Warren Commission Apologists and Trolls: Feeble Attempts to Debunk JFK Probability Analysis
Updated June 12, 2013
I posted a JFK Witness death analysis on the JFK Forum: https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/alt.assassination.jfk/9nU_KiM-2E0
John McAdams, the most prolific Warren Commission apologist and lone nutter replied:
“Look . . . you are wasting our time here unless you do the following: Purge your list of people who were *not* any sort of witnesses. Just the fact that buffs *think* somebody might have something to do with the assassination does not make them a witness. Indeed, the majority of people on your list are *not* witnesses”.
If you wanted to approach this seriously (and you clearly don’t) you would take some *defined* population (say, everybody who testified before the Warren Commission) and see how many of those died within a defined time span. You would also have to do some things that a real actuary would know about, such as taking into account the ages of the people on the list.
I glanced at your other blog posts. In spite of the fact that I specialize in voter behavior, your treatment of this issue makes me uninterested in looking at anything else on your blog. You simply don’t know how to approach these issues.
This is a link to my JFK blog posts: http://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/category/jfk/
You are really reaching, John McAdams. You just proved why you are the premier, quintessential Lone Nutter and Warren Commission shill. I have approached this subject very seriously since Nov. 22, 1963. YOU are the one who is clearly not interested in a serious analysis. You are only serious in promoting obfuscations. Where is your probability analysis? Are you even capable of doing one?
Point number 1: If you read my post(s) you would have seen that I calculate unnatural death probabilities for 552 Warren Commission witnesses over 1, 3 and 14 year periods – and a lot more:
Point number 2: It’s 2013 and you still don’t understand that a material witness is one who had a connection to the assassination, even if he or she was not called to testify. The witnesses you want to “purge” from the database are very material. There are eyewitnesses, there are material witnesses who have inside knowledge, and there are witnesses who were called to testify at the Warren Commission, the Garrison-Shaw trial, Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Many of them were so material that they were eliminated before they had a chance to testify.
I could go on and on. McAdams, you are not paying attention. I did the Warren Commission witness calculations and gave you links in the spreadsheet. What is the point of debating when you IGNORE the evidence presented in the post which focuses on Warren Commission witness deaths?
Let’s first consider the actuary engaged by the London Sunday Times who calculated 100,000 trillion to 1 odds of 18 material witness deaths in 3 years.
Warren Commission apologists often quote the Times Legal Manager’s letter to the HSCA in dismissing the odds (see below). The vagueness of the letter was a clever ruse to distract from the actuary’s assumptions and methodology – which were never stated. Therefore the calculation was NEVER actually refuted (see below).
But that’s not all: the HSCA statistician claimed that the universe of witnesses was impossible to determine and therefore the calculation was not valid. That is absolutely untrue. There were 552 Warren Commission witnesses and approximately 250 other material witnesses who were called to testify at the Garrison/Shaw trial, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the HSCA (see below).
The actuary’s calculation is confirmed by:
1- 552 Warren Commission witnesses and 0.000544 weighted overall mortality rate.
2- 2479 in the Warren Commission Index and 0.000121 JFK-weighted unnatural mortality rate.
In the three year period, there was a 1 in 550 billion probability of 15 unnatural deaths among the 2479 named in the Warren Commission Index. The probability of 10 homicides was 1 in 12 billion.
There were approximately 1400 material witnesses. Of this group, at least 76 died unnaturally: 46 homicides, 22 suicides (were they homicides?), 8 accidents (were they homicides?) and 34 were suspiciously timed heart attacks, sudden cancers, illnesses or unknown causes. Yet you claim there is nothing to see here; you keep spreading disinformation that Oswald was a Lone Nut and the Warren Commission conducted an honest investigation.
There were approximately 800 material witnesses who were called to testify in four investigations. You ignore the fact that at least 50 of the 110 deaths listed in the database were witnesses who were called to testify.
Twenty-five (25) testified at the 1964 Warren Commission, 12 were sought for the 1969 Garrison/Shaw Trial, 5 at the 1975 Senate Intelligence hearings, 20 at the 1977 House Select Committee on Assassinations. Ten were called to testify in two investigations, but never made it to the second.
Seven (7) top FBI officials died in six months from June-November 1977 – just before their scheduled testimony at the HSCA. Just a coincidence?
Given the conservative 0.000542 national unnatural mortality rate, the probability of 50 unnatural deaths occurring by chance is less than 1 in a TRILLION TRILLION. Given the 0.000153 JFK-witness weighted unnatural mortality rate, the probability is less than 1 in a TRILLION TRILLION TRILLION TRILLION.
