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  • Another Conspiracy Wacko?

    After reading this article and hearing about it in the media, I have to ask the question: How long before people will just accept the fact as fact? There is no evidence proving the existence of additional gunmen or a conspiracy in the Kennedy assasination! Now this "expert" is claiming the possibility based upon nothing more than the possibility that two of the bullets used had different chemical makeups. Everyone with even a basic understanding of ballistics/ammunition manufacturing knows that even within lots, bullets (powder, casings, etc...) will vary. Taken as a whole, there has never been anything showing the participation of anyone other than the "killer" (Oswald) in this murder and I (for one) am more than a little frustrated at seeing this dead (skeletonized) horse beaten! Does anyone agree?

    Bullet Lead Analysis Revisited
    Renewed speculation in Kennedy assassination
    Posted: May 23rd, 2007 09:54 PM EDT

    Forensics Contributor

    The most well-known rifle shots in history are those fired November 22, 1963 from a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle in Dallas' Dealey Plaza. These were presumably fired by Lee Harvey Oswald. The bullets that killed President John F. Kennedy have ever since been the subject of controversy between the government investigators and a plethora of conspiracy theorists. The official version of the assassination is that a single crazed gunman fired the fatal shots from a sixth floor window in the Texas School Book Depository building. Various attempts to demonstrate multiple shooters on the infamous "grassy knoll" and other locations have tried to show that the assassination of the President was a conspiracy of two or more shooters.

    Audio analyses performed on recordings from that event appear to show that four or more shots were fired, implying the presence of more than one gunman. However, the acoustical layout of Dealey Plaza is such that the scientific validity of those studies was called into question. Various films, pictures and eyewitness testimony implicate an additional shooter at the grassy knoll area. Then there is the infamous "magic bullet" which presumably passed thru Kennedy, then struck Texas Governor John Connally in the back, breaking four inches of one of his ribs, passing out and into his arm, and eventually lodging in his right wrist; one of the hardest bones in the body. Then this bullet, in almost pristine condition, fell out onto the stretcher as he was brought into Parkland Hospital. In all that travel, the bullet that had lost no more than 1.5 percent (2.5 grains) of its mass.

    Bullet Lead Analysis of Bullet Fragments

    In all, five bullet fragments were recovered from Jack Kennedy's body at autopsy and from the Presidential limousine. The original chemical analysis on these lead fragments was performed by the FBI Laboratory and by a University of California, Irvine, chemist, the late Vincent Guinn. Using the presumed best methods of the day, Guinn conducted trace metal analysis on the fragments and concluded that Kennedy was killed by two bullets, both fired from Oswald's rife.

    Forensic chemical analysis in the 1960s was not as sensitive and sophisticated as it is today. Chemical and metallurgical analysis methods and instrumentation have made major advances in accuracy and sensitivity in the past forty years. The analyses performed by forensic metallurgy labs today can detect much lower levels of trace metal elements with much higher levels of accuracy and confidence.

    In 1976, the FBI reported that from their analysis of the composition of the fragments, it was not possible to tell definitively if the fragments came from the same bullet. However, Guinn's conclusion was very different. He concluded that the levels of the trace element antimony came from two bullets fired from a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. Therefore, there was only one shooter, Oswald. These results were the basis for the Warren Commission's conclusion that there was only a lone gunman.

    Bullet Lead Composition

    When lead is smelted and refined, the process is designed to remove contaminant elements like silver, antimony, and copper and reduce their level to that acceptable for a specific alloy or composition. Studies have shown that the level of micro-contaminant metals in bullets is not unique. Bullets poured from different batches of lead smelted months or years apart could have an identical chemical signature. In addition, bullets poured from the start of a batch could differ measurably from those poured at the end of the batch. Therefore, trace metal analysis of bullet lead does not provide a reliable chemical fingerprint like trace chemical analysis does in other areas.

    In 2004 and 2006, researchers at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories in California showed that there was much more variability in Guinn's analysis in the levels of trace metals, like silver and antimony. The major problem with the analysis resides in the data analysis and interpretation of the results. In 2002 the FBI enlisted the help of the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council (NRC) to conduct an independent study of the bullet lead analysis method, using independent experts in the field. The NRC's final report expressed significant concerns over the interpretation of bullet lead examination. The FBI still stands by its procedures as being valid for evidence purposes. However, this and other data has led the FBI laboratory to announce officially in September 2005 the discontinuation of bullet lead examinations. Since then, this evidence has been suppressed by courts in several states and will undoubtedly be challenged in a great number of future cases.

