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Was Oliver Stone's JFK accurate or credible?


John Wilson
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Well, consider it payback for what the creators of Penn & Teller's Bullxxxx did to Jim Marrs. (They invited him on the show to discuss the Kennedy assassination only to call him a whacko in the voice-overs and take some cheap shots by talking about his books on UFOs.)

Well, just like with VB on Ventura's show, Jim Marrs should have known better than to appear on P&T's program. Marrs and Vince both should have had better sense.

Penn & Teller's show on the assassination, btw, is a program that totally destroys two longstanding conspiracy myths in just 3 minutes' air time:

http://DVP-Potpourri.blogspot.com/2009/12/debunking-jfk-conspiracy-myths.html

Edited by David Von Pein
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Well, consider it payback for what the creators of Penn & Teller's Bullxxxx did to Jim Marrs. (They invited him on the show to discuss the Kennedy assassination only to call him a whacko in the voice-overs and take some cheap shots by talking about his books on UFOs.)

Well, just like with VB on Ventura's show, Jim Marrs should have known better than to appear on P&T's program. Marrs and Vince both should have had better sense.

Penn & Teller's show on the assassination, btw, is a program that totally destroys two longstanding conspiracy myths in just 3 minutes' air time:

http://DVP-Potpourri.blogspot.com/2009/12/debunking-jfk-conspiracy-myths.html

BTW, you're wrong. The rifle experiment was meaningless. What mattered was a person's ability to aim shoot and reload the supposed murder weapon while firing upon a moving target, not a person's ability to reload a rifle without aiming at anything. And the melon shot was a parlor trick.

From chapter 16 at patspeer.com:

The TV show Bullxxxx did shoot something off a table, however: a melon. In a 2005 episode purportedly debunking that Kennedy was killed by anyone other than Oswald, they shot a melon to demonstrate that bullets enter small and exit big, and that Kennedy's wounds could easily be replicated. To show that there was no mystery to Kennedy's back-and-to-the-left movement following the head shot, moreover, they showed the melon falling backwards in slow motion after impact.

They were bullxxxxting their audience, of course. (People seem to forget that the hosts of the show, Penn & Teller, are first and foremost magicians--illusionists.) That they performed multiple takes in order to perfect their trick is confirmed by the fact that in the long shot melon goo flies out and knocks a pink hat off another melon, but in the slow-motion shot that followed the hat never moves. From what I can gather, the trick works like this: 1) the bullet strikes the melon, imparting energy into the melon, and explodes from the far side of the melon; 2) a portion of this energy is projected downwards as the melon expands; 3) this causes the melon to recoil slightly from the table; 4) due to there now being far more melon missing by the exit than at the entrance of the bullet, however, the primary motion of the melon is to roll backwards and re-establish equilibrium; 5) the poorly secured table, recoiling from the expansion of the melon forwards, tilts back towards the shooter; 6) the melon rolls off the edge of the extremely small table. TA DA! If the table had been a larger table the melon would barely have moved. If the table had been solidly secured and had not tilted backwards the melon would barely have moved. If the melon had had a flat bottom it would barely have moved.

Of course, there's also the fact that a melon isn't a skull. As the forward momentum created by a bullet's impact is in large part determined by the amount of energy expended while entering and exiting the object receiving the impact, and as a skull is many times more difficult to penetrate than a melon, it only makes sense that a skull would be the recipient of far more forward momentum than a melon. An online paper by mechanical engineer Tony Szamboti estimates that a human skull pierced by a bullet will receive 50-100 times the amount of energy and forward momentum as a melon pierced by a bullet. I suspect he's right. I mean, you can't exactly pierce a skull with a toothpick, can you? This simple fact, apparently overlooked by physicist Luis Alvarez in his own studies, helps explain why the skulls fired on by Alfred Olivier's team in 1964 moved in the direction of the bullet far better than team member Larry Sturdivan's subsequent guess that the gelatin was to blame.

The melon test on Bullxxxx was not a total waste of time and melon, however. It once again demonstrated that matter does fly back from a bullet entrance upon impact. The melon sprayed fluid backwards from the entrance as well as forwards from the exit. As Zapruder frame 313, taken within a split second of the bullet's impact, was tested by the ITEK Corporation in 1976 and found to show no signs of spray from the back of Kennedy's head, the melon test supports the suspicion that Kennedy was not struck on the back of the head at frame 313.

