Monthly Archives: May 2013

Warren Commission Apologists and Trolls: Feeble Attempts to Debunk JFK Probability Analysis

Warren Commission Apologists and Trolls: Feeble Attempts to Debunk JFK Probability Analysis

Richard Charnin
May 29,2013
Updated Oct.25, 2013

Click Reclaiming Science:The JFK Conspiracy to look inside the book.

JFK Blog Posts
JFK Calc Spreadsheet Database

I posted a JFK Witness death analysis on the JFK Forum:!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.

John McAdams, you have 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 the truth but only in promoting obfuscations. Your full range of talking points have been totally debunked by Michael T. Griffith:

This pathetic “analysis” is further proof of your incompetence: . I will now expose your ignorance in the application of probability theory in the analysis of JFK material witness deaths.

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 15 year periods – and a lot more.

Here are the graphs and probability calculations which prove a conspiracy:

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 gave you links to the JFK Calc spreadsheet. What is the point of debating when you IGNORE the evidence presented on Warren Commission witness deaths?

Let’s consider the actuary engaged by the London Sunday Times. He/she 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. The actuary’s calculation is confirmed assuming 459 witnesses and 0.000207 weighted overall mortality rate.

Warren Commission
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 5600 other material witnesses who were called to testify at the Garrison/Shaw trial, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the HSCA (see below).

1964-1966: There was a 1 in 44 BILLION probability of 10 unnatural deaths among the 552 Warren Commission witnesses who testified.

1964-1978: There was a 1 in 60 BILLION probability of 18 unnatural deaths among the 552 Warren Commission witnesses who testified. The probability of 18 homicides is 1 in 8 MILLION TRILLION.

Unnatural and Suspicious Material Witness Deaths Database

At least 83 of 1400 material witnesses died unnaturally in 1964-78: 49 homicides, 24 accidents, 7 suicides, 3 unknown. Another 36 deaths 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.

Given the conservative 0.000825 average 1964-78 national unnatural mortality rate, the probability of 83 unnatural deaths occurring by chance is E-30 (less than 1 in a TRILLION TRILLION). Given the 0.000235 JFK-witness weighted unnatural mortality rate, the probability is E-70 (less than 1 in a TRILLION^5). The probability of 49 homicides is E-52 (less than 1 in trillion^4).

Four JFK Investigations: at least 62 convenient deaths among 1100 witnesses called to testify

You ignore the fact that 62 of the 118 material witnesses listed in the database were called to testify in four investigations Thirty testified at the 1964 Warren Commission, the others at the 1969 Garrison/Shaw Trial, 1975 Senate Intelligence hearings and 1977 House Select Committee on Assassinations. The probability of 38 UNNATURAL deaths among the 1100 is 1 in 20 TRILLION TRILLION. You cannot argue that the investigation witnesses called to testify were not connected to the assassination. They were relevant enough to be called to testify. BUT RELEVANCE IS A MOOT POINT AS FAR AS THE PROBABILITIES ARE CONCERNED.

Given approximately 1100 witnesses called to testify, all that matters are the number who died unnaturally and their cause of death. The Poisson distribution function for calculating probabilities requires the expected number of deaths (based on mortality rate, number of witnesses and time period) and the actual number of unnatural deaths. It does not include a relevance variable. This is the clincher: Seven (7) top FBI officials died just before their scheduled HSCA testimony in June-November 1977. But as a dedicated naysayer, you would surely call it just another coincidence.

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.

This is a sensitivity analysis of unnatural witness deaths.

The London Sunday Times Actuary
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 42 unnatural deaths in the three years. The Sunday Times did not specify unnatural deaths. The probability is E-55.

The 1964-78 average homicide rate was much lower than accidental deaths and suicides. An analysis comparing reported unnatural JFK witness deaths to the expected number is not nearly as dramatic as comparing homicides. Nationally, homicides comprised 10% of unnatural deaths. But there were at least 49 (59%) homicides among the 83 JFK unnatural deaths. If the analysis was restricted to homicides, the mathematical proof would be simpler and more powerful.

Lone-nutter Red-herrings, Canards and Straw men
1. Domingo Benavides? Changed his testimony after his brother 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.
4. Witnesses not random? Of course not. They are material witnesses who died unnaturally.
5. Relevance of witnesses? Sixty-two were relevant enough to be called to testify
6. Use of Poisson Distribution to calculate the probabilities?
7. London Times actuary? Calculations confirmed. And at least 47 suspicious deaths in the three year period
8. London Times Legal Manager misstated the problem? The actuary solved it. That’s why he is an actuary.
9. No one at the Times could recall the actuary’s name?
10. HSCA statistician analysis? Did not consider 20 HSCA prospective witness deaths – and scores of others.

HSCA Obfuscation

The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) claimed that the number of material witnesses was unknowable and dismissed the calculation as invalid. The HSCA made a number of misleading statements and factual omissions. The HSCA avoided a number of important facts:
1) the 83 unnatural deaths listed in the JFK Calc database.
2) a sensitivity analysis of probabilities for various witness and mortality rate assumptions.
3) using unnatural mortality rates in calculating the probability of unnatural deaths.
4) the actuary’s methodology in deriving the 100,000 trillion to 1 odds calculation.
5) the POISSON distribution function to calculate probabilities.
6) calculating the probability of 18 Warren Commission unnatural deaths (552 witnesses): ZERO
7) comparison of Warren Commission witness homicide vs. the national rate.
8) 62 deaths of witnesses called to testify (Warren, Garrison, Senate, HSCA).

