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I know there is that dictabelt recording from a cops radio, but there's been debate as to whether that was actually there, and I was wondering if there are any other sources of audio from the assassination to cross-reference with that and the films to pin down the exact timing of events?

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I know there is that dictabelt recording from a cops radio, but there's been debate as to whether that was actually there, and I was wondering if there are any other sources of audio from the assassination to cross-reference with that and the films to pin down the exact timing of events?

This is all to the best of my knowledge:

1) There is some controversy as to whether or not the Dictabelt captured the sounds of the shooting.

2) No other audio of the assassination has surfaced.

3) While adherents on both/all sides feel that the films do establish an accurate timing, there is still not a consensus as to what that timing is. And, as you will note, there is a contingent among us who question the authenticity of some of the photographic evidence.

Hope this helps. Wecome to the fray!

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I know there is that dictabelt recording from a cops radio, but there's been debate as to whether that was actually there, and I was wondering if there are any other sources of audio from the assassination to cross-reference with that and the films to pin down the exact timing of events?

This is all to the best of my knowledge:

1) There is some controversy as to whether or not the Dictabelt captured the sounds of the shooting.

2) No other audio of the assassination has surfaced.

3) While adherents on both/all sides feel that the films do establish an accurate timing, there is still not a consensus as to what that timing is. And, as you will note, there is a contingent among us who question the authenticity of some of the photographic evidence.

Hope this helps. Wecome to the fray!

Stephen,

That's what I thought until I came across this:

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/dpdtapes/

Where did this tape come from?

"The basis for these audio clips is an especially high-quality recording of the Dallas Police transmissions discovered by David Dix in the Minneapolis Public Library...."

David Dix:

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/dpdtapes/dix.htm

dpdtape.jpgI found the tape in 1990 browsing the Minneapolis Public Library. I had just finished reading Crossfire. I hadn't read anything about the assassination for several years. Crossfire re-ignited my old interests in it and I contacted Jim Marrs to ask some questions. I exchanged a couple letters with him. To understand some of what we were talking about, I re-read Lifton's Best Evidence. I was in the Library looking for more material when I accidentally came across the cassette tape.

I checked the tape out, brought it home and began listening to it. I was immediately struck with the fact that it was very different than the transcript in Best Evidence. There were radio transmissions on the tape that weren't in the transcripts. Where the tape and transcript did match, they didn't match completely. Either the transcripts were poorly done or there was intentional changes made.

I called Jim and told him what I had found. He recommended I contact Gary Mack. Mack, he said, was an expert on the various tape versions.

I had a real-time high quality studio copy made of the Library tape and sent the original to Gary. I also sent a copy of the tape to Oliver Stone through a mutual friend in Los Angeles. Stone was just starting filming for "JFK."

Gary gave me his assessment of the tape. We discussed the tape quite a bit over the next few months. Gary wanted to have some technical analyses done but the costs were too high for each of us. He had the tape for a little over a year hoping we could get it analyzed.

After Gary returned the tape in 1993, I sent the original the Assassination Archives to Jim Lesar's safe keeping and sent a copy of the high quality version to The Minneapolis Public Library They have since lost that copy to theft.

In the meantime, I went back to the Library to do some research on the tape itself. The Library still had a physical card file at that time.

The card for the cassette tape had very little on it :"22 November, 1963: THE Dallas Police Tapes Lava Publications, December, 1963" and the classification numbers. (Some time ago, the Library switched to computerized recoirds and destroyed the paper cards. I wasn't able to save it and the computerized record makes no reference to Lava Pulications.)

What struck me immediately was the date.

How did anyone outside the investigation get a hold of a copy of the dictabelts in December of 1963?

Attempts to find Lava Publications failed. I went back through old copies of Books in Print. I recently contacted the research section of the Library of Congress and they have no references to Lava Publications. They did find a reference to the tape by title, however, in the CLC system which lists the holdings of almost every Library in the country.. The only library in the country which has a copy of the tape by the name "22 November, 1963 : The Dallas Police Tapes" is the Minneapolis Public Library. The CLC system had no listing of the publisher or other sourecs for the tape.

I kept wondering "Why Minneapolis?" Who here would have had contact with the Warren Commission investigators and have gotten a copy of the dictabelts as early as December of 1963.

I found a possible lead in Jim Houghan's Spooks. He talked about International Investigations, Incorporated, Indianapolis, Indiana -- Five Eyes as they were known. Hougan said the Kennedys often used Five Eyes as their investigative agency and that many of the company's chief investigators were Kennedy people.

One of the cities where they were watching Hoffa was Minneapolis. According to Hougan, their purpose was to watch the activities of Jimmy Hoffa During that period, 1960 - 1964. Hoffa was working with local union officials and has formed a very tenuous alliance with a local outspoken socialist union leader whose name escapes me.

Going back through the Minneapolis business directories, I found listings for Five Eyes and six names of lead investigators over the five year period. None of the men still live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

My thinking is some Kennedy partisan involved with the investigation had a copy placed in the Minneapolis Public Library. But why? And why under the Lava name and why that date? The tape, as John and Gary have noted, is of very high quality. I think it was improved somewhat with the digitalization and cleaning I had done. To date, only Don Willis has done extensive research with it that I am aware of and he seems to have found many new things in it. To date, no one has done any acoustical analytical research with it.

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Interesting, but it sounds like it's just a higher quality dub of the original dictabelts. (I would not be surprised if some of the usual versions of the tape had been condensed in some way - like Lifton's, and therefore the transcripts might not match.) A higher quality version might be of some value for acoustical analysis, but there are still the nagging questions of where and how it was recorded, in other words, does it have the sounds of the shooting?

The questions related to Minneapolis and December 1963 are interesting.

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The questions related to Minneapolis and December 1963 are interesting.

Stephen:

According to information which researcher Denis Morissette uncovered in the latter part of 2004, an individual associated with Lava Productions “got the tape from a police officer who wanted to publish a book on the JFK assassination” . Why the tape was dated “December 1963”, and how it found its way into the Minneapolis Public Library system, remains a mystery, but the Lava Productions tape copy may well be from the same source as the copy of the DPD recordings which surfaced sometime prior to early 1967. At that time, a recording of the DPD Channel 1 and Channel 2 radio transmissions was given to author Judy Bonner who was writing her book "Investigation Of A Homicide", apparently in association with DPD Sergeant Gerald Hill, himself a former news reporter. My own research into the chain of possession of the dictabelts and the copies made from them points very much to the fact that the Judy Bonner and the Dave Dix tape recordings came from the same source.