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BTW, you're wrong.

Yeah, sure Pat. LNers are always wrong about everything, aren't they?

Anyway, we've derailed this Ollie Stone thread long enough.

(Sorry.)

And to makes amends and get the thread back on track a little bit, let's talk about this Stone lie (which partially segues into the P&T topic above):

http://JFK-Archives.blogspot.com/2010/06/oliver-stone-blunder.html

Edited by David Von Pein
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BTW, you're wrong.

Yeah, sure Pat. LNers are always wrong about everything, aren't they?

No, they're not. If all the bones of contention between the LN camp and the CT camp were to be listed, I would undoubtedly come down as 70% or more LN.

LNs, in my opinion, are right about most of the details, but wrong about the big picture. And CTs have the opposite problem.

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LNs, in my opinion, are right about most of the details, but wrong about the big picture. And CTs have the opposite problem.

Well, it's good to hear a CTer say this:

"LNs, in my opinion, are right about most of the details."

That's something I sure don't hear out of many conspiracy advocates. In fact, I've never heard it from any CTer heretofore. Congrats, Pat, you're the first. :)

I've said this before, and I'll reiterate it again: I have more respect for Patrick J. Speer than I do for most other conspiracists I have encountered over the years. You, Pat, are dead wrong about several things you currently believe in (such as your belief that the SBT is incorrect), but your articles and posts re the JFK case are definitely more coherent and sensible (for the most part) than virtually any other CTer's work I've ever come across up to this point in late 2010.

I just wish more conspiracy believers could approach the Single-Bullet Theory with more logic and reason. Because to believe, as most CTers do (not counting Pat Speer, who rightly thinks all shots came from the rear), that TWO separate bullets lodged in JFK's throat and upper back is a belief that is just not a sensible or reasonable belief. (IMHO.)

And then to have BOTH of those bullets disappear immediately after the shooting?? That, frankly, is just nutty.

XX.+Single-Bullet+Theory+Blog+Logo.png

Edited by David Von Pein
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Jim DiEugenio: If I was advising Oliver on the film today, I would have him use very little dramqtic license--for instance, instead of the Prouty meeting I would show Garrision reading the guy's letter in his study at home.

Sure - but it's not as exciting or involving. The audience needs a person to identify with as the information source, and the Washington, DC backdrop to the scene is moving and thought-provoking. There's a reason why that long scene with Donald Sutherland keeps going up on YouTube - Sutherland's narration is riveting, every bit as thrilling as the archival photos played over it. And it closes with Mister "X" refusing to testify ("The truth is on your side, bubba...I just hope you catch a break"), leaving Garrison friendless again and even more confused on how to proceed. The material and performances are golden.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4Dh01xth0M

I remember a liberal friend of mine who said that in the theater he couldn't wait for JFK to be over by the time Sutherland came on - but that Sutherland woke him up and he was planted in his seat until the end credits. At that point in a tale of profound discouragements, an audience identifying with the protagonist requires some reward, and a little "The truth is on your side, bubba..."

Edited by David Andrews
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Exactly right, David- when I watched Sutherland's scene for the first time I was electrified!

So much riveting if disturbing detail (I kept thinking about Gulf I & II), and a fantastic performance too!

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Jim, no I have not. I stated;

Did an 'inside man' advise him about black ops etc (Sutherland)?

Which in no way denigrates the acting skill of that brilliant scene, merely questioning the occurrence, hence my post here? Re-read my initial post (and subsequent one questioning the convoluted accuracy of the film, not that I dislike it, or why would I have watched the dvd again?) before making such a statement, please!

Thanks for the rest of your post though.

Edited by John Wilson
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JFK brought about the ARRB - which puts Stone up there with Upton Sinclair, author of the 1906 novel The Jungle, which inspired regulation of the food industry - in its time, if not ours, not a travesty.

Sinclair's several runs for office on the Socialist ticket, and especially his Democratic Party run for California governor in 1934 (crushed by the Hearst press and the film industry), deserve to be re-examined in the age of the Tea Party and Jesse Ventura. Like in a good comparative documentary, filmmakers.

Edited by David Andrews
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John:

You realize you just contradicted yourself right?

First you questioned how the film had stood up in the wake of later facts. And one of the scenes you questioned was this one. As i said, this scene used a rather liberal amount of dramatic license. But you say that is Ok, since its entertainment value justifies it.