25,000 Witnesses?
Warren Commission apologists claim that 25,000 witnesses were interviewed is a gross exaggeration. How many had inside information? How many were material? Where is the list? According to the reference “Who’s Who In the JFK Assassination” there were approximately 1400 material witnesses were connected in any way to the assassination. The spreadsheet database includes 115 material witness deaths. Even assuming 25,000 witnesses, then given the 0.000062 homicide rate the probability is 1 in 500 BILLION that there would be 26 homicides in the 3 years following the assassination.

I began analyzing JFK witness death probabilities in 2003. This was my initial post on the Democratic Underground.×6304

The analysis has been greatly enhanced over the last 6 months and is referenced in “Hit List” by Richard Belzer and David Wayne.

You want …
the witnesses?
their relevance?
the investigations they were called to testify in?
their bios?
their Warren Commission testimony?
the calculations for various assumed times, deaths, mortality rates?
the mathematical proof of a conspiracy?

It’s all in the JFK Calc spreadsheet database.


Posted by on May 29, 2013 in JFK, Rebuttals


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

JFK Witness Deaths: Calculating the Probabilities

JFK Witness Deaths: A Guide to the Probability Calculations

Richard Charnin
May 27, 2013
Updated: Oct.15, 2013

Click Reclaiming Science:The JFK Conspiracy to look inside the book.

JFK Blog Posts
JFK Calc Spreadsheet Database

An actuary engaged by London Sunday Times calculated 100,000 TRILLION to 1 odds against 18 JFK material witness deaths from Nov. 1963 to Feb. 1967. Unfortunately, the actuary could not be identified and interviewed since no one at the Sunday Times could recall his or her name.

The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) claimed that the number of material witnesses was unknowable and dismissed the calculation as invalid. But exactly 552 Warren Commission witnesses testified, a subset of approximately 1400 material witnesses.

Here are the graphs and probability calculations which prove a conspiracy:

In fact, the actuary’s odds are conservative. There were at least 42 unnatural witness deaths in the three years following the assassination. Assuming 1400 material witnesses, the probability is ZERO.

The JFK Witness Spreadsheet Database includes 118 material witnesses, of which there were at least 83 unnatural deaths. The sensitivity analysis tables display unnatural death probabilities for 552 Warren Commission and 1400 material witnesses (based on unnatural, weighted and homicide mortality rates) over 1,3 and 14 year time intervals.

According to the reference Who’s Who In the JFK Assassination approximately 1400 material witnesses were connected in any way to the assassination. At least 83 died unnaturally. The probability is ZERO.

Convenient deaths spiked in 1964 (Warren Commission) and 1977 (House Select Committee).

Warren Commission apologists have suggested that there were many more than 1400 material witnesses and therefore the probabilities are not valid – without providing a list. Even assuming there were 25,000 witnesses, then given the 0.00006 average homicide rate, the probability of 24 homicides within three years following the assassination is 1 in 12 billion. So much for the bogus 25,000 witnesses argument.

The unweighted unnatural rate results in virtually ZERO probabilities. But since the JFK-related deaths were mostly homicides, the weighted average rate is a theoretically superior rate to use for the probability calculations – and results in significantly lower probabilities than the unweighted (national) rate. But even the weighted rate is too high, since many witness “suicides” and “accidental” deaths were clearly homicides. If all of the unnatural deaths were in fact homicides, the probabilities are at their lowest.

The unweighted unnatural mortality rate produces virtually zero probabilities for both the Warren Commission (552) and material witness (1400) groups, so it may appear to be overkill to use the lower weighted average and homicide rates to calculate the probabilities. But they illustrate 1) the implausible ratio of homicides in the total witness mix, and 2) the inflating effects of “suicides” and “accidental” deaths in the probability calculations.

At least 62 of the 118 witnesses in the database testified or died suspiciously shortly before they were due to testify at the 1964 Warren Commission, 1969 Garrison/Shaw trial, the 1975 Senate Intelligence hearings and the 1977 HSCA (including 7 top FBI officials in June-November 1977). There were at least 37 unnatural and suspicious deaths of approximately 1100 witnesses who were called to testify. The probability is 4.7E-30 (1 in 200,000 MILLION TRILLION TRILLION).

The HSCA made the following errors:
1) misstated the actuary’s method of calculation
2) Did not consider that there were over 80 unnatural and at least 30 other suspicious deaths
3) did not consider suspicious deaths of HSCA witnesses (including 7 FBI) just prior to their scheduled testimony
4) did not run a sensitivity analysis of probabilities for various data assumptions

5) ignored unnatural mortality rates in calculating the probability of unnatural deaths
6) did not use the POISSON distribution function to calculate probabilities
7) did not calculate probability of 11 WC homicides in 15 years.
8) ignored the fact that the JFK homicide rate far exceeded the national rate
9) did not calculate the ZERO probability of at least unnatural deaths among 1,400 witnesses (1964-78)
10) did not calculate probability of 25 homicides in three years for the impossible 25,000 witnesses the FBI claimed to have interviewed

The HSCA succeeded in misinforming the public by falsely claiming that the actuary’s calculation was invalid and therefore did not prove a conspiracy.

The Poisson Distribution calculates the probabilities of rare events over time.

The key to calculating the probability of a given number (n) of unnatural deaths occurring in a given group (N) in a given time period (T) is to recognize that it is based on the difference between expected and actual unnatural deaths. The larger the discrepancy between the actual observed and expected number of deaths, the lower the probability.

These are the relevant probability input parameters:
n= number of observed unnatural deaths
N= total number of witnesses
T= time period in years
R= unnatural mortality rate

The expected number of unnatural deaths E = N*T*R


Posted by on May 15, 2013 in JFK, Media


Tags: , , , , , ,

Richard Charnin's Blog

JFK Conspiracy and Systemic Election Fraud Analysis