Chris Scally.

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The questions related to Minneapolis and December 1963 are interesting.

Stephen:

According to information which researcher Denis Morissette uncovered in the latter part of 2004, an individual associated with Lava Productions "got the tape from a police officer who wanted to publish a book on the JFK assassination" . Why the tape was dated "December 1963", and how it found its way into the Minneapolis Public Library system, remains a mystery, but the Lava Productions tape copy may well be from the same source as the copy of the DPD recordings which surfaced sometime prior to early 1967. At that time, a recording of the DPD Channel 1 and Channel 2 radio transmissions was given to author Judy Bonner who was writing her book "Investigation Of A Homicide", apparently in association with DPD Sergeant Gerald Hill, himself a former news reporter. My own research into the chain of possession of the dictabelts and the copies made from them points very much to the fact that the Judy Bonner and the Dave Dix tape recordings came from the same source.

Chris Scally.

So Chris, did you ever find Judy Bonner?

Is this tape different and better than the the tape that BB&N studied for the HSCA?

And what's your take on the BB&N and Ackenasy? study of the acoustical echo patten and four shots, one from the knoll?

Thanks,

Bill Kelly

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So Chris, did you ever find Judy Bonner?

Is this tape different and better than the the tape that BB&N studied for the HSCA?

And what's your take on the BB&N and Ackenasy? study of the acoustical echo patten and four shots, one from the knoll?

Thanks,

Bill Kelly

Bill:

Unfortunately, Judy Bonner (born August 20, 1931) died on December 5, 1984.

As to your other questions - Was the Dix/Bonner tape better than the BBN tape? Well, the Dix/Bonner tape has noises (a radio and a typewriter) audible in the background, but it was made in the late 1960's, while the BBN tape was made from the original dictabelt, although the belt was badly worn in 1978 when BBN made their copy. However, on the basis that the BBN tape was made from the actual dictabelt, while we don't know how far removed from the original belts the Dix/Bonner tape was (probably 4 or 5 generations removed, at best) , the BBN copy - with its known provenance - would have to get my vote.

As for the HSCA scientists, none of them now want to discuss the acoustics evidence, although Dr. Barger was very helpful in the past. That suggests that they might not be as confident of their findings as they might have been in the past. That said, however, I think the impulses must have been caused by something, and I'd still like to know what it was, and how and why it matched the test firings, if is isn't gunfire.

Thoughts?

Regards,

Chris.

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So Chris, did you ever find Judy Bonner?

Is this tape different and better than the the tape that BB&N studied for the HSCA?

And what's your take on the BB&N and Ackenasy? study of the acoustical echo patten and four shots, one from the knoll?

Thanks,

Bill Kelly

Bill:

Unfortunately, Judy Bonner (born August 20, 1931) died on December 5, 1984.

As to your other questions - Was the Dix/Bonner tape better than the BBN tape? Well, the Dix/Bonner tape has noises (a radio and a typewriter) audible in the background, but it was made in the late 1960's, while the BBN tape was made from the original dictabelt, although the belt was badly worn in 1978 when BBN made their copy. However, on the basis that the BBN tape was made from the actual dictabelt, while we don't know how far removed from the original belts the Dix/Bonner tape was (probably 4 or 5 generations removed, at best) , the BBN copy - with its known provenance - would have to get my vote.

As for the HSCA scientists, none of them now want to discuss the acoustics evidence, although Dr. Barger was very helpful in the past. That suggests that they might not be as confident of their findings as they might have been in the past. That said, however, I think the impulses must have been caused by something, and I'd still like to know what it was, and how and why it matched the test firings, if is isn't gunfire.

Thoughts?

Regards,

Chris.

I remember Ackensay, who refined the BBN study to the 95% probability, was asked if he were told that the sounds of the gunshot he had done the acoustical echo study on, were actually recorded sometime later, he replied that he would ask to be taken there and find an exact duplicate of Dealey Plaza, which had caused the echo patterns they detected.

I don't think they have backed down from their results at all.

And I think Dr. Thomas, who I heard give a presentation at the 2002 Dallas COPA, makes a very strong case that supports the HSCA acoustical findings.

http://www.parapolitics.info/copa/copa2002gallery/

And whatever happened to the story Jeff Morley had published in Readers Digest (March 2005), indicating additional refinement and testing was going to happen?

http://www.rd.com/can-technology-solve-the-jfk-murder/article26805-3.html

Can Technology Solve the JFK Murder? Reopening the Investigation.

The JFK Murder

Pulling Proof From Particles

Carl Haber was stuck in traffic one morning when he heard a radio report about the fragile state of historic sound recordings at the Library of Congress. Many popular songs and famous speeches from the early 1900s couldn't be played due to damage and decay. Archivists were looking for ways to restore and preserve them.

Most of us would shake our heads and take another sip of coffee, but for Haber, a particle physicist, this was almost a eureka moment: He and Vitaliy Fadeyev, his colleague at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, specialized in making sensors to map the tracks made by subatomic particles unleashed in physics experiments. Could their methods be used to map the microscopic contours of those old sound recordings' grooves?

Haber thought so. By converting that analog information into a digital format, he theorized, a virtual copy of the old sound recordings could be created -- without playing the originals.

He was right. What he didn't know was that his drive-time brainstorm would end up pulling him and his partner into the heart of the most infamous of American murder mysteries: the assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy.

In a National Archives vault in College Park, Maryland, lies a loop of floppy blue plastic known as Dallas Police Department Dictabelt No. 10. It contains sounds of chatter and noise recorded on one of two police radio channels between 12:05 and 12:40 p.m. on November 22, 1963. At 12:30 that day, President Kennedy and his wife were riding in an open limousine through downtown Dallas when gunshots rang out. One bullet struck the 46-year-old President in the head, killing him. Purely by accident, the radio microphone of a motorcycle cop riding with Kennedy's motorcade was stuck in the "on" position. That microphone transmitted the motorcade sounds back to police headquarters, where they were recorded onto plastic rolls known as Dictabelts.