This is the way people feel about this subject: its a guilty pleasure with them.

Another thing Oliver deserves credit for is the fact that his film launched a whole new wave of researchers into the case: John Newman, John Armstrong, Gary Aguilar and David Mantik (who, between them, revolutionized the medical evidence), Carol Hewett (best researcher ever on the Paines), Milicent Cranor, Anna Marie Kuhns Walko, Bill Davy, (best book on Garrison), Peter Vea, Lisa Pease etc.

This group gained ballast through another achievement of the film, the ARRB. THese two million pages of declassified files did two things: 1.) Demonstrated that the WC was not just a fraud, but a purposeful fraud 2.) Demonstrated that the evidence against Oswald was even more compromised than anyone thought, and 3.) Began to show what had really happened.

So when Pat Speer says the following: "If all the bones of contention between the LN camp and the CT camp were to be listed, I would undoubtedly come down as 70% or more LN.

LNs, in my opinion, are right about most of the details, but wrong about the big picture. And CTs have the opposite problem."

I don't know what the heck he is talking about. Just what details support the WC die hards today? Having edited Probe for seven years , and read the work of the above distinguished writers, to me they have even gone beyond the first generation of critics in a way that was actually not imaginable back then. Consider:

1. Who would have thought that the Mexico CIty mirage was as multi tiered and complex as it has turned out to be? To the point that people have actually lied about whether or not the so-called Oswald tapes survived 11/22. They did, but since it was not Oswald's voice on the tapes, they had to be made to disappear.

2. Who would have thought that Hoover would actually lie about CE 399 being shown to Tomlinson and Wright at Parkland? When in fact, this lying document was actually used by the critics to show that at least CE 399 resembled whatever bullet was found that day. It took one of those first generation critics--Tink Thompson-- to prove that Hoover lied about this and the bullet was not shown to either man. Because Hoover knew it was not the same bullet.

3. Who would have thought that the autopsy photographer did not take the pictures of whatever brain is depicted as Kennedy's in NARA? But such is the case through the testimony of John Stringer to the ARRB. He never used the technique that necessitated this type of film.

4. Who would have thought that the Paines were in such cahoots with Hoover that they would cooperate with a deception about the Minox camera to get it out of Oswald's dead hands and put it into Michael Paine's live arms? But through the ARRB and Carol Hewett we can prove this now. Just as we can show that the Imperial Reflex camera was not found that weekend during the two day search. But Ruth Paine surfaced it nine days later.

5. Who would have thought that whatever bullet that was delivered to the FBI HQ at 7:30 PM that night, could not have been the bullet Elmer Lee Todd turned over since he did not get it until 8:05?

6. Who would have thought back then that when Otto Otepka submitted a list of alleged defectors to the CIA so he could find out if they were genuine or fake, that list would be turned over from Bissell to Angleton? And that when Otepka inisted on a reply, he would be put through an ordeal that would ultimately cost him his job--17 days before JFK was killed.

7. Who would have thought back then that this same Angleton would then bifurcate Oswald's files on the eve of Mexico City so the intelligence community would be confused about his alleged meeting with Kostikov, and that this would throw Washington into a CYA frenzy and intimidate Earl Warren into not investigating the assassination for fear of WW 3?

8. Who would have thought back in 1967 that the medical cover up on this case would take up over thirty years to disguise a gaping wound in the back of the skull that over 40 witnesses saw in both Dallas and Bethesda? And that this avulsive wound was later kept out of the autopsy report to cover up evidence of a front shot. And we have this from one of the doctors in the autopsy room that night, Dr. Canada. Who swore Michael Kurtz to secrecy about it until after his death.

9. Who would have thought back then that the FBI would cover up both evidence of a practice team on the grassy knoll two days before the assassination, and also the discovery of a Mauser shell in Dealey Plaza? A shell that matches the first description of the rifle found in the TSBD.

10. Who would have thought that the WC and FBI would do what they could to cover up fact that the rifle on the order form is not the rifle found at the TSBD, that there was more than one rifle with that serial number, and that Marina never saw a rifle with scope until after Kennedy was killed? And that there is no evidence that that rifle was ever picked up by Oswald.

This all came out later. In some cases much later. So just what details are there to support the tenets of the WC? As far as I can see, there is simply no case against Oswald in the murder of Kennedy or TIppit. Unless, in the latter, you want to say he was a world class smiler and carried three wallets.

