripped out of context".
But take a look at the description of the test situation, which was
a two-minute long movie with over 900 items of interest.  Is there no
basis of comparison, even though the number of observers is presumably
smaller in the case of the assassination than in the case of the film?

(15) They say, "If the probability of JFK assassination witnesses to fail
to see a stop that actually occurred were as small as 2% it would virtual-
ly rule out a stop having occurred!"  But is this not a claim that is be-
ing made about false negatives, when it should be about false positives?
And is it not another way of concealing the extremely low probability of
witnesses in this case being wrong in their actual reports of a limo stop?

(16) Why don't they say, "If the probability of JFK assassination witnes-
ses to see a stop that actually did not occur were as small as 2%, that
would virtually rule out a stop not having occurred!"  After all, what
Mantik has produced and Palamara has confirmed is a large number of wit-
nesses who report that the limo stopped, not a large number of witnesses
who report that it did NOT stop.  Are the Snyders assuming that everyone
who did not report the limo stopped counts as reporting that it did not?
Would that be a reasonable assumption to make?  If so, why?  If not, why?

(17) According to the Snyders, "The data is inconsistent with a 2% "chance
of be(ing) wrong" and the limo actually stopping!"  But why do they say
such a thing?  Isn't the data CONSISTENT with a very small chance of be-
ing wrong and the limo actually NOT stopping?  What kind of game is be-
ing played here?  After introducing the difference between Type I and II
errors, they persist in framing every question in terms of Type I errors.
Are they talking about the RIGHT KIND of error?  But isn't that Type II?

(18) They not only say that the 2% chance of being wrong was "ripped out
of context" but "It is not applicable to any real world situations much
less the JFK assassination."  Does that mean that it does not even apply
to the 151 witnesses who observed the two minute film?  Was that not "a
situation in the real world"?  Why are they making claims of this kind?
What is the point of studying eyewitness reliability if not because it
has relevance to real world situations when it is appropriately applied?

(19) According to Elizabeth Loftus, "It is fair to say that salient de-
tails are remembered better than peripheral ones.  Also, it is easier to
mislead people about peirpheral details.  It is WRONG, however, to say
anything like 98% of salient details are accurately remembered.  If that
was shown in the Marshall case, it is only with those subjects, with that
stimulus material, in that study.  We virtually never make claims about
absolute percentages because the real percentages in any situation depend
on so many other factors."  But even if the difference were such that the
chance of being wrong was 5% instead of .02%, the improbability that ten
witnesses reporting a limo stop were all mistaken would = .5 to the 10th,
which is approximately 1/1024 or about .001, which is a very small number.
So what is wrong with making extrapolations to similar situations, even
if the ABSOLUTE PERCENTAGES would vary with the relevant circumstances?
And in fact was not the scene the assassination witnesses observed actu-
ally LESS complex and LESS prolonged than the Marshall study situation?

(20) The Snyders conclude with the announcement, "Tink was right!"  Is
that an appropriate conclusion to draw based upon the analysis that they
have provided?  Does their analysis support their conclusion?  Remember
that Tink's conclusion was that Mantik's analysis was loony!  Given the
considerations adduced above, was his analysis loony?  How about Tink's?

Jim

BONUS QUESTION:  How many people were "some people" who thought that the
limo had stopped?  (Consult the valuable study by Vince Palamara below.)
Normally, you would assume that someone would report a limo stop BECAUSE
the limo had stopped.  What do the Snyders suppose they would report IF
THE LIMO HAD stopped?  Would they have reported that it had NOT stopped?
__________________________________________________________________________
On 13 Dec 1998 Vincent Palamara wrote:

Subject: "59 Witnesses: Delay on Elm Street"

59 WITNESSES: DELAY ON ELM STREET
By Vince Palamara
Updated 1998 edition
(based off the original 1991 article "47 Witnesses" that appeared in
"The Third Decade", Jan/ March 1992, and which has since been cited in
"The Third Decade"[11/92], "The Fourth Decade[11/93 and 9/97],
"Proceedings of the Second Research Conference of the Third Decade,
6/18-6/20/93", pages 128 & 162, "The Proceedings of the Research
Conference of the Fourth Decade, 7/19-7/21/96", p. 277, "The Third
Alternative-Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service and the JFK Murder"
[1997], pages 20& 53, the website "The Puzzle Palace", "Assassination
Science" [1998], p. 274, "Bloody Treason" [1997], Z-frame 313 photo
section, "November Patriots" [1998], p. 465, and the 1998 revised
version of "High Treason", p. 551)

-UPI's "Four Days" (1964), p. 17---In the right hand picture [a frame
from the Muchmore film], the driver slams on the brakes and the police
escort pulls up."

