1 - F.A.C.T.S. (journal)

Hello everybody,
Several years ago, from 1998 to 2000, I wrote a JFK-assassination research journal called F.A.C.T.S (Frenchman Against Conspiracy TheorieS). There were three issues completed. I began writing the fourth one and I set it aside, for I had then begun to write my book and was also active on newsgroups and forums. But I kept a few articles in my files and got new ideas so it is very likely that there will be new issues in the future, particularly on the 50th anniversary occasion.
Of course, several of the articles found on the first three issues may now be outdated. Yet I thought it would be a good idea to upload all of them here in my blog, as most of the things I wrote back then are still relevant.
Here they are :

F.A.C.T.S. 1

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-F A C T S
-Frenchman Against Conspiracy TheorieS
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November 1998
Issue 1

- 1. Editorial.
- 2. an article by F.C.
- 3. about Lifton's theory.
- 4. a few thoughts.
- 5. selected bibliography.

Dear reader, you are now holding (or seeing on your computer screen) the new international JFK assassination research journal. It is written by me, François Carlier, a French researcher. This journal has two advantages. Firstly, it is free! And secondly, it is written with an open-mind. My aim is to apply critical-thinking methods to the JFK-assassination mystery. Contrary to what is too often seen with would-be researchers, here reason is placed above passion; in "F.A.C.T.S." I will weigh evidence, separate facts from fiction, distinguish between what is relevant and what is not, identify arguments; make sure fallacies and bad arguments are avoided, and most of all, call a spade a spade! Some people only care about making a big name for themselves, others care only about making money. I do not belong to either category! Well, I know I don't live in Dallas, and unlike some writers, I do not claim to have learned the whole 26 volumes by heart! But I have enough common sense, I am intelligent enough, I know enough of science to be able to tell what's possible and what is not, what is clever and what is ludicrous. I have nothing to sell. Put simply I only want to apply honesty and logic in order to seek - and tell - the truth!

PS: Needless to say, you are welcome to give your feedback, opinion, reaction. Passion and insults don't belong here. Reason, logic and healthy debate, that's what's "F.A.C.T.S." is all about...

Enjoy your reading...

- 2. An outsider's view of the Kennedy assassination community.

(The following is an article that I had written in the spring of 1997. It dealt with my previous trip to Dallas. I had sent it to many people in the research community. It is reproduced here for those who didn't have the chance of receiving it, and because it is worth reading for anybody!)

I went to Dallas last November! I was very excited. I had been interested in the Kennedy assassination for years, I had read dozens of books, and there, for the first time, I was going to attend conferences by the best-known researchers in the world, I would have a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity of listening to them and talking to them. Most important I expected to hear the most convincing arguments against the Warren Commission version.
Well, let me tell you very briefly what kind of guy I am. As far as making an opinion goes, I am a follower of the scientific method. To give you a good idea of my approach I read books by authors such as James Randi, Martin Gardner, Paul Kurtz, Joe Nickell, and other people from the CSICOP. I particularly like the way they debunk hoaxers. I am myself an amateur conjurer, and a founder member of a French scientific association that copies the CSICOP. One thing was important for me. I had twice read "Case closed" by Gerald Posner. I had been impressed. Then I had bought and read "Case open" by Harold Weisberg. And I had been very disappointed. I had hoped Weisberg would address the criticisms raised by Posner but he did not do that to my satisfaction, far from it. I was hoping I could ask every researcher what they thought of the book, and what they had to answer to the criticism. I expected to see debates; researchers and experts confronting arguments. Then the assistance could ask questions; I had hundreds of questions to ask. (But soon enough I would discover that that was not to be!). On the plane from Paris to the USA I was reading an American book by William D. Gray "Thinking critically about New Age ideas", a book which teaches critical-thinking skills and among others how to identify arguments, to recognize fallacies and other bad arguments. I wondered how many people in the JFK critical community had read that fascinating book.
I had registered to attend the COPA conference and the JFK-Lancer conference. Excitement grew as the JFK-Lancer conference began. I was all ears. I was impressed by what I was showed. The speakers were indeed very good! But the assistance had very little time - if any - to ask questions. And we came nowhere near having any kind of debate! But let me now give you an example that speaks for itself and illustrates the point I want to make. On day one, a researcher called Mark Oakes gave a lecture. It was about the Paschall film and Dallas witnesses. All right, I said, that's interesting. Then the day after, in the same room, under the auspices of the same JFK-Lancer, there was a lecture on the Zapruder film. The Zapruder film symposium, with David Mantik, David Lifton, James Fetzer and Jack White. I talked to Mantik and Fetzer afterwards. They were utterly convinced the Zapruder film was altered. But then, the day after, still in the same room, I saw Mark Oakes again and decided to go and talk to him. I asked him his opinion about the possibility of the Zapruder film being a forgery. His answer startled me, to say the least. He wasn't aware that it was an issue, nor was he aware that some people had talked about that on the previous day, for he was out of town making filmed interviews! I then realized that the speakers were separate and had not met. All that was well, but here I was realizing I was not about to reach certainty on any given issue. It was clear to me that not everybody agreed with each other among the experts invited by JFK-Lancer. More important, some of them were not even aware of what the others were saying. All this showed me that I had overestimated the organizers' grasp of the zetetician way of thinking, the scientific method, the rational, unbiased and foolproof way of investigating. The day after, Mantik and Fetzer had an argument with Robert Groden during one of the COPA lectures, concerning the Zapruder film. It was clear to me that I would go back to France with more questions than I had when leaving. And I had better forget about any chance of having answers; thirty-three years after the assassination, the top experts in the field did not even agree on whether the film of the assassination was forged or not!
In Dallas I learned more about the quarrels between different researchers than about the Kennedy case proper. And at no time was I or anybody who was attending the conferences, for that matter, given a chance of asking pertinent questions to speakers. It was always a race in-between lectures, to get an opportunity of interviewing some of them. Good thing I was French and coming from far away: it gave me the right to ask questions that was not granted to other people! Looking back it was a disappointing experience. I had thought the research community was a group of people working together with the common aim of getting at the truth (that would sound logical to me). On the contrary I found men speaking ill of their colleagues (so-and-so is a thief, so-and-so is a liar) and working each in their corner. But never did I find men having debates. Yet, that should be the thing to do.
Another thing which I would like to mention is the difficulty I have encountered when trying to have an answer to even simple questions. It seems as if the JFK assassination researchers are inaccessible men. There are so many of them to whom I wrote, asking interesting questions, but who never seemed to find the time to reply. I have to say that Doctor Wecht has always been very nice, always showing great patience, always replying to my letters rapidly and sending lots of interesting documents. I owe him a lot. But in contrast, I have got to say that some researchers are not willing to help. One of them, whom I will not name, to whom I had written in order to have his opinion on specific points, sent me a letter saying he had no time to answer, but remembered to put an order slip for his new book in the envelope!
Anyway my quest for clear-cut answers continues. On the Internet I have found lots of interesting articles. I hereby would like to mention two of them, which I urge everybody to read. 1. In the Fair Play section called Miscellanea, Errata, Et Cetera, I recently found a good article by a citizen called Tom Braun. In it he issues a challenge to JFK conspiracy advocates (Fair Play called it "a tiresome challenge"). Unfortunately, they declined the offer. How sad! Well, that's exactly what all the critics do; they decline to challenge the evidence found by other researchers. 2. Let me quote from Fred Litwin (1994-95) "A conspiracy too big? Intellectual dishonesty in the JFK Assassination": ...the HSCA addressed many of the issues raised by the critics in the sixties. Since then, the literature has taken on a disturbing tone - one that rejects any piece of evidence contrary to findings of conspiracy...In the clash between evidence and theories, theories have to be discarded. It's true that evidence is often weak and open to multiple interpretations, but to argue that evidence is fraudulent is to undermine the possibility that any theory might turn out to be "true". To argue in such a style is to cause the collapse of the entire empirical edifice of assassinology... So the critics are doing two things. They are rejecting many pieces of evidence. This rejection then forces them to paint a monstrous conspiracy and cover-up..." . Litwin's article then goes on to show why he doesn't believe in a conspiracy. If he's right, let's have the guts to admit it, in the name of Honesty and Truth. If he is wrong, well, then address all the issues he raises and answer them. Don't decline this challenge, again in the name of the pursuit of Truth and Justice. Organize debates. Invite Gerald Posner and Jim Moore. Let them express their opinions, their beliefs, why they have come to such and such conclusions. Let a critic give a rebuttal. Then let the public decide. Let everybody decide together. And only then can you move on to the next controversial issue. All this has to occur in a friendly atmosphere. Facts are important, men are not, in our search for the truth, which is the element we all have in common. That's how you (and that means we, the public) will arrive at the truth. All right, I know now, the Failure Analysis work was not done for Posner primarily. As Weisberg has written, Posner has misappropriated the research of others. So what? You critics are begging the real issues. You are not challenging Posner. You are simply making fun of him. But that won't help getting at the truth. Jim Marrs, for example, in a taped interview I had the opportunity to make, kept on telling me the Oswald backyard photos were fakes, although he very well knows (even if he doesn't mention it) that the HSCA conducted tests which showed the photos to be authentic. He thinks Marina took other pictures, not the ones we have. Also I talked to Craig Roberts, who too claimed that Marina took a picture of Oswald with a rifle that may not be the Mannlicher Carcano. But what does all that mean? They admit that Marina took similar pictures of Oswald with a rifle. Why has Oswald done so? And why would anyone have faked photos when they already had some? The point is Marina took pictures of her husband with a rifle. What the Warren Commission says is that it means Oswald was a violent man. Now, if all the critics can do is deny the authenticity of the photos (when a panel of experts say they are authentic), although they admit that similar real photos were taken with Oswald, then what the Warren Commission said is true after all. And what happened to the genuine photos? In fact the HSCA did conduct numerous extensive tests that answered or debunked many of the critics allegations. But regardless, the critics never learn and keep repeating these allegations instead.
Will I come to Dallas next November? I doubt it. Unless you critics accept to challenge Posner and Tom Braun (the burden of proof is on your side), unless you answer Fred Litwin in a conclusive way, if you can, I see no point in attending another JFK conference. You see, I have come to think that the big mistake that is being made is to rely on not-yet-released-documents or future new discoveries. The point now is not to uncover new evidence. We have all the evidence, all the data we need. The only way to have the truth one day lies with the people, the researchers attitude. I think the only way to get to the one-and-only truth, the universally accepted truth, is to round up every researcher, put them in the same room and allow no-one outside until the mystery is solved. I know the tough part will be to make some people admit that they had been wrong. I know that is going to be very hard for some of the researchers to acknowledge publicly that their theory was wrong, or that what they wrote in their book with great conviction was off the mark. Well, let's face it, this will have to happen. Indeed there are so many different versions of the assassination, not all of them can be true. Not everybody can be right. David Lifton, who is on the conspiracy side, says there were no shots from the rear. Robert Groden who is also on the conspiracy side, says there were shots from different locations, among which the rear. Jim Moore, who is on the Warren side, has a reconstruction of the shooting (Kennedy raising his arms upon hearing the first shot, making his suit and shirt bunch up, explaining the hole in the shirt lower that the neck) which is not that of Gerald Posner, who is also on the Warren side. David Mantik, like Robert Groden, is a conspiracy theorist, but unlike Groden, he claims the Zapruder film was altered... And I could go on and on... What a mess! I mean, there was only one way the shooting occurred. But there are so many different versions. Well everybody, at the outset of this "big and final meeting", would have to agree on the most important thing; that what matters is the interests of your country, the USA, not the pride of any single individual. But there is no shame in having been wrong. On the contrary, every researcher should be praised for their work, and the millions of hours of work and sacrifices spent in the name of truth. That was so noble of everybody. In a way everybody in the community helped everybody. No one can ever said to be the winner. Or rather, either we all lose if we can't reach the level which I call "the solution", or we all win, your country the USA wins and the principals for which your Constitution stands win. I say, and this is no overstatement, that the whole world will be a better place to live when the truth - whatever it is - is finally known (and that's when you will all agree, when you all together push your own reasoning until you get to the point where everybody joins, because it will have become the inescapable conclusion!). At the end of his video, David Lifton says that, in light of the new evidence he has found, a national investigation is warranted, focusing on the chain of possession of the body, etc... Well, you can make it. Just gather. Just set your petty quarrels aside and meet and work together. Use the JFK-Lancer 1997 conference. Instead of having different people talking at different moments about their own research, make everybody debate and work together. Everybody has to have an open mind and behave like a scientist. No bias. Posner is not the only one to have written against the critics; lots of "laymen" have written sound and enlightening articles on the Internet which convincingly debunk some claims made in the conspiracy literature. Invite them all. If you are right, you'll inevitably end up proving it and convincing everybody. It is now or never. Indeed, you are in the situation where you have lots of experts who have spent their lives studying the case. They know all there is to know. When they die, lots of knowledge will be lost. In the future a lot will be forgotten. One last effort has to be made now by all of you. It is well worth it. You owe it to History and mankind, no less. It is in everyone's interest. Then at last we'll know... It's up to you!

- 3. about Lifton's theory of body alteration.

I have here on my desk a presentation of the JFK-Lancer 1997 Second Annual November in Dallas Conference. That was one year ago. They were going to ask the question: "was the president's body surgically altered in order to deny an assassination conspiracy?" Well, let's pause for a minute, shall we? Lifton's book had been published 17 before! The fact that the question was still asked means that seventeen years after we still don't know whether this theory is right or wrong! Hasn't anyone looked thoroughly into the matter? Shouldn't it be easy, if one really wanted to know, to check and get to the truth? But more to the point, did the JFK 1997 Lancer conference gave us the answer? They asked the question, but did they give an answer at the end of the conference? Not to my knowledge. So now I am asking; who has the answer? And what is it?
Let's put it another way. Everybody is well aware that much has been written concerning David Lifton's theory. You know full well that Gerald Posner refutes this theory. That's expected. But he is not the only one. Harold Weisberg, among others (he agrees with my quoting him) utterly denies Lifton's theory, claiming it is ridiculous at best! Dr. Wecht too; he, as an expert medical practitioner, who was president of the American Academy of forensic pathology, states that Lifton's theory is simply an impossibility! Robert Groden also disagrees with Lifton on that issue. Weisberg, Wecht and Groden belong to the same team; they are Warren report critics! Yet in 1996 David Lifton was a keynote speaker at JFK Lancer's conference and at no time was it said to the audience that in no way does he enjoy unanimity on his theory. Now, what is important is the present. Can I hope that, at last, we will have a definite answer? Will we have a definite "Yes, Lifton was right" or "No, Lifton was wrong"? The critics have to give us an answer (They will have to organize a debate, not a lecture by one man). Then we can move from there. Otherwise, if you give no answer, then it will mean that you cannot go forward, you cannot discard wrong theories, you cannot reach any agreement, you cannot go closer to the truth. It would be terrible for your cause! So my question is: will you have the guts to call a spade a spade? I maintain it is possible to have debates and determine to the point of certainty (beyond a reasonable doubt) whether Lifton is right or wrong. I am then telling you that your duty is to give us an answer. And I am asking you if you will indeed have the courage to do your duty. If Lifton was wrong, you owe it to the American people to let it be known! I hope you understand.
When I read and hear what Americans lay people say (for example, in the letters-to-the-editor section of "The Assassination Chronicles") all they can do is butter the editor up. I find it appalling. They praise COPA, JFK Lancer, and other research groups for the good work they're putting. Work? Yes, a big "yes". I have got to admit that I am very impressed by all the work that has been done these past years. The organization is impressive. A lot has been achieved. But the question is: is it good quality? What you need is a critical appraisal from serious and unbiased people, not immature congratulations from people who anyway would praise you no matter what! I, for one, am willing to be of help by being constructive. The research community - if it exists at all - must gather and follow the scientific method. Most of the researchers have not the faintest idea what that is. Claims are never publicly checked, let alone double-checked, which would be considered standard procedure. Very often, a very convincing argument later proves to be wrong from beginning to end. But lessons are seldom learned. Moreover, newsgroups are filled with useless posts, in which nothing is learned about the assassination but a lot about what somebody thinks of somebody else!
Now, here is the most important point I want to make. In order to reach a conclusion on any given affair, you need two things: material (and in our case, it is the documents, the facts) and a tool (the method). I say that you researchers have a tremendous amount of material; tons of documents, investigations, witnesses, etc. etc, But you lack the method. Well there is no shame in not being an expert at everything. I mean, nobody can. Some people are experts at driving (Formula One pilots), at playing tennis (Pete Sampras), etc. And some people are experts at thinking critically; they know how to separate facts from fiction, how to draw reasonable conclusions from the evidence. The best in that field are people such as Martin Gardner, Paul Kurtz, Ray Hyman. They may not know everything about the Kennedy assassination but I am convinced they could help you apply the right method to get to the truth. The researchers would be well advised to follow the rules of science, apply critical thinking, weigh the evidence available, ask pertinent questions to knowledgeable people, try to learn about common fallacies in reasoning so as to avoid making errors, be rigorous. I urge every person who wants to research the JFK assassination to start by reading the following book: "Thinking critically about new age ideas", by William D. Gray (Wadsworth Publishing company, 1991). Now, let me give you an example: I have seen, on page 59 of the Spring 1997 issue of "The assassination chronicles", a book by Jim Marrs: "Alien agenda". Let me tell you, in a nutshell, for I don't want to waste my time on that ridiculous topic; the mere fact that Marrs wrote such a book makes me realize how poor "Crossfire" was, and the mere fact that the book is praised indicates that writers of "The assassination chronicles" can be taken in by nonsense. Because a government cover-up regarding UFO's is nonsense. I am prepared to believe there can be a government cover-up concerning the killing of a president. Of course, one can always try to hide what they have done. If the government has killed Kennedy, they can and they will try to - quite successfully it seems - cover it up. But how could anyone (even an all-powerful CIA-controlled US government) cover up the existence of UFO's? It is stupid, by definition! Suppose a UFO had actually landed on earth, by sheer coincidence on the premises of a controlled military area (Roswell, for instance). I am well versed in astronomy and knowing about the tremendously huge distances, the odds of this happening (the coincidence of the UFO landing in a military field, or a no-trespassing area) are more than mind-boggling. Anyway, suppose "CIA people" realize they have found a UFO (and its extra-terrestrial occupants). Now they know extra-terrestrials do exist, and they have captured some. But how in the world could they try to hide that truth? And why? If they have a UFO, how do they know others won't come to try to fetch their comrades? The CIA has no way of preventing another UFO to come and land, say, in New York City in the middle of a busy day. Or on a football field in front of thousands of people. And what if a UFO would land in another country? No way they could then keep on covering up the truth. My point is, UFO's, if they exist, are beyond the control of the US government! Therefore, there is no way the US government would think of covering up their existence, even if they wanted to! But anyway, that is not the issue we are concerned with in the journal. let's focus on the JFK assassination. See the bibliography at the end; I will list a few books that are definitely worth reading. I say Jim Marrs should have read them before writing his books.
Simply speaking, I advise you to seek advice from CSICOP people, because they know the right method to clear the field of errors and to avoid making fallacies. I suggest you ask someone like Martin Gardner, who is an American citizen, who can speak very well, who is very intelligent, honest, unbiased, and all, to give a lecture at the next JFK-Lancer's conference. The research community needs that kind of outside contribution.
But let's go back to the question: "was the president's body surgically altered in order to deny an assassination conspiracy?" It is, in a nutshell, David Lifton's theory, put forth in his famous book "Best evidence". Below are some sources (among others) that we must take into account if we want to make an honest opinion about that theory. Instead of spending hours typing all the arguments, I list the sources so everyone can read them.

