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New Chemical and Statistical Analyses of Bullets in Dealey Plaza


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 10:19 AM

Researchers challenge Kennedy lone gunman theory

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bullet analysis used to justify the lone assassin theory behind President John F. Kennedy's assassination is based on flawed evidence, according to a team of researchers including a former top FBI scientist.

Writing in the Annals of Applied Statistics, the researchers urged a reexamination of bullet fragments from the 1963 shooting in Dallas to confirm the number of bullets that struck Kennedy.

Official investigations during the 1960s concluded that Kennedy was hit by two bullets fired by Lee Harvey Oswald.

But the researchers, including former FBI lab metallurgist William Tobin, said new chemical and statistical analyses of bullets from the same batch used by Oswald suggest that more than two bullets could have struck the president.

"Evidence used to rule out a second assassin is fundamentally flawed," the researchers said in their article.

"If the assassination (bullet) fragments are derived from three or more separate bullets, then a second assassin is likely."

The Kennedy assassination set off a whirlwind of theories about who killed the 46-year-old president.

The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known unofficially as the Warren Commission, concluded in 1964 that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, fired three shots, one of which missed the president's car. There have been many challenges to its conclusions over the years.

The House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that Oswald was probably part of a conspiracy that could have included a second gunman who fired but missed Kennedy.

The panel's supporting evidence was a bullet analysis that said fragments collected from the site were too similar to be from more than two slugs.

But the latest report found that many bullets from the same batch used by Oswald had a similar composition.

"Further, we found that one of the thirty bullets analyzed in our study also compositionally matched one of the fragments from the assassination," the article said.

"This finding means that the bullet fragments from the assassination that match could have come from three or more separate bullets."


#2 John Simkin

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 06:38 AM

Researchers at A&M discredit JFK theory

By HOLLY HUFFMAN
Eagle Staff Writer


Neither Cliff Spiegelman nor Dennis James ever had a particular fascination with the vast conspiracies surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

But work recently completed by the Texas A&M researchers has thrust the pair into the midst of the most recent in a long, long line of controversies associated with the issue.

James and Spiegelman analyzed bullets that reportedly hailed from the same batch of ammunition used to kill the president in 1963. They said their findings, published in a recent statistics journal, discredit the original analysis used to rule out the possibility of a second shooter.

"There is nothing we have done that suggests in any way there are additional shooters or additional bullets," James said Friday. "All we're saying is, the scientific evidence used to rule out additional bullets and additional shooters is flawed.

"In fact, the testimony given at that time is most likely overstated."

The Annals of Applied Statistics article urged officials to re-analyze the original assassination bullet fragments by using more modern methods.

The first analysis was conducted in the mid-1960s by Chemist Vincent Guinn, then a professor at the University of California at Irvine. Guinn, who has since died, reviewed five bullet fragments found after the slaying and concluded that they came from just two bullets.

Guinn testified before the House Committee on Assassinations that the chemical properties of individual bullets were unique. Because the fragments had similar properties, he deduced they originated from just two bullets, both of which were fired from Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle.

But Spiegelman and James - who worked with four fellow researchers, including A&M Statistics Department Head Simon Sheather - said their recent review showed the chemical properties of bullets aren't as unique as previously thought.

Working with them was William Tobin, a retired FBI lab chief and an expert in metallurgy whose research initiated new FBI guidelines in 2003 for the proper analysis of bullets.

Conducting a modern analysis similar to the process used by Guinn, the A&M researchers said they analyzed 30 Winchester Cartridge Co. Mannilicher-Carcano bullets. Just four lots of the bullets, the same type used in the assassination, were made.

The analysis showed that many bullets from the same box had the same chemical composition - an expected finding, they said. But the researchers said they also stumbled upon a more jolting revelation: One of the bullets had the same composition as a bullet fragment from the assassination.

Spiegelman likened the analysis to crumbled M&Ms. If there are two red pieces and three yellow pieces, it doesn't necessarily mean they are from just one red M&M and one yellow M&M, he explained.

"If you have two pieces of M&Ms that don't fit together like a jigsaw, you don't know if they are pieces of the same M&M or two M&Ms," Spiegelman said.