-"Newsweek", 12/2/63, p. 2---"For a chaotic moment, the motorcade ground
to an uncertain halt."

-"Time", 11/29/63, p. 23---"There was a shocking momentary stillness, a
frozen tableau."

-"Case Closed" by Gerald Posner (1993), p. 234---"Incredibly, Greer,
sensing that something was wrong in the back of the car, slowed the
vehicle to almost a standstill."
AND
-Gerald Posner, with Dan Rather, on CBS' "Who Killed JFK: The Final
Chapter?", 11/19/93---By turning around the second time and looking at
JFK as the car slows down, Posner says that "What he [Greer] has done is
inadvertantly given Oswald the easiest of the three shots."

1) Houston Chronicle Reporter Bo Byers (rode in White House Press
Bus)---twice stated that the Presidential Limousine "almost came to a
stop, a dead stop"; in fact, he has had nightmares about this. [C-SPAN,
11/20/93, "Journalists Remember The Kennedy Assassination"; see also the
1/94 "Fourth Decade": article by Sheldon Inkol];

2) ABC Reporter Bob Clark (rode in the National Press Pool
Car)---Reported on the air that the limousine stopped on Elm Street
during the shooting [WFAA/ ABC, 11/22/63];

3) UPI White House Reporter Merriman Smith (rode in the same car as
Clark, above)---"The President's car, possibly as much as 150 or 200
yards ahead, seemed to falter briefly" [UPI story, 11/23/63, as reported
in "Four Days", UPI, p. 32];

4) DPD motorcycle officer James W. Courson (one of two mid-motorcade
motorcycles)--"The limousine came to a stop and Mrs. Kennedy was on the
back. I noticed that as I came around the corner at Elm. Then the Secret
Service agent [Clint Hill] helped push her back into the car, and the
motorcade took off at a high rate of speed." ["No More Silence" by Larry
Sneed (1998), p. 129];

5) DPD motorcycle officer Bobby Joe Dale (one of two rear mid-motorcade
motorcycles)---"After the shots were fired, the whole motorcade came to
a stop. I stood and looked through the plaza, noticed there was
commotion, and saw people running around his [JFK's] car. It started to
move, then it slowed again; that's when I saw Mrs. Kennedy coming back
on the trunk and another guy [Clint Hill] pushing her back into the
car." ["No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), p. 134];

6) Clemon Earl Johnson---"You could see it [the limo] speed up and then
stop, then speed up, and you could see it stop while they [sic; Clint
Hill] threw Mrs. Kennedy back up in the car. Then they just left out of
there like a bat of the eye and were just gone." ["No More Silence" by
Larry Sneed (1998), p. 80];

7) Malcolm Summers---"Then there was some hesitation in the caravan
itself, a momentary halt, to give the Secret Service man [Clint Hill] a
chance to catch up with the car and jump on. It seems to me that it
started back up by the time he got to the car^┼"["No More Silence" by
Larry Sneed (1998), p. 104];

8) NBC reporter Robert MacNeil (rode in White House Press Bus)---"The
President's driver slammed on the brakes---after the third shot^┼" ["The
Way We Were, 1963: The Year Kennedy Was Shot"  by Robert MacNeil (1988),
p. 193];

9) AP photographer Henry Burroughs (rode in Camera Car #2)---"^┼we heard
the shots and the motorcade stopped." [letter, Burroughs to Palamara,
dated 10/14/98];

10) DPD Earle Brown---"^┼The first I noticed the [JFK's] car was when it
stopped..after it made the turn and when the shots were fired, it
stopped." [6 H 233];

11) DPD motorcycle officer Bobby Hargis (one of the four Presidential
motorcyclists)---"^┼At that time [immediately before the head shot] the
Presidential car slowed down. I heard somebody say 'Get going.' I felt
blood hit me in the face and the Presidential car stopped almost
immediately after that." [6 H 294; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb
& Perry Adams (1974), p. 71; 6/26/95 videotaped interview with Mark
Oakes & Ian Griggs: "That guy  (Greer) slowed down, maybe his orders was
to slow down^┼slowed down almost to a stop." Like Posner, Hargis feels
Greer gave Oswald the chance to kill Kennedy.];