Haber and Fadeyev didn't know about Dictabelt No. 10 when they began attempting new sound preservation techniques. And they have little interest in the specifics of JFK's assassination. "The real story here," says Haber, "is that there are technologies around that can be brought to bear on preservation."

But, having successfully developed a method for reproducing old recordings, he and his partner don't entirely dismiss the possibility that their approach could have a benefit for the millions of people still fascinated by the JFK case. Their protests aside, it's possible that this new technology could, in effect, transform the 41-year-old Dictabelt into a new piece of evidence -- and answer with scientific clarity a haunting question: Just how many shots were fired on that shocking day?

Putting Theory on the Record

Haber and Fadeyev launched their mission by paying a visit to a used record store. Armed with a 78-rpm disc of the Weavers' 1950 version of "Goodnight Irene," they scanned the record's grooves with a digital microscope known as a SmartScope. Fadeyev then wrote a software program to simulate the action of a phonograph needle traveling through virtual grooves. In October 2002, the two men ran the virtual recording through that program. When they heard music, it was an emotional moment.

The duo published their findings in a paper that was circulated to, among others, the Library of Congress. Archivists there agreed to loan Haber and Fadeyev a batch of early sound recordings in return for an assessment of how they might be preserved.

The two scientists turned to a device known as a confocal microscope. Unlike the SmartScope, a confocal probe doesn't scan an entire object. Instead, it focuses a beam of light on a very small area, capturing the reflection in a photo detector that, in turn, feeds the measurements into a computer and then assembles a composite from thousands of tiny points.

Haber and Fadeyev decided to try to scan a so-called Edison cylinder, an early recording medium that was little more than a roll of finely engraved celluloid. A scan was made of a 1909 cylinder of the song "Just Before the Battle, Mother." The resulting digital copy eliminated much of the original's crackling and hissing.

Word of the duo's success spread among preservationists. When it reached Leslie Waffen at the National Archives, he thought of Dictabelt No. 10. Worn from countless playings by investigators and cracked due to improper storage, it was now off limits. Could a digital copy be made?

"It's a piece of American history," Waffen says. "It's our job to preserve it and, if possible, to make it accessible to the public." A fresh digital copy, he says, would be available to anyone who wanted to listen to it.

Last June, Waffen had the pair make a presentation to the Archives panel of preservation experts about how they would create such a copy. That panel recommended that they attempt it. The Kennedy assassination stunned and confused the country. The President was shot dead in broad daylight. A majority of witnesses said they heard three blasts coming from the Texas School Book Depository, behind the Presidential motorcade. Some people closest to Kennedy's limousine said they also heard gunfire coming from the so-called grassy knoll, to the right and front of the motorcade.

Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old ex-Marine and one-time defector to Russia, was arrested later that day. Forensic evidence linked him to a rifle found in the book depository and deemed to be the murder weapon. Meanwhile, in Miami, CIA-funded Cuban exiles fed reporters information that Oswald had actively backed Communist leader Fidel Castro. Calling himself "a patsy," Oswald denied being the killer. Two days after his arrest, he was killed in police custody, by Jack Ruby, a local nightclub owner with ties to organized crime.

Within days, pollsters found only 29 percent of Americans believed there had only been one gunman. But an investigatory panel led by Chief Justice Earl Warren concluded just that in September 1964: Oswald -- for unknown reasons -- had acted alone.

Reopening the Investigation

The conspiracy theories persisted. While leading journalists defended the lone-gunman theory, Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, privately speculated that JFK had been targeted in a Cold War-fueled conspiracy linked to Cuba. Another theory -- that the murder was a mob hit -- grew out of Ruby's organized crime ties. It didn't fade when he died in 1967, having hinted he never told all he knew.

By 1991, the debate over Oliver Stone's conspiracy-minded film JFK prompted the government to declassify a vast trove of assassination-related documents. And though the lone-gunman theory has believers -- Gerald Posner's 1993 book Case Closed argued for it forcefully -- a 2001 Gallup Poll found that just 13 percent of Americans accepted it.

That Dictabelt No. 10 even exists is one of those odd occurrences that make history so compelling. After the assassination, Dallas detectives listened to many of the police Dictabelts from that day without detecting the sound of gunfire. The FBI examined the recordings in early 1964, and came up similarly empty-handed. The recordings sat in a police department file cabinet until 1969, when Officer Paul McCaghren was called in to identify them -- and ordered to hide them "in a safe place."

Meanwhile, public skepticism about the lone-gunman theory mounted. Though Life magazine had published still images from the so-called Zapruder film within days of the assassination, nagging questions about what really happened bubbled back to the surface of public consciousness when ABC News broadcast the home movie for the first time in March 1975. The footage, taken by businessman Abraham Zapruder, showed Kennedy's head snapping backward as if hit by a gunshot from in front. Congress soon voted to reopen the JFK investigation.

In 1977, Mary Ferrell, a Dallas legal secretary and tireless JFK researcher, told the newly created House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) that she'd heard an audiotape of Dallas police radio traffic around the time Kennedy died. That led the panel to retrieve the Dictabelts in May 1978. By then, the science of acoustic analysis had come a long way. The HSCA's general counsel, ex-federal prosecutor G. Robert Blakey, chose James Barger, a prominent audio scientist, to assess the recordings' value as evidence.

Barger decided to compare the sound impulses on the recordings with the sound of real gunfire. In August 1978, he led a team to Dallas for a series of elaborate ballistics tests. Setting up 36 microphones along the Dealey Plaza motorcade route, he recorded shots fired from the sixth-floor book depository window where Oswald was said to have fired, and from the grassy knoll. Barger compared the resulting sound patterns with the impulses on the Dictabelt. His findings contrasted with those of the Warren Commission, which ruled that Oswald fired three shots at Kennedy's limousine.

Barger identified at least four sound-wave patterns that he said closely resembled the muzzle blasts of gunshots in his test firing. Three of them closely resembled shots fired from the sixth-floor window. One resembled a shot from the grassy knoll, he said. Two other acoustic experts retained by the HSCA supported Barger's conclusion. The acoustic evidence became the keystone of the House panel's finding in January 1979 that Kennedy had "probably" been killed by conspirators who, besides Oswald, couldn't be identified.