1. See "Crime of the century" by Michael Kurtz (The University of Tennessee Press, 1993). from page 206 to page 212.
(Among others: Lifton claims that Kennedy was shot in the front of the head by gunfire from the Grassy Knoll, yet he fails to account for the fact that no one at Dallas saw an entrance wound in the front of the head. Also Lifton quotes the FBI agents but not all the other witnesses who provided widely divergent accounts of the wounds. And, of course, what about rigor mortis, algor mortis and livor mortis?)

2. see "Conspiracy of one" by Jim Moore (The Summit Group, 1992). from page 95 to page 101.
(Among others: Dave Powers maintains that Kennedy's body was never left unattended. And what about Jenkins's letter to Lattimer about the back wound?)

3. see "Case closed" by Gerald Posner (Anchor Books, 1993). from page 294 to 297 and 298n.
(Among others: doctors say Lifton's theory is a medical impossibility. I mean, a non-doctor writes a medical theory that is ridiculed by doctors!! ... Who is right?)

4. see Bob Artwohl, (on McAdams site, read http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/lifton.txt.)
(Among other errors of fact and interpretation of the medical evidence, the Harper fragment was not occipital bone but parietal bone. See also "Anatomy of the Harper fragment" by Joseph N. Riley (also on the Internet). I quote: "..there can be no reasonable scientific doubt that the Harper fragment is parietal bone.". Another problem for Lifton: the body bag was not mentioned in the FBI report.)

5. from Harold Weisberg (in one of his replies to me); I quote: "Lifton's theory of body alteration is absolutely impossible and made up out of nothing. Lifton misrepresented the reality. He did not include the FBI report in his book because it proves his theory is false."

6. from Robert Groden (personal interview); "Lifton claims all the shots came from the front, and none from the rear. He doesn't account for Connally's wounds!"

Well I think that will do, if you do read all those sources. It all adds up to a huge number of arguments against Lifton's theory by knowledgeable people. I state it again: David Lifton is no physician. Yet he writes a medical theory that is ridiculed by doctors. At the very least, we should use caution with his theory and avoid jumping to conclusions. Was Lifton trained as a physician, a pathologist? Drs Baden, Lattimer and Wecht are far better trained than he is, but all three say Lifton's theory is crap! Then he claims the body was taken off its casket, when Dave Powers says the casket was never left unguarded. What do you make of all this? I mean, Dave Powers was on board the plane. Lifton was not! Some people never learn.
A lot of people (not me, I am talking about Artwohl, Wecht, Groden Posner, Moore, Powers, etc.) have criticized David Lifton's theory. They say it is wrong, they say it is ludicrous, they say it is just impossible. So now, it is your turn, Mister Lifton, to answer. Either you can answer, and in that case please do it, for we are all waiting for your answer, or you can't, which means you were wrong. We want to know! It is put up or shut up.

(This article was recently posted on an Internet newsgroup. Needless to say, some people liked it and others didn't. But instead of giving arguments, those you disagreed could only write insults with their keyboard! Following is a summing up of what I replied to angry posts.)
The point is, this fellow Lifton wrote a book in which he puts forth a new theory. But when knowledgeable people such as doctors (take Artwohl, Wecht and Baden, for instance) read that book, they say it is absurd and ludicrous as well as impossible. And also Lifton, 17 years after the event, writes a book saying the body was stolen from the casket, when the very people who actually were there swear the casket was never left unattended. And those are just a few examples (I listed more in my article). So to the reader it surely looks like this theory is wrong. So it seems quite evident that its author has to explain why he still believes in it and why he wants us to believe in it. In short, if he wants to convince us, he will have to be convincing! That means he will have to prove he is right. And that means he must answer the points raised by so many people who read the book, and they are people who are either better trained than Lifton is (Wecht and all) or who actually were there when Lifton was not!
I mean Weisberg, Groden, Wecht, Aguilar, Kurtz, and lots of other people who are conspiracy theorists, that is they do not believe in the Warren report, say that Lifton is wrong. They have read his book but they do not believe his theory of body alteration and stuff. What I mean, and you should stop to think about it, is that the fact that those people reject Lifton's theory should make people realize what is obvious to anybody who can apply critical thinking methods. If Lifton is right, why isn't he believed by other conspiracy theorists? If he is right, if his theory can so well explain the discrepancies between Dallas and Bethesda, why are there so few people who follow him? I say that if Weisberg, Wecht, Groden, Aguilar, not to mention others, say that Lifton is wrong, that surely suggests he is indeed wrong!
More to the point: people like Wecht, Moore Artwohl and Posner have challenged Lifton. He has never been able to answer them. Wouldn't he have answered if he could have?
Most people who believe in conspiracy theories lack the understanding that witnesses accounts must not be taken at face value. Whenever you investigate a crime or any affair, you have to base your conclusion on facts and scientific evidence, certainly not on what the witnesses tell. That is because out of any given number of witnesses to the same event, none will have remembered the event the same way. That was bound to happen in Dealey Plaza, in Dallas, in Bethesda, etc. like anywhere else. JFK was shot, and everybody remembered things that are utterly incompatible with one another. That was to be expected. It happens all the time and everywhere! That does not mean that people were lying. It means human recollections are not something you should rely on. But critics rely on nothing but the witness statements that suit them. Lifton has gathered statements by witnesses that suit him. But there are as many statements by witnesses that destroy his theory. But those who want to believe him read only the eyewitnesses accounts that they like. But if they were smart, they would take into account all the eyewitness accounts. The conspiracy theorists would then see that those accounts contradict one another (that is normal) and realize that the majority of them destroy Lifton's theory.
When David Lifton can convince Artwohl + Wecht + Baden that his theory is indeed a medical possibility, when he can convince Groden + Weisberg that his scenario makes sense, when he can answer to the sound arguments made by Posner + Moore + Kurtz in a convincing manner, then he will have gone a long way to prove his case. If he were right, that should be very easy to do! But I am not holding my breath. This day will never happen. Only gullible people think he will ever be able to do that!

- 4. a few thoughts.

I visited Internet newsgroups in order to check a few things, but I was kind of dumb - I admit that - to expect people on these newsgroups to have anything interesting to say. I learned nothing. But I read countless posts full of garbage and insults and emptiness.
People like me try to be constructive, and honestly debate, discuss, think, give arguments, weigh evidence, and move forward! But most people can do nothing but insult others, try to make fun of them, resort to ad hominem attacks, and duck the issues by refusing to answer. They don't know what critical thinking is. Now, I admit that answering my questions is hard, certainly harder than insulting me via a computer!

Conspiracy theorists can't be stopped in their dream world: they claim the X-rays were altered, the autopsy photos were altered, the backyard photos were altered, the body was altered, the Zapruder film was altered.... What else? I wonder what was genuine?
They also say the Mafia + the CIA + Johnson + the FBI + oil men + the DPD did it together. What a terrible country they are painting! But I will tell you what. As a Frenchman, I believe in your institutions. Your government is legal and sound and clear. There never was a conspiracy. You live in a democracy. Your country is a fine one, and I like it a lot. A lone nut killed your president, and that's all there is to it. It was a sad event. I liked John Kennedy a lot, he was a great president. I wish he was still alive! But I, for one, trust your government and your institutions. And I am not going to think otherwise because gullible people paint a big conspiracy where everybody was involved and every document forged!

It is hard to have a debate on the JFK assassination issue. The whole field is plagued by passion and guts, and therefore instead of arguments and logic and reasoning, we too often can only read ad hominem attacks. What is that? That occurs when someone attempts to refute a person's claim by attacking that person rather than the claim. It is a fallacy, i.e. a defective argument, one in which the premises do not provide an adequate basis for the conclusion. Indeed it is a fallacy because the person's character has no bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim.

Too many people in the JFK research community resort to ad hominem attacks. And Gerald Posner is the person who has suffered the most ad hominem attacks! You all have forgotten that the truth or falsity of a claim depends ultimately on the facts, not on who makes it. I think I have read all that was written against Posner. And this is precisely what convinced me he must be right after all. Because all the criticism I found against him was ad hominem attacks, nothing of substance against the facts. Because those who criticize Posner don't give arguments pertaining to the facts of November 22, 1963. Instead they say Posner made a spelling mistake, or he said such WC member attended eight meetings when in fact it was only five. Who gives a damn? I mean, Posner could have misspelled my name, for all I care. That has no bearing on the real issues! For instance, the book "Case open" is the most empty book I have ever read. It is full of unnecessary commentary and insults. The books claims Posner took credit for other people's research. So what? A critical thinker doesn't care who takes the credit for what. But he tries to know whether the research is good quality or not. And indeed Posner gives lots of intelligent arguments. For example, Posner is more honest that any critic because he openly says that experts (I mean, real experts, not self-proclaimed experts) of the HSCA have said, beyond any doubt, that the documents are real. Only a few conspiracy theorists, who are far from having the credentials of the HSCA experts, claim that they are forged! Now that is a fact, and I thank Posner to have made it clear!
Now, I admit he should make public his tape of his telephone interview with Boswell. If I were him I would surely do it at once. So on this particular aspect, I certainly support Gary Aguilar. No question.

There is one aspect I thought about a long time ago. Critics claim Oswald had not enough time to go from the sixth floor to the second floor where Marion Baker and Roy Truly met him. So critics claim Oswald was on the second floor during the shooting and not on the sixth floor. They say Oswald was set up as the fall guy. But that does not make sense. In other words, critics are saying that plotters were very clever in their scenario, they had someone shoot at Kennedy, they made sure Oswald would be the accused by tying the shots to the rifle and the rifle to him, but they forgot to make sure he had no alibi. Indeed if I were to commit a crime and blame it on somebody else, I would make sure that person was not seen by anybody during the time of the crime. If you want to blame the assassination on Oswald, but let him go loose so he is seen on the second floor by a policeman too early after the shots to have been the shooter, then the patsy scenario collapses. I mean, it is clear that if whatever group of plotters had wanted to blame Oswald, they would have made sure he was not seen far from the sixth floor around the time of the shots! Because otherwise anybody could have come forward saying they had seen Oswald on the second floor at, or just after the time of the shooting! The whole plot (which had been prepared for months, according to the conspiracy theorists) would have collapsed on the spot! That does not make sense. Do I make myself clear? Anyway, it was indeed possible for Oswald to be on the second floor when he encountered Baker, as Jim Moore has written in his book.

As far as the "research community" is concerned, one thing is obvious. I have realized that it is possible to write empty books that become best-sellers, it is possible to be considered as an expert even when that's not true, it is possible to earn lots of money without merit, it is possible to be admired by lots of people for no reason at all. The Kennedy assassination research community is full of people who consider themselves as intelligent experts. But they are not.
The research community, as a whole, has to discard wrong theories. But you haven't had such courage yet. One example: Armstrong has a theory of two Oswalds that seems impressive. But David Lifton, who has researched that area, says it is all wrong. Now, organize a confrontation, and let them both debate in public. Then you can move from there. But you owe the public to say who was right and who was wrong. You cannot go on with both researchers keeping on claiming that "the other one is wrong". Because not both of them can be right. Only if you discard one of them can you keep your credibility as a research group.
So what I'm saying is this: there are a lot of theories out there that may be true, or not. But it is high time you checked once and for all. You have to move forward. You are all wasting so much time making fun of those who don't share your opinions, but the inquiry into the case doesn't move a bit! It's time to face FACTS...

- 5. selected bibliography.

Kendrick Frazier, "Paranormal borderlands of science"
Kendrick Frazier, "Science confronts the paranormal"
Kendrick Frazier, "The hundredth monkey"
Martin Gardner, "Fads and fallacies in the name of science"
Martin Gardner, "Science : good, bad and bogus"
Martin Gardner, "The New-Age : notes of a fringe watcher"
Martin Gardner, "On the wild side"
William D. Gray, "Thinking critically about new-age ideas"
Terence Hines, "Pseudoscience and the paranormal"
Ray Hyman, "The elusive quarry"
Philip Klass, "UFO's : the public deceived"
Philip Klass, "UFO abductions : a dangerous game"
Paul Kurtz, "A skeptic's handbook of parapsychology"
Larry Kusche, "The Bermuda triangle mystery - solved"
James Randi, "The truth about Uri Geller"
James Randi, "Flimflam"
James Randi, "The faith healers"

Talk to you next time...

This journal of research on the Kennedy assassination is sent free either by electronic mail or by snail mail to the following people: Doctor Cyril Wecht, David Lifton, Gary Aguilar, Jim Marrs, Robert Groden, Gerald Posner, Clint Bradford, John Mc Adams, Debra Conway, Jack White, George Michael Evica, John Judge, Anthony Summers, Walt Brown, Henri Hurt, Michael Kurtz, Michael Griffith, Ed Dolan, Jim Moore, Carl Oglesby, Craig Roberts, Robert Harris, Anthony Marsh, Gary Mack, Jerrol Custer, David Scheim, Mark Oakes, Thierry Lentz, William Reymond, Gary Shaw, Jo Backes, Greg Jaynes, Barb Junkkarinen, John Kelin, Jerry Organ, Larry Charbonneau, Ian Griggs, Gaeton Fonzi and Paul-Eric Blanrue.

[François Carlier, 1998]
[All rights reserved]


F.A.C.T.S. 2
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-F A C T S
-Frenchman Against Conspiracy TheorieS
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January 1999
Issue 2
- 1. Editorial
- 2. was the Z film altered?
- 3. did Ford really lie?
- 4. one or two Oswald(s)?
- 5. defending G. Posner.
- 6. a new appalling book.
- 7. miscellaneous.
Dear reader, you are now holding (or seeing on your computer screen) the second issue of F.A.C.T.S., a JFK assassination research journal. Among the people who received the first issue, only two of them decided not to keep receiving it. Some of you even praised this journal! (what more could I hope for?) In this issue, I will focus on a few subjects that have been talked about at length in the past months. I will also talk about a new book published in France, and which I find appallingly useless. As always, I will try to apply critical thinking methods, as well as reason and honesty. I hope you will all enjoy reading this new issue. As always, you are invited to reply if you disagree with me. Any comments and suggestions are welcome.
And remember; always call a spade a spade!

