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Fred Litwin

I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

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4 hours ago, Sandy Larsen said:

 

Jim is right, Paul Baker is wrong.

Neutron activation analysis (NAA) is indeed junk science when it is used for bullet lead analysis, as it was for the first time in the Kennedy case.

Compositional bullet lead analysis (CBLA) using NAA has been discredited and is no longer used by the FBI. Quoting from this Wikipedia article:

The technique used by Guinn [i.e. NAA] to analyse the bullet lead from the JFK assassination was a form of what has become known as Compositional Bullet Lead Analysis (CBLA). Until 2004 the FBI used this technique [NAA] to determine whether a crime scene bullet lead sample came from a particular box of ammunition or a particular batch of bullets. Guinn claimed that with the JFK bullet fragments, the technique could be used to identify the exact bullet the fragments came from.

However, the validity of CBLA was discredited in a 2002 paper ("A Metallurgical Review of the Interpretation of Compositional Bullet Lead Analysis", (2002) 127 Forensic Science International, 174-191)[89] co-authored by Randich and by former FBI Chief Metallurgist, William Tobin.

The 2002 Tobin/Randich paper prompted the National Academy of Sciences (Board on Chemical Science and Technology) to review the science of bullet lead analysis. In a report in 2004[90] the NAS found the scientific basis for matching bullet sources from the analysis of bullet lead composition as practiced by the FBI [i.e. NAA] was flawed. As a result of that report, the courts appear to have stopped accepting this evidence[91] and the FBI has stopped using bullet lead analysis for forensic purposes.[92]


Here is what the Wikipedia article on CBLA (using NAA) has to say:

Comparative bullet-lead analysis (CBLA), ....is a now discredited and abandoned[1]forensic technique which used chemistry to link crime scene bullets to ones possessed by suspects on the theory that each batch of lead had a unique elemental makeup.[2]

The technique was first used after U.S. President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963.[2]

 

There is a certain amount of confusion here about what constitutes valid science, compared to its presentation and interpretation inside a courtroom. That's a wider issue which does nothing to invalidate the NAA technique which is proven to work extremely effectively on small, sometimes microscopic, metallic and metal alloy samples. The NAA analysis of the bullet fragments retrieved from the crime scene essentially supports the lone gunman scenario as well as the single bullet theory. There is of course, lots of other supporting evidence in these regards (though nothing, curiously, that contradicts them).

I do wish I hadn't responded to Jim's nonsense in the first place, I should know better by now. I've been through this too many times (though nowhere near as often as some) with people that summarily disregard anything that doesn't fit in with their own - often blinkered - world view. All the while they claim to be serious researchers! It goes some way to explain why, after 50+ years, not one amongst them has come up with a viable alternative to the basic conclusion that the DPD arrived at within 48 hours of the assassination. Oh, except for Jim Garrison of course :D

It would be funny if it wasn't quite so pathetic.

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18 hours ago, Fred Litwin said:

Don't believe everything Jim DiEugenio says. My article was written long before there was any doubt on NAA.  And my book is quite clear on the uses of NAA.

Fred, I'm far from believing everything Jim DiEugenio says. I do admire him in some ways, though. He sticks to his guns and never lets reality get him down.

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Every once in a while Paul Baker shows up with the same discredited claims.

 

On 2/19/2017 at 10:20 AM, Michael Clark said:

NAA info from 2010

http://forensic-science-fall-2010.wikispaces.com/Neutron+Activation+Analysis

"In the past, NAA evidence was not admissible into courts on the grounds that testimony it "proved" was not concrete enough to be allowed as evidence. In fact, a not-so-ancient trial involving NAA evidence, using trace element blood comparison samples was admitted into a lower court, despite the objection of the Defense. After being convicted, the case was brought to the Supreme Court, who declared the evidence inadmissible, as the technique was not yet proven. This was a large step backwards for NAA in courts, as it hurt the reliability of future, more concrete evidence done by neutron analysis."

 

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On ‎9‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 3:56 AM, James DiEugenio said:

The  autopsy report on Ferrie is about one page long.  

