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Lance Payette

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About Lance Payette

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  1. I've read only the first third of Sandy's original post, so I'm not fully up to speed on this latest "Harvey & Lee of the Gaps" theory, but a more rational approach to all of these "mysteries" is to be found in the places no one ever wants to look: The psychology of conspiracy thinking. The psychology and group dynamics of conspiracy communities. The effect of the Internet and specifically forums such as this on numbers 1 and 2 above. Within this framework, there are two outliers: Disinformation agents. They may appear when a conspiracy community gets too close to a truth the keepers of that truth would prefer not to have revealed. That truth may be the very heart of a conspiracy theory or some seemingly minor, tangential aspect. Those who seek to achieve a curious form of celebrity and perhaps monetary gain by pandering to the conspiracy community. The two outliers are responsible for much of the dissension and absurdity within a conspiracy community. When any conspiracy community is viewed through these lenses, it all starts to make sense in a way that it otherwise does not. It is useful for those of us who are prone to conspiracy thinking to step back and self-examine whether we are being sucked into the black hole of the forces described above. It is simply hopeless - a waste of time - to attempt to debate the merits of something like Harvey & Lee with those who have been sucked in because, of course, they have no awareness of the forces described above and do not realize they have been sucked in.
  2. As of January 1, I am a "retired" attorney. Before that, my private practice was as a civil litigator. I didn't think the mission of the JFK research community was merely to see if sufficient reasonable doubt could be raised to acquit LHO. As we have seen in any number of high-profile cases, juries can be convinced that reasonable doubt exists with respect to clearly guilty defendants. A trial is, unfortunately, closer to a game show or drama than to a quest for truth. As I said long before the OJ trial, I would cheerfully flip the switch on the electric chair. He's a sociopathic killer - but voila, he's "not guilty." A good attorney starts with a plausible theory of the case that he hopes to sell to the judge or jury. He then amasses the evidence that, to one degree or another, supports that theory. If the theory is cockamamie, as the great majority of JFK conspiracy theories are, or is flatly contradicted by the best evidence, as the great majority of JFK conspiracy theories are, the attorney's case is going nowhere. Harvey & Lee, alteration of the body between Parkland and Bethesda, etc.? Going nowhere, except perhaps in the same sense that Scientology has gone somewhere, in the form of attracting a small cadre of faithful loonies. You have probably heard the old saying, "When the facts are against you, argue the law. When the law is against you, argue the facts. When the facts and law are against you, scream and pound the table." This is essentially what a criminal defense attorney with a hopeless case does. It is what OJ's Dream Team did. It is what the proponents of the loony conspiracy theories do. Another favorite tactic is to parse the evidence into ever-finer parts. This is likewise what OJ's Dream Team did. One of my few criminal experiences was a DUI case where the defense attorney asked the jury, "How many of you have driven your car over the curb? How many of you have spilled the contents of your purse, stumbled while getting out of your car, wobbled while trying to walk a straight line?" and so on and so forth through all the things the woman had been observed doing. The easy answer to that was, "How many of you have done ALL of those things on the same evening when you weren't drunk?" Something like Harvey & Lee, which I know you do not support, starts with a cockamamie theory, ignores the mountains of contradictory evidence, and then plays an endless game of "Well, what about this ... what about this ... what about this?" OK, in a perfect world we believe that Dallas post office clerks should have been so on top of things that they would have reported to the FBI a package from Klein's Sporting Goods addressed to A. Hidell at a box owned by Lee Harvey Oswald, a former defector to the USSR who was receiving Communist literature at that box. OK, in a perfect world we believe that Holmes would have produced the post office record stub that led to the discovery of the postal money order. But the point is, the folks in 1963 had the Klein's order coupon in LHO's handwriting, the original postal money order in LHO's handwriting, the post office box application in LHO's handwriting, and solid evidence that LHO had been seen with, practiced with and otherwise handled the rifle that was found at the scene of the crime and determined to have fired the bullets responsible for the wounds. The Dallas post office clerks did not report the delivery of the rifle - sorry, too bad, but it's irrelevant. Holmes did not bring the record stub with him when he testified - sorry, too bad, but it's irrelevant. There is nothing "suspicious" about either of these non-events. Perhaps that wasn't Holmes at all. Perhaps he was too inept to be trusted, so everything associated with Holmes was actually an FBI imposter. Did we ever see an ID? Did we, huh, huh? Why was every clerk who had worked at the Dallas post office in 1963 not interviewed by the Warren Commission? Why not, huh, huh? Why did they just take Holmes' word for anything? It's an ENDLESS and endlessly SILLY game. Sure, the bare facts of the assassination - a widely detested President; an assassin who had worked at a U-2 base, defected to the USSR, and was enamored of Cuba; some pretty nifty shooting with a $21 rifle; the murder of the assassin himself while in police custody - scream for a close look. But when you get into the level of work that the FBI and Warren Commission did (some of which is truly mind-boggling), and then the review by the HSCA, you realize that the assassination DID receive a close look. It may be the accepted conspiracy gospel that the Warren Report was a slipshod effort, but that is simply not true, I have no problem if someone wants to keep looking, so long as it remains within the bounds of sanity. As I've said, I am not utterly opposed to the notion that LHO himself may have been the instigator of a small pro-Castro conspiracy that would have provided him with an escape route out of Dallas, or that LHO may have been a participant in a small-scale pro-Castro conspiracy. Those are within the bounds of sanity. When your conspiracy theory is more elaborate, convoluted and multi-faceted than any conspiracy in the history of the world - and yet weirdly inept at crucial points - you have exceeded the bounds of sanity. When your conspiracy theory hinges on LHO being someone other than we know him to have been, and than everyone who knew him knew he was, you have exceeded the bounds of sanity. Enough from me, these discussions inevitably go nowhere. One either has the conspiracy mindset, or one does not - that's my bottom-line conclusion on all the Weirdness forums on which I participate.