You cannot argue that the 50 witnesses were not connected to the assassination. They were relevant enough to be called to testify. BUT THEIR RELEVANCE AND CONNECTION IS A MOOT POINT AS FAR AS THE PROBABILITIES ARE CONCERNED. Given 800 witnesses, the number and cause of death and relevant time period are all that matter. The only inputs to the Poisson distribution function for calculating probabilities are the expected number of deaths (based on mortality rate, number of witnesses and time period) and the actual number of unnatural deaths.
You have nothing left, so you are forced to deny 70 material witnesses, including Dorothy Kilgallen, Florence Smith, William Pitzer, Rose Cheramie, Lisa Howard, Nancy Tyler, Mary Pinchot Meyer, Mary Sherman, Guy Bannister, Jack Zangetty, Grant Stockdale, Gary Underhill, etc, just because they did not testify? And you call yourself an expert? The objections you guys throw up are laughable.
At the end of the 1973 film Executive Action it was noted that “In the three-year period which followed the murder of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, 18 material witnesses died – six by gunfire, three in motor accidents, two by suicide, one from a cut throat, one from a karate chop to the neck, three from heart attacks and two from natural causes. An actuary engaged by the London Sunday Times calculated the odds of 18 material witnesses dying within three years of the JFK assassination as 1 in 100,000 TRILLION”.
In response to a letter from the HSCA, the Sunday Times Legal Manager wrote:
“There was no question of our actuary having got his answer wrong: it was simply that we asked him the wrong question. He was asked what were the odds against 15 named people out of the population of the United States dying within a short period of time to which he replied -correctly – that they were very high. However, if one asks what are the odds against 15 of those included in the Warren Commission Index dying within a given period, the answer is, of course, that they are much lower. Our mistake was to treat the reply to the former question as if it dealt with the latter – hence the fundamental error in our first edition report, for which we apologize. None of the editorial staff involved in the story can remember the name of the actuary we consulted, but in view of what happened, you will, I imagine, agree that his identity is hardly material”.
No, the actuary got it right. That’s why he (or she) was a certified actuary. No one can recall the actuary’s name? And it’s hardly material? In fact, Whitaker misrepresented what is essentially a simple mathematical problem: to determine the probability of a given number of unnatural deaths over relevant time intervals within a given population group.
Whitaker claimed the actuary was asked to calculate the odds of 15 deaths in a given period. But there were actually at least 40 unnatural deaths in the three years. The Sunday Times did not specify unnatural deaths. Let’s calculate the odds of 15 Warren Commission witness unnatural deaths in three years using two unnatural mortality rates.
View the spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=t1RSsUwoqYcrzGv_VIbYJNw#gid=0
The objections the lone nutters throw out are pathetic:
1. Eddy Benavides not a witness?, No, but his brother Domingo, a witness to the Tippit slaying, could not identify Oswald in a lineup. But he identified him after Eddy was killed by gunshot.
2. Age of witnesses? Irrelevant, ridiculous argument. Homicides, accidents and suicides are irrespective of age. Duh.
3. Universe of material witnesses? Realistically, there were approximately 1,400. But even assuming an impossible 25,000, the probability of 76 unnatural deaths is 1 in 500. The probability of 46 homicides is 1 in 265,000.
4. Witnesses were self-selected, not random? Of course they were not a random group. They are material JFK witnesses who died unnaturally at much higher rates than the general population.
5. Relevance of witnesses? Fifty (50) were relevant enough to be called to testify: Twenty-five testified at the Warren Commission. The others died unnaturally or suspiciously shortly before their scheduled testimony at the Garrison/Clay Shaw trial, Senate Intelligence Hearings and HSCA.
6. Use of Poisson Distribution to calculate the probabilities? It’s used to calculate the probabilities of rare events -like homicides.
7. London Times actuary? Calculation confirmed in two ways.
8. London Times Legal Manager? Debunked. No one at the Times could recall the actuary’s name?
9. HSCA statistician analysis? Debunked. Did not consider even one of 20 HSCA prospective witness deaths – and scores of others.
The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) claimed that the number of material witnesses was unknowable and dismissed the calculation as invalid. But as stated above, in four JFK investigations (Warren, Garrison, Senate, HSCA) from 1964-77, there were 50 unnatural deaths (6.7%) out of approximately 800 material witnesses who were called to testify.
The HSCA made the following errors of omission:
1) noted just 21 of 100+ suspicious deaths (76 were unnatural: 44 homicides, 22 accidents, 10 suicides)
2) did not run a sensitivity analysis of probabilities for various witness and mortality rate assumptions
3) totally ignored unnatural, weighted mortality rates in calculating the probability of unnatural deaths.
4) did not calculate the probability of 10 WC homicides in 3 years: (ZERO) 1 in 31,000 TRILLION (3.24E-17)
5) did not use the POISSON distribution function to calculate probabilities.