12) DPD D.V. Harkness---"^┼I saw the first shot and the President's car
slow[ed] down to almost a stop^┼I heard the first shot and saw the
President's car almost come to a stop and some of the agents [were]
piling on the car." [6 H 309];

13) DPD James Chaney (one of the four Presidential
motorcyclists)---stated that the Presidential limousine stopped
momentarily after the first shot (according to the testimony of Mark
Lane; corroborated by the testimony of fellow DPD motorycle officer
Marion Baker: Chaney told him that "^┼at the time, after the shooting,
from the time the first shot rang out, the car stopped completely,
pulled to the left and stopped^┼Now I have heard several of them say
that, Mr. Truly was standing out there, he said it stopped. Several
officers said it stopped completely." [2 H 44-45 (Lane)---refering to
Chaney's statement as reported in the "Houston Chronicle" dated
11/24/63; 3 H 266 (Baker)];

14) DPD motorcycle officer B.J. Martin (one of the four Presidential
motorcyclists)---saw JFK's car stop "^┼just for a moment." ["Murder From
Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 71];

15) DPD motorcycle officer Douglas L. Jackson (one of the four
Presidential motorcyclists)---stated "^┼that the car just all but
stopped^┼just a moment." ["Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry
Adams (1974), p. 71];

16) Texas Highway Patrolman Joe Henry Rich (drove LBJ's car)---stated
that "^┼the motorcade came to a stop momentarily." ["Murder From Within"
by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 71];

17) DPD J.W. Foster---stated that "^┼immediately after President Kennedy
was struck^┼the car in which he was riding pulled to the curb." [CD 897,
pp. 20, 21; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974),
p. 97];

18) Secret Service Agent Sam Kinney (driver of the follow-up car behind
JFK's limo)---indicates, via his report to Chief Rowley, that Greer hit
the gas after the fatal head shot to JFK and after the President's slump
to the left toward Jackie. [18 H 731-732]. From the HSCA's 2/26/78
interview of Kinney: "He also remarked that 'when Greer (the driver of
the Presidential limousine) looked back, his foot must have come off the
accelerator'^┼Kinney observed that at the time of the first shot, the
speed of the motorcade was '3 to 5 miles an hour.'"
[RIF#180-10078-10493; author's interviews with Kinney, 1992-1994];

19) Secret Service Agent Clint Hill (follow-up car, rear of limo)---"^┼I
jumped from the follow-up car and ran toward the Presidential
automobile. I heard a second firecracker-type noise^┼SA Greer had, as I
jumped onto the Presidential automobile, accelerated the Presidential
automobile forward." [18 H 742; Nix film; "The Secret Service" and
"Inside The Secret Service" videos from 1995];

20) Secret Service Agent John Ready (follow-up car)---"^┼I heard what
sounded like fire crackers going off from my post on the right front
running board. The President's car slowed^┼" [18 H 750];

21) Secret Service Agent Glen Bennett (follow-up car)---after the fatal
head shot "the President's car immediately kicked into high gear." [18 H
760; 24 H 541-542]. During his 1/30/78 HSCA interview, Bennett said the
follow-up car was moving at "10-12 m.p.h.", an indication of the pace of
the motorcade on Elm Street [RIF#180-10082-10452];

22) Secret Service Agent "Lem" Johns (V.P. follow-up car)---"^┼I felt
that if there was danger [it was] due to the slow speed of the
automobile." [18 H 774]. During his 8/8/78 HSCA interview, Johns said
that "Our car was moving very slowly", a further indication of the pace
of the motorcade on Elm Street [RIF# 180-10074-10079; Altgens photo];

23) Secret Service Agent Winston Lawson (rode in the lead car)---"^┼I
think it [the lead car on Elm Street] was a little further ahead [of
JFK's limo] than it had been in the motorcade, because when I looked
back we were further ahead." [4 H 352], an indication of the lag in the
limo during the assassination.;

24) Secret Service Agent William "Tim" McIntyre (follow-up car)---"He
stated that Greer, driver of the Presidential limousine, accelerated
after the third shot." [RIF#180-10082-10454: 1/31/78 HSCA interview];

25) Mrs. Earle ("Dearie") Cabell (rode in the Mayor's car)---the
motorcade "stopped dead still when the noise of the shot was heard." [7
H 487; "Accessories After the Fact" by Sylvia Meagher (1967), p. 4;
"Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 71];