  3. I assume that this is because it's a mock-up of what we "should have" but don't. The stub on the right (Post Office Record) is what the post office would have retained. The employee who issued the money order would have machined-stamped the amount on the money order, receipt stub, and record stub at the same time. The was spelled out in the federal regulations, 39 CFR 171.1(c), at the time. The mock-up must just be a sloppy job. This is a good example of the point Bugliosi makes repeatedly: Once you have a sufficient body of evidence-based facts, secondary facts and the evidence supporting them become irrelevant. The FBI had the original postal money order within 48 hours after the assassination. They had all the documentation from Klein's. The record stub would have added nothing - and certainly not by the time Holmes testified. Bugliosi also effectively makes the point that this is the modus operandi of conspiracy theorists: Ignore the conclusive facts establishing that LHO ordered, received and handled the rifle and focus instead on Holmes' supposed "failure" to produce the record stub as "suspicious." It would not have been suspicious in the context of the investigation at the time; it only becomes suspicious 54 years later, when the objective is not to determine "Who killed JFK?" (as it was in 1963) but rather to "See what we can find to be suspicious about."
  4. But as always, this is imposing 54 years of post-assassination hindsight on what conspiracy theorists think "should have occurred" in a perfect world. To the extent LHO was being monitored at the time the rifle was delivered, it would have been because he had been a defector to the USSR and had now returned with a Russian wife. It would not have been because anyone suspected he was violent or a potential assassin. So a Klein's Sporting Goods box addressed to "A. Hidell" arrives in a very busy post office, some clerk follows the procedure described by Holmes and puts a card in box 2915, and another clerk hands the box to "Hidell." Your #'s 1 and 2 strike me as "highly likely." In regard to #1, even if there were active interest, there would not necessarily have been such interest in a box from Klein's Sporting Goods addressed to A. Hidell. In regard to #2, I would amend "screwed up" to "followed the standard procedure described by Holmes." Again, with 54 years of post-assassination hindsight, it is easy to think everything associated with LHO should have set off alarms and that there must be a sinister explanation if a 60" box from Klein's Sporting Goods did not, but in reality at the time the rifle was delivered LHO was viewed as just a 23-year-old goofball who had quixotically defected to the USSR and come crawling back. The level of official interest that you are imputing to the Post Office and FBI with the benefit of post-assassination hindsight simply didn't exist.
