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Debunking John McAdams’ “Debunking” of Jim Marrs’ JFK Witness List

Debunking John McAdams’ “Debunking” of Jim Marrs’ JFK Witness List

Richard Charnin
July 8, 2013
Updated: June 11, 2013

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John McAdams is the foremost Warren Commission apologist and Lone Nutter. He has spawned a number of wannabees who parrot his writings on internet forums dedicated to the JFK Assassination. To McAdams, JFK researchers seeking the truth are “conspiracy buffs” who are wrong to believe scores of eyewitnesses, Parkland doctors, photographic and acoustic evidence.

McAdams astounding propensity to obfuscate is best illustrated in his attempt to debunk Jim Marrs’ list in “Strange” and “Convenient” Deaths Surrounding the Assassination: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/deaths.htm.

McAdams’ disinformation has been thoroughly debunked by many researchers: http://richardcharnin.com/JMLaughingStock.html

This post will prove that McAdams’ decades-long effort to refute the relevance of the JFK witnesses is an exercise in futility.

The following logical analysis represents a profound PARADIGM SHIFT in analyzing the significance of the “convenient” witness deaths. To prove a conspiracy, it does not matter one iota if individual witnesses were related or material to the assassination (even though they obviously were). Witness relevance and connection to JFK becomes obvious after the fact.

The salient point is that the number of witnesses called to testify in four investigations and died unnaturally by homicide, accident or suicide (or suspiciously timed heart-attacks) far exceeded the mathematical expectation. The probability is essentially ZERO that the number of unnatural deaths would occur in each investigation (as well as collectively in four). Therefore, if the deaths were not coincidental, there had to be a connection which means there was a conspiracy. It is no longer debatable.

This straightforward probability analysis closes the book on McAdams’ decades-old barrage of disinformation and utter disregard for the truth. As a professor of political science, one would expect McAdams to seek the truth with an honest scientific evaluation of the facts. His avoidance – or inability – of engaging in an honest analysis cannot be attributed totally to pure ignorance. His agenda is obvious to anyone paying attention. He has been exposed time and again as an illogical coincidence theorist (CT). The “tell” is his inability to refute the basic mathematical analysis which proves that there was a conspiracy to assassinate JFK. He reveals his ignorance of logic and probability theory here: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/logic.htm

Apparently, McAdams had a limited math background, otherwise he would have done the analysis. His total ignorance of probability theory is shown by his feeble, pathetic attempt to refute the testimony of eyewitnesses and medical doctors at Parkland Hospital. The man has no shame. And this is a university professor? http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/logic2.htm

We will teach you, “professor”.This is a sensitivity analysis of unnatural witness deaths.

Facts, logic and mathematical proof are the bane of the disinformationist. Knowing the unnatural mortality rate (R) for (n) witness unnatural deaths in a group of (N) individuals over a given time period (T) is all that is required in order to calculate the probability of (n) deaths. The first step is to calculate R, the weighted average unnatural mortality rate:
R = (homicide rate* homicides + accidental death rate* accidents + Suicide rate*suicides+unknown rate* unknowns)/unnatural deaths

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjAk1JUWDMyRdDFSU3NVd29xWWNyekd2X1ZJYllKTnc#gid=0

As a quantitative analyst/software developer working in defense/aerospace and Wall Street investment banking, I had the pleasure of programming mathematical models that were much more complex than calculating probabilities of JFK witness unnatural deaths. https://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/jfk-mysterious-witness-deaths-london-sunday-times-and-hsca-cover-up/

JFK Calc is an online spreadsheet that contains a database of 122 JFK-related suspicious deaths, mortality rates, probability calculations, Dealey Plaza witness testimonies, graphs and links to data sources. JFK Calc has all the information required for a robust analysis: a) known witness groups, b) official cause of death, c) unnatural mortality rates and d) 1,3 and 15 year probability calculations (1964-1978).

Of the 122 witness deaths; 95 are included in the reference Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination. The text contains summaries of 1400+ individuals (witnesses, suspects, police, FBI, CIA, Mafia, anti-Castro Cubans, reporters, etc.) material to the assassination.