The only major fact that is supportable in the WC about Oswald is that Ruby shot him. But they lied about how he got into the basement to do the job. It was not down the Main street ramp. And he had been stalking Oswald that morning by casing out the place.

The only thing detailed about the WC case is the detailed demolition of it that can be performed today.

And we have Oliver to thank for for much of that ammunition.

Jim, when I said I agree with LNs on 70% or more of the bones of contention, I meant it. Much of what has been pushed by CTs has been garbage. You probably agree with LNs on 50% of these bones, as well.

For example:

Some CTs believe the Z-film is a fake. I think this is pretty doubtful.

Some believe the eyewitness evidence proves the limousine stopped on Elm Street during the shooting. I believe it's incredibly clear that what these witnesses were describing was the limousine slowing down, and that this confirms the accuracy of the assassination films.

Some if not most believe the autopsy photos are fake. I not only think this is doubtful, I think the autopsy photos-- when studied along with the Zapruder film--suggest a conspiracy.

Some think the x-rays have been altered. I not only think this is doubtful, I think the x-rays--when studied along with the Zapruder film and autopsy photos--PROVES a conspiracy.

Some think the autopsy was filmed by William Pitzer, and that he was later murdered because of it. I don't.

Some think the rifle found in the depository was a Mauser. I think this is pretty silly, seeing as the rifle shown in the Alyea film is clearly a Mannlicher-Carcano like the one shown in the back yard photos.

Some think the Altgens photo shows Oswald on the front steps. I think it's 100% crystal freaking clear it is Billy Lovelady.

Some think Mac Wallace's fingerprint was found in the sniper's nest, and that this proves he shot Kennedy. I have strong doubts about this.

Some think Kennedy was shot by George Hickey. I don't.

Some think Kennedy was shot by William Greer. I don't.

Some believe Gordon Arnold's story. I don't.

Some believe Chauncey Holt's story. I don't.

Some believe James Files' story. I don't.

Some believe Judy Baker's story. I don't.

Some believe Jack Ruby can be seen in photos of Dealey Plaza. I don't.

Some believe Howard Hunt was one of the three tramps. I don't.

And on and on... In short, there is a long laundry list of CT claims over the years that I reject. You reject many of these as well. As do many other CTs...

Edited by Pat Speer
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When I explained that this Mr. X scene was done with a liberal use of dramatic license, Dave Andrews says he did not really care since it was exciting and involving.

Jim, I care about these things when I read history, or watch documentaries. But in the middle of a 189-minute film, the audience - which is not composed of Forum readers - wilts at the introduction of epistolary fiction, and at epistolary fact. (As in the Prouty letter.)

Clay Shaw resembled Paul Newman more than Tommy Lee Jones, and Newman was a good liberal to boot. But Tommy Lee Jones was younger and more recognizable to younger audiences. Yet good liberal Ed Asner didn't look a fig like Guy Banister, which was a let-down for me. Did any of David Ferrie's pals look like Kevin Bacon, to any degree?

I love resemblance and simulacrum in historical filmmaking - but practical decisions have to be made in a money business. And midpoint in a three-hour movie is a good time to get the audience out of New Orleans and Dallas, and plunge them into the reflecting pool on the Mall, in bigger-picture Washington DC.

Edited by David Andrews
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David:

I understand, your point. All I am trying to say is that this is a point of controversy, that is how much dramatic license is necessary to get a general audience interested in a feature film. And to keep that interest through a long film.

Oliver was lambasted for this movie. I think he would have been attacked no matter if it was closer to the actual facts of the case or not. It is a matter of how much he wold have been attacked.

To give you an example: I would not have used Beverly Oliver. Period. Whether or not she is telling the truth is not the point. She is just too controversial. You set yourself up for the Dave Perrys of the world. Same with the Three Tramps.

So if I had been advising Oliver, I would have said "No, there is too much stuff in the record that is much too solid for you to waste your time on stuff that is radioactive."

Yeah - the Three Tramps is dicey, but I'd support it being in the film (absent any Howard Hunt or Chauncey Holt ID) because Prouty linked the one photo to Lansdale, and Lansdale is the link between Washington and Dealey Plaza in the story.

Otherwise, I think those photos are important because the one figure of the three that can be ID'd is Charles Harrelson, future rifle assassin - though he may not have been a shooter in Dealey.

Edited by David Andrews
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