  5. In regard to the rifle, Holmes testified that if a package arrived addressed to a post office box, a card was placed in the box regardless of whether the package was addressed to an individual who had been listed on the application as authorized to receive mail in the box. The card did not have a box number or name on it - it was blank. The person who opened the box would take the card to the location where the packages were kept, which was "all the way around the corner" and separate from the area where the boxes were located. The person would say "I had this notice in my box." The clerk would ask what box number, find the package and hand it over, typically without requesting identification. The Klein's package, of course, was addressed to A. Hidell, who had not been listed on the box application, and moreover Oswald would have had Hidell identification if it had been requested. Waldman of Klein's testified that the rifle would have been shipped in a 60" corrugated cardboard box made for Klein's by Rudd Container Corporation, a sample of which was provided to the FBI. Klein's handled a full line of sporting goods, so I don't know how obvious it would have been that the box contained a rifle. In these circumstances, it is difficult for me to see as suspicious the fact that some informant in the Dallas post office didn't immediately scream "Lee Harvey Oswald just received a rifle!" If you were examining the record with a microscope with a specific goal of "finding things to be suspicious about," then perhaps. If you assume Holmes was an integral part of a massive conspiracy and lying through his teeth to further the conspiracy, then of course the question originally posed by David answers itself. Mr. LIEBELER. Now supposing that Oswald had not in fact authorized A. J. Hidell to receive mail here in the Dallas box and that a package came addressed to the name of Hidell, which, in fact, one did at Post Office Box 2915, what procedure would be followed when that package came in?Mr. HOLMES. They would put the notice in the box.Mr. LIEBELER. Regardless of whose name was associated with the box?Mr. HOLMES. That is the general practice. The theory being, I have a box. I have a brother come to visit me. My brother would have my same name---well, a cousin. You can get mail in there. They are not too strict. You don't have to file that third portion to get service for other people there. I imagine they might have questioned him a little bit when they handed it out to him, but I don't know. It depends on how good he is at answering questions, and everything would be all right.Mr. LIEBELER. So that the package would have come in addressed to Hidell at Post Office Box 2915, and a notice would have been put in the post office box without regard to who was authorized to receive mail from it?Mr. HOLMES. Actually, the window where you get the box is all the way around the corner and a different place from the box, and the people that box the mail, and in theory---I am surmising now, because nobody knows. I have questioned everybody, and they have no recollection. The man would take this card out. There is nothing on this card. There is no name on it, not even a box number on it. He comes around and says, "I got this out of my box." And he says, "What box?" "Box number so and so." They look in a bin where they have this by box numbers, and whatever the name on it, whatever they gave him, he just hands him the package, and that is all there is to it.Mr. LIEBELER. Ordinarily, they won't even request any identification because they would assume if he got the notice out of the box, he was entitled to it?Mr. HOLMES. Yes, sir. Mr. BELIN. Do you know whether or not the rifle would have been broken down in shipment or whether or not it would have been shipped fully assembled? Mr. WALDMAN. It was customary for us to ship all of these rifles and scopes fully assembled, and I would have no reason to believe that this particular one would have been shipped otherwise. Mr. BELIN. And do you know in what kind of a container it would have been shipped? Mr. WALDMAN. It was customary for us to ship these rifles with scopes attached in a corrugated cardboard carton made for us by the Rudd Container Corporation of Chicago. Mr. BELIN. About how long would that carton be in size, if you know? Mr. WALDMAN. Approximately 60 inches. Mr. BELIN. Did you ever furnish any samples of this carton or any wrapping paper or tape to the FBI? Mr. WALDMAN. Yes; we did furnish a sample of the carton together with the type of sealing tape that was generally used and such craft paper that may have been used for inner cushioning packing.
  6. I'll have to admit, Mae Brussell has never even been on my radar screen. There is a "conspiracy mindset" that I simply don't share. Not that conspiracies don't exist in the real world, but they all bear certain hallmarks that are nothing like the conspiracies that those with the conspiracy mindset see all around them. I was simply agog to read Mae Brussell's theory of the assassination of John Lennon. I have worked for the federal government, a state government, two county governments, and one municipal government, as well as a Fortune 100 (at the time) corporation. In my experience, government at all levels is almost comically disorganized, inefficient, stupider than would seem possible, and riddled with all the flaws of human nature. The notion that any government, or any substantial bureaucracy of any sort, would be capable of pulling off and concealing an elaborate conspiracy strikes me as inherently unbelievable. This is true regardless of whether the supposed conspiracy is the assassination of JFK, the truth about UFOs, or any of the other conspiracies that those with the conspiracy mindset see all around them. Especially before I became a lawyer, I used to share the conspiracy mindset in regard to the JFK assassination, UFOs, and other matters. I lapped it all up. As the decades passed and my critical-thinking skills and overall level