Adding Clarity to the Debate

Other experts disputed the findings. In 1980, the Justice Department turned to the National Research Council, a government think tank. In May 1982, a 12-scientist NRC panel unanimously ruled that Barger's supposed gunshots were something else and "came too late to be attributed to assassination shots." (A Court TV analysis last year found essentially the same thing.)

Dictabelt No. 10 then went back to a file cabinet at the Justice Department. It was subsequently transferred to the National Archives. Then, in early 2001, Donald Thomas, a government scientist interested in the Kennedy assassination, published in a British forensics journal an article based on a mathematical review of all the acoustic evidence. Thomas's conclusion: Five shots had been fired at Kennedy's motorcade from two different directions.

At issue now: Can a digital map of the Dictabelt add clarity to the debate by decisively confirming or refuting the existence of a second gunman?

Duplicating the original poses major challenges. A Dictabelt groove is 75 microns wide -- about as wide as three human hairs -- and five microns deep. It's also asymmetric, with a steep wall on one side and a sloping one on the other. The unique shape complicates the job of writing the algorithms needed to describe it for computer simulation. But Haber and Fadeyev are cautiously confident they'll succeed with the Dictabelt as they did with "Goodnight Irene." Their next step: prepare a "proof of concept" paper for the National Archives. If the concept proves valid, the recording will be made available for scanning.

Paul Horowitz, a Harvard physics professor and member of the NRC panel that dismissed Dictabelt No. 10, says such scanning won't add to the assassination debate. Horowitz says he and several colleagues have finished a reply to Thomas's article. He says the as-yet-unpublished paper shows that Thomas and Barger mistook random sounds for gunshots: "Digital playback of the Dictabelt is not going to change that conclusion."

Don Thomas disagrees. He says the timing of the Dictabelt's sound impulses matches the Zapruder film's visual indications of gunfire. He cites a 4.8-second gap on the Dictabelt between what he views as the third and fourth shots. "On the Zapruder film, the gap between the crucial two shots is 4.8 seconds. Would random noises occur with that exact same timing?"

Vitaliy Fadeyev says it's possible that a high-quality digital map of Dictabelt No. 10 could clarify a key JFK forensics issue: the "acoustic fingerprints" of the alleged gunshots.

"When the first studies [of Dictabelt No. 10] were done, the waveform analysis was fairly primitive," he says. Now the science of analyzing patterns made by sound waves is "much more sophisticated because we have so much more computing power." Researchers, he adds, should have "a much greater ability to confirm or refute whether those sound impulses actually match the acoustic fingerprints of rifle shots, or come from something else."

So, if all goes according to plan, Dictabelt No. 10 will be transported across the country to the Lawrence Berkeley lab later this year. Once there, it will go under the confocal microscope. Within a few months, a digital replica could be produced -- a modern version of an old piece of evidence that may shed new light on one of the country's most enduring mysteries.

From Reader's Digest - March 2005

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"Thoughts?" : a possible motor cycle seen just wheeled out of sight down the alley behind the derelict 'safe house' where Tippit was shot? A possible MC (helmet and glasses in an upper story window?

______________________

When perusing the DPDJFK docs a couple of years ago there were a number of transcripts. One of them, if one kept iterating the doc # past the last listed, unlinked further portions were there.

add: that's how, in box 1, I also found a hand drawn sketch of what seems to be the assassination scene with the name James Branum written on the lower side.

Edited by John Dolva
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So Chris, did you ever find Judy Bonner?

Is this tape different and better than the the tape that BB&N studied for the HSCA?

And what's your take on the BB&N and Ackenasy? study of the acoustical echo patten and four shots, one from the knoll?

Thanks,

Bill Kelly

Bill:

Unfortunately, Judy Bonner (born August 20, 1931) died on December 5, 1984.

As to your other questions - Was the Dix/Bonner tape better than the BBN tape? Well, the Dix/Bonner tape has noises (a radio and a typewriter) audible in the background, but it was made in the late 1960's, while the BBN tape was made from the original dictabelt, although the belt was badly worn in 1978 when BBN made their copy. However, on the basis that the BBN tape was made from the actual dictabelt, while we don't know how far removed from the original belts the Dix/Bonner tape was (probably 4 or 5 generations removed, at best) , the BBN copy - with its known provenance - would have to get my vote.

As for the HSCA scientists, none of them now want to discuss the acoustics evidence, although Dr. Barger was very helpful in the past. That suggests that they might not be as confident of their findings as they might have been in the past. That said, however, I think the impulses must have been caused by something, and I'd still like to know what it was, and how and why it matched the test firings, if is isn't gunfire.

Thoughts?

Regards,

Chris.

I remember Ackensay, who refined the BBN study to the 95% probability, was asked if he were told that the sounds of the gunshot he had done the acoustical echo study on, were actually recorded sometime later, he replied that he would ask to be taken there and find an exact duplicate of Dealey Plaza, which had caused the echo patterns they detected.

I don't think they have backed down from their results at all.

And I think Dr. Thomas, who I heard give a presentation at the 2002 Dallas COPA, makes a very strong case that supports the HSCA acoustical findings.

http://www.parapolitics.info/copa/copa2002gallery/

And whatever happened to the story Jeff Morley had published in Readers Digest (March 2005), indicating additional refinement and testing was going to happen?

http://www.rd.com/can-technology-solve-the-jfk-murder/article26805-3.html

Can Technology Solve the JFK Murder? Reopening the Investigation.

The JFK Murder

Pulling Proof From Particles

Carl Haber was stuck in traffic one morning when he heard a radio report about the fragile state of historic sound recordings at the Library of Congress. Many popular songs and famous speeches from the early 1900s couldn't be played due to damage and decay. Archivists were looking for ways to restore and preserve them.

Most of us would shake our heads and take another sip of coffee, but for Haber, a particle physicist, this was almost a eureka moment: He and Vitaliy Fadeyev, his colleague at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, specialized in making sensors to map the tracks made by subatomic particles unleashed in physics experiments. Could their methods be used to map the microscopic contours of those old sound recordings' grooves?

Haber thought so. By converting that analog information into a digital format, he theorized, a virtual copy of the old sound recordings could be created -- without playing the originals.

He was right. What he didn't know was that his drive-time brainstorm would end up pulling him and his partner into the heart of the most infamous of American murder mysteries: the assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy.