    Kennedy Assassination Fragments Revisited

    Because of the historic significance of the bullets fired in Dallas that day, bullets from the same brand and lot as used in the assassination have been preserved as collector's items and are still available today. A group of researchers at Texas A&M University have undertaken a project to reanalyze these bullets by more modern procedures, because they believe it is desirable to reevaluate the evidentiary value of this data. The group includes researchers William James and Cliff Spiegelman, and the FBI Laboratory's former chief metallurgist, William Tobin. Tobin, before his retirement, has been involved in a multitude of analysis projects including the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and the crash off Long Island of TWA Flight 800. He has for many years questioned the FBI's methods used to match bullets to crime suspects.

    After the NRC's report, the National Academy of Sciences developed new guidelines for accurate and proper bullet analysis. Following these guidelines, Tobin and his co-workers reanalyzed the evidence presented to the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1976. This was the evidence that determined that a lone shooter (Oswald) was Kennedy's killer.

    Conclusions Revisited

    Five bullet fragments were used in the analysis by the FBI lab and Guinn. These were retrieved from Kennedy's body (2), Connally's wrist (1), the bullet on the stretcher at the hospital and from the Presidential limousine (2). In an article recently published in the Annals of Applied Statistics, these authors conclude that "the evidence [antimony levels] used to rule out a second assassin is fundamentally flawed". Based on careful statistical analysis of the trace metal data, they believe that Guinn used an analytical method and certain statistical assumptions that were faulty. They further assert that their findings "mean that the bullet fragments from the assassination that match could have come from three or as many as five separate bullets".

    Tobin and his colleagues do not definitely conclude that more than one shooter was present that day in Dallas. However, they do say "that if the fragments came from three or more separate bullets, then a second assassin is likely, as the additional bullets would not be attributable to the main suspect, Mr. Oswald".

    Forensic analysis is a dynamic science and new instrumentation and methods are always being developed to provide more and better quality evidence. Sometimes, as in this case, data from older methods may have to be reevaluated. It is important for law enforcement officers and prosecutors to remember that forensic evidence is only a part of the puzzle. It should not be the only evidence on which a case is based. Forensics cannot replace basic investigation procedure and evidence gathering; it can only supplement it.

    Web Links:

    The Eider Files, The Search for a New Breed of BioTerrorism Weapons, by Doug Hanson

    Doug Hanson. is a Ph.D. Biochemist who has operated toxicology and analytical chemistry laboratories for over 25 years. He is also a freelance writer who has written extensively for law enforcement, EMS and first responder magazines. His areas of expertise and written articles include: forensic investigation, DNA analysis, blood spatter, trace analysis, toxicology, drug and analytical chemistry, and forensic anthropology among others. He has written about car bombs, IEDs, soft targets, biological and chemical agents and attack scenarios. He has written on juvenile arson and illegal meth labs. Doug has written and published a book entitled The Eider Files, a novel about bioterrorism
    "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

  • #2
    It was 43 years ago. Who cares anymore?
    Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

    I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq


    • #3
      Originally posted by ateamer View Post
      It was 43 years ago. Who cares anymore?
      The black helicopter crowd. Jeeze! We can't keep a secret among 220+ officers. How can you expect the entire federal employee system, their families and associates quiet for 43 years?
      "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."


      • #4
        Conspiracy Theorists get to tell the rest of us, "Hey, I know something you don't know." They get to act smart to a certain crowd, and get their tails kissed. They sometimes get to suffer and blame the rest of the world when they don't fit in. They get mileage out of it, or they wouldn't do it.

        JFK, RFK, MLK, the moon landing, CIA drug dealing in L.A., OK City, 9/11, big oil...when will people start dealing with the real conspiracy that affects us, like who is responsible for shrinking my police uniforms, there in my locker, when I'm away on vacation?
        "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

        Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

        Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.


        • #5
          I think that more than LHO was involved. Take that, establishment!
          Space for rent .........