of sophistication increased, I increasingly realized that the appropriate response to someone with the conspiracy mindset is not "Wow, tell me more!" but "I believe you are either delusional or a huckster or both and will continue to believe so until you prove by hard, solid evidence that you are not." Having studied the assassination of JFK reasonably thoroughly, no one with the conspiracy mindset would ever convince me that, for example, JFK was assassinated by a cabal of ex-Nazis and Nazi sympathizers or that Lee Harvey Oswald was actually two separate individuals groomed since childhood to fulfill their destinies as Harvey and Lee. These things are simply insane, and I'm not going to pretend they aren't or humor those with the conspiracy mindset who actually hold these delusions or self-servingly promote them. Their "evidence" is never even really evidence at all, and they blithely ignore the mountains of real evidence. Because JFK was either despised by so many different agencies, organizations and individuals, or so many agencies, organizations and individuals would clearly have benefitted from his death, hypothesizing conspiracies is absurdly easy. Many of these agencies, organizations and individuals unquestionably were Not Nice People, which makes hypothesizing their involvement that much easier. Overlaid on this is the reality that JFK was a highly charismatic leader, the world probably would be a better place today if he had lived, and the notion that he was assassinated by a disturbed nobody with a $20 rifle is psychologically unsatisfying. Ergo, those with the conspiracy mindset hypothesize 40 completely different conspiracies, each with a superficial plausibility, and fail to see how silly this has become. Those favoring the Deep Politics theory, which now predominates, have as much disdain for the other theories as they do for the Lone Nut explanation. It is all, as one very experienced researcher who does not participate here said to me, a "parlor game" among those with the conspiracy mindset. I don't think it really has as much to do with "solving the JFK assassination" as with "proving my conspiracy is more clever than yours and I can sell more books and accumulate more True Believers than you can." The Lone Nutters are not debunkers. A debunker is someone who says, notwithstanding a really huge body of hard evidence and anecdotal evidence, "The UFO phenomenon doesn't exist. It's all hoaxes and delusions." A Lone Nutter says "I am satisfied the Warren Commission and HSCA looked into this matter thoroughly and in good faith and reached a sound conclusion (notwithstanding the HSCA's dictabelt tangent); I am satisfied authors and researchers like Jean Davison, Gerald Posner, Norman Mailer, Vincent Bugliosi and others looked into this matter in good faith and reached sound conclusions; I have reviewed the evidence as thoroughly and in good faith as I can and have reached similar conclusions; and nothing in the conspiracy theories or 'evidence' on which they are based has, as yet, convinced me otherwise." A Lone Nutter is essentially someone who says "You may be sincere, but I'm sorry: The earth is simply not flat, and I no longer care what 'evidence' you have to 'prove' it is." To a debunker, I am a UFO True Believer merely because I have had an intense interest in the subject and saw a very classic UFO. But all I really say is, "Whatever UFOs are, that's what I saw." An ET craft, an interdimensional visitor, a time traveler, an ultra-terrestrial, a hologram, advanced military technology, a CIA mind-control experiment, a mysterious product of my and Dave's own minds, something even weirder than any of these? I really have no idea. Because I lack the conspiracy mindset, I do not take the evidence and run with it, convincing myself that reptilian aliens control the world governments, there are ET bases on the dark side of the moon, JFK was killed because he got too inquisitive, or any of the other examples of Obvious Lunacy. I have likewise seen nothing to convince me that some massively secret agency deep within the bowels of the disorganized, inefficient, stupid, flawed bureaucracy of the federal government knows The Truth and has been successfully covering it up for the entire 70 years since the "Roswell crash." Just my $0.02 worth, of course. But I really think the basic problem is that there is a conspiracy mindset that simply sees a different reality than those with the non-conspiracy mindset see, and never the twain shall meet.
  7. Joe, I don't think someone like you (or I, for that matter) has to apologize for whatever limited knowledge and perspective we bring to a forum such as this. Yes, I have not spent 5,000 hours of my life pondering the Magic Bullet or the Prayer Man photo (thank God!), but even I have discovered a couple of things that others had missed. When I was in a law school class of 140 students and some professor would pose a question that had me stumped as to what he was even talking about, I was surprised at how often someone far below me in the class ranking would immediately grasp what was being asked and have the answer. 