In a National Archives vault in College Park, Maryland, lies a loop of floppy blue plastic known as Dallas Police Department Dictabelt No. 10. It contains sounds of chatter and noise recorded on one of two police radio channels between 12:05 and 12:40 p.m. on November 22, 1963. At 12:30 that day, President Kennedy and his wife were riding in an open limousine through downtown Dallas when gunshots rang out. One bullet struck the 46-year-old President in the head, killing him. Purely by accident, the radio microphone of a motorcycle cop riding with Kennedy's motorcade was stuck in the "on" position. That microphone transmitted the motorcade sounds back to police headquarters, where they were recorded onto plastic rolls known as Dictabelts.

Haber and Fadeyev didn't know about Dictabelt No. 10 when they began attempting new sound preservation techniques. And they have little interest in the specifics of JFK's assassination. "The real story here," says Haber, "is that there are technologies around that can be brought to bear on preservation."

But, having successfully developed a method for reproducing old recordings, he and his partner don't entirely dismiss the possibility that their approach could have a benefit for the millions of people still fascinated by the JFK case. Their protests aside, it's possible that this new technology could, in effect, transform the 41-year-old Dictabelt into a new piece of evidence -- and answer with scientific clarity a haunting question: Just how many shots were fired on that shocking day?

Putting Theory on the Record

Haber and Fadeyev launched their mission by paying a visit to a used record store. Armed with a 78-rpm disc of the Weavers' 1950 version of "Goodnight Irene," they scanned the record's grooves with a digital microscope known as a SmartScope. Fadeyev then wrote a software program to simulate the action of a phonograph needle traveling through virtual grooves. In October 2002, the two men ran the virtual recording through that program. When they heard music, it was an emotional moment.

The duo published their findings in a paper that was circulated to, among others, the Library of Congress. Archivists there agreed to loan Haber and Fadeyev a batch of early sound recordings in return for an assessment of how they might be preserved.

The two scientists turned to a device known as a confocal microscope. Unlike the SmartScope, a confocal probe doesn't scan an entire object. Instead, it focuses a beam of light on a very small area, capturing the reflection in a photo detector that, in turn, feeds the measurements into a computer and then assembles a composite from thousands of tiny points.

Haber and Fadeyev decided to try to scan a so-called Edison cylinder, an early recording medium that was little more than a roll of finely engraved celluloid. A scan was made of a 1909 cylinder of the song "Just Before the Battle, Mother." The resulting digital copy eliminated much of the original's crackling and hissing.

Word of the duo's success spread among preservationists. When it reached Leslie Waffen at the National Archives, he thought of Dictabelt No. 10. Worn from countless playings by investigators and cracked due to improper storage, it was now off limits. Could a digital copy be made?

"It's a piece of American history," Waffen says. "It's our job to preserve it and, if possible, to make it accessible to the public." A fresh digital copy, he says, would be available to anyone who wanted to listen to it.

Last June, Waffen had the pair make a presentation to the Archives panel of preservation experts about how they would create such a copy. That panel recommended that they attempt it. The Kennedy assassination stunned and confused the country. The President was shot dead in broad daylight. A majority of witnesses said they heard three blasts coming from the Texas School Book Depository, behind the Presidential motorcade. Some people closest to Kennedy's limousine said they also heard gunfire coming from the so-called grassy knoll, to the right and front of the motorcade.

Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old ex-Marine and one-time defector to Russia, was arrested later that day. Forensic evidence linked him to a rifle found in the book depository and deemed to be the murder weapon. Meanwhile, in Miami, CIA-funded Cuban exiles fed reporters information that Oswald had actively backed Communist leader Fidel Castro. Calling himself "a patsy," Oswald denied being the killer. Two days after his arrest, he was killed in police custody, by Jack Ruby, a local nightclub owner with ties to organized crime.

Within days, pollsters found only 29 percent of Americans believed there had only been one gunman. But an investigatory panel led by Chief Justice Earl Warren concluded just that in September 1964: Oswald -- for unknown reasons -- had acted alone.

Reopening the Investigation

The conspiracy theories persisted. While leading journalists defended the lone-gunman theory, Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, privately speculated that JFK had been targeted in a Cold War-fueled conspiracy linked to Cuba. Another theory -- that the murder was a mob hit -- grew out of Ruby's organized crime ties. It didn't fade when he died in 1967, having hinted he never told all he knew.

By 1991, the debate over Oliver Stone's conspiracy-minded film JFK prompted the government to declassify a vast trove of assassination-related documents. And though the lone-gunman theory has believers -- Gerald Posner's 1993 book Case Closed argued for it forcefully -- a 2001 Gallup Poll found that just 13 percent of Americans accepted it.

That Dictabelt No. 10 even exists is one of those odd occurrences that make history so compelling. After the assassination, Dallas detectives listened to many of the police Dictabelts from that day without detecting the sound of gunfire. The FBI examined the recordings in early 1964, and came up similarly empty-handed. The recordings sat in a police department file cabinet until 1969, when Officer Paul McCaghren was called in to identify them -- and ordered to hide them "in a safe place."

Meanwhile, public skepticism about the lone-gunman theory mounted. Though Life magazine had published still images from the so-called Zapruder film within days of the assassination, nagging questions about what really happened bubbled back to the surface of public consciousness when ABC News broadcast the home movie for the first time in March 1975. The footage, taken by businessman Abraham Zapruder, showed Kennedy's head snapping backward as if hit by a gunshot from in front. Congress soon voted to reopen the JFK investigation.

In 1977, Mary Ferrell, a Dallas legal secretary and tireless JFK researcher, told the newly created House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) that she'd heard an audiotape of Dallas police radio traffic around the time Kennedy died. That led the panel to retrieve the Dictabelts in May 1978. By then, the science of acoustic analysis had come a long way. The HSCA's general counsel, ex-federal prosecutor G. Robert Blakey, chose James Barger, a prominent audio scientist, to assess the recordings' value as evidence.

Barger decided to compare the sound impulses on the recordings with the sound of real gunfire. In August 1978, he led a team to Dallas for a series of elaborate ballistics tests. Setting up 36 microphones along the Dealey Plaza motorcade route, he recorded shots fired from the sixth-floor book depository window where Oswald was said to have fired, and from the grassy knoll. Barger compared the resulting sound patterns with the impulses on the Dictabelt. His findings contrasted with those of the Warren Commission, which ruled that Oswald fired three shots at Kennedy's limousine.