'Justice is done'

Both 59, the researchers were teenagers when the president was killed. The two said the event had a major impact on them, just as it did on most everyone else in America. But it didn't foster in them a desire to delve into the world of conspiracy theorists.

Though their reasons differed, both researchers said they were wary when asked to participate in the project.

Spiegelman, who has worked at Texas A&M for the past two decades, was the first to be consulted about the project a few years ago. The professor was on the National Resource Council overlooking FBI procedures for the chemical analysis of bullets. An expert on the interface between chemistry and statistics, he gave a talk about chemical analysis and mentioned its use following President Kennedy's assassination.

After posting a summary of his lecture online, he said he was contacted by two assassination buffs - Stuart Wexler, a high school teacher, and Tom Pinkston, a chemist. The men had acquired bullets from the same batch used to kill the president and they wanted someone to analyze them, Spiegelman said.

At first, Spiegelman was leery, he said. The statistics professor didn't know much about the details of the assassination, he said, and he hadn't even seen the famed Oliver Stone movie, JFK.

But he changed his mind after meeting with the men and reading testimony given to the House committee, some of which just didn't make sense, he said.

Spiegelman lauded Texas A&M for letting himself and James devote so much time to the research. Spiegelman said he has been working on the project since 2004. James was brought on board the following year, and the majority of analysis was conducted in 2006, they said.

"I want to be real clear: We don't know if there is one or two shooters," Spiegelman said. "We only care ... in the sense that justice is done. We have no stake."

A significant event

James, too, said he was hesitant. Guinn had been a well-respected scientist and friend, so the last thing James wanted to do was "kick him when he's down," said the research chemist who has been at Texas A&M for 27 years.

He did most of the analysis at A&M's Nuclear Science Center using the Neutron Activation Analysis process, which can determine the concentration of elements in a material. Guinn's original work was done at a similar facility at the University of California at Irvine.

When James started, he knew little about the assassination, he said. He quickly began reading all that he could - including Guinn's work. James designed his experiments so they would correlate with those conducted by Guinn. In all, he reviewed the 30 bullets - 10 each from three different lots - after they were broken into roughly 300 pieces, he said.

Despite the exhaustive work, both Spiegelman and James said they remain out of the conspiracy loop - though many buffs now are trying to pull them into the fray. Both men have been receiving phone calls and e-mails from journalists - and conspiracy theorists - from across the country.

The pair said they expected attention, but they weren't prepared for the onslaught.

"This is one of the most significant events in our country's history. Because of that, I think it's important we have all the information we can get," James said. "Whether or not re-analyzing fragments would provide definitive information, I don't know. But we certainly won't know unless we try."


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#3 Peter Fokes

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 12:33 PM

Researchers challenge Kennedy lone gunman theory

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bullet analysis used to justify the lone assassin theory behind President John F. Kennedy's assassination is based on flawed evidence, according to a team of researchers including a former top FBI scientist.

Writing in the Annals of Applied Statistics, the researchers urged a reexamination of bullet fragments from the 1963 shooting in Dallas to confirm the number of bullets that struck Kennedy.

Official investigations during the 1960s concluded that Kennedy was hit by two bullets fired by Lee Harvey Oswald.

But the researchers, including former FBI lab metallurgist William Tobin, said new chemical and statistical analyses of bullets from the same batch used by Oswald suggest that more than two bullets could have struck the president.

"Evidence used to rule out a second assassin is fundamentally flawed," the researchers said in their article.

"If the assassination (bullet) fragments are derived from three or more separate bullets, then a second assassin is likely."

The Kennedy assassination set off a whirlwind of theories about who killed the 46-year-old president.

The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known unofficially as the Warren Commission, concluded in 1964 that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, fired three shots, one of which missed the president's car. There have been many challenges to its conclusions over the years.

The House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that Oswald was probably part of a conspiracy that could have included a second gunman who fired but missed Kennedy.

The panel's supporting evidence was a bullet analysis that said fragments collected from the site were too similar to be from more than two slugs.

But the latest report found that many bullets from the same batch used by Oswald had a similar composition.

"Further, we found that one of the thirty bullets analyzed in our study also compositionally matched one of the fragments from the assassination," the article said.

"This finding means that the bullet fragments from the assassination that match could have come from three or more separate bullets."