26) Phil Willis---"^┼The [Presidential] party had come to a temporary
halt before proceeding on to the underpass." [7 H 497; "Crossfire" by
Jim Marrs (1989), p. 24];

27) Mrs. Phil (Marilyn) Willis---after the fatal head shot, "she stated
the Presidential limousine paused momentarily and then sped away under
the Triple Underpass." [FBI report dated 6/19/64; "Photographic
Whitewash" by Harold Weisberg (1967), p. 179];

28) Mrs. John (Nellie) Connally (rode in JFK's limo)---JFK's car did not
accelerate until after the fatal head shot. [4 H 147; WR 50; "Best
Evidence" by David Lifton (1988), p. 122];

29) Texas Governor John Connally (rode in JFK's limo and himself a
victim of the assassination)---"^┼After the third shot, I heard Roy
Kellerman tell the driver, 'Bill, get out of line.' And then I saw him
move, and I assumed he was moving a button or something on the panel of
the automobile, and he said 'Get us to a hospital quick'^┼at about this
time, we began to pull out of the cavalcade, out of line." [4 H 133;
WR50; "Crossfire" by Jim Marrs (1989), p. 13];

30) Dallas Morning News reporter Robert Baskin (rode in the National
Press Pool Car)---stated that "^┼the motorcade ground to a halt."
["Dallas Morning News", 11/23/63, p. 2; "Murder From Within" by Fred
Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 71];

31) Dallas Morning News reporter Mary Woodward (Pillsworth)---"^┼Instead
of speeding up the car, the car came to a halt."; she saw the
President's car come to a halt after the first shot. Then, after hearing
two more shots, close together, the car sped up. [2 H 43 (Lane); DMN,
11/23/63; 24 H 520; "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" 1988]. She spoke
forcefully about the car almost coming to a stop and the lack of proper
reaction by the Secret Service in 1993. [C-SPAN, 11/20/93, "Journalists
Remember The Kennedy Assassination"; see also the 1/94 "Fourth Decade":
article by Sheldon Inkol];

32) AP photographer James Altgens---"He said the President's car was
proceeding at about ten miles per hour at the time [of the
shooting]^┼Altgens stated the driver of the Presidential limousine
apparently realized what had happened and speeded up toward the Stemmons
Expressway." [FBI report dated 6/5/64; "Photographic Whitewash" by
Harold Weisberg (1967), p. 203] "The car's driver realized what had
happened and almost if by reflex speeded up toward the Stemmons
Expressway." [AP dispatch, 11/22/63; "Cover-Up" by Stewart Galanor
(1998), Document 28];

33) Alan Smith---"^┼the car was ten feet from me when a bullet hit the
President in the forehead^┼the car went about five feet and stopped."
["Chicago Tribune", 11/23/63, p. 9; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb
& Perry Adams (1974), p. 71];

34) Mrs. Ruth M. Smith---confirmed that the Presidential limousine had
come to a stop. [CD 206, p. 9; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb &
Perry Adams (1974), p. 97];

35) TSBD Supervisor Roy Truly---after the first shot "^┼I saw the
President's car swerve to the left and stop somewheres down in the
area^┼[it stopped] for a second or two or something like that^┼I just saw
it stop." [3 H 221, 266];

36) L.P. Terry---"^┼The parade stopped right in front of the building
[TSBD]." ["Crossfire" by Jim Marrs (1989), p. 26];

37) Ochus V. Campbell---after hearing shots, "he then observed the car
bearing President Kennedy to slow down, a near stop, and a motorcycle
policeman rushed up. Immediately following this, he observed the car
rush away from the scene." [22 H 845];

38) Peggy Joyce Hawkins---she was on the front steps of the TSBD and
"^┼estimated that the President's car was less than 50 feet away from her
when he was shot, that the car slowed down almost coming to a full
stop." ["Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p.
97];

39) Billy Lovelady---"I recall that following the shooting, I ran toward
the spot where President Kennedy's car had stopped." [22 H 662];

40) An unnamed witness---from his vantage point in the courthouse
building, stated that "The cavalcade stopped there and there was
bedlam." ["Dallas Times Herald", 11/24/63; "Murder From Within" by Fred
Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 97];

41) Postal Inspector Harry Holmes (from the Post Office Annex, while
viewing through binoculars)---"^┼The car almost came to a stop, and Mrs.
Kennedy pulled loose of him and crawled out over the turtleback of this
Presidential car." [7 H 291]. He noticed the car pull to a halt, and
Holmes thought: "They are dodging something being thrown." ["The Day
Kennedy Was Shot" by Jim Bishop (1967), p. 176];

