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New Zealand Justice & the JFK Inquiry

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Last week New Zealanders were absorbing some aftershocks from Robert Blakey's stewardship of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (See March 31 New Zealand news report below). Blakey, as everyone knows, was a

great believer in "science," but he had difficulty distinguishing the

voodoo variety from the real. His reliance on Vincent Guinn's

invention known as Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis (CBLA) is a case

in point. Blakey used CBLA to prove that CE399 (the Magic Bullet), and the two bullet fragments found in Washington were NOT PLANTED. CBLA is pronounced CABLA, although I am tempted to re-name it


Dr. Guinn claimed to have special powers that enabled him to compare

any two bullet fragments and determine whether they came from "the

same batch or melt of lead," just as I have the power, by comparing

any two pieces of banana, to tell you whether they came from the same

banana tree in Guatemala. (See Volume 1 HSCA)

John Barlow and his wife and family in Wellington, New Zealand found

none of this remotely funny when John was convicted of double murder

based on the testimony of Charles Peters, a graduate of the Vincent

Guinn school of Voodoo Science and currently employed at the FBI

laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. (Old J. Edgar Hoover.did not permit

this kind of nonsense in his day).

By way of background to the March 31 story, here is an excerpt from a

piece in the New Zealand Herald dated 11/2/2004:


But documentary maker Bryan Bruce of Red Sky Film and Television said

that in the course of making a documentary about the justice system

and the jury system, he found the FBI expert apparently did not

disclose that he had also found a bullet he had in Washington, from

different ammunition, was also chemically indistinguishable.

In the course of his research, he came across the work of United

States experts William Tobin and Erik Randich who had questioned FBI

methods of linking bullets found at crime scenes with those in the

possession of defendants.

The FBI testing assumed that each batch of bullets produced by

manufacturers was slightly chemically different. But Tobin and Randich

found that different batches of bullets produced at different times

could have the same chemical makeup. QUOTE OFF

Here is the latest on the Barlow case. Read it and weep.


"Do not block the way of inquiry" C.S. Peirce

Convicted double murderer Barlow seeks royal pardon


The lawyer for convicted double murderer John Barlow says the "smoking

gun" evidence that put the Wellington antique dealer behind bars has

now been discredited and his client should be pardoned.

Wellington businessman Eugene Thomas and his son Gene were shot dead

in their central city offices in 1994. John Barlow was charged with

their murders and after two hung juries, was found guilty at a third

trial and jailed for life with a minimum non-parole period of 14 years.

TV3's Campbell Live revealed tonight that Barlow is seeking a royal

pardon on the basis that forensic evidence advanced by the FBI in the

third trial has now been discredited.

The evidence in question was given by FBI expert Charles Peters, who

testified about bullets using a method known as comparative bullet lead


Mr Peters told the third trial the make-up of the bullets found in the

bodies of the victims matched a box of bullets owned by Barlow.

But lawyer Greg King said research published in 2002 undermined the

technique and similar evidence had been ruled inadmissible in the

United States.

"Three weeks ago a conviction for murder from 1995 involving the same

witness was overturned," Mr King said.

"The same witness and the same `we can link the bullets to the box'

evidence was discredited."

Mr King said the FBI evidence was the substantive difference between

the first two trials, in which there were hung juries, and the third.

"If you look at it, this was the smoking gun that put Barlow behind

bars, it clearly was. It was the one thing that linked Barlow

forensically to the crimes and it cannot be underestimated."

Barlow's wife, Angela, who has never lost faith in her husband, told

NZPA the family was heartened by recent developments in the United


"We knew a long time ago that that evidence wasn't correct but we had

to have the proof," she said.

"We've been working on it for seven or eight years now and we've been

gradually gathering evidence, but now we've sort of come to the end

with the overturning of some cases in the States which has been making

us a little bit more optimistic about it all."

Mrs Barlow said her husband was feeling positive about recent

developments. "He's good, he's fairly optimistic now. He always has

been optimistic but we're just feeling quietly excited about it all."

Mrs Barlow said the research discrediting the evidence was carried out

in the United States by the Research Council of the National Academy of


"The FBI commissioned them to do this and I guess the FBI wouldn't

have been very pleased with their findings," she said.

Mrs Barlow said the family had managed to deal with the ordeal of the

past decade with the knowledge that there would eventually be a


"I think the family have always felt that something was going to

happen, because they just thought `how can it not happen?," she said.

"I think every day you wake up and think `gosh, it's still with us',

but we're getting there slowly. The trouble is the time it takes,

waiting for things always and its over eleven years now."

Mr King took his petition for a royal pardon to the Governor-General

on Tuesday.

"The alternative request is that the case be referred back to the

court of appeal to be determined as a fresh evidence appeal on the

question of his convictions," Mr King said.

"At this point in time we say that this is compelling, this is cogent,

this is reliable evidence, it completely undermines the basis on which

this man was convicted. He's been tried three times, he shouldn't be

tried a fourth time, the appropriate step is to pardon him."

It was not known how long it would take for the pardon to be

considered, but Mrs Barlow was hopeful it would be by the end of this


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