There were approximately 67 suspicious deaths from 1964-78 among approximately 1100 witnesses called to testify at the 1964 Warren Commission, 1969 Garrison/Shaw trial, 1975 Church Senate Intelligence Hearings and 1977-79 HSCA investigation. At least 47 deaths were unnatural, of which 17 were official ruled homicides, a very conservative number, since the number of official accidents, suicides and heart attacks were statistically implausible. Based on morality rates, 14 unnatural deaths and one homicide would have been expected during the 15 year period following the assassination. The probability of 47 unnatural deaths is E-49 (less than 1 in a trillion trillion trillion trillion).

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

This is a link to the latest mysterious witness death probabilities and and graphics.

These graphs are mathematical proof of a conspiracy.

552 Warren Commission witnesses
To illustrate, consider the N=552 witnesses who testified at the Warren Commission (in person or affidavit) in the 15 year period from 1964 to 1978. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjAk1JUWDMyRdDFSU3NVd29xWWNyekd2X1ZJYllKTnc#gid=22

There were at least 30 suspicious deaths among the 552 witnesses. At least 21 died unnaturally. Only 7 unnatural deaths would have been expected statistically. The probability of at least 21 unnatural deaths is E-20 (1 in 10 billion trillion).

There were at least 122 suspicious deaths among an estimated 1400 JFK material witnesses of which at least 78 were ruled unnatural (only 17 would normally be expected). Given the 1964-1978 JFK-weighted average unnatural mortality rate (0.000247), the probability of 78 unnatural deaths is E-62. But how many “accidents”, “suicides” and suspicious “natural” deaths were actually homicides? The probabilities would be lower still.

I should stop right here. Consider it a PARADIGM SHIFT in analyzing the problem. There is no question about the relevance of witnesses by definition; they were important enough to be called to testify. But even more important, the conspiracy is proved by a simple calculation strictly based on expected and actual unnatural mortality for a given universe of 552 Warren Commission witnesses. This puts the lie to the canard that the universe of witnesses is unknowable. The Poisson function does not include a motive or connection variable. The connection is proven by the infinitesimal probability that at least 21 would die unnaturally.

25,000 FBI Interviews?
Warren Commission apologists claimed that 25,000 were interviewed in the FBI “investigation”. But how many were material? Only about 1400 according to the reference “Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination”. In 1964-78, the average national HOMICIDE rate was 0.000084. The probability of 80 homicides among a plausible 1400 material witnesses in 15 years (1964-1978): P = E-53= 1 in 1000 trillion trillion trillion trillion

But even assuming the impossible: 25,000 material witnesses were interviewed. The probability of 38 homicides in 1964-1966 is E-23. The probability of at least 80 homicides in 1964-1978 is E-13: 1 in 2 trillion.

My comments follow McAdams.

JM
If there really was the vast conspiracy that the buffs claim, then a lot of people have to know about it. Indeed, a lot of people have to have been part of it — not to speak of the people who must have been intimidated, bribed, or otherwise forced to cooperate by giving false testimony, covering up key evidence, or keeping quiet about some sinister thing they knew.”

RC
Yes, that is true. It was a really big conspiracy.

JM
So why have no credible witnesses come forward with the evidence necessary to blow open the coverup? For the hard-core conspiracy believers, it’s because a “clean-up squad” is going around the country killing off people who might “blow the whistle!”

RC
Many have come forward such as E.Howard Hunt, Dr.Charles Crenshaw (Conspiracy of Silence), Chauncy Holt, Marita Lorenz (read Mark Lane’s Plausible Denial), Sylvia Odio, Abrahan Bolder (The Echo from Dealey Plaza) and Judyth Baker (Me and Lee). But many more were were eliminated.

JM
This theme was first taken up by Penn Jones, Jr., publisher of the Midlothian Mirror, a small-town Texas paper. The most widely cited current list of “mystery deaths” was published by author Jim Marrs (who also released the book Alien Agenda about UFOs). His book Crossfire contains a list of 103 people who have supposedly died “strange” or “convenient” or “mysterious” deaths. As Marrs puts it: “This section has been entitled “Convenient Deaths” because these deaths certainly would have been convenient for anyone not wishing the truth of the JFK assassination to become public”. Unfortunately for Marrs and other conspiracy authors, the logical problems with this whole argument are many and massive.