140 brains are almost always better than 14 brains. I also think it's a mistake to pay too much deference to the supposed Big Guns in a field such as this. I know personally some of the Big Guns of ufology, and some of them are truly bizarre. Big Gun too often equates to Self-Promoter With An Agenda. In all cases, as Steve says, we have to think for ourselves and learn to separate the wheat from the chaff. Lastly, it seems to me that Internet forums of all types gradually deteriorate and end up being dominated by some version of the lunatic fringe. Those who really had something worthwhile to contribute at the outset eventually get tired of the silliness and fall away. I have seen this on numerous forums, including Christian ones, and a friend who is really proficient in photography told me the other day that he has observed exactly the same thing on photography forums. When I look at the posts from several years ago, it seems to me that the same thing may have happened to some extent here. Paul, my UFO experience was very minor league and probably only of interest to me. I am very thankful I had my skeptic buddy with me, because otherwise I would have no credibility whatsoever. I had been OBSESSED with the UFO phenomenon since the age of about 7, devouring the books of Donald Keyhoe, Ed Ruppelt and Frank Edwards when they were hot off the presses and sitting on my parents' roof at night watching the skies. (Oddly, many in the UFO field say the exact same thing about their childhoods - a weird, hard-to-explain OBSESSION.) So I would have been deemed a very suspect witness, even though I had never really seen anything unusual before. The incident occurred in 1971, when I was a junior in college. Part of the oddity is that I can remember it like it happened 5 minutes ago - what I was thinking, what I was feeling, and every word that was said. Three of us had driven to Las Vegas for a day trip in a primer gray VW Beetle we had borrowed from another friend. (I mention the primer gray Beetle only because I sometimes wonder if it somehow caught the UFO's attention!) We had only $5 each and did nothing more than buy hamburgers and look around. There was definitely no drinking or drug use. We were driving the 175 miles back to campus in late afternoon, just about the time you might first start thinking about turning on your headlights. I was driving, my skeptic buddy Dave was the passenger, and the third guy, Ralph, had dozed off in the back seat. We were on the winding highway between Vegas and the Hoover Dam, not too far from the dam. (Bodies of water and major power sources are often associated with UFO sightings.) I describe Dave as a skeptic because he was a hard-nosed character from Chicago who mercilessly ridiculed my Christian beliefs. As I approached a curve about 300 yards ahead of me, I saw a small oval of light on the side of the hill directly in front of me. My first thought was, "Must be the headlights of a car behind me." I looked in the rearview mirror, and there were no cars behind me. I next thought, "Wait a minute - headlights don't just end in oval pools of light anyway." A movement then caught my eye near the upper right corner of the flat VW windshield. I looked more closely and saw a dark-colored disk that seemed to be pacing our car. It wasn't huge - I'd say between 10 and 20 feet in diameter. And it wasn't far away - I'd guess 50 to 100 yards. It was over a canyon adjacent to the highway. I watched in silence long enough to realize that this was something weird, then said "What ... the hell ... is THAT?" Dave jumped like he'd been jolted by electricity and replied "Jesus Christ, do you see it too? I thought I was seeing things!" I said "Oh, no, I see it too." We watched for a few more seconds, and then we were separated from the canyon by a small hill. When we emerged and could see the canyon again, the object was gone. You may know that some close-up UFO witnesses report hearing a "voice" inside their heads saying something like "This is not important ... you don't need to remember this." I do not recall anything like that, but: I remember that when Ralph awoke, we told him he had missed a UFO. Unlike the rest of the incident, I don't have a vivid recollection of what we said to Ralph or on the remaining 2-3 hours back to campus. I can't describe exactly how the few minutes of the sighting were "different" from ordinary reality, but they were - not "dream-like," not "more real than real," but "different." It may simply be that the awareness that this was something Weird catapulted our minds into a higher state of awareness. Anyway, with my background I should have been filing sighting reports with APRO and NICAP as soon as we got back and babbling like a fool to my roommate, my fiancé, and everyone I met. But I didn't. I don't believe I ever mentioned it to ANYONE. This fact was brought home to me about ten years later. The woman who had been my fiancé in 1971 was now my wife. I was reading some UFO reports and said "Hey, listen to this - it's almost exactly like the one Dave and I had that I told you about back in college." My wife said "WHAT??? You have NEVER told me about any UFO experience." I then realized that no, I hadn't - I hadn't told her or anyone else, nor had I discussed it again with Dave. I had been perfectly, consciously aware of the incident the entire time, but it was as though I had been programmed to say nothing. So that is was I mean by a "psychic" component. It is the one thing that convinces me that this was not some piece of unknown military technology. Again, a very minor league sighting. But as with all paranormal phenomena, even a minor league experience of your own gives a completely different perspective to the reports of others. I remember professor Stephen Braude saying in one of his books that it would be easier to dismiss all Spiritualist phenomena as absurd if he himself had not observed a small table walking across the room under its own power, with no one anywhere near it.