- 2. Was the Zapruder film altered? The definitive answer!
The first time I heard that some people talked of the Zapruder film possibly being altered was when I was at the JFK-Lancer-November-in-Dallas conference in 1996. Prior to that time I had not been aware that it had been an issue. There, two people I had never heard about were scheduled to speak: James Fetzer and David Mantik. On November 22, 1996, Fetzer was the moderator to the Zapruder film symposium. As I was also attending the COPA conference I took the opportunity of asking Robert Groden for his opinion. He was very adamant that the Zapruder film was genuine and had not been altered. I did not share Groden's conclusions regarding the assassination, but I sure considered him to be an authority on the Zapruder film. So I came back to the Dallas Grand Hotel and talked to Mantik and Fetzer. The three of us met across the corridor from the conference room. Fetzer did most of the talking. He looked a very excited man. He talked at length listing all the reasons why he believed the Zapruder film had been altered. At that point, I had no opinion, and although I was approaching the subject with suspicion I had an open mind and was ready to believe whatever was presented before me with sound arguments made by experts. Fetzer was more impressive when he talked about the alteration of the film than when he tried to explain why the film would be altered at all! As I did not consider myself as an expert on this (I was in Dallas to learn and listen, not to teach and speak) I suggested Fetzer and Mantik should accompany me to Groden's lecture that he was to give at the COPA conference. I explained to Mantik and Fetzer that I was attending both conferences and therefore I was aware of all the scheduled lectures in both conferences. I was looking forward to Groden's lecture for COPA, and I advised Fetzer to come and attend it, since Groden had told me that morning that the Zapruder film had never been altered. It was my opinion that it would be a good idea to confront Groden and Fetzer. I was sure the audience would be interested. Fetzer and Mantik told me they would come. I went back to tell Robert Groden that I had seen Fetzer who had assured me that he had proof that the Zapruder film had been altered and that he had given a lecture on that at the JFK-Lancer conference. In the evening, when the COPA conference began, Groden was going to show us some films. I told my neighbor that two men were going to interrupt the lecture. And sure they did. As Groden was saying publicly that even if some people were talking about the alteration of the Zapruder film, that was completely wrong, Fetzer burst and sprang off his chair. He challenged Groden. And then, I was impressed: Robert Groden had the courage, the guts and the intellectual honesty to tell Fetzer to come forward and although it was Groden's lecture, he said he was willing to give his time to Fetzer who was free to talk and give his arguments to prove the Zapruder film was altered. Now, I take my hat off to Groden for that. But Fetzer backed off. He said it would take too long to show the Zapruder film was altered, and he had not enough time. Groden replied that he was open and willing to listen to everything Fetzer would say, and that it would only take one minute, and it would be easy, to prove an alteration of the film; "Just show me the alteration". But Fetzer and Mantik had nothing to say and they left the room. I was disappointed. It took me little time to understand Fetzer can blow a gasket easily but doesn't dare proving his case when he is offered a royal opportunity! So I went back to France not knowing whether the film was altered or not, but willing to read all I could on that issue, because I knew that if indeed the film had been tampered with, that would be proof that there had been a conspiracy. I read all I could, and one day I found an article by Fetzer in The Assassination Chronicles (Vol.2, Issue Winter 1996, p.40) "The Zapruder film and the language of proof". As far as the part of the article about the meaning and the language of "proof" is concerned, I can only say that to anyone familiar with the writings of people such as Martin Gardner, Paul Kurtz, William D. Gray or Terence Hines (see references in the previous issue of F.A.C.T.S.). Fetzer's writing is very low quality. I was surprised, but I felt I was beginning to see Fetzer for what he was. The more this guy talks, the less people will believe him! Anyway, a debate between Fetzer and Martin Shackelford started on the following issue of The Assassination Chronicles. It was very interesting, as Shackelford tore to pieces everything Fetzer said. It was clear that informed researchers like Shackelford were not impressed by Fetzer's research. At that point, at least it was interesting to know that some people knew about Fetzer's research and had listened to his arguments carefully, only to find flaws in his reasoning. It showed that Fetzer's evidence was not as convincing as he wanted us to believe. It soon became clear that it was low quality. I quote Shackelford's summary: "In summary an examination of the points... offered by Fetzer indicates one point doubtful...another point in considerable dispute among careful researchers, and the remaining four specific points dead wrong." UNQUOTE. The Assassination Chronicles (Vol.3, Issue 1, Spring 1997, p.4). Then, in the two following issues, Fetzer, and then Shackelford continued their debate. I found Martin Shackelford's letters far more convincing than Fetzer's. By that time, Fetzer's style itself had made the issue of Zapruder film alteration very doubtful to me. But I was willing to read more about it. When the book Assassination science came out, I was looking forward to reading it, all the more so since Cyril Wecht had praised it. Being a proponent of the scientific approach to the Kennedy assassination mystery, that was the book that was bound to please me, or so I thought. I was in for a big disappointment. Again, I know each person you meet is good at something. I thought Fetzer must be good at scientific reasoning. But as far as "science" and "scientific reasoning" are concerned, a book like Assassination science is a disgrace. For someone like me who is used to reading good-quality books (by Martin Gardner, for example, to mention only him) Fetzer's book seems more focused on make-believe than on proper evidence. Anyway, what I am getting at is I will not spend any more time trying to argue against Fetzer's belief that the Zapruder film had been altered. In point of fact, all I could do is repeat, and not nearly as well, what I found on a very, very good Web site: http://www.pe.net/~atd/zapr-2.htm. It is Clint Bradford's site, in which he has made available lots of very good articles by several researchers about the issue of alteration of the Zapruder film. Anyone who reads these articles will go away convinced that indeed Fetzer was wrong. I know of no better debunking work (in whatever area of JFK assassination research) than that of Clint Bradford. I urge anyone interested in this side of the case to go immediately to Bradford's page. See also http://www.pe.net/~atd/moot1.htm (the page called "The Zapruder Film is Authentic"). You'll find lots of technical articles (very impressive) by such people as Martin Shackelford, Anthony Marsh, Roland Zavata, Dr. Josiah Thompson, etc. which prove beyond any doubt (I know this expression has often been misused by some researchers, but here it applies fully) that the Zapruder film is authentic and has never been altered. Let me quote from Anthony Marsh: "The Zapruder film proves itself to be authentic. There is no possibility that any frames could have been cut out of the film... When you consider that no one else, not even the best camera experts in the world, realized the mechanism which caused the ghostlike images for over 34 years, it seems highly unlikely that the conspirators would know about this characteristic of Zapruder's camera and be able to duplicate it within a few hours". Unquote. All the so-called discrepancies in the film that Mantik discovered have been technically adequately explained. There was no place where the alleged tampering could have been done, and more important yet, there was no time when it could have been done, as we now know very well that Abraham Zapruder always had the film with him, when, on 11/22/63, alterationists claim the film was being tampered with. Not to mention the 600 page technical report and documentation released by Roland Zavada, an expert from Kodack, which actually destroyed the claims of the "alterationists". Still more proof; Abraham Zapruder himself when shown his film in New Orleans in 1968 at the Clay Shaw trial declared that was the one he shot! So there you are, with the following elements:
1. There are no "inconsistencies" in the film that can't be explained by the mechanism and normal running of the Bell & Howell camera.
2. In 1963, nobody had the technical knowledge or ability to alter the film the way Mantik and Fetzer claim!
3. At no time could the tampering have been done, for Abraham Zapruder never left his own copy of his film.
4. Abraham Zapruder stated that the film he was shown at the Shaw trial was indeed the one he had shot and watched in Dallas on 11/22/63.
5. What we see on the Zapruder film corresponds exactly to what we see on other films or photographs taken in Dealey Plaza (see, for example, Robert Groden's video The assassination films, New Frontier Productions).
Well, to anyone who can use common sense, that is convincing enough. But again, I urge everybody to read the whole of Clint Bradford's web page. It is exhaustive and very high quality. You'll learn everything you've ever wanted to know on that issue.
But to me this is not over. I mean, you have somebody like Jack White who keeps on claiming that the Zapruder film was altered. He has just put out a new video purporting to prove his claim. It is convincing? I suggest you go and see http://www.pe.net/~atd/jackvid1.htm and http://www.pe.net/~atd/mshack2.htm). My point is the research community as a whole (if it is indeed an entity) should do something about it, such as putting out a public statement that the alteration idea is unsound, has been proved so, and whoever claims otherwise is wrong. I mean, the fact that Jack White keeps along that line shows that he is a very poor researcher. He can be taken in by nonsense. No amount of evidence will be enough to show him what's right. He has decided the film was altered and he will keep on believing that, no matter what more knowledgeable people will say. He has showed himself to be absolutely unreliable. It is time to state it publicly. Whoever follows Jack White or believes anything he says is wrong , mistaken and misled. To put it simply: Jack White misleads his readers. So when JFK-Lancer picks him as an expert or speaker at their conferences, they are rendering a disservice to themselves! I hope Mrs. Debra Conway will understand. Likewise, when British researcher Ian Griggs writes in his article about the JFK-Lancer November 1998 conference "Dallas '98", I quote: "The UK visitors were also greeted enthusiastically by... respected members of the research community such as Jack White, ...", it shows Griggs's lack of judgement! No matter how farfetched and ridiculous Jack White's claims may be, and despite the fact that his theory has been completely debunked, he is still regarded as a respected researcher by Ian Griggs! It kind of says it all!! (see that article at http://home.rmi.net/~jkelin/lancer_ian.html).
So, to get back to the title of this article, the definitive answer is NO, the Zapruder film was never altered!
Let me end with a quote from Anthony Marsh (from http://www.boston.quik.com/amarsh/zapruder.htm). "It is time for everyone who has doubted the authenticity of the Zapruder film to realize that the Zapruder film is genuine and authentic, and now move on with their research." UNQUOTE.
I couldn't agree more!

- 3. Is it true that Gerald Ford lied and forged a WC document?
Among the JFK-assassination research journals is The Assassination Chronicles. In Volume 3, issue 2, Summer 1997, the cover story was: "The Rankin documents: Gerald Ford's big lie". Boy! My mouth was watering already. An ex-President of the United States? His lie proven in a document published in the magazine I was holding? I couldn't wait any longer; I went straight to page 33. Title of the article: "Gerald Ford's terrible fiction", by George Michael Evica. Now that is what I call an accusation! Come on George Michael, show me that so-called terrible fiction. Well, I was in - as always - for a disappointment! For there is no such fiction at all...
Ä On page 35 was the reprint of a Washington Post article saying that - I quote: "As a member of the Warren commission that investigated the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Gerald R. Ford suggested that the panel change its initial description of the bullet wound in Kennedy's back to place it higher up in his body. ... The initial draft of the report stated: 'A bullet had entered his (Kennedy's) back at a point slightly below the shoulder to the right of the spine.' Ford wanted it to read: 'A bullet had entered the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine.' ...".
The implication is clear. In order to make the single bullet theory possible (a downward trajectory) Ford had to edit the text to move the back wound higher. So he changed the expression "entered his back at a point slightly below the shoulder to the right of the spine" to "entered the back of his neck at a point slightly to the right of the spine".
Well, I can understand that doing this (i.e. moving the wound upward) is reprehensible and should be condemned. But - and this is a big but - Gerald Ford never did that! Indeed, when I read the document, it was very obvious that the sentence was not "below the shoulder" but "above the shoulder". Yes, anybody can see that for themselves; the sentence that was edited said: "above the shoulder". Which means that there was already a downward trajectory in the first place and neither Gerald Ford nor anybody had any need to change the trajectory to make the single-bullet theory work. So the document was misquoted, and the accusation against Ford was absolutely unfounded, totally groundless. So I wrote George Michael Evica about that mistake. He replied in an e-mail message that it was not him who wrote that, but the Washington Post, and if I ever said that he wrote it, he would sue me. All right, fair enough. I understand he doesn't want to be misquoted. And it is true that Evica didn't write much in this "article", which, rather, is a compilation of documents. But hey, what difference does it make, Mister Evica? You did not write the Washington Post article, but you chose to print it in an article written by you and supposed to show that Gerald Ford lied when in fact he did not. And aren't you the one who wrote in that article: 'The single bullet theory and the lone assassin fantasy are only possible if we believe Gerald Ford's terrible fiction'? I mean, Mister Evica, you think you are doing a good job, but you are writing an article attacking somebody's integrity while misquoting a document that anybody can see says the exact opposite of what you claim! In other words, your article is a zero. You are implying that Gerald Ford lied, but the document that is printed on page 34 of The Assassination Chronicles shows very clearly that in fact Ford did not do what you accuse him of. Again, I want to state very clearly that there is no such thing as "Gerald Ford's terrible fiction". So my point is, regardless of the whole case, regardless of the fact that indeed some things may have been hidden, for whatever reason, by the Warren Commissioners, it is very bad to accuse somebody by mistake, based on a quote he never made!
I say this only shows how eager you are to accuse the government and try to prove there was a conspiracy. It also shows that The Assassination Chronicles is not so good quality a journal after all.
Let me quote from the Washington Post article: 'My changes had nothing to do with a conspiracy theory, [Ford] said, My changes were only an attempt to be more precise'.
In August 1974, Gerald Ford became President of the United States. I recently saw the footage on the MSNBC program "Time and Again". It was very moving. Seeing and hearing the guy, you knew - yes, it's a human feeling; you know when somebody is a good person - that he was innocent from the accusations you had read in The Assassination Chronicles!
Let me finish by saying that I never found any article where the editor of The Assassination Chronicles apologized or corrected their mistake.
What kind of intellectual attitude is that?
So, to get back to the title of this article, the definitive answer is again NO.