As Dr. Martin Palmer said the autopsy was "slipshod".  Since it was only a partial one and they did not even open the brain case, casting the berry aneurism verdict into doubt.  Also samples of the blood were not kept.  The photos reveal the inside of Ferrie's mouth as really burnt and Minyard says you can actually see contusions there.  MInyard speculated these could have been caused by "something traumatically inserted into Ferrie's mouth."  (Mellen, A Farewell to Justice, pp 106-09)

Now go back and look at the report and see if that information, preserved in pics, is in the report.  I can save you the time.  It is not.  That piece of information is actually covered up in the report.  In other words, you would not have gotten it from the report, you  have to look at the pictures.  Who was going to go down there and do that?

Denny, does Mr Litwin mention this information in his book?

 

I guess you'll never tell us where those photos of the inside of David Ferrie's mouth can be seen ?

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3 hours ago, François Carlier said:

I guess you'll never tell us where those photos of the inside of David Ferrie's mouth can be seen ?

And, of course, during the autopsy, the brain was cut open where they did see the berry aneurysm. There was also evidence of an earlier bleed. All of this confirmed that David Ferrie died of natural causes.  

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4 hours ago, Michael Clark said:

Every once in a while Paul Baker shows up with the same discredited claims.

"In the past, NAA evidence was not admissible into courts on the grounds that testimony it "proved" was not concrete enough to be allowed as evidence. In fact, a not-so-ancient trial involving NAA evidence, using trace element blood comparison samples was admitted into a lower court, despite the objection of the Defense. After being convicted, the case was brought to the Supreme Court, who declared the evidence inadmissible, as the technique was not yet proven. This was a large step backwards for NAA in courts, as it hurt the reliability of future, more concrete evidence done by neutron analysis."

Once again, what you've pasted there does nothing to discredit the validity of NAA. This refers to its presentation in a court of law, where science and logic and reason don't neccessarily prevail. I struggle to understand why anyone can't comprehend this distinction. Then I remember where I am :) 

Edited by Paul Baker

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24 minutes ago, Paul Baker said:

I struggle to understand why anyone can't comprehend this distinction. Then I remember where I am :) 

😁

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38 minutes ago, Fred Litwin said:

All of this confirmed that David Ferrie died of natural causes.  

Well, it's either that, or it was a deceptive autopsy report, based on a fake autopsy, done by unscrupulous doctors who were in on the conspiracy.
All things considered, I am inclined to believe the former option !

Edited by François Carlier
to suppress one word

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From Death of the NAA Verdict:

The first serious broadside against Guinn and the NAA was issued by Wallace Milam at the COPA Conference in Washington in 1994. Milam questioned the very basis of Guinn's conclusions. Guinn had said that the metallic make-up of WCC MC could vary widely from bullet to bullet, the term for this being "heterogeneous" or irreproducible. But Guinn also added that the metallic make-up of a single MC bullet was not; the term for this was "homogeneous". But Milam showed that Guinn's data did show large variations within a single bullet, especially in the measure of the trace element antimony, which Guinn placed much weight on. He also noted that his testimony on this issue seemed to contradict a paper he wrote that very same year in Transactions of the American Nuclear Society. There he wrote that: "In the U. C. Irvine INAA background studies of the Mannlicher-Carcano ammunition, it was found that this bullet lead is remarkably heterogeneous somewhat within a given bullet." (Emphasis added) Yet, for the HSCA, Guinn seemed to place the efficacy of the findings on the intra-bullet lead being homogenous or uniform and consistent throughout. And really, if this were not the case, then Guinn's whole testimony would dissolve.

Milam's logic was penetratingly simple on this point. In the 1964 tests the FBI had taken microscopic samples from the same bullet and come up with different concentrations of antimony ranging from 636 parts per million (PPM) all the way up to 1125 PPM. With this wide range of data within one bullet, then it would be possible to match varying PPM values to differing fragments if one were to allow a large enough variance. And it appears that this variance is what led the Bureau to declare the earlier NAA results "inconclusive".

Milam's discussion was well informed, pointed, and well documented. (It is available online at the site Electronic Assassinations Newsletter, under the title "Blakey's linchpin".) Later on Art Snyder, a physicist, questioned the statistical analysis used by Guinn. Interestingly, although Guinn prepared such an analysis, when challenged to assign a probability number for the certainty of his work, he declined. (For instance, the two acoustical analysts for the HSCA gave their work a 95% probably certainty statistic.) Snyder later commented that Guinn probably did not assign such a figure because the number would have been too high, signaling a high probability of error due to the high variables involved in his findings.