42) Peggy Burney---she stated that JFK's car had come to a stop.
["Dallas Times Herald", 11/24/63; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb &
Perry Adams (1974), p. 97; interestingly, during the 11/20/93 C-SPAN
"Journalists Remember" conference, Vivian Castleberry of the Dallas
Times Herald made the claim that her first cousin, Peggy Burney, was
Abraham Zapruder's assistant "and was next to him when he shot his
famous film. She called and said, 'Vivian, today I saw the President
die.'"!---See Sheldon Inkol's article on this conference in the January
1994 "Fourth Decade"];

43) David Broeder--"^┼The President's car paused momentarily, then on
orders from a Secret Service agent, spurted ahead." ["Washington Evening
Star", 11/23/63, p. 8];

44) Sam Holland---stated that the Presidential limousine slowed down on
Elm Street. [taped interview with Holland conducted in April, 1965];

45) Maurice Orr---noted that the motorcade stopped. [Arch Kimbrough,
Mary Ferrell, and Sue Fitch, "Chronology", unpublished manuscript; see
also "Conspiracy" by Anthony Summers, pages 20 & 23];

46) Mrs. Herman (Billy P.) Clay---"^┼When I heard the second and third
shots I knew someone was shooting at the President. I did not know if
the President had been hit, but I knew something was wrong. At this
point the car President Kenedy was in slowed and I, along with others,
moved toward the President's car. As we neared the car it sped off." [22
H 641];

47) Mrs. Rose Clark---"^┼She noted that the President's automobile came
almost to a halt following the three shots, before it picked up speed
and drove away." [24 H 533];

48) Hugh Betzner---"^┼I looked down the street and I could see the
President's car and another one and they looked like the cars were
stopped^┼then the President's car sped on under the underpass." [19 H
467];

49) John Chism---after the shots he saw "the motorcade beginning to
speed up." ["Crossfire" by Jim Marrs (1989), p. 29];

50) Bill Newman---after the fatal head shot "the car momentarily stopped
and the driver seemed to have a radio or phone up to his ear and he
seemed to be waiting on some word. Some Secret Service men reached into
their car and came out with some sort of machine gun. Then the cars
roared off^┼"; "I've maintained that they stopped. I still say they did.
It was only a momentary stop, but^┼" ["Crossfire" by Jim Marrs (1989), p.
70; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 96] "I
believe Kennedy's car came to a full stop after the final shot." ["JFK:
Breaking The Silence" by Bill Sloan (1993), p. 169] "^┼I believe it was
the passenger in the front seat [Roy Kellerman]---there were two men in
the front seat---had a telephone or something to his ear and the car
momentarily stopped. Now everywhere that you read about it, you don't
read anything about the car stopping. And when I say "stopped" I mean
very momentarily, like they hit the brakes and just a few seconds passed
and then they floorboarded [sic] and accelerated on." [11/20/97
videotaped interview with Bill Law, Mark Row,  & Ian Griggs, as
transcribed in "November Patriots" by Connie Kritzberg & Larry Hancock
(1998), p. 362] "One of the two men in the front seat of the car had a
telephone in his hand, and as I was looking back at the car covering my
son, I can remember seeing the tail lights of the car, and just for a
moment they hesitated and stopped, and then they floorboarded [sic] the
car and shot off." ["No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), p. 96];

51) Charles Brehm---"Brehm expressed his opinion that between the first
and third shots, the President's car only seemed to move some 10 or 12
feet. It seemed to him that the automobile almost came to a halt after
the first shot^┼After the third shot, the car in which the President was
riding increased its speed and went under the freeway overpass and out
of sight." [22 H 837-838];

52) Mary Moorman---"She recalls that the President's automobile was
moving at the time she took the second picture, and when she heard the
shots, and has the impression that the car either stopped momentarily or
hesistated and then drove off in a hurry." [22 H 838-839];

53) Jean Hill---"^┼The motorcade came to almost a halt at the time the
shots rang out and I would say it [JFK's limo] was just approximately,
if not---it couldn't have been in the same position, I'm sure it wasn't,
but just a very, very short distance from where it had been. It [JFK's
limo] was just almost stunned." [6 H 208-209; Hill's testimony on this
matter was dramatized in the Oliver Stone movie "JFK" (1991): "The
driver had stopped-I don't know what was wrong with that driver." See
also "JFK: The Book of the Film" (1992), p. 122. Therein is referenced a
March 1991 conversation with Jean Hill.];