- 4. Two Oswalds? What about the Armstrong theory?
As everybody will acknowledge, there are a lot of conspiracy theories out there! Some people think that Oswald's backyard photos are fakes, other people don't. Some people (I understand they are getting fewer and fewer) believe that the body was altered between Parkland Hospital in Dallas and Bethesda Hospital in Washington. Other people don't. And so on, and so forth. But rather recently a new conspiracy theory has been talked about: Armstrong theory of "two Oswalds". Well, at the outset of this short article, I would like to make clear that I have read that Armstrong does not claim to have a new "conspiracy theory", rather, he says he has uncovered evidence that there were two Oswalds, and unless someone can explain that away, he claims he has proven something fishy was going on.
At the beginning of my little discussion, I would like to make clear that I do not claim to have investigated the matter thoroughly. For this reason, unlike in my two previous articles I will not give a definite answer here.
But there are a few things that need to be said. Indeed common sense should be applied here as well as in any other area. Armstrong claims he has uncovered evidence that shows that there were two Oswalds - Harvey and Lee - and that it was never disclosed to the American public because, quote: "...if Oswald's dual identity was discovered, it would link the intelligence agencies - those who create dual identities - directly with the assassination". All right. So Lee Harvey Oswald was essentially a creation of U.S. intelligence! As readers know Armstrong has spent his time (years) researching the Oswald area. But he is not the only one. Another man has spent years researching the Oswald area: David Lifton. He is known to be completing a book on Lee Oswald and to have become an expert on him, having studied all the documents pertaining to Oswald extensively. And what does Lifton tell us? He tells us that there is no such thing as "two Oswalds" and that Armstrong is wrong. All right. About three months ago, on alt.conspiracy.jfk there were a few posts by David Lifton in which he gave his opinion on Armstrong's work and his arguments against him. At least, these posts showed that Lifton knew what he was talking about and had lots of knowledge in that area. To me, he sounded convincing enough that Armstrong's research was not that good and that he had misinterpreted the documents he had seen. But more to the point, I knew both Lifton and Armstrong would go to the JFK-Lancer conference and I was hoping they would debate publicly. Indeed there was a good opportunity to settle the argument by confronting both men face to face. Then we would have the answer. But as always I was in for a letdown. As I could not go to Dallas and attend the conference I asked what had happened between Lifton and Armstrong on alt.conspiracy.jfk. Mrs. Debra Conway replied, in substance, that the two did not debate, as no such debate had been scheduled. Well, that's too bad. The JFK-Lancer organizers missed a good opportunity. I always criticize them for not organizing debates. They haven't changed! Instead of going to the crux of the matter and find the answers to the questions raised once and for all, they just let people keep talking each in their corner.
à I mean, on the one hand you have Armstrong who claims there were two Oswalds, based on the years he spent investigating Oswald's life, and on the other hand you have Lifton who claims there was only one Oswald, based also on the years he spent investigating Oswald's life! One of them must be wrong! But when there is an opportunity for them to debate publicly, nobody seizes that opportunity! How sad!
Now what I would like to see is a debate like, for example, a confrontation between Uri Geller and James Randi. You would have Uri Geller bend a spoon or a key without touching it and pretending he does it with his paranormal powers, his psychic ability, you know, the "mind over matter" stuff. Then James Randi would explain that in fact Geller uses conjuring techniques such as sleight-of-hand and misdirection to bend the key like anybody else and make people believe he never touched it. And Randi would show you how it is done. And then, convinced by Randi's presentation, you would go back to Geller and ask him (while making sure he cannot use trickery) to bend the key with his psychic powers if he really has some, and you would be waiting for hundreds of years before he could! Now, that is what I call a healthy debate where every speaker can say whatever they want to say, and the public can then reach a conclusion, based on the evidence presented in front of them. The public can weigh the evidence presented, and see who has done a better-quality job! That's what I was expecting from JFK-Lancer, with Lifton and Armstrong. But it did not happen. Too bad for those of us who are looking for an answer.
But anyway, even without a debate, we can still begin to analyze Armstrong's work. And it is fair to say it is not very impressive. All Armstrong can do is pile up loads of elements he heard about or read about, and try to pinpoint the inconsistencies. But those were bound to happen. I mean, the investigation was carried out by dozens and dozens of people (the Dallas police, the FBI, Warren Commissioners, Secret Service agents, etc. were involved, at some point or another, in one way or another). It is perfectly normal to find statements that don't match, mistakes made, pieces of evidence lost, etc. And reading Armstrong's presentation at the Lancer 1998 conference, it is obvious he repeats dishonest errors that have already been debunked (for example, he says that Ruby corrected Henry Wade in the Dallas police station, which proves Ruby knew Oswald. à Well, that only proves that Armstrong would be well advised to visit
http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ruby.htm and should try to avoid spreading incorrect ideas!) Also, his list of things the FBI supposedly hid from the public is all but convincing!
One thing surprised me. Let me take one example of Armstrong's "evidence". He seems at a loss to explain why, when Oswald was in custody at police headquarters at 2:00 p.m. on 11/22/63, someone by the name of Mr. TF White saw him (or, rather, saw a man he later identified as Oswald) sitting in a car in the El Chico parking lot! To Armstrong, this is evidence of two Oswalds! Likewise, while Oswald had been in police custody for one day, on Saturday 11/23/63, a Mary Lawrence saw him in a restaurant talking with Jack Ruby! And to Armstrong, again, this is evidence of two Oswalds! I mean, how gullible can you get? Hasn't it occurred to Armstrong, that these witnesses were simply wrong? And he even has the guts to accuse the FBI of conspiracy, because they did not tell the public about those witnesses to a second Oswald? I mean, how ridiculous can you get? For one thing, if there had really been a second Oswald, he would not prominently go out on 11/22/63, when Lee Harvey Oswald was on TV, being in custody as all the world watched! If Armstrong sees a conspiracy each time the FBI fails to report every idiotic statement made by every lunatic in town, boy, no wonder he is convinced by his own research! What else? Armstrong finds suspicious that the FBI told the public that Oswald took a seat on the lower level in the Texas theater, whereas witness Julia Postal had stated that Oswald was on the balcony. So there were two Oswalds in the Texas theater? What do you think? Two Oswalds, in the same city, sometimes even in the same room, and nobody would have noticed? Come on. It is even more farfetched than the body-alteration hypothesis! Armstrong commits fallacy upon fallacy in reasoning!
As I said at the beginning of my little discussion, I have not investigated the matter thoroughly. That's why I am not saying Armstrong is wrong. (Well, I'm not saying it for the time being).
But I urge the "research community", and especially the JFK-Lancer team, to make everything possible to let us have a definitive answer as soon as possible. So who's wrong? Lifton or Armstrong?
- 5. What about all that was written against Gerald Posner?
CAUTION: These pasts months I have written numerous posts on Internet newsgroups, and particularly on alt.conspiracy.jfk. As I tried to argue that conspiracy writers must be wrong, I soon became known as Gerald Posner's defender. I had a few long and heated debates with people who obviously didn't like my posts and arguments. After a while, thinking it was time to get things straight as to what my position was, I decided to post a summing-up article. It is reprinted below:
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December 26, 1998.

A message to everybody.

These past months I wrote several posts on this newsgroup, trying to defend the official version of the Kennedy assassination, in which I firmly believe, and obviously defended Gerald Posner, the author of the book "Case closed", for which I have praise. I have been attacked and asked several times to defend Gerald Posner openly and try to counterattack the criticisms made against his book.... so much so that the headers to my posts became "Frenchman's defense of Gerald Posner" (which is quite revealing!)........

I think that the time has come, once and for all, to prevent any misunderstandings, and make myself perfectly clear:
Make no mistake: I am not Gerald Posner's spokesman. Gerald Posner has to speak for himself. He is not aware of my posts, and if he was, he may even disagree with what I write!

Having said that, let me sum up my views:

---> # 1]
I think there is one big mistake that critics make. They spend lots of time criticizing Gerald Posner, claiming he took credit for other people's research. I say I am not convinced he really did that. On the contrary, I find him to be more honest and unbiased than conspiracy writers. But my point is: even if he was indeed biased and his methodology was dishonest, what change would that make regarding the evidence and the facts? I mean, even if it was proven that the book "Case closed", written in 1993, was a sham, that in itself would not make any difference as to what the evidence shows! And the evidence points to Oswald's guilt. Let's put it this way: on November 22, 1963 John Kennedy was assassinated. A suspect was arrested. There was a police investigation and it soon became clear that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin. Indeed his rifle was found at the sniper's nest, etc, etc (everybody knows what the evidence linking Oswald to the crime is). Then a presidential commission was appointed to tell the story (Nicolas Katzenbach reminded them to be persuasive enough to allay fears, for the evidence was so strong that there was no doubt as to who had done the killing). So what is important is this: over the years lots and lots of people have confirmed that indeed Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy from behind and with three shots (read the JAMA articles, read Jim Moore's book, visit John McAdams's Web site, and there are lots of other sources, all clever, sensible and reasonable). So it is quite clear to me that the official version is true. But then Gerald Posner writes a book he calls "Case closed", in which he tells the story again. And critics find all kinds of faults in that book. What I mean is that I am not convinced by the critics, for I can't see the faults they are referring to. But even if there were such faults in "Case closed", that would not change my opinion a bit, because I already have all the evidence I need, and that was uncovered way back in 1963. Now, if Gerald Posner had written a book photocopying whole chapters of Jim Moore's book and the Warren report, I would surely agree to say his methodology was reprehensible, but that would not change my opinion on the assassination!
+++ >> Bottom line: We already knew that Oswald had killed Kennedy before Gerald Posner wrote his book. So it does not really make a difference what "Case closed" says or how it was written. So critics who spend their time trying to show that Gerald Posner is a dishonest writer are wasting their time. Because it is not relevant. How a book was written in 1993 surely won't change the facts of 1963! Think of any newcomer, wanting to know the truth about the Kennedy assassination. They would learn the facts by going back to the evidence available on November 22, 1963. And they would want to learn about the evidence uncovered afterward. They would read the Warren report, and realize that it was an open and shut case. Three shots from the rear, three hulls, one assassin. Surely, if a critic came to them warning them "Be cautious; thirty years after Kennedy's death someone wrote a dishonest book", they would go: "So what?". Again, as I said, even if Posner's book was a zero (and it is not, I want to be perfectly clear about that!), that would not prevent anybody from getting at the truth! The truth lies in the facts. Science has proved - beyond any doubt - that Lee Oswald killed JFK. Common sense as well as critical thinking will strengthen that conclusion. I thank Posner for repeating that in a readable manner in his book. But again, he only repeats what we already knew (and he also debunks ludicrous theories). So when critics spend their time writing articles against Posner, they are not dealing with the evidence of the case, they are dealing with somebody's attitude. They are not moving a bit in their research. After reading almost all that's available on the Kennedy assassination (every book written on the conspiracy side and all the rest) I say that on the one hand, you have Gerald Posner, talking about facts, using reason and logic, and on the other hand you have conspiracy theorists who resort to nothing but ad hominem attacks against Posner! Well what else could they do? The facts prove Posner is right! But conspiracy theorists, who earn money thanks to their theories and don't want them to be debunked, falsely claim Posner is wrong. But if you look at the facts yourself, without taking anything for granted at the start of your own investigation, and using such tools as critical thinking, logic, reason, and above all honesty, you will have no choice but to acknowledge that indeed Oswald fired the shots.

---> # 2]
Let's talk about "testimony", shall we? When one reads conspiracy books, it becomes clear that the great failure of the conspiracy theorists has been their ignorance (or unwillingness to accept the fact) that human perception and memory are not only unreliable under a variety of conditions but that they are also constructive. Human memory is fallible. Scientists have conducted experiments that have shown that what we remember about an incident can actually be changed after the fact. When this happens, the witness truthfully testifies to remembering something that never happened. Indeed memory can be changed after the fact by new information, and the resultant memory may be very different from what actually took place. And yet, the person will swear that his or her memory is accurate. In some sense, it is. The witness is not lying in the usual sense of that word. The reported memory is really a memory, but due to the nature of memory, the reported memory differs greatly from what actually happened. (from Terence Hines's book: "Pseudoscience and the paranormal, a critical examination of the evidence", Prometheus Books, 1988). My point is the following; an eyewitness account cannot be taken at face value. But that is precisely the mistake that conspiracy theorists make: they rely too much on eyewitness testimony. During my research for my book, I have talked to policemen, and have visited them at work. It is a well-known fact among law enforcement agents that whenever something happens (a car accident, a robbery, etc...), there will be as many recollections as there were witnesses. And I was shown depositions; it is very revealing. For instance; one day there was a burglary in a bank here in the North of France. Less than two hours later, all of the 10 witnesses were giving their depositions at the police station. None of them agreed with one another. The discrepancies in recollections were huge. The witnesses couldn't even agree on the number of burglars (who yet were all together in the same room - the bank - for almost two minutes). Did the burglars wear glasses, a beard, a coat, a knife, a gun, etc...? Well, it depended on what witness you chose!!! Some said yes, some said no. And all of them were adamant! This phenomenon happens all the time! That's expected. Human memory is fallible! So when such an unexpected event as the killing of a president takes place, and in no more than twenty seconds, and in a car that moves, it is to be expected that everybody will remember the event in their own way. Everybody will have personal recollections. None of them will add up! Even before the shooting, say at 12.15 in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963, it would have been a sure thing to any knowledgeable man that should anything happen, nobody would remember the same thing! We were bound to have almost as many "stories" as witnesses! So it is easy for conspiracy theorists to take whatever piece of testimony they like to support their own theory! Anybody can find a sentence (out of context, most of the time) or paragraph in a witness deposition which will "prove" any theory! Because lots of witnesses have said lots of different things! Even worse, lots of witnesses have changed their story over time. So really any researcher can come up with a witness account, or several, that will "show" whatever point he will want to make. Then conspiracy theorists pick up a sentence (or a whole paragraph) in a particular witness's testimony and challenge Gerald Posner or me to explain it. But that's ludicrous. It cannot be done. If you took for granted every eyewitness accounts, then the shooting would have to have happened thirty different ways! This is nonsense. It only happened one way. But witnesses were, and are, confused.
+++ >> Bottom line: It is wrong to rely on eyewitness testimony. In order to reach a conclusion on the Kennedy assassination - or any other mystery - you have to rely on hard evidence and facts, and certainly not on eyewitness accounts. For example, when Jack White or David Lifton rely on eyewitness testimony to argue that the Zapruder film was altered (implying that since the Zapruder film does not show what some eyewitnesses remember seeing, then it must have been altered!), they are simply wrong! Their explanation: if the film does not show what such witness remembers seeing, it proves the film was altered. My explanation: if the film does not show what such witness remembers seeing, it proves the witness is like all human beings; his memory is fallible!
Again, all conspiracy theories that are based solely (or mostly) on eyewitnesses' accounts, can be safely discarded! The point is, to my mind, all of them are! Indeed, hard evidence such as photos, the medical reports, police conclusions based on facts, etc... show Oswald did the shooting. But when you think about it, what the conspiracy theorists rely on are only witnesses' recollections. If you watch Lifton's video "Best evidence", you will see clearly that all he has is conflicting eyewitnesses' accounts! But, as I said earlier, that was to be expected. Indeed, think about it, it would have been very strange if all the witnesses had agreed! So many people were involved in a short period of time in so emotional events. They were bound to give conflicting accounts after the facts. And they did. But relying on these "natural", and perfectly "human" discrepancies to claim there was a conspiracy is a very big mistake!

---> # 3]
Now let me give you my opinion on the conspiracy theorists' attitude. I have two major criticisms against them. First of all, it is a plain fact that the research community doesn't exist at all. I mean, yes, of course, you have a group of people around the world (90% in the US, plus Ian Griggs and his friends in the UK, plus a few researchers in Germany, Australia, France, who can be seen on the Internet) who are still spending time and money "researching" the case and exchanging messages. Some of them are even friends. But the group is hardly a community. So many people really dislike so many! On the newsgroups you find more ugly exchanges and name calling than anything else. I have had the opportunity of talking to people like Robert Groden, David Lifton, James Fetzer, and lots of others... they told me more about other people's supposed faults than about the JFK assassination. Everybody knows that. But doesn't it seem strange to you? Should I remind you that conspiracy theorists are on the same side, i.e. against the official version. How is it that none of them agrees with any other? How is it that there are almost as many theories as "researchers"? If indeed there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy, if indeed it was so obvious that Oswald was not the killer, shouldn't it be easy to show it, and to show what happened instead? But it looks to me like you have, on the one hand, the official version of Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone killer with three shots, and on the other hand dozens of versions, depending on who wrote them! I mean, if indeed there was a conspiracy, which conspiracy was it? Lifton's conspiracy? Groden's conspiracy? Garrison's conspiracy? White's conspiracy? Reitzes's conspiracy? Marrs's conspiracy? Brown's conspiracy? Lane's conspiracy?
Oglesby's conspiracy? etc... etc... All those conspiracy theories are incompatible with one another! There is something wrong here! Conspiracy theorists are quick to pinpoint the mistakes made by other conspiracy theorists, but they don't see their own! All of this is not very serious, not very professional! Secondly, most of what is written is very low quality! The proof is lots of what is written by a conspiracy theorist gets debunked by another! Take Garrison's belief in a conspiracy.... debunked by Reitzes; Jack White's belief that the Zapruder film was altered... debunked by Clint Bradford; Marrs's belief in mysterious deaths... debunked by Reitzes again (I think); Lifton's belief that the body was altered... debunked by everybody else! I mean, you have theories that are so farfetched (should I say "stupid"?) that even conspiracy believer can't buy them! It kind of says it all. This is a good example --> it has been proven beyond any doubt (source: Clint Bradford's page http://www.pe.net/~atd/zapr-2.htm) that the Zapruder film is authentic (well, common sense was enough to know it is authentic, but nonetheless Bradford and others have done a great job giving powerful arguments to prove it is indeed authentic). But people like Jack White continue to claim it is a forgery. I mean, isn't he being ridiculous? But he is still regarded as an expert by critics. What I say is simple: it is ridiculous to keep on claiming that the Zapruder film was altered. But it is as ridiculous to keep on claiming that Jack White is an expert. The same could be said about a lot of people among the conspiracy theories. My point is so much has been debunked (and sometimes even by conspiracy theorists themselves - but never their own theories, always other people's) that the pattern becomes perfectly clear: there's nothing left!

---> # 4]
Trying to debate on this newsgroup has not always been agreeable to me! I have tried hard to give arguments, when all I received was ad hominem attacks and sarcasm. But no one has shown themselves to be as close-minded and arrogant as Dave Reitzes. He has been very dull on top of that. For instance, this is the kind of answers I received from him over the weeks:
>Posner, like Jerry Lewis, is very popular among the French. Posner, like Jerry Lewis, is not funny.

to which I replied:
[.....] But it seems you are only able to talk about Jerry Lewis! People like Posner and I talk about the evidence. You talk about Jerry Lewis! It kind of says it all!

---> # 5]
Let's finish by repeating the obvious, one last time! Below are some extracts from all my previous posts. Hope you'll find the answers to your questions in there! (sorry if I repeat myself sometimes).
- A) ... Why always resort to farfetched theories? Why not apply Occam's razor for a change? Gerald Posner looked at all the evidence. And the evidence shows that Lee Oswald killed Kennedy. Period. Then he looked at the conspiracy theories, and he saw that they all contradict one another. After 35 years of research, the conspiracy theorists have not been able to come up with any likely scenario. Instead, they fight one another (some of them say the Zapruder film was altered, others don't.... one of them says there was no shot from the rear, others disagree... etc. you all know the discrepancies that exist, and that are irreconcilable). The truth of the matter is, when you look at the evidence, it points to Oswald's guild. So Gerald Posner, who - contrary to so many people here - can call a spade a spade, did just that! He looked at the evidence...You are all angry. You all resort to insults and sarcasm against Posner (and against me, since I also believe in the official version). But to no avail. I am writing a book claiming Oswald did it. And the CIA has nothing to do with my book, I swear! I just looked at the evidence. Just like Gerald Posner did years before me!
+++ >> Bottom line: the facts speak for themselves. Oswald did it. Gerald Posner can analyze the situation. Conspiracy theorists seem not to be able to

- B) ...You see, I read "Best evidence" and talked to David Lifton in 1990 for the first time. And I gave conferences in France to make "Best evidence" known, and I even wrote articles in a research journal claiming there had been a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. That was before I did my own investigation, based on critical thinking skills I had learned. Then I had to acknowledge I had been wrong, because I had trusted people who did not deserve to be trusted. They were incompetent. I had overestimated them. They were not as good as I had thought! I came to Dallas and talked to almost all the critics. I own their books and videos. But the more I look at the evidence with logic, reason and no bias, the more I realize critics err and Oswald did pull the trigger. So anybody who repeats that (be it Warren or Posner or McAdams), whether with humility or not, is certainly on the right track, to my mind...