RC
I have posted probability analysis of witness deaths extensively on my website, blog and various JFK forums which prove that the “convenient” deaths were not just coincidental occurrences. https://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/category/jfk/

JM
If the purpose of the “clean-up squad” is to eliminate people who have knowledge of a conspiracy, recruiting people into a “clean-up squad” is a counter-productive activity. Each person recruited becomes yet another person who has knowledge of a conspiracy and might “spill the beans.”

Marrs’ list is drawn from a pool of literally thousands of people — a few of whom had a clear connection with the assassination, many of whom had some tangential connection with the assassination, and some of whom had no connection with the assassination at all.

For example, Marrs’ list includes one woman who was one of Kennedy’s mistresses, but had no known connection with the assassination. It includes a man who was mayor of New Orleans (but who had no known connection with the assassination), and it includes the Chief Steward on Air Force One!

RC
Wrong. Not thousands. Hundreds. Approximately 60 witnesses on Marrs’ list were among an estimated 1100 called to testify in four investigations. If McAdams is referring to Mary Pinchot Meyer, he should have mentioned that she was divorced from Cord Meyer. According to E. Howard Hunt in his deathbed confession, Cord Meyer was approached by LBJ to come up with a plan for the assassination.

JM
The list includes people who were merely connected to the Mafia, the CIA, anti-Castro Cubans, or Time-Life, Incorporated. Marrs is assuming that all these groups were connected with the assassination. In other words, he assumes a conspiracy involving all these groups, tabulates deaths, and then announces that the large number of deaths supports the idea of a conspiracy! Circular logic.

RC
But elements from each group – and others- were involved. Many died unnaturally. The timing of many deaths was suspicious, occurring shortly before they were due to testify. In 1977, seven FBI officials died within a six month period just prior to their scheduled testimony at HSCA. Coincidence? And 14 others never got the chance, either.

JM
Most well-known conspiracy witnesses and authors are still alive. For example, of the best-known conspiracy authors who wrote books in the 1960s, Mark Lane, Edward J. Epstein, and Josiah Thompson are still alive. Sylvia Meagher is dead, but not even Marrs lists her death as “suspicious.” Penn Jones died in January 1998 in a nursing home at the age of 83 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Harold Weisberg likewise died in February of 2002 after a long period of failing health. The most prominent conspiracy authors from the 70s and early 80s like David Lifton, Robert Groden, Henry Hurt, Anthony Summers, and Harrison Edward Livingstone are all still alive.

RC
But a number of reporters died unnaturally, including Bill Hunter and Jim Koethe, who just happened to meet in Ruby’s apartment on Nov. 24, 1963. And there were others- like Dorothy Kilgallen, Lisa Howard, Leonard Pullin, C.D. Jackson…

JM
The star conspiracy witnesses who are seen in all the videos had long lives. Beverly Oliver is still alive. Malcolm Summers died on October 8, 2004, Ed Hoffman passed away in 2010. Jean Hill passed away on November 7, 2000. All three witnesses died after having decades to give their testimony to anybody who would listen, and not even their conspiracist supporters claim their deaths were sinister.

RC
But they tried to give testimony – and no one would listen. Or they were told that they were “mistaken”. They were told that they did not hear more than three shots or they did not see gunman behind the grassy knoll.

JM
If a conspiracy was going around killing people who knew things that were dangerous to it, it would make sense that all the key witnesses would be killed quickly. But Marrs’ list includes people who died as late as 1984. Given that many people associated with the assassination were at the peak of their professional careers at the time of the shooting, it’s not surprising that many of them would have died within twenty years.

RC
No, professor. What is surprising is that at least 81 died unnaturally (homicide, accident, suicide, unknown) in the 14 year period following the assassination and that the deaths spiked at convenient times.

Sixteen material witnesses died in 1964 during the Warren Commission. Another 22 died in 1977-1978 during the HSCA. Timing is everything.