 

Note above:  Milam's critique began in 1994.  And like Galanor, it went after Guinn's chart and his claim of antimony consistency. So if Litwin was a real researcher, which he is not, he would have found this presentation. Also note that Guinn contradicted himself about a major tenet of the test.

Edited by James DiEugenio

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1 hour ago, François Carlier said:

Well, it's either that, or it was a deceptive autopsy report [on David Ferrie], based on a fake autopsy, done by unscrupulous doctors who were in on the conspiracy.

Which is no doubt exactly what many conspiracy theorists do believe. After all, many of those same CTers firmly believe that JFK's autopsy was "a deceptive autopsy report, based on a fake autopsy". So why wouldn't they also believe that same thing about Ferrie's autopsy?

I've learned to accept the idea that many (most) JFK conspiracy theorists live in a world of massive (alleged) fakery and cover-up that never ever ends. Because, let's face it, if they didn't reside in such a world, then Lee Harvey Oswald is most certainly the double murderer that the evidence clearly proves he was. And the CTers found at most Internet forums would rather starve themselves to death before they ever faced reality and admitted anything as poisonous to them as Oswald's obvious guilt.

Edited by David Von Pein

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5 minutes ago, James DiEugenio said:

From Death of the NAA Verdict:

The first serious broadside against Guinn and the NAA was issued by Wallace Milam at the COPA Conference in Washington in 1994. Milam questioned the very basis of Guinn's conclusions. Guinn had said that the metallic make-up of WCC MC could vary widely from bullet to bullet, the term for this being "heterogeneous" or irreproducible. But Guinn also added that the metallic make-up of a single MC bullet was not; the term for this was "homogeneous". But Milam showed that Guinn's data did show large variations within a single bullet, especially in the measure of the trace element antimony, which Guinn placed much weight on. He also noted that his testimony on this issue seemed to contradict a paper he wrote that very same year in Transactions of the American Nuclear Society. There he wrote that: "In the U. C. Irvine INAA background studies of the Mannlicher-Carcano ammunition, it was found that this bullet lead is remarkably heterogeneous somewhat within a given bullet." (Emphasis added) Yet, for the HSCA, Guinn seemed to place the efficacy of the findings on the intra-bullet lead being homogenous or uniform and consistent throughout. And really, if this were not the case, then Guinn's whole testimony would dissolve.

Milam's logic was penetratingly simple on this point. In the 1964 tests the FBI had taken microscopic samples from the same bullet and come up with different concentrations of antimony ranging from 636 parts per million (PPM) all the way up to 1125 PPM. With this wide range of data within one bullet, then it would be possible to match varying PPM values to differing fragments if one were to allow a large enough variance. And it appears that this variance is what led the Bureau to declare the earlier NAA results "inconclusive".

Milam's discussion was well informed, pointed, and well documented. (It is available online at the site Electronic Assassinations Newsletter, under the title "Blakey's linchpin".) Later on Art Snyder, a physicist, questioned the statistical analysis used by Guinn. Interestingly, although Guinn prepared such an analysis, when challenged to assign a probability number for the certainty of his work, he declined. (For instance, the two acoustical analysts for the HSCA gave their work a 95% probably certainty statistic.) Snyder later commented that Guinn probably did not assign such a figure because the number would have been too high, signaling a high probability of error due to the high variables involved in his findings.

 

Note above:  Milam's critique began in 1994.  And like Galanor, it went after Guinn's chart and his claim of antimony consistency. So if Litwin was a real researcher, which he is not, he would have found this presentation.

I did find it, and I also found Joel Grant's rebuttal.

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Part 2, 

This new analysis shows that although the critiques of Milam and Snyder are valid, they don't go far enough. The reason being that neither of them, or Guinn for that matter, was a metallurgist. Which Randich is. (And as Randich told me, Guinn should have had a metallurgist consulting him in his work.) The following startling facts have been left out of the debate over NAA.