- C) ...Although I am not an American living in the US I nonetheless own dozens of books, videos and documents on the Kennedy assassination. I even have on video tapes programs recorded for myself or by friends visiting the US, such as David Lifton on "Hard copy" in 1990, or Marina Oswald on NBC in 1993, and so on. Besides, I have a file dedicated to criticism of Posner's book, and it is full of documents and articles, some of which sent to me by Doctor Wecht (for whom I have great respect and who has always been very kind to me). I also have printed all the articles against Posner's book that I saw on the Internet, most of which appear in "The assassination Web" a site that I have bookmarked. Of course, I own and have read carefully Harold Weisberg's book "Case open". So you see, when you write, I quote, "any credible student of Posner's will know exactly what each refers to", don't worry, I know too. I claim to have an extensive collection of articles written against Gerald Posner's book "Case closed". Having said that, I must at once tell you that none of that was very convincing! In actual fact, it is precisely those articles against Posner, or, more accurately, their lack of any real arguments, that made me realize that Posner was right. But let me go into more details. In fact, as I have already written in one of my previous articles, the first time I read "Case closed" I was angry. Indeed I had been reading conspiracy books for years, and I had been strongly influenced, if not convinced, by them. There were lots of elements that I took for granted. So the first time I read "Case closed", which seemed to me to be very good quality, I was disturbed. But I felt confident at the time that knowledgeable people (not me, I considered myself as only a student in the case) would be able to bring convincing arguments, or even proof, that Posner was wrong. And I waited anxiously for them to reply. But I was in for a terrible disillusion, which started the process of my changing from a conspiracy believer to a official version defender. Indeed, the first step was the book "Case open", by Harold Weisberg. I mean, very seldom have I read such an appalling book. It is completely empty. Weisberg is angry, and it shows. It is no more than an ad hominem attack. But it is empty. All Weisberg manages to do is show that Posner took credit for someone else's work. But so what? That's not the point. I mean, in our search for the truth, only facts are important, not who takes credit for being the first one to discover them! So as a reader, especially from France, I am concerned with the facts, and the arguments. I really do not care who found such document first, who thought of a particular theory first, and things like that. Weisberg is trying to make fun of Posner, but nowhere, and I stress the word "nowhere" in his book does he give any adequate reply to Posner. And after reading "Case open" twice, I began to realize that, although it was hard for me to acknowledge that fact, Gerald Posner may have been right, and I had been wrong in believing conspiracy theories. Before I go on, let me tell you this briefly. I started researching the Kennedy assassination in 1989, as an amateur. I bought "Best evidence" (the book + the video). At the time I was a living in the US. I even phoned David Lifton (I taped our conversation). I spent hours in a library reading the 26 volumes. I went to Dallas in 1990, met Robert Groden for the first time at the JFK Assassination Research Center(West End Market place) (which is now closed). From then on, I read all that I could on the case, gathering documents, writing letters to researchers, and so on (like most people). At the time, I was influenced by "Best evidence", I thought Lifton must be a competent investigator. I was wrong! At the time, in France, I would give a lecture every year trying to show that there had been a conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination. In a nutshell, I was a French CT. Anyway, as you well know, for I have talked about it at length on this newsgroup, I am a follower of the scientific method of investigation. I have read books on critical thinking methods, and I know that only by following those guidelines can anyone get to the bottom of any particular case. Therefore I tried to apply critical thinking methods (an open mind, no bias, objectivity, and so on...) and I have done so ever since. Applying this method is the way to move forward, discard wrong theories, and get to the truth. What matters is not the people who write theories but the arguments and the facts. What matters is not passion but reason. So I had to undertake that endeavor, and apply the good advice to myself. And although I had claimed publicly that there had been a conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination, I soon had to acknowledge I had been wrong! I had to admit I had been influenced by people such as David Lifton, but they had led me in the wrong path. They were mistaken. I realized that. I opened my eyes. But I didn't mind changing sides. Granted, I had been wrong. But it is better to admit having been wrong and correct oneself for the future than being stubborn and too proud to admit having been wrong and remain mistaken all the time! (sorry but I lack the vocabulary to really express my ideas here, but I'm sure you understand what I mean). To make myself clear, here is a quote that I like very much and says it all: "if a man deceive me once, shame on him. If twice, shame on me". Now, for the important part. It is not so much "Case closed" as "Case open" that opened my eyes! Indeed, after reading Posner's book the very first time I was still leaning (or willing to lean) on the conspiracy side. But reading "Case open" (and all the articles against Posner) definitely made me realize that Posner was right. It took time. I opened my eyes little by little, over a few months. But the more I read, the more I was convinced Posner was right. And even better - I think - than Posner's book is John McAdams web site. I mean, even if at first I was reluctant to read it, I now must acknowledge that It is very well done. And it helped open my eyes even better than anything else. It is the best site, by far, on the Kennedy assassination. Very factual, very bright. But let me give you an example (I could give you dozens of them, but one will do, as I believe that would be redundant since they are all alike). There is an article against Posner's book called "the Posner report" (Electronic Assassinations Newsletter, Issue #1, "Case Closed or Posner Exposed?", THE POSNER REPORT: A Study In Propaganda: One Hundred Errors in Gerald Posner's Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, by David Starks, Copyright 1997, Imagi-Vision, Inc.,
http://home.cynet.net/jfk/ecc.htm). This is probably the worst-quality article I have ever read on the Kennedy assassination. It is almost a typical example of a useless and non-convincing article. Let me give you an example. Take item 11. I quote "...Posner seems to have a great trouble getting names right....Posner misspells Declan Ford as Delcan Ford..."!!! I mean, what appalling writing! Who cares? This shows that the author doesn't have the faintest idea what critical thinking is, nor weighing evidence, distinguishing between what is important and what is not. I personally don't care if Posner misspelled a few names. He could misspell my name for all I care. That is not relevant. I took that example, but I could have taken any other; they are all of the same vein! Criticizing Posner for his writing style or his alleged misspellings is not only irrelevant, it is ludicrous! It shows you can't attack him on the evidence. I remember writing an article at the time, in which I concluded that if this was all the evidence critics could muster for attacking Posner, their articles were a sad reinforcement of anything Posner had to say! Broadly speaking, my point is the following. As an outside reader, somebody who is interested in the truth and who is not involved in the research community, what matters are the facts, and only the facts. And it is true to say, whatever your beliefs, that Gerald Posner, whatever his failings, talks about the evidence. Let me make myself clear. What matters is the evidence, not what Gerald Posner says about the evidence. I want to make an opinion based on the evidence, pure and simple. And I thank Posner for talking about the evidence. Let me give you an example.. I exchanged letters to Jim Marrs, I read his book "Crossfire" and even talked to him when I was in Dallas in 1996 and taped the interview. He claims the backyard photos were altered. What evidence does he have? Jack White's research! Fine. But Gerald Posner will tell you that experts, and I mean, several very good experts, had a thorough look at the backyard photos, the studied them for the HSCA, and they all concluded that they were genuine. I should add that Marina confirms she took them. What other evidence do you need? Indeed, if you look at McAdams site, you will realize that Jack White is not as knowledgeable in photography as the HSCA experts (see: "Photogrammetry?" What's That?" at http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/experts.htm#JWHITE). So who, between Marrs and Posner, is rendering a disservice to readers? Who is hiding the evidence? I say Posner is telling the truth; the backyard photos are genuine, the government studied them, and only gullible conspiracists (like Jack White) resort to farfetched theories like that one. I thank Posner for having the honesty to let readers know about the HSCA results. Anybody who keeps on saying the backyards photos are fakes, in spite of the HSCA conclusions, is not only wrong, but is misleading readers. So, in that particular instance, I sure am happy that people like Posner tell the truth. And I could go on and on. Let me be perfectly clear. I do no need anyone to tell me what to think. The point is the evidence shows that indeed Oswald pulled the trigger. I mean, I do not need Gerald Posner's or anyone else's coaching to know that. I just need the evidence. The evidence was distorted by the conspiracy theorists whom I had trusted. Thanks to Posner I learned what the evidence was, and now I can see for myself that indeed Oswald fired the shots. I must add that Jim Moore, in his book "Conspiracy of one" did also a marvelous job in debunking lots of conspiracy theorists falsehoods! And what I like with Moore and Posner is that they tell you to look at the evidence for yourself. And unlike the conspiracy books, which give only a distorted side to the story, they let you know the true facts! Conspiracy books give you theories, Posner gives you facts! That's why I respect and thank him. Bottom line: the Zapruder film is genuine (see Clint Bradford's excellent job on the Internet; his page: http://www.pe.net/~atd/zapr-2.htm is a must-see). The backyard photos are genuine. The autopsy X-rays and photos are genuine (again, read JAMA and all). Clay Shaw was not involved in a conspiracy (that's what you yourself stipulate on this newsgroup), etc, etc. To sum up my point (because I can see my post is rather long, although I have lots more to say). I say conspiracy theorists talk about theories, when Gerald Posner talks about the evidence and the facts. Posner said Oswald killed Kennedy simply because he looked at the evidence and it showed Oswald had killed Kennedy. It's that simple! If the evidence had showed there had been a conspiracy, be sure that Gerald Posner would have said so. But hey, Mister Reitzes, you can't possibly be angry with a man who repeats what the evidence shows! The evidence shows Oswald did it, like it or not. So Posner, in an attempt to enlighten the American people, let them know that the truth is that the evidence indeed points to Oswald's guilt, unlike what conspiracy theories had claimed. That's all there is to it! I must add that by now I know very well the conspiracy community, for I taped interviewed lots of researchers. When I was in Dallas, I learned more about the quarrels between researchers than about the evidence (so and so is a thief, so and so is a liar, so and so is stupid, etc.). Critics to the Warren Commission never stop spitting at one another, and the newsgroups are full of useless posts where no evidence whatsoever is to be found, to say the least! It gets ugly more often than not (see the recent arguments between Lifton and Aguilar, which made me sad, as I have much respect for David Lifton the man, even if I disagree with David Lifton the critic, most of all because he never had the open mind or the guts to answer the criticism raised by such people as Artwohl, Wecht, Moore, etc.). Overall, it is poor quality and Posner's work is so good quality compared to that! My final point. I believe critics are jealous of Posner. Just think, they spent ten, twenty, thirty years, chasing shadows, doing research, trying to prove a theory (and some of them working very hard), and then comes a guy who in a few months gather as much knowledge as they have in thirty years, and does a better job at getting at the truth. This must be very frustrating. Indeed the media were quick to spot the best-quality work. If the media all go to Posner as an authority, it is simply because he has as much knowledge as anybody regarding the facts, but on top of that he has no bias (or, to be precise, far less bias) than anyone else. So he is the most sensible, reliable, reasonable person to interview. Now ask yourself; if a national media (say CNN) would invite a Kennedy assassination expert, who would you like them to invite and question? Jack White, saying the Zapruder film was altered? (I don't think Clint Bradford would appreciate!). Or David Lifton, saying the body was altered? (I don't think Robert Groden would appreciate!). Or Jim Marrs, saying Clay Shaw is Clay Bertrand? (I don't think you, Mister Reitzes, would appreciate!).... I mean, Posner talks about the evidence, that's why I would invite him if I were a journalist. But CT's talk about their own theories (which, for that matter, are not accepted by other critics), so inviting them is like - I dare say - inviting UFO buffs, whose claims cannot be checked. Not very serious! I understand the media considering Posner as an expert! But I also understand how hard to swallow it must be for the critics who have been considering themselves as experts for so many years to admit not only that they had been wrong, but that one man have proved himself to be better at analyzing the evidence. But hey, people are rarely grateful for a demonstration of their credulity. That's human nature. I guess pride is something you must take into account!

- D) ...I looked at the evidence, and I saw that Lee Oswald killed Kennedy. That is why he left the building, came back to his rooming apartment, took his gun, and ran away (would he have done so if he was truly innocent?).

- E) ...Regarding the American Bar association mock trial of Lee Harvey Oswald, and all that. The controversy is talked about at length in "Case open" and elsewhere. But what is the problem? First of all, as I said, it doesn't really matter who takes the credit between Posner and Failure analysis. But just think. Failure Analysis did a computer model of the possibility for Oswald to have fired the shots, right? And indeed they were able to show that it was possible for him to shoot. Case closed! I mean, critics had been claiming it was a complete impossibility for Oswald to have fired. But Failure Analysis - and not Posner, think of it - managed to show that indeed it was a physical possibility. That in itself does not prove that Oswald did it. But it shows that it can have been done from the sniper's nest. That is very important! It proves the critics were wrong in claiming it was not possible for Oswald to have fired. Failure Analysis showed it was possible. So, now, is anyone going to claim Failure Analysis are in the conspiracy to frame Oswald? Now, Posner uses that as an argument to destroy the critics' claim that Oswald could not do the shooting. But that's not all that he has; he has lots of other evidence to bolster his claim that Oswald was the assassin!...

- F) ...Let's talk about Doctor Perry, for example, who said on November 22 that he thought Kennedy was shot from the front, and now says he believes JFK was shot from the rear, based on the evidence he has. Well, why not believe Perry after all? I mean, what you have is the surgeon who worked on JFK to try to save his life. An American citizen, intelligent, mature, and very well situated to see what happened in actuality. Well that person, with all his knowledge, says he believes the autopsy report and the official version (and he wrote to me last year saying so). Well why not believe him? All you are doing is taking half of what he said over the years, rejecting it, and keeping the other half because it suits you. Well, Posner does the same with the other half. What can I say? Both of you will have to back that part of the testimony you choose to keep with solid evidence. Obviously taking only a piece of testimony that suit your theory won't help, because it is not enough to prove any particular point. I know there is also the problem of the cerebellum that doctors saw and talked about in their deposition in the Warren Report. Well, for one thing it shows the Warren commissioners did not conspire to hide the doctors' depositions that may add fuel to the critics' theories! And for another, well, I don't know. I have read Crenshaw's book and article "Let set the record straight". Indeed it can seem impressive when you read it as a single piece of evidence, on its own. But when you look at the whole case, you have to have a broader view. And follow Lifton's advice to seek the best evidence. Because anybody can go to the thousands of eyewitness depositions over the thirty years and find one sentence that can prove any theory, really. But that's out of context. What I know is that Doctor Perry says he was mistaken on November 22, 1963 when he said that he thought the shot came from the front, and that was because he had no time to take a good look at the president's wounds. He was in such a rush to try to save his life that he didn't really see the wounds. To me, that's all there is to it! Doctor Perry says the autopsy report stands. I believe him! I mean on the sixth floor of the book depository was Oswald's rifle (the same as the one in the picture taken by Marina). Oswald lied to the police during his weekend in custody. He had tried to shoot a policeman with his gun in the theater less than two hours after Kennedy had been shot (hardly the behavior an innocent man working in the depository would be expected to show), etc. Clearly he is guilty. I do not believe that "selective use of eyewitness testimony" - whoever does it - can alter that fact!

- G) ...If you believe the conspiracy theorists, the body was altered, the backyard photos were altered, the autopsy X-rays were altered, the autopsy photos were altered, the Zapruder film was altered, there were two Oswalds, ...etc. What else? I can't help it! If they really believe that, there is nothing I could do to dissuade them!

- H) ...- I happen to believe that the American government is a good one.
- I happen to believe the CIA and FBI would never ever even think of killing the President of the United States.
- I happen to believe that the evidence is overwhelming that indeed a guy named Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots and killed John Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
- I happen to believe that an American citizen named David Lifton who spent all his life trying to show that Kennedy's body had been stolen and tampered with is mistaken and wrong. I find it sad to waste so much time in dead end issues. (I mean, you only live once, and there are lots of sides to life far more interesting and exciting than trying to prove a logical impossibility).
- I happen to believe that an American citizen named Jack White, who spent loads of his time trying to show the Zapruder film had been altered is both mistaken and wrong. (+ same as above). Some people on this newsgroup insult me just because I have those beliefs! It's up to them! I am convinced, nonetheless, that sane and mature people will agree with me

- I) ...Many conspiracy theorists have a reconstruction of the shooting that happened only in their dreams! If no one dares tell them, then I, for one, am willing to call a spade a spade in front of them! I'll tell you what: conspiracy theorists suffer from PARANOIA!

- J) ...Contrary to what was seen in several posts on this newsgroup, Gerald Posner acknowledged the Oswald-Ferrie Civil Air Patrol photo and that they apparently knew each other during Oswald's CAP days (see his updated paperback edition of "Case closed", 1994). But the question then becomes whether they rekindled any relationship in the Summer of 1963, only months before Kennedy's death. For that period, Gerald Posner still finds no credible evidence that they had renewed any acquaintance. Now, that is what I call scholarship, humility and honesty. But angry conspiracy theorists won't be satisfied with that!