Barger identified at least four sound-wave patterns that he said closely resembled the muzzle blasts of gunshots in his test firing. Three of them closely resembled shots fired from the sixth-floor window. One resembled a shot from the grassy knoll, he said. Two other acoustic experts retained by the HSCA supported Barger's conclusion. The acoustic evidence became the keystone of the House panel's finding in January 1979 that Kennedy had "probably" been killed by conspirators who, besides Oswald, couldn't be identified.

Adding Clarity to the Debate

Other experts disputed the findings. In 1980, the Justice Department turned to the National Research Council, a government think tank. In May 1982, a 12-scientist NRC panel unanimously ruled that Barger's supposed gunshots were something else and "came too late to be attributed to assassination shots." (A Court TV analysis last year found essentially the same thing.)

Dictabelt No. 10 then went back to a file cabinet at the Justice Department. It was subsequently transferred to the National Archives. Then, in early 2001, Donald Thomas, a government scientist interested in the Kennedy assassination, published in a British forensics journal an article based on a mathematical review of all the acoustic evidence. Thomas's conclusion: Five shots had been fired at Kennedy's motorcade from two different directions.

At issue now: Can a digital map of the Dictabelt add clarity to the debate by decisively confirming or refuting the existence of a second gunman?

Duplicating the original poses major challenges. A Dictabelt groove is 75 microns wide -- about as wide as three human hairs -- and five microns deep. It's also asymmetric, with a steep wall on one side and a sloping one on the other. The unique shape complicates the job of writing the algorithms needed to describe it for computer simulation. But Haber and Fadeyev are cautiously confident they'll succeed with the Dictabelt as they did with "Goodnight Irene." Their next step: prepare a "proof of concept" paper for the National Archives. If the concept proves valid, the recording will be made available for scanning.

Paul Horowitz, a Harvard physics professor and member of the NRC panel that dismissed Dictabelt No. 10, says such scanning won't add to the assassination debate. Horowitz says he and several colleagues have finished a reply to Thomas's article. He says the as-yet-unpublished paper shows that Thomas and Barger mistook random sounds for gunshots: "Digital playback of the Dictabelt is not going to change that conclusion."

Don Thomas disagrees. He says the timing of the Dictabelt's sound impulses matches the Zapruder film's visual indications of gunfire. He cites a 4.8-second gap on the Dictabelt between what he views as the third and fourth shots. "On the Zapruder film, the gap between the crucial two shots is 4.8 seconds. Would random noises occur with that exact same timing?"

Vitaliy Fadeyev says it's possible that a high-quality digital map of Dictabelt No. 10 could clarify a key JFK forensics issue: the "acoustic fingerprints" of the alleged gunshots.

"When the first studies [of Dictabelt No. 10] were done, the waveform analysis was fairly primitive," he says. Now the science of analyzing patterns made by sound waves is "much more sophisticated because we have so much more computing power." Researchers, he adds, should have "a much greater ability to confirm or refute whether those sound impulses actually match the acoustic fingerprints of rifle shots, or come from something else."

So, if all goes according to plan, Dictabelt No. 10 will be transported across the country to the Lawrence Berkeley lab later this year. Once there, it will go under the confocal microscope. Within a few months, a digital replica could be produced -- a modern version of an old piece of evidence that may shed new light on one of the country's most enduring mysteries.

From Reader's Digest - March 2005

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"Thoughts?" : a possible motor cycle seen just wheeled out of sight down the alley behind the derelict 'safe house' where Tippit was shot? A possible MC (helmet and glasses in an upper story window?

______________________

When perusing the DPDJFK docs a couple of years ago there were a number of transcripts. One of them, if one kept iterating the doc # past the last listed, unlinked further portions were there.

add: that's how, in box 1, I also found a hand drawn sketch of what seems to be the assassination scene with the name James Branum written on the lower side.

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"Thoughts?" : a possible motor cycle seen just wheeled out of sight down the alley behind the derelict 'safe house' where Tippit was shot? A possible MC (helmet and glasses in an upper story window?

______________________

When perusing the DPDJFK docs a couple of years ago there were a number of transcripts. One of them, if one kept iterating the doc # past the last listed, unlinked further portions were there.

add: that's how, in box 1, I also found a hand drawn sketch of what seems to be the assassination scene with the name James Branum written on the lower side.

John,

I'd like to know what happened to the "new study" that Jeff Morley talks about in the March 2005 issue of Readers Digest?

Do you know?

BK

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So Chris, did you ever find Judy Bonner?

Is this tape different and better than the the tape that BB&N studied for the HSCA?

And what's your take on the BB&N and Ackenasy? study of the acoustical echo patten and four shots, one from the knoll?

Thanks,

Bill Kelly

Bill:

Unfortunately, Judy Bonner (born August 20, 1931) died on December 5, 1984.

As to your other questions - Was the Dix/Bonner tape better than the BBN tape? Well, the Dix/Bonner tape has noises (a radio and a typewriter) audible in the background, but it was made in the late 1960's, while the BBN tape was made from the original dictabelt, although the belt was badly worn in 1978 when BBN made their copy. However, on the basis that the BBN tape was made from the actual dictabelt, while we don't know how far removed from the original belts the Dix/Bonner tape was (probably 4 or 5 generations removed, at best) , the BBN copy - with its known provenance - would have to get my vote.

As for the HSCA scientists, none of them now want to discuss the acoustics evidence, although Dr. Barger was very helpful in the past. That suggests that they might not be as confident of their findings as they might have been in the past. That said, however, I think the impulses must have been caused by something, and I'd still like to know what it was, and how and why it matched the test firings, if is isn't gunfire.

Thoughts?

Regards,

Chris.

I remember Ackensay, who refined the BBN study to the 95% probability, was asked if he were told that the sounds of the gunshot he had done the acoustical echo study on, were actually recorded sometime later, he replied that he would ask to be taken there and find an exact duplicate of Dealey Plaza, which had caused the echo patterns they detected.

I don't think they have backed down from their results at all.