54) James Leon Simmons---"^┼The car stopped or almost stopped." [2/15/69
Clay Shaw trial testimony; "Forgive My Grief Vol. III" by Penn Jones, p.
53; "High Treason" by Groden & Livingstone (1990 Berkley Edition), p.
22];

55) Norman Similas---"^┼The Presidential limousine had passed me and
slowed down slightly." ["Liberty" Magazine, 7/15/64, p. 13;
"Photographic Whitewash" by Harold Weisberg (1967), p. 233];

56) Presidential Aide Ken O'Donnell (rode in the follow-up car)---"^┼If
the Secret Service men in the front had reacted quicker to the first two
shots at the President's car, if the driver had stepped on the gas
before instead of after the fatal third shot was fired, would Presdient
Kennedy be alive today? [as quoted in Marrs' "Crossfire", p. 248, based
off a passage from O'Donnell & Powers' book "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye"]
On page 40 of O'Donnell's book "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye", the aide
reports that "Greer had been remorseful all day, feeling that he could
have saved President Kenendy's life by swerving the car or speeding
suddenly after the first shots." Indeed, William E. Sale, an airman
first class aircraft mechanic assigned to Carswell AFB and who was
stationed at Love Field before, during, and after the assassination,
stated that "when the agent who was driving JFK's car came back to Air
Force One he was as white as a ghost and had to be helped back to the
plane *[undated Sale letter, provided to the author by Martin
Shackelford];

57) Presidential aide Dave Powers (rode in the follow-up car)---"^┼At
that time we were traveling very slowly^┼At about the time of the third
shot, the President's car accelerated sharply." [7 H 473-475]. On
11/22/88, Powers was interviewed by CBS' Charles Kuralt. Powers remarked
about the remorse Greer felt about not speeding up in time to save JFK"s
life and agreed with Kuralt that, if Greer had sped up BEFORE the fatal
head shot instead of afterwards, JFK might still be alive today [CBS,
11/22/88---this is a very dramatic and compelling short interview]. If
that weren't enough, the ARRB's Tom Samoluk told me that, during the
course of an interview he conducted in 1996 in which the Board was in
the process of obtaining Powers' film, Powers said that he agreed with
my take on the Secret Service!;

58) Texas Senator Ralph Yarborough (rode in LBJ's car)---"^┼When the
noise of the shot was heard, the motorcade slowed to what seemed to me a
complete stop (though it could have been a near stop)^┼After the third
shot was fired, but only after the third shot was fired, the cavalcade
speeded up, gained speed rapidly, and roared away to the Parkland
Hospital."; "^┼The cars all stopped. I put in there [his affidavit], 'I
don't want to hurt anyone's feelings but for the protection of future
Presidents, they [the Secret Service] should be trained to take off when
a shot is fired." [7 H 439-440; "Crossfire" by Jim Marrs (1989), p. 482;
see also "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" 1988: "The Secret Service in the
car in front of us kind of casually looked around and were rather slow
to react."];