- K) ...Below is a citation I like mentioning. Please read it carefully. It surely applies to lots of "researchers" here!
"A psychiatrist was consulted by a patient with a very peculiar delusion. He was convinced that he was dead, and nothing could be done to dissuade him of this. The psychiatrist tried to reason with him. "Tell me", he said, "do dead men bleed?" "No, of course not!" cried the patient. "That is a stupid question!" The psychiatrist pricked the man's finger with a needle, and a drop of blood appeared. "And what do you conclude from that?" asked the psychiatrist. The patient paused for a few seconds to examine the wound. "Obviously I was wrong", he murmured quietly. "Dead men do bleed..."
(from James Randi's book "The truth about Uri Geller", Prometheus Books, 1982, p61)
To sum up:
1. Lee Harvey Oswald fired shots at President Kennedy on 11/22/63.
2. The Dallas police department reported it, as it was obvious!
3. The Warren Commission repeated it.
4. Jim Moore repeated it.
5. Gerald Posner repeated it.
6. John McAdams repeated it.
7. and I am repeating it now!
[François Carlier]
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I received some comments after that article was posted on the newsgroups. Some people agreed with me, others didn't. That was to be expected.
Let me quote below a nice comment I was pleased to receive from author Dale Myers:
"I found your recent post to be most refreshing. Thank you for a lucid and carefully thought-out analysis of the case. There is hope yet, that the world will come to terms with the truth.[Dale Myers]."
Also some people, such as David Reitzes, a well-known poster on the alt.conspiracy.jfk newsgroup who has made lots of enemies by being very sarcastic and unpleasant, could only resort to insults against me. They do not deserve to be quoted here.
But I also received a reply by Martin Shackelford. He does not agree with me, and his reply is a criticism against me and my article. But F.A.C.T.S. is an open forum. And Martin Shackelford's article is well-written and may help my readers making a better opinion by having another point of view and reading an article pinpointing the mistakes I may have made. So Martin, you have the floor:
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[Article by Martin Shackelford, reprinted from alt.conspiracy.jfk]
It seems like only yesterday that I was picking apart the false arguments put forth by Jim Fetzer in his defenses of Assassination Science and Zapruder film alteration. Now, it's your turn. You're right: Posner's dishonest 1993 brief is a side issue. By the time it was written, critics had been dissecting the official case for 30 years, with varying degrees of soundness. The fact that Posner agreed with the Warren Commission, Jim Moore and others, however, doesn't make him any more right than they were. Posner is only one of the more recent foci of criticism--there have been others before (David Belin, John Sparrow, Charles Roberts, Stephen White, Jean Davison, Jim Moore, Albert Newman, etc.) and since (Gus Russo, Norman Mailer, etc.). You say that "Science has proved - beyond any doubt - that Lee Oswald killed JFK," which seems to ignore:
1) There were no fresh prints on the rifle.
2) There is no firm evidence that Oswald was on the 6th floor at the time of the shooting, and contradictory testimony on the matter, with only one witness belatedly identifying him as being up there.
3) A paraffin test showing no evidence Oswald had fired a weapon.
4) PSE (Psychological Stress Evaluator) processing of Oswald's statement, "I didn't shoot anybody, no sir," by a former CIA employee, George O'Toole, trained in PSE, found no evidence of deception.
If you can't put Oswald on the 6th floor with the rifle in his hand, none of the other scientific evidence is probative of his guilt--to use a little "common sense and critical thinking," which you seem not to be applying to the Warren Report and its "supporting" evidence.
Although you say Posner is irrelevant, you seem to spend a lot of time yourself talking about him. I've critiqued his book--without "ad hominem attacks":
Your next statement, about "conspiracy theorists, who earn money thanks to their theories and don't want them to be debunked," is an old, oft-repeated, and tedious falsehood. Very few conspiracy theorists have earned any money from this case, and some who have ploughed it back into further research, adding more of their own money to that. This is not a profitable line of research, François. There are no grants, no big advances, very few bestsellers.
The idea that people were reacting to Posner, rather than doing research, in an insult to the many researchers who spent three decades studying this case before Posner ever appeared on the scene. There had been other Warren Commission defenders--Posner just got more of a reaction because of his book's fundamental dishonesty, and the way the media embraced it like The Gospel, treating an inept newcomer (with whom they agreed) as though he were the ultimate expert on the case. For those to whom his sloppiness and deceit were obvious, this grated.
Your discussion of eyewitness testimony is very good, and over-reliance on eyewitness testimony is indeed a failing of some conspiracy theorists. It was also a failing of the Warren Commission, which relied in part on the testimony of Howard Brennan, who didn't identify Oswald until after he saw him on television, and may originally have reported only seeing the end of a rifle sticking out a window (see testimony of James Jarman, which seems to describe Brennan's first account in front of the TSBD). His testimony contradicts that of EVERY OTHER witness who saw someone in a 6th floor window. When you have a number of conflicting witnesses, you look for common elements--in this case, the common elements didn't match Oswald. It is also misleading refer to this aspect of the case as happening "in 20 seconds," as some witnesses had been observing men in the 6th floor windows on and off for as long as 15 minutes by the time shots were fired. It is true that later statements may be less reliable than earlier ones (why, then, does Posner rely so much on later statements?; why do you do the same thing in the section of your post regarding Dr. Perry?). Most criticism of the Warren Report was initially based on the earliest statements, contained in the 26 volumes and in witness interviews from the media that first day. It is also true that statements are taken out of context by less than scrupulous researchers--including Posner (who does worse--he blends the statements of two witnesses--Linnie Mae Randle and Buell Wesley Frazier-- into something neither said).
You say "Bottom line: It is wrong to rely on eyewitness testimony." I would say "It is wrong to rely ONLY on eyewitness testimony." It is also wrong to ignore it. The fact that David Lifton and Jack White misuse or misinterpret such testimony (for which they have been criticized by other conspiracy researchers) doesn't mean it CAN'T be used properly. And you focus on David Lifton's video rather than his much better-documented book, because it makes your point better--but it's another very misleading tactic. Next you leap to the statement that "all conspiracy theories are" based solely ("or mostly") on eyewitness statements, "to my mind." If that's true, you haven't read (or retained) as many conspiracy books as you claim. Some books rely heavily on the photographic evidence you suggest using as a test of eyewitness testimony (not Posner, though--he often refers vaguely to "the photographic evidence" without specifying what he's talking about--and when the film or photograph is discernible, it often fails to support what he's saying). You refer to "hard evidence," and describe it as "photos, the medical reports and police conclusions based on facts, etc." This is a slippery little sentence. A photo is hard evidence. A medical report is secondary evidence unless fully supported by documentation, rather iffy in this case. "Police conclusions" are NOT hard evidence at all--"based on facts" is meaningless unless there is general agreement on what the facts are. And a false conclusion may be "based on facts," if only some facts are available, and other relevant facts are concealed--as in this case.
Your third point argues that there is no research community. You falsely suggest that the JFK newsgroups are representative of the research community (most of the best researchers don't post); you note factional conflicts as though "real" research communities don't have them (they do--and some of the conflicts are legendary); you equate disunity with error (there is no one "conspiracy theory," but there is only one "official theory," so more conflict would be expected among conspiracy theorists); you say that conspiracy theorists "are on the same side" (since when are persons with severely conflicting theories "on the same side"?); you say "none of them agrees with any others," which is quite false; you say "there are almost as many theories as there are researchers," which is also false, as the number of generally accepted possible theories has dwindled to a handful (from a high of 66, as Esquire calculated three decades ago); you say "all these conspiracy theories are incompatible with one another," but you fail to note that many of them overlap and are not that far apart. You continue with the "hot news" that conspiracy theorists are more likely to spot someone else's errors than their own--this is human nature, and extends far beyond conspiracy researchers, and back to the Bible--with its mote in the eye--if not farther. You say "all of this is not very serious, not very professional." I would agree that some of what it claimed is not very serious--but that's no excuse to ignore what is serious. True, many of us are not professionals, but some are, and in studying matters relating to their own fields, they, too, find conspiracy. You say that "most of what is written is very low quality"--again, no excuse for ignoring the quality research. This is not a new point. Conspiracy researchers often say there are no more than ten or a dozen or so significant conspiracy books--and their lists often overlap, and sometimes agree fully, another indication that there is less conflict than you suggest. You say that Jack White "is still regarded as an expert by critics." That should be "some critics," as you imply that this is true of all critics, or even most critics, but even some who believe in Zapruder alteration doubt his expertise. Others grant him expertise in some respects, and not in others. He himself has admitted he's not an expert in film. Your conclusion that, after the infighting, "there's nothing left" is unwarranted. The debunking within the research community is a vital process which has helped narrow down the theories--something you earlier sound like you would support, but here you use as a criticism.
Another false claim is that "all I received was ad hominem attacks and sarcasm" on this newsgroup. You really need to re-read some of the responses to your posts (unless you think that this one is also nothing more than an "ad hominem attack," in which case you simply don't know what it means). Dismissing Dave Reitzes' posts with a reference to a comment about Jerry Lewis ignores the many well-documented and well-argued posts he has written (some of which you would agree with), and is a cheap shot. Your point five is just a repetition of earlier misleading claims, and a statement that you are writing a book without the CIA. Of course, people can be dead wrong WITHOUT the help of the CIA, so this is perfectly credible. The fact that you once believed in conspiracy (and got burned by "Best Evidence") and no longer do doesn't mean that you're right--it just means that (like before) you still think you are. Then, you thought you were right when you believed in conspiracy, now you think you are right when you don't. THAT'S the "bottom line." You say that "Case Open" raised your suspicions that Posner might be right. Apparently, you were unaware that the publisher only used a portion of a much longer manuscript Weisberg wrote critiquing Posner. You falsely dismiss all criticisms of Posner as being comparable to noting that he seems to be a sloppy speller of names ("they are all of the same vein"). This is nonsense, and I suspect that even you are well aware of that. By misrepresenting this (the false premise), you go on to the false conclusion that "It shows you can't attack him on the evidence," but many have done so. You say "Gerald Posner, whatever his failings, talks about the evidence." One of his failings, in fact, is that he talks falsely about the evidence. Another is that he retreats to vague references rather than specific cites when the evidence doesn't support his argument. In addition, he ignores inconvenient evidence, as some of the sloppier critics also do. So the backyard photos are probably authentic. Like yourself, I once believed them fakes, and no longer do. Unlike yourself, I haven't thrown the good evidence out with the bad. You ask "who, between Marrs and Posner, is rendering a disservice to his readers?" I would say both, but at least Marrs tells his readers not to trust his book without checking things out themselves. "I sure am happy that people like Posner tell the truth"--very humorous. "I don't need anyone to tell me what to think," you say, yet you post a ten-page essay instructing others what to think. Apparently you think that most of us need YOU to tell them what to think. You say of Jim Moore and Gerald Posner that "they tell you to look at the evidence for yourself." This is essentially true of Moore, but Posner often doesn't tell you what evidence he is referring to, thus making it hard to look at it yourself. Also, he has declined to make his interviews available, unlike Harrison Livingstone, David Lifton and Vince Palamara, among others. Repeating multiple times that "Posner gives you facts" doesn't make it so. Another oft-repeated falsehood follows: "critics are jealous of Posner." They may be jealous of the media attention he receives, but not of the man, and certainly not of the book. Most regard him as a weasel, not something they wish to emulate. As for the media attention, you attribute it to "the media were quick to spot the best-quality work." Is that why they were so quick to take Mark Lane and David Lifton seriously initially? The media was superficial then, and they remain superficial. They rely too often on others for "the truth," and are often careless about who they rely upon (Extra! magazine has often commented on the "regular stable of experts" used by the major media, often on subjects about which they have no specific background at all). On the assassination, they have relied on historians like Stephen Ambrose and Michael Beschloss, neither of whom has studied the evidence in this case (ignoring historians like Michael Kurtz, David Wrone and John Newman, who have). The Detroit papers rely on a Wayne State University professor who knows next to nothing about the case. And so it goes. Posner has "no bias"? You're joking again, aren't you? Posner believes Robert Kennedy is to blame for the cover-up--that isn't a bias? And that is only one of many. After the assassination, you say, Oswald went home, got his gun, and "ran away." Going to his neighborhood movie theater is "running away"? Not very effective, I'd say. I often go to a movie after work. I don't take a gun, but then I haven't suspected that someone has set me up for a murder, either. Regarding Failure Analysis, you participate in the same distortion as Posner. You fail to mention that Failure Analysis was hired to make up graphic material for BOTH SIDES of the argument--conspiracy and no conspiracy; that their "defense" graphics raised doubts whether it WAS possible for Oswald to have fired the shots as described, but that Posner ignored the "defense" material altogether, and pretended that Failure Analysis had done an objective study of the case and came out against conspiracy. Perhaps your most deceptive discussion focuses on the medical evidence. You single out Dr. Perry's initial statement that the bullet entered JFK's throat from the front, note that he now believes the official version, and leave it at that. Talk about "selective use of eyewitness testimony"!!!! You fail to address the large exit wound in the rear of the head that was reported by most of the witnesses at Parkland--AND at Bethesda! You take the easy way out, and use tactics you accuse critics of adopting. At least you were right about one thing: people "are quick to point out the mistakes made by other" researchers, "but they don't see their own!" Your next deception lumps all "conspiracy theorists" together in believing:
1) the body was altered (most don't).
2) the backyard photos were altered (some don't)
3) the autopsy X-rays were altered (many don't)
4) the autopsy photos were altered (many don't)
5) the Zapruder film was altered (most don't)
6) there were two Oswalds (this one remains in dispute)
then uses this supposed "agreement" to dismiss them all. Very Posnerian. You learned a lot from reading Case Closed--unfortunately, you didn't learn much from it about the assassination. I would agree with you that the American government is essentially good; that the FBI and CIA, as institutions, would be unlikely planners of a presidential assassination; that Lifton and White have been wrong about some key points--but I don't agree that "the evidence is overwhelming" for Oswald's guilt. And if YOU believed it, you wouldn't have spent such a small percentage of your post talking about the evidence. You accuse your critics of being paranoid, but you've just defined everyone who disagrees with you as other than "sane and mature people." Perhaps you're delusional, François.

[Martin Shackelford]
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My reply : Thank you for a good article, Mister Shackelford. But let me correct you; I never said I had ever believed the backyard photos were fakes. Reading your article, I feel you are not correcting me, rather you are refining my points. Like it or not, Oswald was running away when he left the TSBD and rushed to the theater after having picked up his gun at his rooming house. Don't tell me you think he went to the theater just like that! Also, you are accusing me of falsely suggesting that the JFK newsgroups are representative of the research community. Well, you're right, that's not the case (although, hey, the JFK newsgroups are a community of people who are interested in, if not "researching", the Kennedy assassination), and if I gave you the impression that I meant it, I'm sorry. Now, to address your specific point, regarding Gerald Posner's alleged blending of the statements of two witnesses--Linnie Mae Randle and Buell Wesley Frazier-- into something neither said. Well, I can only say bluntly and clearly that blending the statements of witnesses - for whatever reason - is a technique that I reject and totally disagree with! This should never be done, although it does not make any difference as to what the evidence shows. So, I agree with you on that, no question! But Gerald Posner has to speak for himself and I hope he will answer you on that specific point, and I am eager to know what his reply will be. As to the first three points you raise, they have been answered at length elsewhere, and you haven't brought anything new. You're saying that there is "no firm evidence that Oswald was on the 6th floor at the time of the shooting". Well, what do you need? I bet if we had a clear, color picture of Oswald shooting from the 6th floor, you wouldn't be convinced. It's not a question of evidence in this case, it's a question of your will to admit it or not! In fact, I say that your article is a commentary, and by no means a rebuttal.
My final reply:
I stand by my statements, which can be summed-up very quickly:
- I say, good researchers should be able to reach a conclusion just by looking at the evidence in the case, regardless of what anybody may have written thirty years after the events.
- I say, the evidence shows that Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots.
- I say there are lots of people among critics who claim to be experts but whose work is appalling and ludicrous and as far from the truth as can be.
- I say, since the evidence shows that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin, it is time to acknowledge it once and for all.
- I say, Gerald Posner wrote a good book. He is just a human being, like all of us, and it follows that his book is not perfect. But Posner hit the mark. Like it or not, for all his supposed failings, he has understood that the case was indeed closed. His book is a healthy antidote to all the crap written by self-proclaimed conspiracy experts. Like it or not, (and there was a time when I myself was upset at Gerald Posner's conclusions) Posner's conclusions are right, in that he tells the story that actually happened (Oswald did it), and no amount of talking and arguing will ever change that fact!