JM
Marrs’ list is laced with people who have a larger than average chance of a violent death: law officers, people on the edges of the underworld (strippers), people very much part of the underworld (Mafia figures), and people with a clear history of alcohol or drug abuse, or of mental illness (Rose Cheramie, Lou Staples, George de Mohrenschildt).

RC
Strippers? Mental illness? Come on, John McAdams. You are really reaching now.

JM
About half the people on Marrs’ list died of natural causes. Marrs assures his readers that of course the CIA can kill people and make the death look “natural” (Crossfire, p. 556-557). This raises the question of why the conspirators allowed any of the deaths to seem violent or suspicious.

RC
Not true. Approximately 70% died of unnatural causes (homicide, suicide, accident,unknown). The rest were mostly heart attacks. John asks: why not induce them all with heart attacks? Hmm…

JM
In virtually every case, there is no evidence that the person had any information on the assassination not already given in Warren Commission testimony, statements to police and the media, and interviews with private researchers. The logic seems to be that they must have known something, since, after all, they were killed.

RC
But they did know something, that’s why they were called to testify – and that’s why they had to be eliminated.

JM
People who supported the Warren Commission version of events, or whose testimony was used by the Warren Commission to help convict Oswald, are well-represented on the list. Why would a conspiracy want to kill off those people?

RC
Testimony which exonerated Oswald and exposed the Single Bullet Theory was misrepresented or ignored by the WC. They wanted to insure the silence of these witnesses while at the same time intimidate others from talking.

JM
Many of these objections can be answered by positing on ongoing surveillance of witnesses. Maybe a witness, after many years of concealing the truth, has finally decided to go public and “blow the whistle.” Conspirators, learning of this, then proceed to kill the person. What’s wrong with this is obvious: it vastly complicates the problem discussed in 1. (above). For every witness who might potentially “spill the beans,” a team of conspiracy operatives must keep a close surveillance in order to catch the moment when the person decides to talk, and then promptly kill the witness. This would require an entire army of assassins!

RC
An entire army? Surely, you jest. A pro can do one hit a month.

JM
Marrs tries to argue for the sinister nature of his list by saying:” Of course, it is impossible to state with any certainty which of these deaths resulted from natural causes and which did not. . . The area of convenient deaths leads one into a well of paranoia, yet the long list of deaths cannot be summarily dismissed”.

Given the immensely large pool from which the hundred or so people on Marrs’ list are drawn, one of two things must be true. Either: (1) many hundreds or thousands of deaths have escaped Marrs’ notice, or (2) being associated with the Kennedy assassination is a guarantee of a very long life!

RC
Large pool? Read the “Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination”. There were approximately 1400 material witnesses, of whom at least 96 died unnaturally from 1964-1978. Go ahead John, figure the odds -if you can.

JM
Let’s Look at Specifics. The death of Lee Bowers seemed “strange” to Oliver Stone, Geraldo Rivera, and Jim Marrs. David Perry is an insurance investigator by profession, and an assassination buff by avocation. See what he concluded when he investigated this issue.

RC
Come on, John. Bowers was a witness to activity on the Grassy Knoll from his vantage point. Yes, a one-car crash is very strange.

JM
Another “mysterious” death was that of David Ferrie. Did he commit suicide to avoid being prosecuted for Kennedy’s murder by DA Garrison? Was he killed by minions of The Conspiracy? In this essay, Dr. Robert Artwohl discusses Jim Garrison’s contention that Ferrie died of an overdose of Proloid, a thyroid medication, and Garrison’s apparent mishandling of evidence. Ferrie left two supposed “suicide notes,” however on close inspection it’s not at all clear they are in fact suicide notes. The official autopsy produced a clear finding of natural death.

RC
Natural death? He was struck on the head causing a brain aneurysm. David Ferrie was murdered the day after he was released from protective custody. Just a coincidence?

JM
Eladio del Valle, a Cuban who died on the same night as David Ferrie, is another of those “mystery deaths.” Conspiracy books imply that he had all sorts of “links” to the assassination, but there are some other things about him that make his death seem not so mysterious. Click here for documents on del Valle. Conspiracy books never tell you, but the Dade County authorities indicted a man for del Valle’s murder. More information can be found on Gordon Winslow’s web site.