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kieth M. View Post
            when will people start dealing with the real conspiracy that affects us, like who is responsible for shrinking my police uniforms, there in my locker, when I'm away on vacation?
            You too? Be afraid. Be very afraid!!!!!!!!!!!
            "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."


            • #7
              Dr. Hanson entirely neglected to mention the analysis of the fragments done by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which showed conclusively it was the same bullet that caused the wounds to both Kennedy and Connally. No changes in technology in the 30 years since they did that analysis changes those findings.

              Further in his discussion of the "acoustic" evidence he also neglects to mention that the recordings used as "proof" there was an additional shot were shown to be completely bogus. It was not a recording of the assassination shots.

              If Dr. Hanson would like anyone to take him seriously on this subject, or any much of forensic science he should be more objective in his "analyis" of the physical evidence related to that case.

              Hell for Dr. Hanson to even suggest there might have been a "second shooter" on the "grassy knoll" is laughable. At the time of the head shot to Kennedy, which is clearly documented on the Zapruder film, any shot from the "grassy knoll" would have hit Kennedy in the right side of his head, and exited out the left because of where the limo was positioned in relation to the "grassy knoll." However, both the Zapruder film shows the fatal head shot was from the back of the head to the front.
              Last edited by SA13; 05-29-2007, 02:16 AM.


              • #8
                Originally posted by pulicords View Post
                The black helicopter crowd. Jeeze! We can't keep a secret among 220+ officers. How can you expect the entire federal employee system, their families and associates quiet for 43 years?
                I always point to the conspiracy theorists who say a Navy Aegis cruiser accidenty shot down TWA flight 800.

                Can you see the Captain gathering up 450 sailors and saying, "Now, I realize that any of you who decided to talk about his would be instant celebrities, get book writing contracts, be on Oprah, and be famous, but it has to be our little secret that the missile that I accidently let off a few minutes ago knocked an airliner out of the sky."


                • #9
                  LHO was not the only one involved. How can anyone say otherwise???
                  Space for rent .........


                  • #10
                    I did some research in college for a class on the Kennedy assassination. I came away believing there had to be a second shooter. My main reason was the bullet trajectory and the time it took to get the shots off.

                    I saw a program a while back where some researchers from the UK were able to get the same exact results after duplicating the conditions of the shooting. I firmly believe LHO was alone, the rest is just marketing for book/video sales.
                    A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to, and including their life. That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact!


                    • #11
                      Last edited by Fëanor; 05-29-2007, 02:22 PM. Reason: Shouldn't Post Here


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by scratched13 View Post
                        LHO was not the only one involved. How can anyone say otherwise???
                        Proving a negative? I'll say otherwise and if you have any verifiable proof that anyone else was involved, the world is still waiting for it. The whole idea that one determined Adam Henry couldn't do what LHO did is simply absurd. Murders far more complex are solved every day and if you or anyone else thinks that Dallas PD wouldn't want to solve this crime, try this: A Dallas PD officer was also shot by LHO shortly after the Kennedy shooting. Do your really think his brother officers just let that pass too? How many friends, family, associates of his just shrugged off that event? How about those associated with the Govenor (Connolly) who was wounded when Kennedy was killed. I guess they don't care either. Or those among the FBI or U.S. Secret Service? Yea, I guess you've got a point. All those folks just don't care. Give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                        "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."


                        • #13
                          Yeah but we missed out on the future of some great music...

                          Featuring The LHO Band:

                          Last edited by Taylor1430; 05-29-2007, 11:58 PM.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by scratched13 View Post
                            LHO was not the only one involved. How can anyone say otherwise???
                            Because ALL the physical evidence points to the shots coming from where Oswald's rifle was found, and ALL the physical evidence points to the shots coming from Oswald's rifle. Anyone who wants to claim otherwise is either a fool, dishonest, or both.


                            • #15
                              I edited that article, and I know Dr. Hanson to be quite knowledgeable in the area of scientific forensic analysis. Everyone who writes for Officer.com is a subject mater expert in their field.

                              I don't think Dr. Hanson's intention was to give rise to new conspiracy theories. He used the Kennedy assassination case as a model to show how forensic bullet analysis has evolved in the 43 years since the incident. If Dr. Hanson has an official position on the one shooter/multiple shooter argument, he has never mentioned it to me.
                              Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.


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