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Was The HSCA's conclusion helpful to the case of certain 'Conspiracy Theories'


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On 2/17/2017 at 8:55 AM, Paul Baker said:

 

Repeating some of my earlier post message, but feel the Julia Mercer story is credible and important enough to do so and to counter Baker's general dismissal of her.

Again, how does one determine whether someone is a very credible witness to some widely viewed public event versus something less so, or even the opposite? 

Obviously, just common sense dictates you first read their initial statements and later ones if given, and then compare them to each other and to known facts and perhaps to other witnesses's statements who were close to their physical location in viewing the same event.

Also, if more thoroughly needed, checking on the witness's personal background relative to their life experiences, actions and words.

Of course there were a few suspect witnesses in Dealey Plaza on 11,22,1963.  Jean Hill was just all over the place and seemed prone to hyper-anxiety.

I also question Beverly Oliver's story and Gordon Arnold's as well.

Ed Hoffman seems more credible. And I believe that it wasn't Hoffmans entire family that said he was prone to exaggeration and maybe even lies. It appears his father  ( mainly or even alone ) spread that dis-info to protect his son from what he believed were serious threats to his life.

But Mercer is a different story to me. She never exhibited the kinds of personality traits that would suggests she would exaggerate or even make up things for some insecure need for more attention in her life. She made her statements...and was gone.

And even if she mis-identified Jack Ruby as the stalled truck's driver that morning, it's other parts of her story that are just as important and seemed to pass other source verification muster. Most everything she said about the truck - when and where is was pulled up, it's color, two passengers, police above it - was absolutely verified. 

Mercer says she saw the younger man passenger of this stalled truck  ( with clothing specifics ) get out and pull what looked to her like a gun case from the back or side of the truck. She described it's color ( brown )  it's size and shape in general terms and the fact that this item had a handle. She relates that the younger man then took this item and walked up the grassy incline ( where it temporarily got stuck in the ground ) away from the truck and she lost sight of him, at least until traffic allowed her to slowly pull out and past the stalled truck.

This stalled truck witness statement by Mercer seems so matter-of-fact unremarkable and void of the kind of exaggerations or extra coloring drama such as something Jean Hill or Gordon Arnold put out, that you can't at all lump her into their non-credible category. 

I would have liked to have asked Mercer some basic questions myself. How would she know the difference between a gun carrying case from a plumbing tool box?

Did she have someone in her family that owned and used guns?

Was she a politically inclined person? With strong feelings about anything on a national level regarding Kennedy, or maybe even civil rights?

And Ed Hoffman. The mute. Baker questions whether he was even there?  Seems to me that it would take a monumentally serious and personally traumatic event for him to knowingly risk embarrassment in aggressively thrusting himself onto what law enforcement he could find at the moment to try to get them to hear his story.

Hoffman and his incoherent speech and frantic arm and hand movements were derisively dismissed by the first police interaction ( which must have been humiliating  ) but he was so motivated to get his observations out he was willing to risk going through this. That separates him somewhat from the least reliable witnesses.

And Hoffman also said that the item being passed from one man to the other behind the picket fence was brown in color ( or that it may have been carried in something this color . Same color as Mercer's "gun case". That's only one matched description by two witnesses I admit, but it is something in common.

Even if the item removed from the stalled plumbing ( or air conditioning?) truck as stated by Mercer was simply a "tool box", what possible  explanation could anyone come up with that rationally explains why anyone would need or use this up in the area it was taken? There was nothing up in there that would require the need for plumbing or air-conditioning tools.

I believe that many more 11,22,1963 Dealey Plaza eye witnesses were more credible than not and that only a handful were what Baker implies as fringe cases.

Edited by Joe Bauer
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38 minutes ago, Paul Baker said:

Make assumptions all you like.

A court room doesn't necessarily work in the same way as a laboratory, Michael. Otherwise certain people would be in jail, and others wouldn't.

Here is one of the better essays, its written by a former FBI employee who specialized in metallurgy.  Its one of the reasons CBLA was discarded.

http://www.iowainnocence.org/files/july_champion_p12-22.pdf

Edited by James DiEugenio
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3 hours ago, Michael Clark said:

I brought in the Supreme Court from the Bull Pen, and Baker wandered around the clubhouse for an hour before going home. And that was only 5PM in the UK so he can't claim that it was bed-time.

 

Baker can't get into the clubhouse in my book because the season is long over and the park should have been demolished decades ago.

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Joe,

I find Julia Ann Mercer to be a credible witness, inasmuch as, like you said, she never exhibited the kinds of personality traits that would suggest she would exaggerate or make things up.