Randich and Grant declare that a major fault in the HSCA work is Guinn's tenet that WCC MC lead "was found to differ sharply from typical bullet leads." This is not the case: WCC MC bullets do not differ sharply from most bullet leads. They are much like other metal-jacketed leads. The MC lead seemed different to Guinn because he compared it to unjacketed handgun rounds. In his talk in San Francisco of July 15, 2006, Randich said that outside of .38 and .22 handguns, most bullet manufacturers use the same lead alloy. (He put the figure at about 75%.) This is shocking. What it says is that the lead alloy for MC ammunition, far form being unique, is the same that say, Remington would use. So one of the pillars of Guinn's work, the singular identifiability of MC ammunition, has now fallen.

Randich and Grant also discussed a crucial phenomenon in lead smelting called "segregation", i.e. how the lead and trace elements distribute themselves through the heating and cooling process. During this process, the lead, because it is heavier, stays in the center, while the antimony "floats" to the edges. So depending on where one draws the sample from, that particular location will determine the levels of antimony. Further, copper tends to coagulate in clumps, so if you drew a sample from just one spot you might get a high concentration of copper. If you drew it from a few millimeters away, you could get a very low concentration. In fact, this is precisely what happened to Guinn. Which is why he tended to ignore his copper findings in favor of antimony and silver.

Randich and Grant also concluded that Guinn's sampling number for his conclusions was way too small to allow for the possibility of random matches. Randich said that the FBI held until recently that you could not get random matches with NAA analysis. It was later determined that they had never looked for any. After 2004, when Randich became a witness against them, they did look and they found one.

Note the two italicized points.  

These completely undermine the basis for Guinn's work.  He was simply wrong on both of them.  WCC MC ammo is not distinctive from other bullet lead alloys.  And in the smelting process antimony floats around the mixture therefore it is not consistent. Also note that the statistical basis was undermined  in the third italicized point. And it only lived until then because the FBI did not want to undermine their own phony test.

Edited by James DiEugenio

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12 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

 The NAA technique vs the CBLA.

Neither one is really even needed to come to the reasonable conclusion that only bullets from Lee Harvey Oswald's Carcano rifle were fired at President Kennedy in Dealey Plaza. Here's why that is so....

http://jfk-archives.blogspot.com/2010/06/vincent-guinn-and-naa.html

 

Edited by David Von Pein

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Death of the NAA Verdict part 3:

Perhaps the most arresting piece of evidence produced by the duo was a chart measuring the trace elements of the five pieces of evidence Guinn analyzed: the bullet left in the rifle at the so-called "sniper's nest", the bullet that Oswald allegedly fired at General Walker, and the three samples from the Kennedy assassination. The values varied widely, but especially for the "sniper's nest" bullet and the Walker bullet. Peter Dale Scott looked at this chart and surmised that it looked like those two bullets came from a different gun or type of ammunition. Right before this chart was placed on the overhead, Randich was talking about how trace metal values can vary widely in a particular run if one of the ingots used for the metals has been replaced on the production line. I asked him if he was then saying that theoretically all of those bullets, with their wide trace metal values, could come from one box. He replied that yes, they could. I then asked him, "Then what's the basis for this science?" He replied, "You're talking to the choir." Today, this new analysis is so convincing that the man that originally sponsored it and then advocated it to convict Oswald, Robert Blakey, has now joined the choir. Unfortunately, like many things in this case, the truth has emerged 28 years too late.

That Baker claims to be a scientist in this field and he somehow ignores the giant holes in the work Guinn did to sell his phony test, is simply baffling.  And the chutzpah of this guy who then comes on this forum and somehow tells us that it is we who are somehow biased?  When in fact, this junk science has been so discredited that the FBI will not use it again in any case since the agent testifying could be charged with perjury.  To leave all of this out shows you who Baker really is.

 

Edited by James DiEugenio

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FL: I did find it, and I also found Joel Grant's rebuttal.

This is hilarious.  Freddie Boy, Grant was obviously wrong and Wallace was obviously correct.  Except Wallace did not go far enough.  

And BTW, Joel Grant was one of these Oswald did it quacks who Jerry Rose let populate his journal after the release of JFK. Grant actually tried to argue with Mili Cranor about the disappearing particle trail in the back of Kennedy's skull.

This proves my point about Litwin.  It does not matter who says it or what they say.  The ends justify the means.  Which is why he is on McAdams' web site. And so is Grant.
 

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Edited by James DiEugenio

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