  8. The other side of the coin is: If you had spent decades, as I have, truly neck-deep in the UFO community, the Near Death Experience community, the Shroud of Turin community, and the Paranormal In General community, you would realize that this forum and the JFK assassination community in general are MIRROR IMAGES of those other communities. At least 50% of the discussions here are a JFK version of "we never went to the moon," "there are alien bases on the dark side of the moon," et al. It is a mistake to think that a forum such as this epitomizes serious JFK assassination research. To a large extent it epitomizes the "alien bases on the dark side of the moon" wing of JFK assassination research. All of the other communities likewise have their genuinely scholarly wings, their genuinely sane and serious research wings, their debunker wings and their Wacky True Believer annexes. You have to be deep enough into the field to be able to identify the Wacky True Believers. Within every lunatic fringe, the Wacky True Believers take themselves very, very seriously. This is one of the hallmarks of a lunatic fringe. Any suggestion that they occupy the lunatic fringe is met with foaming-at-the-mouth hostility. No, they are the keepers of the flame, the ones with the secret truths I have experienced, in the company of a diehard skeptic, a so-called "daylight disk" at close range. There was no doubt this was something highly unusual, and there was even a "psychic" component associated with it. I have likewise experienced a number of paranormal phenomena, mostly relating to survival after death. Those experiences and vast studies have convinced me that the UFO phenomenon is not a mundane one and that personal consciousness in some form survives bodily. However, I am not a Wacky True Believer in any way, shape or form and am painfully aware that the lunatic fringes of all communities in which I am interested, including the JFK assassination research community, are very large, very vocal, and very self-promoting. Why the Wacky True Believers do not realize the silliness of what they spout (or perhaps spout it even though they do recognize its absurdity) is a great psychological mystery. The "UFO angle" to the JFK assassination, like the "UFO angle" to Marilyn Monroe's death, has persisted for many years, from the early years after the assassination. Oh, yes, there are those here who actively promote it. It is, of course, complete and utter nonsense. it is simply the Lunatic Fringe of the UFO Community Meets the Lunatic Fringe of the JFK Assassination Community. If it has relevance, that relevance is perhaps in making at least some readers step back and ask themselves, "Hey, how much of the other stuff on this forum that sounds superficially plausible is actually equally nutty? How many of the people here who superficially sound like sane and serious researchers are actually Wacky True Believers?" Do not make the mistake, however, of thinking that a forum such as this is ABOVE such nonsense, that the discussions here uniformly represent the scholarly or sane and serious wings of JFK assassination research. Oh, NO, NO, NO, NO. If you make that mistake, you have fallen into the very trap that the Wacky True Believers want you to fall into. What I do find odd here is the mix. You will not find scholarly, sane and serious, or even debunking members of the UFO community at, for example, the site of David ("The Queen is a shape-shifting reptilian alien") Icke. He is too silly even to bother with, even though he has legions of Wacky True Believers who have made him rich. This forum, however, attracts a broad spectrum of participants even though large swaths of the discussion are devoted to conspiracy theories of the "alien bases on the dark side of the moon" variety and virtually none of the discussion is devoted to the conclusions that the most scholarly, sane and serious researchers have consistently reached.
  9. I was referring to the inevitable confusion and chaos that ensues when a President is shot on a public street in broad daylight and people are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and specifically the confusion within the TBSD, and even more specifically the confusion of two men running through the building with the idea that the shooter(s) might still be inside. The sense you are talking about, where sowing confusion is actually part of the assassination plan, obviously depends on what the plan was. I believe the person coming down, as described in Baker's affidavit and the official version, was LHO. I believe Baker's affidavit is an inartful description of what was later fleshed out as the second floor lunchroom encounter. You can and presumably will say this is preposterous, but the fact is that the affidavit strikes me as a quick-and-dirty description of the same event as the lunchroom encounter. Of course, that's what I would have asked. My guess is, Baker would have said something like: "The man was Oswald. In the immediate aftermath of the assassination, I was confused about what floor we were on. When I said the man was walking away from the stairway, I meant he was walking away from where I was on the stairway, which is why he had to turn when I called to him. I summarized the event in a couple of lines, having no idea that every word would later be scrutinized with a microscope." My guess would be that he probably did say something like this, which is why the issue had turned into a pumpkin by the time of his Warren Commission testimony. Well, honestly, who cares what I think? I haven't even written a book. But since you've asked, I am heavily inclined to the Lone Nut theory; open to a possible "conspiracy" where LHO was the lone shooter (and lead conspirator) but possibly working with a couple of pro-Castro helpers; and somewhat less open to a small-scale conspiracy where LHO was cooperating with pro-Castro conspirators. I reject any notion that LHO was a false defector, actually a member of the radical right rather than a Marxist, or a patsy in any sort of elaborate conspiracy involving LBJ, CIA, FBI, Military Intelligence, DPD, Mafia or the other usual suspects. I can recognize the inconsistency between Baker's affidavit and the official version as "a problem" without regarding it as an insurmountable problem. Yes, as I said in my OP, even as a more-or-less Lone Nutter I am not entirely happy with the lunchroom encounter - which is one of the reasons I tend to believe it's true. I'm not laughing at those who see something sinister in these events. A sinister interpretation is certainly possible. It just seems weak to me. (I just downloaded all 1600 pages of Reclaiming History on my Kindle at the exorbitant price of $30, which I never bothered to read when I was more of a conspiracy theorist myself. So I will presumably emerge in a month or so as a full-tilt Lone Nutter.)