35 minutes ago, Joe Bauer said:

Even if the item removed from the stalled plumbing ( or air conditioning?) truck as stated by Mercer was simply a "tool box", what possible  explanation could anyone come up with that rationally explains why anyone would need or use this up in the area it was taken? There was nothing up in there that would require the need for plumbing or air-conditioning tools.

I wonder, what area was it actually taken to?

Regards

 

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On 2/19/2017 at 6:33 AM, Paul Baker said:

We seem to be at cross purposes. Perhaps I'm not being clear.

If Jim says that NAA as a technique is unreliable with respect to the compositional analysis of bullet fragments, he is wrong. It is not, as he says, 'junk science'. As far as I am aware, these procedures were carried out a few times on the bullet fragments and the near-whole bullet recovered. These procedures were carried out correctly in a controlled environment. Samples were bombarded with neutrons, artificial radioactive isotopes were created, the resultant gamma rays were detected and characterised, elemental composition was derived from those. This is not junk science.

What you just described is a forensic analysis that was discredited in 2002. Not discredited by a CTer, but by scientists. Which led to the discontinuation of the procedure by the FBI. I don't know how you missed that fact, given that I posted the Wikipedia article saying just that in this post, and then someone else posted a link to the published study itself.

 

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NAA is a valid, sensitive, qualitative and quantitative analytical technique.

Yes, that is true for some applications. But not for bullet lead analysis. As I said, the use of NAA in bullet lead analysis has been discredited.

Edited by Sandy Larsen
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On 2/19/2017 at 6:33 AM, Paul Baker said:

I am entitled, and particularly as a scientist myself, to have that opinion. I am also able to change that opinion in light of other analyses and interpretations. As yet, though, I haven't. What I don't do is wear blinkers and bathe in the light of the conclusion that helps to support my theory. Scientists can't do that, because if they do they stop being a scientist.

Paul,

What is your field of study?

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That is a good question Sandy.

But if I catch his drift, Baker is saying he still buys into the CBLA?  Wow.  Gary's article boils down the two basic problems with Guinn's work in very simple language.  And they clearly show that the process was gravely flawed in its assumptions.  Mainly because Guinn was not a metallurgist and he did not consult a metallurgist.

Talk about holding onto a now discredited theory--to me that is tin foil hat stuff.

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1 hour ago, James DiEugenio said:

That is a good question Sandy.

But if I catch his drift, Baker is saying he still buys into the CBLA?  Wow.  Gary's article boils down the two basic problems with Guinn's work in very simple language.  And they clearly show that the process was gravely flawed in its assumptions.  Mainly because Guinn was not a metallurgist and he did not consult a metallurgist.

Talk about holding onto a now discredited theory--to me that is tin foil hat stuff.

My field is in organometallic chemistry. I've read all of the articles cited, and some others. As usual there are arguments and counterarguments to the validity of NAA with respect to the Kennedy assassination and in particular the single bullet theory. Arguments in this area tend to have an emphasis on statistical analysis, probability and the context of the studies, rather than the underlying science. As usual, a veritable minefield.

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58 minutes ago, Paul Baker said:

My field is in organometallic chemistry. I've read all of the articles cited, and some others. As usual there are arguments and counterarguments to the validity of NAA with respect to the Kennedy assassination and in particular the single bullet theory. Arguments in this area tend to have an emphasis on statistical analysis, probability and the context of the studies, rather than the underlying science. As usual, a veritable minefield.

Moot.

The clothing evidence establishes 2+ shooters.

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Its not abut the single bullet theory or the Kennedy assassination.  

Its about the general process and underlying tenets of the use of NAA for CBLA.  In fact, the case where the judge threw out the FBI testimony on the subject and threatened to subject the witness to perjury charges had nothing at all to do with the JFK case.  It was actually after that case when Randich and Grant began to look at Guinn's work, especial since Grant had been a student of Guinn's and admired him a lot.

It became clear to them both that Guinn did not know anything about the metallurgy that goes into bullet manufacture, and one of his biggest mistakes was in that field.

And if Baker knows the articles, then I would ask him to name that mistake.

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On 2/21/2017 at 0:33 AM, James DiEugenio said:

Its not abut the single bullet theory or the Kennedy assassination.  

Its about the general process and underlying tenets of the use of NAA for CBLA.  In fact, the case where the judge threw out the FBI testimony on the subject and threatened to subject the witness to perjury charges had nothing at all to do with the JFK case.  It was actually after that case when Randich and Grant began to look at Guinn's work, especial since Grant had been a student of Guinn's and admired him a lot.