RC
Del Valle, an associate of Ferrie, was a prospective witness in the Clay Shaw trial. He just happened to die the same day as Ferrie by an axe to the skull. Coincidence?

JM
Dorothy Kilgallen, a reporter and quiz show personality, is always among those on the “mysterious deaths” lists. Supposedly, she was about to “blow the lid” off the conspiracy. In this essay, historian Eric Paddon does not discuss the circumstances of her death (which the medical examiner didn’t consider sinister), but rather the question of whether she actually knew anything that might threaten a supposed conspiracy. Had she learned something new about the assassination, or was she just repeating standard conspiracy buff stuff? How might Kilgallen have gotten critical information that would have allowed her to “blow” the conspiracy? According to Gary Wills and Ovid Demaris, (Jack Ruby, page 72):

Conspiratorialists of the wilder variety believe that Dorothy Kilgallen had a private interview [with Jack Ruby], one that caused her death. This tete-a-tete never took place: she leaned over the rail and talked to Jack in the open courtroom during a break in the proceedings. Lawyer Joe Tonahill, who hoped to collaborate with Miss Kilgallen on a book, arranged the brief exchange, and was present at it.

But the important thing, as John Leyden has pointed out, is that Kilgallen didn’t die “mysteriously” until 20 months after the interview. Darn patient reporter who can sit on a big story that long.

RC
In the book “Hit List”, there is a detailed chapter on Kilgallen. She was the only reporter who was granted an exclusive interview with Ruby in jail. She openly attacked the coverup in her New York Journal American columns on 2/2/64 and 9/3/65. She reported a meeting between Ruby, Tippit and a Texas oilman, revealed that Oswald was in too many places at one time, had links to U.S. intelligence and that Oswald’s true story was known to just a few government agents. She told her friends that in five days, she would “bust this case wide open”, but died on 11/8/65 shortly after returning from Dallas where she met with Ruby and had secret transcripts of his testimony. She was gathering information for a book “Murder One” and gave her notes and manuscripts to her friend Florence Pritchett Smith for safekeeping. Smith died within few days of Kilgallen. None of the manuscripts were recovered. How do you explain that? Just a coincidence?

JM
Colonel Daniel Marvin told an explosive story in the most recent installment of The Men Who Killed Kennedy. He claimed to have been asked by a CIA operative to kill a supposed autopsy witness named William B. Pitzer. If true, it’s hard evidence of a conspiracy “clean-up squad” killing witnesses. Researchers Robin Palmer and Allan Eaglesham have worked closely with Marvin, and have come to doubt his story. Their “Letter to Dr. J.D. Rose” lays out the details. Eaglesham, who initially believed the death was “suspicious,” has now concluded that it wasn’t. A diligent and honest researcher, he continued investigating even after reaching that conclusion, and that research solidified his view that the death was indeed a suicide.

RC
Not suspicious? A suicide? So we are to believe Pitzer decided to take his own life just before retiring with a good pension and lucrative job opportunities? Give us all a break, John. Have you no shame? 

http://www.spartacus-educational.com/JFKpitzerW.htm

JM
Umpteen Trillion to One Odds? The conspiracy literature occasionally still quotes a supposed study done by the London Sunday Times which found that “the odds against these [assassination] witnesses being dead by February 1967, were one hundred thousand trillion to one.” The House Select Committee on Assassinations asked the newspaper where they got that number. The paper replied with the following letter.

“The Editor has passed me your letter of 25th April. Our piece about the odds against the deaths of the Kennedy witnesses was, I regret to say, based on a careless journalistic mistake and should not have been published. This was realized by The Sunday Times’ editorial staff after the first edition — the one which goes to the United States and which I believe you have — had gone out, and later editions were amended.

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 this 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”.
Yours sincerely,
Antony Whitaker,
Legal Manager.
(4 HSCA 464-65)

RC
The actuary’s name is hardly material? In the film Executive Action we learned that the actuary determined 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”.