  10. Certainly, Baker's affidavit is a legal document that contradicts the official (second floor) version. Particularly because it is an affidavit and is the same in both the handwritten and typed versions, it would carry weight at a trial and would indeed call into question any conflicting story. On the stand, Baker would be impeached with the affidavit and the prosecutor would attempt to rehabilitate his testimony by eliciting a reasonable explanation. But there's no question, the affidavit would be a problem. And the failure of the Warren Commission even to note the discrepancy is odd and perhaps suspicious. (Of course, supposed super defense lawyer Gerry Spence didn't ask about it at the mock trial, either!) Yes, I am aware of Mrs. Reid and her version. I'm not suggesting that there are no inconsistencies in the various accounts - there are serious inconsistencies. My questions are along the lines of: Given what we know happened (e.g., LHO for some reason left the TSBD immediately after the shooting and went home to get his .38), are the inconsistencies more likely attributable to the extreme chaos and confusion surrounding the events or to some nefarious conspiracy? If there was a conspiracy regarding the second floor lunchroom encounter, what was the point - what sense did it make, what purpose did it serve? I have seen the Salandria quote before and have seen others on this forum say similar things: Of course, the assassination was a ludicrous mess with all sorts of clues and red flags - that was the brazen in-your-face intent!!! There is simply no arguing with this sort of "logic." It reminds me of when Budd Hopkins offered his explanation as to why no one ever sees the tens of thousands of alien abductions supposedly taking place around the world: The aliens have mastered the technique of invisibility! Well, of course! At which point, I said "Bye-bye, Budd." I personally have a difficult time understanding the sense and purpose of a fictional second floor lunchroom encounter that (1) was inconsistent with Baker's known affidavit, and (2) included the puzzling detail of the supposed assassin not being winded or flustered and indeed being almost supernaturally calm and collected. To me, Baker's affidavit is describing essentially the same event as the second-floor lunchroom encounter and is not really troubling at all. But maybe that's just me viewing the evidence through Lone Nut-colored glasses.
  11. Doesn't Truly come across as precisely as confused as we would expect someone of his education, intellect and position to be if he suddenly found himself thrust into the center of one of the most momentous events in U.S. history? He was a 56-year-old high school graduate who had worked for the company since 1934, beginning as an order-filler and rising to the exalted status of the superintendent of the TSBD (the operation, not the building) in late 1944. It always seems to me that conspiracy theorists are long on suspicions and inferences but short on logic and reasoning. Why would Baker have inserted the encounter in his original affidavit? Why would the encounter have quickly been changed to the second-floor lunchroom? Why would LHO's supernatural calmness have been inserted into the story? Do Truly and Baker really seem to be likely sorts to have become enmeshed in a cover-up conspiracy and to stick with their fabricated stories ever after? Why would LHO's claim to have been on the first floor ever have been allowed to see the light of day? What sense does this conspiracy make? What conspiracy is more convincing than that (1) Oswald was simply lying, as he always did, and (2) Baker and Truly were simply confused? Take three people you actually know who have educations, intellects and jobs comparable to those of Truly, Baker, Tippit and others supposedly involved in the wilder conspiracy theories. Picture those people involved in and doing the things Truly, Baker, Tippit and the others were supposedly involved in and did. Pretty quickly, it starts to seem comical.
  12. Certainly the chaotic events immediately after the assassination, including the timing of Baker's entry into the TSBD, are a mishmash of confusion. If we take everything that everyone said at face value and build a timeline around it, we end up with events that simply don't mesh. We then focus on those that fit our pet theory, such as Prayer Man or Lone Nut or whatever. The fact is that Baker's affidavit does mention an encounter, albeit not in the second floor lunchroom. I'm not sure why Ron thinks "a 30 year old, 5'9" 160 pound dark haired man in a brown jacket" is obviously not a description of LHO. Given the duration and circumstances of the encounter, it seems to me like a pretty good description. (I am 6 feet, 1/2 inch. When I was a very serious runner, I weighed 140. Simply because of my height, no one - even family members - ever guessed I weighed much less than 170.) The affidavit also reflects confusion as to precisely what floor the encounter occurred on, although clearly Baker is not talking about the second-floor lunchroom. From the Lone Nut perspective, which is my current working hypothesis, the second floor lunchroom encounter is problematical. For it to go away, and LHO to have exited the TSBD more directly, would make for a tidier Lone Nut theory. Am I obligated to accept LHO's statement that he was on the first floor at the time of the assassination? Hardly - LHO lived and breathed bald-faced lies. Am I obligated to accept all of the other TBSD employees' recollections of when and where they saw LHO? I don't think so, not in the chaos of that event. Am I obligated to wonder why Baker and Truly would have concocted a second floor lunchroom encounter if one never occurred? Yes, I think so. Do Baker and Truly seem to me sophisticated enough characters for the mastermind of a conspiracy to rely on for a Big Lie? Not really. Is it possible they shifted to this version after more careful reflection on what had actually occurred? Yes, that's possible. Did they somehow think the lunchroom encounter version would make LHO a more plausible Lone Nut or at least provide a better explanation for why Baker allowed him to leave the building? Possibly, although it's not clear to me why. Why invent an LHO who is almost supernaturally calm seconds after assassinating the President? Did they create this story because they knew LHO was actually standing on the TSBD steps, or at least on the first floor, at the time of the assassination? Possibly - but then why would Baker have mentioned any encounter in his affidavit and why would they have added the "supernaturally calm" angle? My point is simply that the second floor lunchroom encounter seems to me problematical from almost any angle. If it is actually what occurred, so be it - about the only theory that this would eliminate is something like Prayer Man. If it is false but simply a mistake, what actually occurred might be consistent with anything from a deep dark conspiracy to the Lone Nut theory. Even if it is a knowing falsehood, and the encounter was actually on the 3rd or 4th floor, I don't see this as inevitably suggesting the individual was not LHO; as I say, even as one leaning toward the Lone Nut theory, I like it better than the lunchroom encounter. Alas, the lunchroom encounter with a supernaturally calm LHO is so counterintuitive that I suspect it is true.