And I think Dr. Thomas, who I heard give a presentation at the 2002 Dallas COPA, makes a very strong case that supports the HSCA acoustical findings.

http://www.parapolitics.info/copa/copa2002gallery/

And whatever happened to the story Jeff Morley had published in Readers Digest (March 2005), indicating additional refinement and testing was going to happen?

http://www.rd.com/can-technology-solve-the-jfk-murder/article26805-3.html

Can Technology Solve the JFK Murder? Reopening the Investigation.

The JFK Murder

Pulling Proof From Particles

Carl Haber was stuck in traffic one morning when he heard a radio report about the fragile state of historic sound recordings at the Library of Congress. Many popular songs and famous speeches from the early 1900s couldn't be played due to damage and decay. Archivists were looking for ways to restore and preserve them.

Most of us would shake our heads and take another sip of coffee, but for Haber, a particle physicist, this was almost a eureka moment: He and Vitaliy Fadeyev, his colleague at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, specialized in making sensors to map the tracks made by subatomic particles unleashed in physics experiments. Could their methods be used to map the microscopic contours of those old sound recordings' grooves?

Haber thought so. By converting that analog information into a digital format, he theorized, a virtual copy of the old sound recordings could be created -- without playing the originals.

He was right. What he didn't know was that his drive-time brainstorm would end up pulling him and his partner into the heart of the most infamous of American murder mysteries: the assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy.

In a National Archives vault in College Park, Maryland, lies a loop of floppy blue plastic known as Dallas Police Department Dictabelt No. 10. It contains sounds of chatter and noise recorded on one of two police radio channels between 12:05 and 12:40 p.m. on November 22, 1963. At 12:30 that day, President Kennedy and his wife were riding in an open limousine through downtown Dallas when gunshots rang out. One bullet struck the 46-year-old President in the head, killing him. Purely by accident, the radio microphone of a motorcycle cop riding with Kennedy's motorcade was stuck in the "on" position. That microphone transmitted the motorcade sounds back to police headquarters, where they were recorded onto plastic rolls known as Dictabelts.

Haber and Fadeyev didn't know about Dictabelt No. 10 when they began attempting new sound preservation techniques. And they have little interest in the specifics of JFK's assassination. "The real story here," says Haber, "is that there are technologies around that can be brought to bear on preservation."

But, having successfully developed a method for reproducing old recordings, he and his partner don't entirely dismiss the possibility that their approach could have a benefit for the millions of people still fascinated by the JFK case. Their protests aside, it's possible that this new technology could, in effect, transform the 41-year-old Dictabelt into a new piece of evidence -- and answer with scientific clarity a haunting question: Just how many shots were fired on that shocking day?

Putting Theory on the Record

Haber and Fadeyev launched their mission by paying a visit to a used record store. Armed with a 78-rpm disc of the Weavers' 1950 version of "Goodnight Irene," they scanned the record's grooves with a digital microscope known as a SmartScope. Fadeyev then wrote a software program to simulate the action of a phonograph needle traveling through virtual grooves. In October 2002, the two men ran the virtual recording through that program. When they heard music, it was an emotional moment.

The duo published their findings in a paper that was circulated to, among others, the Library of Congress. Archivists there agreed to loan Haber and Fadeyev a batch of early sound recordings in return for an assessment of how they might be preserved.

The two scientists turned to a device known as a confocal microscope. Unlike the SmartScope, a confocal probe doesn't scan an entire object. Instead, it focuses a beam of light on a very small area, capturing the reflection in a photo detector that, in turn, feeds the measurements into a computer and then assembles a composite from thousands of tiny points.

Haber and Fadeyev decided to try to scan a so-called Edison cylinder, an early recording medium that was little more than a roll of finely engraved celluloid. A scan was made of a 1909 cylinder of the song "Just Before the Battle, Mother." The resulting digital copy eliminated much of the original's crackling and hissing.

Word of the duo's success spread among preservationists. When it reached Leslie Waffen at the National Archives, he thought of Dictabelt No. 10. Worn from countless playings by investigators and cracked due to improper storage, it was now off limits. Could a digital copy be made?

"It's a piece of American history," Waffen says. "It's our job to preserve it and, if possible, to make it accessible to the public." A fresh digital copy, he says, would be available to anyone who wanted to listen to it.

Last June, Waffen had the pair make a presentation to the Archives panel of preservation experts about how they would create such a copy. That panel recommended that they attempt it. The Kennedy assassination stunned and confused the country. The President was shot dead in broad daylight. A majority of witnesses said they heard three blasts coming from the Texas School Book Depository, behind the Presidential motorcade. Some people closest to Kennedy's limousine said they also heard gunfire coming from the so-called grassy knoll, to the right and front of the motorcade.

Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old ex-Marine and one-time defector to Russia, was arrested later that day. Forensic evidence linked him to a rifle found in the book depository and deemed to be the murder weapon. Meanwhile, in Miami, CIA-funded Cuban exiles fed reporters information that Oswald had actively backed Communist leader Fidel Castro. Calling himself "a patsy," Oswald denied being the killer. Two days after his arrest, he was killed in police custody, by Jack Ruby, a local nightclub owner with ties to organized crime.

Within days, pollsters found only 29 percent of Americans believed there had only been one gunman. But an investigatory panel led by Chief Justice Earl Warren concluded just that in September 1964: Oswald -- for unknown reasons -- had acted alone.

Reopening the Investigation

The conspiracy theories persisted. While leading journalists defended the lone-gunman theory, Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, privately speculated that JFK had been targeted in a Cold War-fueled conspiracy linked to Cuba. Another theory -- that the murder was a mob hit -- grew out of Ruby's organized crime ties. It didn't fade when he died in 1967, having hinted he never told all he knew.

By 1991, the debate over Oliver Stone's conspiracy-minded film JFK prompted the government to declassify a vast trove of assassination-related documents. And though the lone-gunman theory has believers -- Gerald Posner's 1993 book Case Closed argued for it forcefully -- a 2001 Gallup Poll found that just 13 percent of Americans accepted it.

That Dictabelt No. 10 even exists is one of those odd occurrences that make history so compelling. After the assassination, Dallas detectives listened to many of the police Dictabelts from that day without detecting the sound of gunfire. The FBI examined the recordings in early 1964, and came up similarly empty-handed. The recordings sat in a police department file cabinet until 1969, when Officer Paul McCaghren was called in to identify them -- and ordered to hide them "in a safe place."