- 6. A new book published in France.
A new book hit the stands in France at the end of 1998. Its title: "JFK, autopsie d'un crime d'Etat". Its author: William Reymond. Reymond is what we call a conspiracy theorist. Some of you might know him, since he attended the 1997 JFK-Lancer November in Dallas conference and can be seen on Jack White's latest video "The Great Zapruder Film Hoax".
As most of you know by now, there is a French skeptical organization like the American C.S.I.C.O.P. (Committee for the Scientific Organization of Claims of the Paranormal); it is called the Cercle Zététique; I belong to it (see our web site:
http://www.zetetique.ldh.org/). Well, our president, Paul-Eric Blanrue, has himself studied the Kennedy assassination mystery with an open mind and his critical-thinking skills. He has written and published articles that are online (see: http://www.zetetique.ldh.org/kennedy.html), and his unbiased approach to the case has been helpful to me. Blanrue read William Reymond's new book and wrote a critical appraisal, which I found very good, and which I have decided to reprint here (Unfortunately for most of my readers, this article is in French. Some of you may have to ask for some help to translate it. Well, I may try to translate it later on for those of my readers who ask me to do so). In his article, Paul-Eric Blanrue, who is not about to be taken in by nonsense and believes in the official version of the assassination, makes it plain that Reymond's work is not worth the paper it is printed on!
"Rien de neuf à Dallas"
Il y a 35 ans, le 22 novembre 1963, le Président Kennedy était assassiné à Dallas. Pour commémorer le tragique événement, un livre vient de paraître aux éditions Flammarion (les éditions de Trottinette et de l'Encorné): JFK, autopsie d'un crime d'État. Son auteur : William Reymond, un journaliste français qui s'est déjà illustré en "revisitant" l'affaire Dominici.
Autant le dire d'emblée, ce livre est consternant.
Reymond ne se contente pas d'y défendre la thèse à la mode, celle de la conspiration, il accomplit le tour de force de fondre en un seul livre, la plupart des thèses conspirationnistes qui ont cours outre-Atlantique. Alchimie qui ne transforme pas ces presque 500 pages en un cocktail explosif, comme espéré par le lecteur, mais plutôt en bouillie indigeste.
Selon le journaliste, c'est bien simple, ils sont tous coupables, ils ont tous participé de près ou de loin à l'élaboration, à la mise en œuvre du complot assassin et à la disparition subséquente des "preuves". "Ils" : des extrémistes cubains anti-castristes, des membres marginaux de la CIA, des membres du Secret Service, du DPD, d'anciens tueurs de l'O.A.S., le FBI, la police de Dallas, des compagnons de route de la mafia, des milliardaires texans, le propriétaire du Texas School Book Depository, l'agent Tippit, le futur président Lyndon Johnson, le gouverneur Connally...! Le point commun des tueurs : la "haine viscérale du communisme" - ou plutôt, écrit Reymond : le "fascisme". Pardi!
Pour Reymond, toutes les pièces du dossier ont été truquées. Les photos montrant Oswald posant sa MC en main, les photos de l'autopsie, les radiographies, le corps même du Président ont été maquillées. Le film de Zapruder (celui que nous connaissons tous et qui a fait le succès de Garrison) a été trafiqué. Le "journal intime" d'Oswald est un faux. Les complotistes étaient infiltrés partout. Ils avaient la haute main sur tout. Point d'orgue du livre : Oswald lui-même n'a pas vraiment existé! Ou plutôt, ils étaient deux, depuis leurs naissances (Lee Oswald de Forth Worth et Harvey Oswald de New York). Par la suite, ils se sont démultipliés, pour que nous n'y comprenions plus rien - sauf, bien sûr, Reymond, qui a l'œil! L'aigle nous assène d'ailleurs que l'homme enterré sous le nom d'Oswald n'est pas le vrai Lee Harvey... bien que les analyses effectuées sur le corps exhumé aient prouvé le contraire.
La pierre angulaire de l'édifice : les témoignages, des tonnes de témoignages, une avalanche de témoignages! Pris pour argent comptant lorsqu'ils entrent dans le jeu complotiste, dédaignés lorsqu'ils l'infirment, soigneusement sélectionnés lorsqu'ils permettent un "effet" avantageux. Un exemple, la première "preuve" de complot brandie par Reymond. Mise en présence des photos montrant Oswald avec les armes qui ont servi aux meurtres de Kennedy et de l'agent Tippit, la femme du "tueur présumé", Marina, les reconnaît et affirme les avoir prises elle-même. Gênant, puisque ces photos accréditent qu'Oswald possédait bien les armes du crime. Pour contrer ce fait dérangeant, Reymond reprend l'argumentation complotiste traditionnelle : Marina a dû céder aux pressions exercées par les officiels, car, Soviétique d'origine, elle craignait d'être renvoyée dans son pays. Seul problème, non évoqué par l'auteur : Marina continue aujourd'hui, alors même qu'elle ne croit plus à la culpabilité de son défunt mari, alors que manifestement elle ne risque plus d'être expatriée, de revendiquer ces prises de vue. Ce qui ruine irrémédiablement toute la démonstration précédente. Pour faire bonne mesure, Reymond a également été obligé de "taire" le fait que les analyses faites sur ces clichés prouvaient qu'ils étaient absolument authentiques et non retouchés, contrairement à l'idée habilement répandue par les "chercheurs indépendants". Des omissions, des approximations de ce genre courent par centaines dans le livre de Reymond.
Hypercritique avec la thèse de la Commission Warren ("l'hypercriticisme étant à la critique ce que la finasserie est à la finesse", comme disaient Langlois et Seignobos), Reymond se révèle étrangement souple avec les contradictions des témoins qu'il cite à la barre. Citant les quelques rares personnes qui ont cru entendre des tirs provenant du Grassy Knoll, il "oublie" par exemple que l'énorme majorité des témoins a désigné le Book Depository. Un témoin affirme qu'il a vu Oswald à un stand de tir, alors que le même jour, à la même heure, ce dernier se trouvait en famille? Rien de plus normal, pour le sagace Reymond : il y a eu embauche d'un sosie! Mis devant des impossibilités physiques radicales (bilocation), il préfère accumuler les Oswald, plutôt que d'envisager l'éventualité que des gens se soient trompés ou aient menti. Pour lui, d'ailleurs, un témoignage produit 20 ans après les faits est aussi valable que celui enregistré dans les jours suivants. Jamais, le journaliste ne s'étonne des précisions et des détails qui apparaissent avec le temps. Jamais, il ne se demande ce qui peut pousser des gens à agrémenter leurs récits d'enjolivements divers (c'est pourtant le b-a ba de la critique de témoignages). Une danseuses du Carrousel prétend que, deux semaines avant l'assassinat, Ruby lui a présenté Oswald en lui disant : " Voici Lee Oswald de la CIA ". Et il faut la croire! Car les seuls qui mentent, ce sont, toujours, quoi qu'ils fassent, les "autres", les méchants! Un peu facile!
Côté matériel, la situation est aussi critique. Evoquant plus d'une dizaine de fois l'existence de photos confondantes pour la "thèse officielle", le journaliste est incapable d'en produire une seule qui emporte l'adhésion. Pour cause, il suffit de les regarder attentivement (dans les livres où Reymond va les dénicher, celui de Groden entre autres) pour s'apercevoir que ces documents ne valent rien, que les "évidences" alléguées n'en sont pas, que les agrandissements des pseudo-tueurs sont tout sauf convaincantes. Ce n'est pas un hasard si Reymond n'a pas osé les produire! Résultat, son dossier iconographique est inconsistant : sur les quelques malheureuses photos qu'il présente, il ne se rend pas compte que si les visages d'Oswald semblent parfois différer, c'est tout simplement à cause... de l'angle de la prise de vue! Il a beau jeu d'expliquer que les photos d'autopsie divergent, et qu'elles contredisent les radios... alors qu'un panel d'experts a démontré que les unes et les autres étaient parfaitement authentiques! (ce dont le lecteur ne sera pas tenu informé).
La seule photo truquée du livre est en fin de compte celle de la couverture!
Le plus grave est peut-être d'avoir emprunté à Lifton, sur un chapitre entier ("La Grande manipulation"), une thèse tellement abracadabrante (le maquillage du corps de Kennedy dans Air Force One), que son auteur lui-même a été contraint de la désavouer! (ce que personne ne saura non plus). Passons.
Une chose est certaine : tout ceci n'est pas très professionnel, ni très "déontologique", pour employer un mot à la mode. Ces erreurs et ces torsions de faits s'expliquent peut-être parce que, malgré les apparences, Reymond n'a quasiment mené aucune enquête personnelle. Il est allé à Dallas? Peut-être. Mais pour y faire quoi? Pour copier-coller les livres complotistes américains (pratique qui explique sans doute que les documents présentés ne soient quasiment jamais référencés), le déplacement ne valait pas la peine.
Bref, le livre de Reymond, qui n'apporte aucune nouveauté, aucune originalité, et n'offre aucun recul par rapport aux délires complotistes classiques, est la meilleure preuve qu'il n'y a rien de neuf sous le soleil fatigué d'Elm Street.
[Paul-Éric Blanrue].
Very good indeed!
As a point of fact, William Reymond adds up all the conspiracy theories into one bunch. According to him:
the Zapruder film was altered, the backyard photos were altered, the autopsy X-rays were altered, the autopsy photos were altered, the body was altered, there were two Oswalds, etc. Everything was altered!
The FBI + the CIA + the DPD + the Mafia + Texas oilmen + the French intelligence + anti-Castro Cubans + Lyndon Johnson...etc. Everybody did it!
When you read Reymond's book, you think all the conspiracy theorists agree with each other. He never tells his readers that many conspiracy theorists do not agree with each other and that lots of theories just don't add up. I know that, as I wrote in the previous issue of F.A.C.T.S., Robert Groden says that Lifton's theory of body alteration is wrong, David Lifton says that Armstrong's theory of two Oswalds is wrong, Clint Bradford says that Fetzer's theory of Zapruder film alteration is wrong, and so on and so forth. But William Reymond makes it appear that everybody agrees and everybody is right! Everybody has a theory that works! And all of them add up to prove there was a conspiracy!
It is utter nonsense.
William Reymond seems to be very gullible! He sure doesn't seem to have checked his data. He has bought everything he read and went on to print all he could!

As for me, I challenged William Reymond several times. I suggested we could have a public debate, me and him, over specific points on the Kennedy assassination, and we would publish our debate online (on the Cercle Zététique's site), for everybody to read and make their own opinion based on our arguments. Reymond found a lame excuse after several weeks to back out. He will never dare challenge me. His book is full of mistakes that any beginner could debunk! He knows everything I write, since I always send him this journal. Of course, he is welcome to have his say, should he agree with my open challenge. But I am not holding my breath!

- 7. miscellaneous ...
It may seem to some people that I am being too blunt and that I have quite a nerve when I criticize American researchers and writers. Well, let it be known that I find it quite sound to apply a healthy dose of critical thinking to any area of interest and particularly to such a controversial and much-talked-about issue as the Kennedy assassination. I have often stated that I am willing to call a spade a spade, and if I read a book that is a sham, you can rely on me to let people know that indeed it is a sham! I am not fighting people, I am fighting bad arguments and low-level writings! I am fighting errors, regardless of who makes them. I am trying to fight for the truth, nothing more! Cold realities, evidence, facts and actual events are my work foundation. Theories, suppositions, wishful thinking, subjectivity self-promotion, half-truths, bias, stupidity and the twisting of facts to suit pre-conceived theories are the enemies I fight against. But again, I do not fight people. For example, I have talked at length in F.A.C.T.S. against David Lifton's theory of body alteration, and I have vehemently criticized him for not having the guts or the intellectual honesty to answer all the pertinent questions raised by knowledgeable people against his book. I maintain what I wrote. But having said that, it is true to say that Lifton did a very impressive job. He showed great courage and perseverance and his book "Best evidence" is very factual and informative. His video tape is moving, at that. I am not, and will never be making fun of David Lifton. I attack his reasoning, and I criticize his lack of critical thinking skills and open-mindedness. But his achievements, albeit in the wrong direction, cannot be overlooked or laughed at.
There is a point I would like to develop in another issue of F.A.C.T.S., but which I'll mention briefly here. It is the issue of the harm done by the conspiracy theorists. My point is that critics to the Warren Commission, or "conspiracy theorists" do more harm to the U.S. than any conspiracy would. They paint an ill-disposed U.S. government, and a CIA ready to kill its commander-in-chief and lie to the American public at will. I dare say: "it's too bad to be true!". There is a newspaper article I came across that I would recommend every American citizen to read. Its title is "Troops obey Clinton despite disdain", and it was printed in USA Today, Thursday, November 19, 1998. It is a fine article that shows that yours is a fine country. Although Bill Clinton is not popular at all with the military, I quote: "No one should confuse the military's distaste for the man with disrespect for the office he's keeping warm. Service members understand implicitly that our constitutional system demands subordination to civilian authority, of which Clinton - flawed as he is - is the embodiment". To the conspiracy theorists...think about it!
Next November, I'll be in Dallas. I really wish to attend the last conferences before the year 2000. So I'll attend both the COPA and the JFK-Lancer conferences. My goal is to talk directly to researchers, and make myself available by the same token, to all those who debated with me on the Internet newsgroups. I'll try to represent the official version among conspiracy-oriented thinkers.
Hope you'll show up!
See you there!
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom always to tell the difference!
This journal of research on the Kennedy assassination is sent free, either by electronic mail or by snail mail, to the following people:

Cyril Wecht, David Lifton, Gary Aguilar, Jim Marrs, Robert Groden, Ian Griggs, Gerald Posner, Clint Bradford, John McAdams, Debra Conway, George Michael Evica, Jack White, John Judge, Anthony Summers, Walt Brown, Henri Hurt, Michael Kurtz, Michael Griffith, Ed Dolan, Jim Moore, Carl Oglesby, Craig Roberts, Robert Harris, Anthony Marsh, Gary Mack, Jerrol Custer, David Scheim, Mark Oakes, David Reitzes, Barb Junkkarinen, William Reymond, Martin Shackelford, Gary Shaw, Jo Backes, Sam McClung, James Fetzer, Tony Pitman, John Kelin, Greg Jaynes, Gaeton Fonzi, Larry Charbonneau, David Starks, Thierry Lentz, Gerard MacNally, Leo Sgouros, David Stager, Vern Pascal, James Crary, Sophie Rougevin-Baville and Paul-Eric Blanrue.
(Some people have asked to have their name removed from the mailing list. I have respected their decision. The names are crossed.)
[François Carlier, 1999]
[All rights reserved]
F.A.C.T.S. 3

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
-F A C T S
-Frenchman Against Conspiracy TheorieS
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
October 2000
Issue 3
- 1. editorial
- 2. the president's authority
- 3. the response to "FACTS"
- 4. November in Dallas 2037
- 5. JFK research community
- 6. in defense of Jim Garrison
- 7. questions and answers
- 8. miscellaneous
Dear reader, you are now holding (or seeing on your computer screen) the third issue of F.A.C.T.S., a JFK assassination research journal written by a French freelance researcher. In this issue I again give an analysis of the JFK research community ; I point out the weaknesses in reasoning and give my objective point of view. I show that most people in the community are very bad at weighing evidence, and lack an understanding of what "thinking critically" means but I don't expect any sort of recognition of my lessons ; people are rarely grateful for a demonstration of their credulity. Issue number 3 is probably the last issue of FACTS. Indeed, I feel I'm done with the Kennedy assassination. I have worked for years, I have written a book, and now, with the year 2000 already well underway, I want to leave that behind and get on with other things and areas of interest. Indeed there are lots of interesting things to do in life. I certainly don't want to narrow my intellectual life to the Kennedy assassination. So there it goes! Hope you will enjoy reading this issue as you have enjoyed the previous ones. If this journal has been of help to any of you, if it has helped my readers think more clearly, then my goal has been reached. Thank you for having taken the time to read what I had to say. Good bye, good luck...
And remember; always call a spade a spade!

- 2. The U.S. president's moral authority.
As I briefly mentioned in the second issue of F.A.C.T.S., there is a newspaper article I once came across that I would recommend every American citizen to read. Its title is "Troops obey Clinton despite disdain", and it was printed in USA Today, Thursday, November 19, 1998. It is a very good article that shows the difference between reality and what conspiracy theorists imagine. Although Bill Clinton is not popular at all with the military, they obey him. Why? Simple ; because they respect the president of the United States. Let me quote from that article : "No one should confuse the military's distaste for the man with disrespect for the office he's keeping warm. Service members understand implicitly that our constitutional system demands subordination to civilian authority, of which Clinton - flawed as he is - is the embodiment". So, even if Bill Clinton, especially with the Monica Lewinsky affair, proved to be a liar, and certainly not a man you would respect, he still is the President of the United States, and as such deserves as much respect from the troops as can be. This shows that when conspiracy theorists - as, for instance, is shown in the movie JFK - want you to believe that men in the highest level of the government and military conspired to kill Kennedy, well, that's a huge leap of faith. On top of that, you've got to remember that Kennedy was more popular and respected as a man than Clinton is. All in all, this shows that the United States is a country where "trust" and "respect" and "values" and "discipline" and "order" are important words that the people agree on. Contrary to what Jim Marrs himself once told me, the United states is not a banana republic. (The irony is that it is me, a Frenchman, who is defending your country). I really believe that conspiracy theorists have done great harm to the US system by destroying its credibility. I think it is high time American people started having confidence in their institutions again!