Ken Rahn, one of the leading proponents of this apparently flawed NAA bullet analysis, made the following comments about this new study on alt.assassination.jfk:

<quote on>
To All,

I will wait until all the back-patting quiets down, and then try to
offer some reasoned analysis of this latest attempt to disparage Guinn and
his NAA analyses/conclusions. In the meantime, I remind everyone that
doubts are not proof. It is easy to doubt and hard to demonstrate.

Ken Rahn

<quote off>

So scientists come to a different conclusion based on "reasoned analysis", and Rahn equates such research as simply "the latest attempt to disparage Guinn and his NAA analyses/conclusions." An unbiased scientist would not jump to the conclusion that the goal of this new analysis was to "disparage" anyone BEFORE offering his own "reasoned analysis" and informed critique of this new study. Seems to me Rahn is putting his cart ahead of the horse.

PF

#4 Wade Rhodes

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 09:33 PM

Hello everyone, I was curious if John T. Orr, jr, has made any progress with his assassination theory?
This document explains what his theory was concerning the bullet fragments...

http://www.maryferre...mp;relPageId=27

http://www.maryferre...mp;relPageId=28

Edited by Wade Rhodes, 22 May 2007 - 09:38 PM.


#5 Thomas Graves

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 05:14 AM

Researchers challenge Kennedy lone gunman theory

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bullet analysis used to justify the lone assassin theory behind President John F. Kennedy's assassination is based on flawed evidence, according to a team of researchers including a former top FBI scientist.

Writing in the Annals of Applied Statistics, the researchers urged a reexamination of bullet fragments from the 1963 shooting in Dallas to confirm the number of bullets that struck Kennedy.

Official investigations during the 1960s concluded that Kennedy was hit by two bullets fired by Lee Harvey Oswald.

But the researchers, including former FBI lab metallurgist William Tobin, said new chemical and statistical analyses of bullets from the same batch used by Oswald suggest that more than two bullets could have struck the president.

"Evidence used to rule out a second assassin is fundamentally flawed," the researchers said in their article.

"If the assassination (bullet) fragments are derived from three or more separate bullets, then a second assassin is likely."

The Kennedy assassination set off a whirlwind of theories about who killed the 46-year-old president.

The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known unofficially as the Warren Commission, concluded in 1964 that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, fired three shots, one of which missed the president's car. There have been many challenges to its conclusions over the years.

The House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that Oswald was probably part of a conspiracy that could have included a second gunman who fired but missed Kennedy.

The panel's supporting evidence was a bullet analysis that said fragments collected from the site were too similar to be from more than two slugs.

But the latest report found that many bullets from the same batch used by Oswald had a similar composition.

"Further, we found that one of the thirty bullets analyzed in our study also compositionally matched one of the fragments from the assassination," the article said.

"This finding means that the bullet fragments from the assassination that match could have come from three or more separate bullets."



Ken Rahn, one of the leading proponents of this apparently flawed NAA bullet analysis, made the following comments about this new study on alt.assassination.jfk:

<quote on>
To All,

I will wait until all the back-patting quiets down, and then try to
offer some reasoned analysis of this latest attempt to disparage Guinn and
his NAA analyses/conclusions. In the meantime, I remind everyone that
doubts are not proof. It is easy to doubt and hard to demonstrate.

Ken Rahn

<quote off>

So scientists come to a different conclusion based on "reasoned analysis", and Rahn equates such research as simply "the latest attempt to disparage Guinn and his NAA analyses/conclusions." An unbiased scientist would not jump to the conclusion that the goal of this new analysis was to "disparage" anyone BEFORE offering his own "reasoned analysis" and informed critique of this new study. Seems to me Rahn is putting his cart ahead of the horse.

PF


____________________________


One can only hope that the John Connally family will some day authorize the exhumation of Mr. Connally so that the bullet fragments embedded in the bones of his right wrist can be spectrographically and metallurgically analyzed to determine once and for all whether or not the bullet that caused him so many wounds and ended up shattering said wrist was the same bullet that "exited" JFK's throat. CT's such as myself need no such proof, as the "magic bullet" theory is patently "plausible" only to people who are either under-informed or who are severely gullible and/or reality-challenged, but it would be nice to be able to "convert" such people to a more realistic view of what reall went down in Dealy Plaza.

--Thomas

____________________________




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