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Will dictabelt get digital analysis?

Ron Ecker

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There's an article by Jefferson Morley in the March issue of Reader's Digest entitled "The JFK Murder: Can New Technology Finally Crack the Case?" It's about the work of two scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in devising a means to digitally analyze the DPD dictabelt on which the acoustical evidence is based, to try to determine if there is really gunfire on the tape, from more than one direction.

But there's a catch. The National Archives has the dictabelt, and Morley writes of the scientists' work: "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."

Leslie Waffen, the archivist who heads the NARA unit in charge of the tape, has been quoted in the past as enthusiastic about this project. But Waffen now has a new boss. The Bush administration has succeeded in installing Allen Weinstein as the new head of NARA, despite the fact that the process of his nomination, according to the Society of American Archivists (SAA), "was undertaken outside both the letter and the spirit of the law." (See link below.)

So who will ultimately decide if the laboratory's concept is "valid"? Leslie Waffen? Color me cynical, but I suspect that release of any material that might help prove a conspiracy in the JFK assassination is exactly the kind of material that the secretive Bush regime wanted Weinstein in place to prevent.

That's just my conjecture, of course, since the Bush regime won't say why it had to have a new head at NARA without due process.


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