59) First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (rode in the Presidential
limousine)---"We could see a tunnel in front of us. Everything was
really slow then^┼[immediately after shooting] And just being down in the
car with his head in my lap. And it just seemed an eternity^┼And finally
I remember a voice behind me, or something, and then I remember the
people in the front seat, or somebody, finally knew something was wrong,
and a voice yelling, which must have been Mr. Hill, "Get to the
hospital," or maybe it was Mr. Kellerman, in the front seat^┼We were
really slowing turning the corner [Houston&Elm]^┼I remember a sensation
of enormous speed, which must have been when we took off^┼those poor men
in the front^┼" [5 H 179-181] Mary Gallagher reported in her book: "She
mentioned one Secret Service man who had not acted during the crucial
moment, and said bitterly to me, 'He might just as well have been Miss
Shaw!'" ["My Life With Jacqueline Kennedy" by Mary Barelli Gallagher
(1969), p. 342---Secret Service Agent Marty Venker and Jackie biographer
C. David Heymann confirm that this unnamed agent was indeed Greer
("Confessions of an Ex-Secret Service Agent", p. 25; "A Woman Called
Jackie", p. 401)] Jackie also told Gallagher that "You should get
yourself a good driver so that nothing ever happens to you" [Ibid., p.
351]
 * William Manchester, who interviewed Greer, tells us what the driver
told Jackie on 11/22/63 at Parkland Hospital: "Oh, Mrs. Kennedy, oh my
God, oh my God. I didn't mean to do it[?!?!], I didn't hear[who,
Kellerman?], I should have swerved the car[how about hitting the gas!],
I couldn't help it[!]. Oh, Mrs. Kennedy, as soon as I saw it[?] I
swerved. If only I'd seen it in time! Oh!" (Manchester, p.290). 59
witnesses (10 police officers, 7 Secret Service agents, 37 spectators, 2
Presidential aides, 1 Senator, Governor Connally, and Jackie Kennedy)
and the Zapruder film document Secret Service agent William R. Greer's
deceleration of the presidential limousine, as well as his two seperate
looks back at JFK during the assassination (Greer denied all of this to
the Warren Commission-2HGREER[see his entire testimony]). By
decelerating from an already slow 11.2 mph, Greer greatly endangered the
President's life, and, as even Gerald Posner admitted, Greer contributed
greatly to the success of the assassination. When we consider that Greer
disobeyed a direct order from his superior, Roy Kellerman, to get out of
line BEFORE the fatal shot struck the President's head, it is hard to
give Agent Greer the benefit of the doubt. As ASAIC Roy H. Kellerman
said: "Greer then looked in the back of the car. Maybe he didn't believe
me"("The Death of a President" by William Manchester, p.160). Clearly,
Greer was responsible, at fault, and felt remorse. In short, Greer had
survivor's guilt.

 But, then, stories and feelings changed.

Agent Greer to the FBI 11/22/63:  "Greer stated that he first heard what
he thought was possibly a motorcycle backfire and glanced around and
noticed that the President had evidently been hit [notice that, early
on, Greer admits seeing JFK, which the Zapruder proves he did two times
before the fatsal head shot occurred]. He thereafter got on the radio
and communicated with the other vehicles, stating that they desired to
get the President to the hospital immediately [in reality, Greer did not
talk on the radio, and Greer went on to deny ever saying this during his
WC testimony]^┼Greer stated that they (the Secret Service) have always
been instructed to keep the motorcade moving at a considerable speed
inasmuch as a moving car offers a much more difficult target than a
vehicle traveling at a very slow speed.  He pointed out that on numerous
occasions he has attempted to keep the car moving at a rather fast rate,
but in view of the President's popularity and desire to maintain close
liaison with the people, he has, on occasion, been instructed by the
President to "slow down".  Greer stated that he has been asking himself
if there was any thing he could have done to have avoided this incident,
but stated that things happened so fast that he could not account for
full developments in this matter(!) [the "JFK-as-scapegoat" theme^┼and so
much for Greer's remorse from earlier the same day!]."(Sibert & O'Neil
Report, 11/22/63)

Agent Greer to the FBI 11/27/63:  "^┼he heard a noise which sounded like
a motorcycle backfire. On hearing this noise he glanced to his right
toward Kellerman  and out of the corner of his eye noticed that the
Governor appeared to be falling toward his wife [notice that Greer now
mentions nothing about seing JFK hit---he does the same thing in his
undated report in the WC volumes (18 H 723)] He thereafter recalls
hearing some type of outcry after which Kellerman said, "Let's get out
of here." He further related that at the time of hearing the sound he
was starting down an incline which passes beneath a railroad crossing
and after passing under this viaduct, he closed in on the lead car and
yelled to the occupants and a nearby police motorcyclist, "Hospital,
Hospital! [nothing about using the radio this time out]" Thereafter
follows a complete physical description of Greer, as if the FBI agents
considered him a suspect, inc. age, height, and color of eyes! (Sibert &
O'Neil Report, 11/29/63)