Well, the actuary was correct in calculating the 1 in 100,000 trillion probability. It is confirmed by applying the 0.000544 weighted mortality rate (calculated from the mix of 8 homicides, 3 accidents, 2 suicides, 3 heart attacks, 2 natural causes) and assuming 552 witnesses (same as the Warren Commission). Only one unnatural death would normally be expected, but there were at least 13. The spreadsheet probability calculation is:
P = Poisson (18,0.90, false) = 9.60E-18 (1 in 100,000 trillion)

But the actuary’s odds were conservative. He/she had an incomplete list of 18 witness deaths. In fact, there were at least 47 (45 were unnatural deaths, including 38 homicides). The probability is much lower assuming 1400 material witnesses.

JM
George de Mohrenschildt was one of Lee Oswald’s most interesting friends. His testimony before the Warren Commission said nothing that suggested a conspiracy, but in later years he started to give a much more “interesting” account. de Mohrenschildt’s suicide in 1977 has seemed quite “suspicious” to conspiracy buffs. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Death Investigation on de Mohrenschildt’s passing is extremely detailed. See whether there is any evidence of murder.

RC
Sure John, de Morenschildt just happened to shoot himself the day he was to be interviewed by Gaeton Fonzi of HSCA. Just a coincidence? He had GW Bush’s phone number in his wallet. He was scared and wrote to Bush asking for help. How come you don’t mention that little factoid?

JM
John M. Crawford is yet another of those people on the “mystery deaths” lists. Did he really have the “connections” to Wes Frazier and Jack Ruby that conspiracy authors claim? See David Perry’s assessment of this case.

RC
According to Penn Jones, Jack Ruby carried John Crawford’s phone number in his pocket at all times.

JM
Roger Craig told a variety of “interesting” stories about the assassination, most of which clearly indicated a conspiracy. So it might seem quite logical that a conspiracy would want to silence him. And indeed Craig’s death at age 39 in 1975 by suicide (conspiracy books usually put quotes around “suicide”) might seem suspicious. But do the details of his death actually seem suspicious?

RC
They tried to kill Craig at least three times, so yes, John McAdams, I would say his “suicide” is very suspicious. But even if it was a suicide, why would he do it? For you to suggest that his death was not suspicious is quite disingenuous. But it does not diminish your credibility because you have none left. Roger Craig was a hero (RIP). He is interviewed by Mark Lane in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFEx8hjD8kE

JM
What happens when a real investigator (Jacqueline Hess of the House Select Committee) tackles the issue of “mysterious deaths” and enlists the services of people who specialize in working out the probability that any particular person will die in a year, or two, or ten? In other words, enlists the service of actuaries? Hess’ testimony before the House Select Committee outlines the results of her investigation.

RC
Hess is debunked using facts, logic and math. Her analysis was incomplete, misleading and incorrect. She never mentioned unnatural mortality rates which are fundamental in an analysis of homicides, suicides and accidental deaths – by definition.

I won’t dwell on McAdams lame explanations to try and refute the convenient deaths; his pattern of obfuscation is established. Why beat a dead horse? I will just note that he makes no attempt to even discuss the number of witnesses who died conveniently that were called to testify in four investigations. If McAdams (or the HSCA) had done the analysis and calculated the probabilities, obfuscation and disinformation would be impossible. After all, he has a reputation to protect.

JM
Let’s Just Think About This, OK?
Excerpted from “The Case of the Grassy Knoll: The Romance of Conspiracy” by John Kaplan; printed in The Historian As Detective, Winks, editor; originally published as “The Assassins” in Stanford Law Review (May 1967).
[Regarding the “mysterious” deaths of “witnesses” to the assassination], even the most cursory examination of the stories shows how essentially foolish they are. A good many of the deaths hardly seem mysterious in that they were caused by auto accidents, heart attacks, and other phenomena that afflict our entire population. Moreover, before we could tell whether the number of these deaths is in any way unusual, we would have to know the number of equally “mysterious” deaths that occurred to people completely unconnected with the WR. But even apart from any statistical refutation, the theory that a set of conspirators is now devoted to wiping out a host of unimportant witnesses is almost too silly to be put forth. There is not the slightest indication that any of the “victims” have had anything to tell that they had not already told, and indeed the deaths seem concentrated among those who bore only the most peripheral relation to the assassination. When one stops to consider that almost each one of the “mysterious” deaths requires the recruitment of at least one and often several new conspirators, it would seem that, like the pyramid club, the conspiracy would be getting bigger and bigger rather than smaller. One would think that in light of what had happened to those who knew too much it would get very difficult to recruit new members into the conspiracy. Most important, however, it is hard to say why the supposed killers are taking whatever chances these murders entail when it is so obvious that, whoever the conspirators are, they have already gotten off scot-free.