6) did not calculate the probability of 76 unnatural deaths for 1,400 witnesses (1964-77): ZERO
7) ignored the fact that 10 homicides for 552 WC witnesses (1 in 55) is 100 times the national rate
Warren Commission apologists claim that 25,000 witnesses were interviewed. That is a gross exaggeration. How many had inside information? How were they material? Where is the list? According to the reference “Who’s Who In the JFK Assassination” approximately 1400 material witnesses were connected in any way to the assassination. The spreadsheet database includes 110 material witness deaths. Even assuming there were 25,000 witnesses, then given the 0.000062 homicide rate, the probability is 1 in 265,000 of 46 homicides in the 14 years following the assassination. But this is a conservative estimate since there were 76 unnatural deaths. Assume 25 of the 30 “accidents” and “suicides” were really homicides. The probability of at least 71 homicides is 6.16-16 (1 in 1500 TRILLION). So much for the bogus 25,000 witnesses argument.
I began analyzing JFK witness death probabilities in 2003. This was my initial post on the Democratic Underground. http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104×6304
The analysis has been greatly enhanced over the last 6 months and is referenced in “Hit List” by Richard Belzer and David Wayne. http://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/executive-action-jfk-witness-deaths-and-the-london-times-actuary/
You want to see ….
the investigations they were called to testify in?
their Warren Commission testimony?
the calculations for various assumed times, deaths, mortality rates?
the mathematical proof of a conspiracy?
Spreadsheet Database: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjAk1JUWDMyRdDFSU3NVd29xWWNyekd2X1ZJYllKTnc#gid=1
Warren Commission witnesses: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjAk1JUWDMyRdDFSU3NVd29xWWNyekd2X1ZJYllKTnc#gid=22
Calculation sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjAk1JUWDMyRdDFSU3NVd29xWWNyekd2X1ZJYllKTnc#gid=0
Sensitivity analysis tables for witness deaths over 1, 3 and 14 years, for three mortality rates. for 552 Warren Commission and 1400 material witnesses: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjAk1JUWDMyRdDFSU3NVd29xWWNyekd2X1ZJYllKTnc#gid=23
Warren Commission, Garrison and HSCA witnesses: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjAk1JUWDMyRdDFSU3NVd29xWWNyekd2X1ZJYllKTnc#gid=14
1964-1978 Annual and Cumulative Probabilities of Unnatural Deaths: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjAk1JUWDMyRdDFSU3NVd29xWWNyekd2X1ZJYllKTnc#gid=16
Investigation Witnesses: Convenient Deaths
Warren Commission (1964) (testified)
6401 WARREN REYNOLDS
6402 DOMINGO BENAVIDES
6507 HAROLD RUSSELL
6512 WILLIAM WHALEY
6601 Earlene Roberts
6601 KAREN CARLIN
6602 ALBERT BOGARD
6606 FRANK MARTIN
6608 LEE BOWERS, JR.
6611 JAMES WORRELL
6701 JACK RUBY
6808 Philip Geraci
6901 BUDDY WALTHERS
7008 Bill Decker
7101 Edward Voebel
7201 HALE BOGGS
7205 J. EDGAR HOOVER
7501 Allen Sweatt
7505 ROGER CRAIG
7509 EARLE CABELL
7703 GEORGE DE MORENSCHILDT
7704 Robert Alan Surrey
7708 ALAN BELMONT
7708 JAMES CADIGAN
7901 Billy Lovelady
Garrison (1967-69); Senate (1975) (testimony sought but died)
6702 DAVID FERRIE
6702 Eladio Del Valle
6804 Hiram Ingram
6805 Nicholas Chetta
6808 Philip Geraci *
6901 Henry Delaune
6901 BUDDY WALTHERS *
6907 Clyde Johnson
7312 Richard Cain
7401 Dave Yaras
7402 J.A. Milteer
7408 CLAY SHAW
7505 ROGER CRAIG *
7507 Sam Giancana
7509 EARLE CABELL *
7608 JOHNNY ROSELLI
7706 REGIS KENNEDY
HSCA (testimony sought but died)
7606 William Harvey
7608 JOHNNY ROSELLI *
7701 William Pawley
7703 Carlos Prio Soccaras
7703 Charles Nicoletti
7703 GEORGE DE MORENSCHILDT *
7704 Robert Alan Surrey *
7706 REGIS KENNEDY *
7706 LOUIS NICHOLS
7708 JAMES CADIGAN *
7708 ALAN BELMONT *
7710 DONALD KAYLOR
7710 J.M. ENGLISH
7711 MANUEL ARTIME
7711 WILLIAM SULLIVAN
7801 Clint “Lummie” Lewis
7808 DAVID MORALES
7809 JOHN PAISLEY
7809 Thomas Karamessines
8205 James Weston (testified)