  13. I attended the 1989 MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) annual conference in Las Vegas, where Lear and fellow wacko Bill Cooper discussed the Kennedy assassination, including a film that they assured us showed Greer, the driver of the limousine, shooting Kennedy. Alas, none of the rest of us could see it. It was my first MUFON conference and my first great awakening as to (1) how truly bizarre superficially sane people can be, and (2) what qualifies as "evidence" in the hands of a rabid conspiracy theorist. I was simply agog at both Lear and Cooper, the latter of whom was shot and killed by sheriff's deputies about 50 miles from my home at the time. But there they both were, on the same stage as presenters of the quality of Jacques Vallee. (Vallee's diary, Forbidden Science, labels the conference "a fiasco" and notes that Lear's sanity was questioned). I honestly had no idea Lear was still alive, but I would take anything he says about anything with a rather large grain of salt.
  14. Judyth Vary Baker

    OK, but you were saying similar things in defense of JVB on JFKFacts in February of 2014, http://jfkfacts.org/fact-check-oswalds-girlfriend-is-she-for-real/. Neither of your two posts, from 2014 and 2017, said anything about a cardboard box discovered in 2013. How long does it take to obtain and inventory a cardboard box from your own mother's estate? Assuming Robert G. Pope was your father, in 1963 he was working in the phone company's engineering department in Dallas. The knowledge that "Back in 1963, David Ferry [sic - it's Ferrie] was supplied a WATS line number [and] passed the number to Judyth Vary Baker and she and Lee Oswald were able to talk on the phone without any telephone charges being accrued" frankly seems to me to be an unlikely piece of knowledge for your father to have had at any point in his career. Someone calling himself RichardHall (is that you?) stated even more specifically on another site on October 22, 2017 that "Judyth Baker and Lee Harvey Oswald were provided a WATS line just prior to the assassination of JFK. The phone company issued the WATS line to the government, who then passed the number to David Ferrie, who passed it to Judyth Baker and Lee Harvey Oswald. Judyth and Lee made 6 phone calls using this line which was monitored for content. By doing this, the phone company was able to skirt the requirement for a wire-tap approved by the Justice Department." So now we have the phone company issuing a WATS number to "the government," which in turn passed the number to Ferrie, all so "the government" could avoid the requirement for a wiretap to be approved by the DOJ. This all seems to me like unusually specific knowledge for anyone to have. (FWIW, the WATS system was very primitive in 1963, and I'm not aware that the DOJ had to approve wiretaps at that time. To the best of my knowledge, the requirement for DOJ approval was imposed by the federal electronic surveillance statutes commonly referred to collectively as "Title III" in 1968.) I thankfully know little about JVB or her story. However, a Google search produced no claim by her that matches what you are claiming, which seems odd. She did, however, claim (http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/sboard.htm) that "We used a special horse racing line set up through a payphone system run by the Mafia, using some key phone numbers to post long distance calls free of charge." Hmmm ... I recently listened to an interview with Jerome Clark, one of the gods of UFO research and the author of the two-volume UFO Encyclopedia and many other respected works. Jerry has seen and heard it all. In regard to tales like this, he said that he will no longer even listen politely. You say you held a high position in the military, General X revealed everything to you, you saw the crashed disks, you saw the bodies, yada yada yada? Don't bother me. Give me hard evidence (which they never do) or go away. I hope your cardboard box exists and is chock-full of juicy documents professionally dated to 1963 and earlier, but right now it doesn't pass the smell test. Get back to us when you have the HARD EVIDENCE.
  15. The H&L "two schools at the same time" mystery

    Exactly. I think Jean Davison hit the nail on the head as to how conspiracy theorists operate. In Conspiracy Logic, there is never a simple human mistake. if three eyewitnesses give the police three slightly different descriptions of the car and driver in an incident of hit-and-run, it's never that two of them (or perhaps all three) are simply mistaken. No, the incident must have been a hit-and-run conspiracy involving three cars and three drivers. If the police merely arrest one person, there are still two conspirators at large. If the person arrested and his vehicle don't exactly match any of the witnesses' description, he is obviously a patsy and the police themselves are now involved in a cover-up conspiracy.
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