RC
McAdams cribs from a load of asinine talking points. As shown above, the relevance of the witnesses is a moot point. But that they were absolutely relevant is indisputable because a) they were important enough that at least 63 were called to testify in the four investigations. There were 49 unnatural deaths an E-51 probability. Even more astounding, seven (7) FBI officials died during a 6 month period in 1977 just prior to their HSCA testimony – a 1 in 114,000 TRILLION probability. That is very close to the actuary’s odds of 18 material witness deaths in three years. Now THAT is very relevant. It proves a conspiracy beyond any doubt. Of course, McAdams will disregard these facts, the logic and math, claiming it was all just a coincidence. John, consider yourself debunked.

Now let’s consider this, ok?

No one has come forward to refute the JFK-related witness unnatural death probabilities. McAdams could have called upon the mathematics faculty at Marquette University or any professional statistician, actuary or quantitative analyst. He has yet to do so. That says it all.

The reference text Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination includes 1400+ material witnesses.

Fifty material witness deaths are described in depth in Hit List: an In-Depth Investigation Into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination. All are in the JFK Calc spreadsheet database. The book includes my initial probability calculation for 15 unnatural deaths in the year following the assassination.

In John Simkin’s Index of 656 JFK-related individuals, 70 died suspiciously over the 15 year period from 1964-1978. Forty-four (44) deaths were unnatural, including 22 homicides. The probability of 44 unnatural deaths among the 656 is P= E-41 (one in one trillion trillion trillion). The probability of 22 homicides given the 0.000084 national homicide rate is P= 6.4E-24 (one in 150 billion trillion). If we triple the homicide rate (over 50 witnesses were from the Dallas area), the probability is P= 4.3E-14 (one in 23 trillion).

Based on mortality rates for causes of death, the statistical expectation is that approximately 26 of the 44 officially ruled accidents, suicides, heart attacks and sudden cancers were actually HOMICIDES, so that there were approximately 48 homicides among the 70 suspicious deaths. The probability of 48 homicides is less than 1 in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion! https://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/2013/12/25/jfk-related-unnatural-and-suspicious-deaths-in-the-jfk-calc-spreadsheet-and-simkins-jfk-index/

My witness death analysis is referenced by Jim Marrs’ in his updated version of “Crossfire”. Marrs cites my rebuttal of HSCA and Bugliosi’s attempt to refute the London Times actuary. My work is also cited in Judyth Baker’s “David Ferrie” and Philip Nelson’s “LBJ: From Mastermind to Colossus”.

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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in JFK

 

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Exposing the Media and Coincidence Theorists (CTs) in the JFK Cover-up: Facts, Logic, Mathematics

Exposing the Media and Coincidence Theorists (CTs) in the JFK Cover-up: Facts, Logic, Mathematics

Richard Charnin
June 24, 2013
Updated: Sept. 24, 2013

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

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JFK Calc Spreadsheet Database

There are actually two JFK conspiracies. The first was the assassination itself. The second is ongoing: the corporate media and academia persist in their relentless cover-up of the facts. But Warren Commission apologists and Lone Nutter claims are easily debunked – and make the corporate shills who appear on cable every night look ridiculous.

Suppose that on Nov. 22, 1963, 1400 individuals were selected from the entire U.S. population. Further suppose that within one year, at least 18 would die unnaturally (homicide, accident, suicide) under mysterious circumstances. Based on unnatural mortality rates, only one such death would be expected.