Critical excerpts from Greer's 3/9/64 Warren Commission testimony before
Arlen Specter:
Mr. Specter.
     Were you able to see anything of President Kennedy as you glanced
to the rear?
Mr. Greer.
     No, sir; I didn't see anything of the President, I didn't look, I
wasn't far enough
     around to see the President.
Mr. Specter.
     When you started that glance, are you able to recollect whether you
started to
     glance before, exactly simultaneously with or after that second
shot?
Mr. Greer.
     It was almost simultaneously that he had--something had hit, you
know, when I
     had seen him. It seemed like in the same second almost that
something had hit,
     you know, whenever I turned around. I saw him start to fall.
Mr. Specter.
     Did you step on the accelerator before, simultaneously or after Mr.
Kellerman
     instructed you to accelerate?
Mr. Greer.
     It was about simultaneously.
Mr. Specter.
     So that it was your reaction to accelerate prior to the time--
Mr. Greer.
     Yes, sir.
Mr. Specter.
     You had gotten that instruction?
Mr. Greer.
     Yes, sir; it was my reaction that caused me to accelerate.
Mr. Specter.
     Do you recollect whether you accelerated before or at the same time
or after the
     third shot?
Mr. Greer.
     I couldn't really say. Just as soon as I turned my head back from
the second shot,
     right away I accelerated right then. It was a matter of my reflexes
to the
     accelerator.
Mr. Specter.
     Was it at about that time that you heard the third shot?
Mr. Greer.
     Yes, sir; just as soon as I turned my head
[^┼]
Mr. Specter.
     To the best of your current recollection, did you notice that the
President had
     been hit?
Mr. Greer.
     No, sir; I didn't know how badly he was injured or anything other
than that. I
     didn't know.
Mr. Specter.
     Did you know at all, from the glance which you have described that
he had been
     hit or injured in any way?
Mr. Greer.
     I knew he was injured in some way, but I didn't know how bad or
what.
Mr. Specter.
     How did you know that?
Mr. Greer.
     If I remember now, I just don't remember how I knew, but I knew we
were in
     trouble. I knew that he was injured, but I can't remember,
recollect, just how I
     knew there were injuries in there. I didn't know who all was hurt,
even.
Mr. Specter.
     Are you able to recollect whether you saw the President after the
shots as you
     were proceeding toward Parkland Hospital?
Mr. Greer.
     No; I don't remember ever seeing him any more until I got to the
hospital, and he
     was lying across the seat, you know, and that is the first I had
seen of him.
Mr. Specter.
     Your best recollection is, then, that you had the impression he was
injured but
     you couldn't ascertain the source of that information?
Mr. Greer.
     Right. I couldn't ascertain the source.

Warren Commission finding:  "The driver, Special Agent William R. Greer,
has testified that he accelerated the car after what was probably the
second shot...The Presidential car did not stop or almost come to a
complete halt after the firing of the first shot or any other shots."(WC
Report, page 641)

11/19/64 interview with "Death of a President" author William Manchester
[RIF#180-10116-10119]---"After the second shot I glanced back. I saw
blood on the Governor's white shirt, and I knew we were in trouble. The
blood was coming out of his right breast. When I heard the first shot, I
had thought it was a backfire. I was tramping on the accelerator and at
the same time Roy was saying, let's get out of here fast."

But remember what Roy Kellerman said: "Greer then looked in the back of
the car. Maybe he didn't believe me"("The Death of a President" by
William Manchester, p.160).

2/28/78 HSCA interview [RIF#180-10099-10491]---"The first shot sounded
to him like a backfire. He did not react to it. After the second shot he
turned to his right and saw blood on Governor Connally's shirt. At the
same moment he heard Kellerman say "We're hit. Let's get out of here,"
or words to that effect. He said he immediately accelerated and followed
the pilot car to Parkland Hospital [However, DNC Advance man Jack
Puterbaugh, who rode in the pilot car, said they "pulled over and let
the motorcade pass" (HSCA interview 4/14/78). The Washington Post from
2/28/85 reported Greer as saying that "I just looked straight ahead at
the car in which the police chief was leading our way to the
hospital"---this is the lead car. Nevertheless, the Daniel film and
still photos depict the limousine AHEAD of the lead car, as it appear it
was the lead motorcyclists who actually guided Greer to Parkland! (see
pp. 21-22 and 59 of "The Third Alternative" by the author)]

Bill Greer passed away from Cancer on 2/23/85.

The End?---


>From a 9/17/91 interview with Bill's son Richard:

 When asked, "What did your father think of JFK," Richard did not
respond the first time.  When this author asked him a second time, he
responded:  "Well, we're Methodists..and JFK was Catholic..."  (Bill
Greer was born and raised in County Tyrone, Ireland; 2 H 112 - 113)

 "My father certainly didn't blame himself; it's not one of those things
- if only I was driving one mile per hour faster

"My father had absolutely no survivor's guilt...he figured that events
were kind out of their control...it was pretty common knowledge that a
person riding in an open car was subject to a bullet at any time..."

The End.


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