Meanwhile, public skepticism about the lone-gunman theory mounted. Though Life magazine had published still images from the so-called Zapruder film within days of the assassination, nagging questions about what really happened bubbled back to the surface of public consciousness when ABC News broadcast the home movie for the first time in March 1975. The footage, taken by businessman Abraham Zapruder, showed Kennedy's head snapping backward as if hit by a gunshot from in front. Congress soon voted to reopen the JFK investigation.

In 1977, Mary Ferrell, a Dallas legal secretary and tireless JFK researcher, told the newly created House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) that she'd heard an audiotape of Dallas police radio traffic around the time Kennedy died. That led the panel to retrieve the Dictabelts in May 1978. By then, the science of acoustic analysis had come a long way. The HSCA's general counsel, ex-federal prosecutor G. Robert Blakey, chose James Barger, a prominent audio scientist, to assess the recordings' value as evidence.

Barger decided to compare the sound impulses on the recordings with the sound of real gunfire. In August 1978, he led a team to Dallas for a series of elaborate ballistics tests. Setting up 36 microphones along the Dealey Plaza motorcade route, he recorded shots fired from the sixth-floor book depository window where Oswald was said to have fired, and from the grassy knoll. Barger compared the resulting sound patterns with the impulses on the Dictabelt. His findings contrasted with those of the Warren Commission, which ruled that Oswald fired three shots at Kennedy's limousine.

Barger identified at least four sound-wave patterns that he said closely resembled the muzzle blasts of gunshots in his test firing. Three of them closely resembled shots fired from the sixth-floor window. One resembled a shot from the grassy knoll, he said. Two other acoustic experts retained by the HSCA supported Barger's conclusion. The acoustic evidence became the keystone of the House panel's finding in January 1979 that Kennedy had "probably" been killed by conspirators who, besides Oswald, couldn't be identified.

Adding Clarity to the Debate

Other experts disputed the findings. In 1980, the Justice Department turned to the National Research Council, a government think tank. In May 1982, a 12-scientist NRC panel unanimously ruled that Barger's supposed gunshots were something else and "came too late to be attributed to assassination shots." (A Court TV analysis last year found essentially the same thing.)

Dictabelt No. 10 then went back to a file cabinet at the Justice Department. It was subsequently transferred to the National Archives. Then, in early 2001, Donald Thomas, a government scientist interested in the Kennedy assassination, published in a British forensics journal an article based on a mathematical review of all the acoustic evidence. Thomas's conclusion: Five shots had been fired at Kennedy's motorcade from two different directions.

At issue now: Can a digital map of the Dictabelt add clarity to the debate by decisively confirming or refuting the existence of a second gunman?

Duplicating the original poses major challenges. A Dictabelt groove is 75 microns wide -- about as wide as three human hairs -- and five microns deep. It's also asymmetric, with a steep wall on one side and a sloping one on the other. The unique shape complicates the job of writing the algorithms needed to describe it for computer simulation. But Haber and Fadeyev are cautiously confident they'll succeed with the Dictabelt as they did with "Goodnight Irene." Their next step: prepare a "proof of concept" paper for the National Archives. If the concept proves valid, the recording will be made available for scanning.

Paul Horowitz, a Harvard physics professor and member of the NRC panel that dismissed Dictabelt No. 10, says such scanning won't add to the assassination debate. Horowitz says he and several colleagues have finished a reply to Thomas's article. He says the as-yet-unpublished paper shows that Thomas and Barger mistook random sounds for gunshots: "Digital playback of the Dictabelt is not going to change that conclusion."

Don Thomas disagrees. He says the timing of the Dictabelt's sound impulses matches the Zapruder film's visual indications of gunfire. He cites a 4.8-second gap on the Dictabelt between what he views as the third and fourth shots. "On the Zapruder film, the gap between the crucial two shots is 4.8 seconds. Would random noises occur with that exact same timing?"

Vitaliy Fadeyev says it's possible that a high-quality digital map of Dictabelt No. 10 could clarify a key JFK forensics issue: the "acoustic fingerprints" of the alleged gunshots.

"When the first studies [of Dictabelt No. 10] were done, the waveform analysis was fairly primitive," he says. Now the science of analyzing patterns made by sound waves is "much more sophisticated because we have so much more computing power." Researchers, he adds, should have "a much greater ability to confirm or refute whether those sound impulses actually match the acoustic fingerprints of rifle shots, or come from something else."

So, if all goes according to plan, Dictabelt No. 10 will be transported across the country to the Lawrence Berkeley lab later this year. Once there, it will go under the confocal microscope. Within a few months, a digital replica could be produced -- a modern version of an old piece of evidence that may shed new light on one of the country's most enduring mysteries.

From Reader's Digest - March 2005

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John,

I'd like to know what happened to the "new study" that Jeff Morley talks about in the March 2005 issue of Readers Digest?

Do you know?

BK

Bill,

The original belt covering the time of the shooting, Belt #10, is in a very poor physical condition. Carl Haber's work at Berkeley will just provide NARA with the best possible copy of the dictabelt for access/study purposes - he is not trying to to do anything else.

As for the current status of the study, the latest news I have is that he is ready to proceed, but NARA still must do the procurement paperwork to authorize funds to complete the work. My information is that they are optimistic that a contract will be in place in the near future.

Chris.

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William, an interesting Q. Chris seems to have answered it. That's good. I can't contribute anything to that.

AFA transcripts go my memory is that amongst the dpd jfk files are a couple of extra pages not linked to. Or so it was a couple of years ago when I started to try to see if I got the coding right then I could find otherwise unlinked to documents. I found this to be so and let a couple of members know and asked them to pass it on. Recently my interest became what would happen if I alerted the research community to it publicly having figured if there was anything worth garbering it had been done.

I've no idea if anyone picked up on it and would be interested in the state of affairs with regards to that today. (Don't ask me to check, I got sick of it. The gradual distortions over time of films and photos, the witholding of US citizens proprties from them is so systemic it includes the members of the research community which is so fragmented and agenda driven that it really is the conspirators best friend.) Don, quite apart from my misgivings re his DP map being correct, is absolutely right when he says that Together Everyone Achieves More.

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