There are two possibilities. The 18 unnatural deaths were…
1) unrelated. It was just a 1 in 1000 trillion coincidence.
2) related. There was a common factor -a connection- between them.
We can confidently rule out 1). But if the 15 unnatural deaths were related, what was the connection?

Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth.
– Arthur Conan Doyle

The probabilities are mathematical proof connecting the witnesses to the assassination. The witnesses had to be related or there would not have been a conspiracy to keep them silent and deter others from coming forward. If Oswald was indeed a lone nut, there would not have been even one related unnatural witness death.

Here is the table of probabilities in the JFKCalc spreadsheet database.

Myth 1- In 1977, a statistician testified at the HSCA that it was impossible to determine a defined universe of JFK-related witnesses. Therefore the London Sunday Times actuary’s 100,000 TRILLION to 1 odds of 18 material witness deaths in the three years following the assassination was invalid.

This was obviously a false statement; the Warren Commission was a defined universe of 552 total witnesses. At least 10 died unnaturally in the three years following the assassination; the probability is 1 in 40 BILLION. At least 18 died unnaturally in the 15 years following the assassination; the probability is 1 in 60 BILLION.

A CIA memo claimed there were just 418 live Warren Commission witnesses. The probability of 10 unnatural deaths in three years is 1 in 5 BILLION; the probability of 18 unnatural deaths in 15 years is 1 in 5 TRILLION.

In addition, there was a defined universe of 800 witnesses in four JFK investigations (Warren, Garrison, Church, HSCA). At least 61 died unnaturally. The probability is 1 in 1.7 TRILLION. At least 25 deaths were homicides; the probability is 1 in 30 TRILLION TRILLION.

Myth 2- There was no clear connection of the witnesses to the assassination.
This one is laughable on its face; the relationships are obvious: Oswald, Ruby, Ferrie, Kilgallen, Craig, de Morenschildt, Sullivan, etc. But it’s a moot point; whether or not there was a relationship is immaterial.

Proof of a connection is a logical result of the ZERO probability for the given number of unnatural deaths in the known population groups. There is no self-selection; the witness groups are not random. There is obviously a connection by definition – after all, they were called to testify. A conspiracy was the reason why they died unnaturally.

The math is the proof. The Poisson probability function does not include a “relationship” parameter, only the actual and expected number of unnatural deaths in a given time interval.

Myth 3- There were many more than 1400 material witnesses.
In his 1600 page defense of the Warren Commission, famous lawyer Vincent Bugliosi cites 2,479 names in the Warren Commission Index. But the Index includes individuals who had no relationship to the assassination (like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, etc.). He also cites invalid actuarial calculations that did not take unnatural deaths into account.
Even assuming the 2479 names in the Index, the probability of
1- 10 unnatural deaths in 3 years is 1 in 2.4 MILLION.
2- 18 homicides (assuming 8 “accidents” were actually homicides) in 14 years is 1 in 50 BILLION.

Apologists claim that 25,000 were interviewed by the FBI. Where is the list? It’s a canard. Not material.
The probability of 100 homicides among the 25,000 from 1964-78 is 1 in 5 BILLION TRILLION.

Myth 4- The probability analysis does not take witness age into account.
This canard is one for the ages. The age of a witness who dies unnaturally is irrelevant. Duh.

Myth 5- 100 dead witnesses are not proof of a conspiracy.
But if just one homicide is executed to prevent a witness from providing incriminating information, it would prove a conspiracy. And that’s why Ruby shot Oswald.

https://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/6636/

Graphics

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 25, 2013 in JFK

 

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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: 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.
http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/home.htm
……………………………………………….

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: http://www.mtgriffith.com/web_documents/vsmcadams.htm

This pathetic “analysis” is further proof of your incompetence: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/logic2.htm . 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: https://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/jfk-witness-deaths-graphical-proof-of-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?https://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/jfk-assassination-a-probability-analysis-of-warren-commission-witness-unnatural-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 600 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. 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. https://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/executive-action-jfk-witness-deaths-and-the-london-times-actuary/

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.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on May 29, 2013 in JFK, Rebuttals

 

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