It became clear to them both that Guinn did not know anything about the metallurgy that goes into bullet manufacture, and one of his biggest mistakes was in that field.

And if Baker knows the articles, then I would ask him to name that mistake.

A discredits B, C discredits A ... 

Based on what I've read, Jim, I think there are valid inferences that have been made with respect to the bullet fragments. While that can be discredited and perhaps deemed inadmissible in a court of law, you understand that I look at it all from a different perspective.

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Paraffin Wax Casts

Paraffin wax casts were taken of the hands and right cheek of Lee Harvey Oswald, the only official suspect in the murder. The casts were tested by NAA within weeks of the assassination to see whether they contained incriminating quantities of gunpowder residues. Similar tests were done on a controlled sample of casts from marksmen who fired a gun of the same type as that found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.

Approx. what time was such a 'paraffin wax cast' taken from Oswald?

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Alistair,

I haven´t had a chance to do much research on this subject until last night. In ¨Hear No Evil" on pg 572 Thomas writes ... ¨Half a second later another large amplitude spike is attended immediately by three similar spikes. This pattern had significantly fewer echoes than expected from a rifle shot, where as by contrast each of he succeeding five patterns were trains of 8-17 impulses.¨

Thomas has written several articles that explain the acoustics evidence. I suggest you start with a google search.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On Friday, February 17, 2017 at 10:55 AM, Paul Baker said:

Ah, yes. Julia Ann Mercer. Another favourite. Over an hour before the assassination, she saw Jack Ruby and Oswald setting up position on the Grassy Knoll, parking their truck on Elm and blocking traffic? I think she said or implied that DPD officers were helping in some way. She saw all of this within the few seconds that her progress was blocked by the truck. Some nonsense like that. Her story has a foot in reality, in that a truck did break down in that area on that morning, but that was about it. Still, a difficult one for the likes of DiEugenio to let go of since it somehow supports his position, regardless of its incredibility.

Paul Baker,

Yes, not only Julia Ann Mercer, but there are many cases of "mistaken identity" sightings in the WC documents that somehow rose to the level of our attention.   Just to name a few more:

1.  C.A. Hamblen, the Western Union worker who claimed that LHO was in his office, when three other workers testified that he was not.

2.  Eight different witnesses of the Sports Drome Gun Range, who contradict each other, as some describe Oswald as a huge, hunking man.  Absurd.

3.  Glenn Smith at the Shell Station in Irving, who claims he saw LHO there, while Robert Taylor, who also works there, claims that Taylor was mistaken.

4. Pamela Mumford, who testified that LHO was on her bus to Mexico City, but admits that this person never said his name was Oswald.  Her main assurance that this was LHO, however, was that she saw him on TV wearing a grey sweater, and she swore this was the same sweater LHO wore on the bus.   The problem was that the grey sweater belonged to the Dallas City Jail wardrobe, and LHO had just selected it that morning.

5.  Duwayne Ryder of the Irving Sports Shop claimed that LHO came in asking for a scope to be placed on his rifle.  Yet his boss, Charles Greener, testified that this was not Oswald.  All Ryder had on his side was a ticket marked "Oswald" with no other verification -- as if nobody else in Irving named Oswald owned a rifle.

6.  Leonard Hutchinson insisted that LHO came into his shop regularly at 8 AM to buy cinnamon rolls and milk.   Even though LHO lived in Dallas.   He added that one day LHO and his wife brought a two-party check to his store to cash -- for $89 (which is $890 in today's dollars).   Marina Oswald emphatically denies that she was ever there, or that LHO ever had a check with that large amount.

7.   Clifton M. Shasteen, a barber in Irving, claimed that LHO came there often, driving a car, accompanied by a 14-year old boy.   Nothing to do with JFK, but then, neither did these other witnesses.

8.  Frank Pizzo of the Downtown Lincoln-Mercury in Dallas, claims that LHO was there shopping for a car with salesman Al Bogard.  He didn't see LHO, but when LHO was arrested, Al Bogard tore up his ticket with the address for LHO, and said, "There goes my prospect!"   So, Frank testified that it "had to be" LHO.  Nobody ever found that ticket.

9.  Edith Whitworth and Gertrude Hunter testified that LHO and Marina came into their furniture store once.  Marina denied it.  They insisted it was true.  Big deal.

10.  Three bartenders in New Orleans, Pena, Pena and Rodriguez, insisted that LHO was once in their bar, and complained about the prices of their drinks.  Their accounts to the FBI were filled with contradictions.

It is common in murder cases for "mistaken identity" cases to be reported by well-meaning citizens.  Many CTers, however, use them make stuff up.

Regards,
--Paul Trejo

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