- 3. The response to "FACTS"
As I have said in the previous issue, I have received some feedback for "FACTS". Some people such as Gerald Posner or Cyril Wecht praised me (I thank them very much), others simply insulted me. Still others, who disagree with my views, wrote me, trying to give their arguments. I hereby will quote two of them ; Craig Roberts and Mike Griffith. Below are their message and my response.
1. Craig Roberts vs. François Carlier.
(reprinted below is an e-mail message that I sent to Craig Roberts in response to a message from him to me. I take that liberty because Roberts ended his message with "You may print this"...).
Dear Sir,

Thank you for your message,
I will now try to give you my reply :

-----Message d'origine-----
De : Wm. Roberts <
À :
f-carlier@wanadoo.fr <f-carlier@wanadoo.fr>
Date : dimanche 28 février 1999 15:06
Objet : Lack of Critical Thinking

>I have received two of your newsletters and am very
>disappointed in you.
>I, too, have read the majority of JFK books and know that the authors
>stop short of answering several questions.
==> [me, F.C.] Well, doesn't it disturb you? Don't you think that it's a serious problem? I mean, any author should be ready to answer questions from the readers and researchers. Otherwise, how can we check facts? How can we ourselves inquire? How can we know if they are right or wrong, if they are not helpful? And how can they themselves be sure that they have not made serious mistakes, if they don't listen to -- or take into account -- other people's arguments?

>But, the bottom line is that
>Oswald could not have fired those shots from the 6th
>floor window in the time allotted.
==> [me, F.C.] Now, Mister Roberts, I have a problem here. You see, I am someone who is willing to believe anybody, for I have never had any pre-conceived opinion. I started investigating the JFK assassination case with no bias whatsoever. I have nothing to defend. But hey, there are lots of different people out there who make lots of different claims. But those claims are mutually exclusive; they are incompatible. Some people must be wrong. (so far you agree, I suppose). How can I know who is wrong and who is right? You are saying that Oswald could not have fired those shots, but what makes you say so? Well, as a reader I have seen, heard and read people who claim that, on the contrary, Oswald could very well have fired those shots. I mean, very able, intelligent and knowledgeable people have showed that it was indeed a physical possibility for Oswald (or anybody) to have fired the shots. What do you make of Dale Myers' work, and the Failure Analysis Associates' work, which showed that it is indeed a physical possibility for Oswald to have fired the shots like the Warren commission said he did? You are well aware that even conspiracy writers such as Anthony Marsh have admitted that it was indeed not only possible, it must have happened that way. I mean, conspiracy-oriented people who say it happened that way... that does mean something! Dale Myers have used measurements to prove the single-bullet theory is not an impossibility as some authors would have it. Oswald had ample time, almost 8 seconds. So, as a student or reader or investigator (whatever), I say to myself "Well, it looks like it did happen". You, Mister Roberts, do not believe it. Well, granted. Why not? You may be right. But you'll have to give arguments. You'll have to back up your claims, in order to convince me, and not only give your feeling, your opinion. I admit that you have tremendous knowledge and experience in weapons and snipers, but how does that give you the right to say a physical possibility is a physical impossibility?

>In fact, the 6.5 Carcano was never fired at all that day.
==> [me, F.C.] Nobody can state that. The rifle was not checked. You should know it. What are your sources to make such a claim that most conspiracy-theorists themselves don't make?
>That means there must be a conspiracy of others.
> From there on it becomes a mystery wrapped in an enigma
>and everyone is entitled to their own opinion and right
>to investigate as they wish.

==> [me, F.C.] No, I disagree. If of course everyone is entitled to their opinion in their private life, they are not entitled to make public statements accusing an official government without basis in facts. I mean, it is bad enough when any self-proclaimed expert writes a conspiracy book claiming the US government is crooked when they base their theory on thin air or self-delusion! It is a serious matter. Not everyone has the right to misinform the American public. Some ludicrous theories that are thrown to the public as gospel truth are as dangerous as they are idiotic.

>Also, you can't discount Armstrong's work on the Two
>Oswalds. He can prove that records exist (he has them)
>that place Oswald in two places at the same time in
>several instance throughout his history.
==> [me, F.C.] Well, what do you make of the fact that David Lifton does discount Armstrong's work? Are you saying that Lifton is wrong? You can't have it both ways. And it is not a question of "opinion". Armstrong and Lifton have spent years studying that part of the story. They deal with facts. Yes or no, were there two Oswalds? Is there any evidence to back up Armstrong's claims? Lifton says "no". What do *you* say? If Lifton is wrong on that one, what makes you think he is right on the body-alteration hypothesis? I say Armstrong is wrong. Show me that I am wrong, and I will at once go public admitting I had been wrong and I will become Armstrong's spokesman if need be. But first, prove that Armstrong is right. If he was right, if he had uncovered evidence, Lifton would have to agree. But Lifton has explained away all the little inconsistencies in the record that Armstrong has found. I mean, at least you'll agree that not both of them can be right? Who is?

>You can save money by removing me from your
>mailing list. It is obvious to me that you do not want to
>seek the truth, you only want to insult and argue with
>those that do.
==> [me, F.C.] I will remove you from my mailing list. Your wish is my command. But stop making false statements. I do seek the truth, and only the truth. I, for one, can call a spade a spade. I am open to criticism, a proof of that is that I printed an article against me by Martin Shackelford in FACTS. You seem to prefer the attitude of people like conspiracy theorists who, you yourself say, stop short of answering several questions. Are those who "stop short of answering several questions" people who seek the truth?
My journal of research was distributed to a good number of people. Some of them liked it and praised it. Others, like you for example, decided they did not like it. Well, you are free not to like my work. I respect your decision and will not bother you any more. But I think your attitude is not that of an open-minded person who dares answering disturbing questions.
Well, whatever! That's life.
You may print this too!
François Carlier
(O.K. Now, what do you think ? It is clear that Roberts, when he has no answer, prefers to duck the issues by refusing to reply).
2. Mike Griffith vs. François Carlier.
(reprinted below is an e-mail message that I received from Mike Griffith after he had read my article in "FACTS 2" on the Zapruder film, and then my response to him).
Dear Sir,
A few points in reply:

1. I dispute your claim that the Zapruder film has proven itself to be valid and that forgery would have been impossible. Not one of the technical arguments absolutely rules out alteration. For that matter, critics of the film are still studying Zavada's report. Perhaps you should wait for their reply before pronouncing Zavada's work as the final word on the subject. Zavada's points do not explain most of the problems that have been detected in the film.

2. You repeatedly appeal to Shackelford. I have dialogued with him on this issue and he has been unable to explain a number of the problems in the film. He has no credible explanation for the superhuman foreleg whip of Malcolm Summers, for the amazingly fast appearance of Charles Brehm's son, for the discrepancy between the Muchmore and Z films regarding how long Brehm's son takes to appear at his side, for the impossible head snap that begins at Z313, and so forth.

3. You cite Zapruder's testimony about the film, yet Zapruder also said he filmed the limo as it turned onto Elm Street, and Dan Rather likewise said that the Z film he saw included the limo's turning onto Elm Street. But no such event is present in the existing Z film.

4. You ask "why" the film would have been altered. It's very simple: To conceal blatant indications of more than one gunman. One point that defenders of the film keep ignoring is our contention that even the finished product, i.e., the altered version, was unacceptable. In other words, the plotters simply could not alter the film enough to make it wholly compatible with the lone-gunman scenario, and that is why it was suppressed for some 12 years.

5. Are you aware that Dr. Roderick Ryan, a film expert from Kodak, has argued that the Z film shows the limo stopped in one frame but moving in the very next frame? This is discussed in Noel Twyman's book BLOODY TREASON.

6. You argue there was never a time when the film could have been altered. This is patently speculative. There is no ironclad evidence establishing the film's chain of possession at all times. Moreover, your argument ignores the fact that the alteration would NOT have had to be done right away, but could have been done later at the FBI.

7. You dismiss eyewitness testimony as wholly unreliable. This is an extreme position. Tests and court experience have shown that when the item in question is considered to be important and noteworthy by the witnesses, they can be highly accurate about that item. One test found that when witnesses see an event out of a series of events and view that particular event as important and noteworthy, they were ***98 PERCENT***, yes, 98 percent, correct and complete about that item. And thus it's worth noting that dozens of witnesses from all over Dealey Plaza recalled seeing the limo stop or drastically slow down, yet no such event is seen in the existent
Z film. Also, dozens of witnesses, in three different locations, recalled seeing a large gaping wound in the back of Kennedy's head, and now a new examination of the AP autopsy x-ray of the skull indicates there was skull missing in the back of the head.

8. Your arguments for Oswald's guilt, such as the alleged palm print, are highly questionable. You seem unaware of the problems with these arguments. I would refer you to the following articles on my JFK web page:
* "Was Oswald's Palm Print Planted on the Alleged Murder Weapon?"
* "An Oswald Defense Brief"
* "Faulty Evidence"
* "Where Was Oswald During the Shooting?"

Mike Griffith
==> [my reply, F.C.] Well, Mister Griffith, thank you for your message, but 95% of it is about the Zapruder film alteration hypothesis. Don't you have anything else to talk about? Don't you think it is high time to acknowledge that the Zapruder film is genuine and move on? Do I really have to go over the evidence again? I honestly consider it a waste of time to debate over already-debunked myths, such as Oswald / Billy Lovelady, or the Zapruder film alteration. Everybody knows (and I stress the word "knows"), whether they are CT's or LN's, that the Zapruder film has never been altered. Once again, I will refer anybody to Clint Bradford's very good web site. I am surprised that anybody would still dare try to argue about that. I, for one, will not waste my time belaboring an obvious point. If you really believe the Zapruder film was altered, well, there's nothing anybody can do, except, maybe, a brain surgeon.
As to the problems you see with the evidence against Oswald, well, as in other areas of the JFK case, you see problems everywhere. No evidence against Oswald can seem to convince you. Only a videotape of Oswald confessing would convince you. Well, what can I say? Simply that I trust the police more than you do. If reasonable and knowledgeable scientists and investigators say that Oswald's palmprint was on the gun, I trust them. You prefer to build a highly improbable conspiracy with thousand of people involved. O.K. If that's your taste. It's certainly not mine. But I have no evidence myself. All I can say is that I trust investigators, because I find their scientific and logical arguments more reliable than your hair-splitting !
Mister Griffith, there is no question that you are a hard worker, and someone who is genuinely eager to talk about the JFK assassination and share his knowledge. Granted, you have tremendous knowledge. Yet, it is fair to say that you seem gullible, for you seem to endorse every conspiracy theory in the book, which is against reason because some of them are mutually exclusive. As far as the Zapruder film alteration hypothesis is concerned, I am not in a position to pretend I KNOW the answer (indeed, I never met Abraham Zapruder or any member of his family or friends, nor was I in the room when the film was first projected on 11/22/63). But I can still make an opinion using critical thinking skills. And after having read Clint Bradford's web site, I claim I am completely confident that the Zapruder film is genuine. And all your talk (which has been rehashed hundreds of times) won't change things. Your problem is that you don't answer Bradford's arguments. As a matter of fact, you can not find faults in his reasoning and the arguments put forth by all the authors who have written articles in his web site concerning the Zapruder film. Whether there was a conspiracy or not, at least you should acknowledge that the Zapruder film is genuine. And move on !

- 4. November in Dallas 2037...
I recently dared criticize the JFK-Lancer organization on alt.conspiracy.jfk. Some people, such as Clint Bradford, preferred to attack me instead of listening to what I had to say. I promised I would mention the topic in this issue of FACTS. So below is a short article in which I explain why I am disappointed by JFK-Lancer and why I think nobody should expect any worthwhile result from the conferences they organize each year.
I have known Debra Conway since I went to attend the 1996 Lancer - November in Dallas conference. I was disappointed by what I heard at that conference as I have explained at length in FACTS 1. I had told Debra that what was missing in those conferences were debates and answers. She agreed and promised she would do something about it (I still have the audio tape where you can clearly hear her, so I can prove my statement). Moreover, since then I have always tried to have Debra improve the Lancer conferences by using critical thinking methods (that were clearly lacking) and giving answers, not just questions. But she never did a thing. She promised all right but never delivered the goods.
Reprinted below is an exchange between Debra and me. Anybody who wishes to give his opinion or judge me should first read my messages.
==> [me, F.C.] Dear Debra,
My name is François Carlier. I am a Frenchman who has read extensively about the JFK assassination and who believes in the official version. You may remember me, as I am the author of the journal called "FACTS". In any case, you may be aware that some time ago I posted a message on the alt.conspiracy.jfk newsgroup, which was addressed to you. It is copied below. I am taking the liberty of sending it to you as a personal Email message.
Please be sure that I certainly do not want to show off, nor pretend that I can give you lessons or teach you how to work. Far from it. Simply, I believe my suggestion is worth considering.
Please feel free to reply and give me your opinion, even if you disagree. Thank you for your time.
Best regards,
François Carlier
(Below is the reprint of my post)
This is an open message to Debra Conway :

Next November, in seven months' time, you will organize a "November in Dallas 2000" conference. That's the year 2000, a new millenium, 37 years after the assassination, and most of all after hundreds of books have been written, dozens of conflicting theories put forth, not to mention quarrels, resentment and anger between researchers that have been made public.

Here is my suggestion :

I suggest that for this year's conference you invite a debating panel. On the one hand, you will have Jim Moore + John McAdams + Gerald Posner, and on the other "side of the table" you will have, I don't know, people such as David Lifton + Jim Marrs + Joe Backes + Carl Oglesby + Walt Brown + Robert Groden + Clint Bradford (you know, the big names) + whomever you think deserves to be there. It would be a public debate. It could last a whole day, why not? (with breaks, it goes without saying). I am convinced the public would be very interested and everybody would learn a lot from such a debate.
It would be very useful provided all the speakers would agree to have an open mind and admit it if they were proved wrong. Everybody would listen to the opposite side's arguments. Then the public would decide who is right. If one side is unable to answer a problem or a statement that the other side has clearly stated, that would show that they are certainly wrong.
It would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gather all these people, and it is well worth it.
I, for one, am willing to do all I can to help you organize that (like writing to these people, begging them to agree to try).
That way, instead of questions, we would get ANSWERS, once and for all, and believe me, that's what most of us are demanding!

Thank you for considering my appeal.

François Carlier
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Here is Debra's answer :
I have been out of town as well but I have been thinking about how to answer you. Let me think about it for a day or two and I promise to write back.

- + - + - + - + - +
==> [me, F.C.] Dear Debra,
Thank you for your short message. As you can imagine, I am eagerly awaiting your reply. In the meantime, let me make myself clear as to what my intellectual position is. You know I have been a defender of the official version of the assassination of JFK. Unlike you I have been defending people like John McAdams, Jim Moore or Gerald Posner. Recently I have read web pages criticizing those people. Well, that's fine. So, Gerald Posner and John McAdams are CIA? Maybe. Jim Moore is a nut? Who knows? I myself am only an attention-seeking bozo, a lightweight (as Lifton once called me)? O.K., granted ! But what changes does that make ?
That doesn't change the facts !
You see, I don't really care about Gerald Posner. But I have to admit that there are very powerful, sound, intelligent arguments in his book "Case closed". I don't know Jim Moore but his book "Conspiracy of one" is very impressive in terms of knowledge, sound reasoning, the weighing of evidence and critical thinking. I have never seen John McAdams and probably never will, but his web site goes a long way in debunking quack theories, explaining away lots of so-called mysteries and showing just how idiotic some conspiracy theories are! I want to be perfectly clear : what matters is the evidence, not the people who write about it in their books. So when I read ad hominem attacks on Posner or McAdams, I say that's a waste of time.
You see, if I say that I believe in the official version, I have the right to say so because I am quite knowledgeable in the JFK assassination (as you know, I have been to Dallas several times, attending both the JFK-Lancer and the COPA conference once, talking to and interviewing a number of well-known researchers, reading numerous books, watching all the known videos, exchanging letters with researchers, etc. ... well I am certainly not the only one, but at least you've got to acknowledge I am not a newbie). For example, I have met Robert Groden twice, talking to him and interviewing him. I have bought his books and videos, read articles by and about him, etc. I know his arguments. But I have read counter arguments in "Case closed" and "Conspiracy of one", as well as on McAdams' web site, and with that knowledge I have been forced to admit that Groden cannot be trusted ; in a nutshell his theories are bull.
Well, to cut a long story short, you know what my dream is : to gather all the knowledgeable people and organize the long-overdue debate. I mean, everybody would be happy to see that debate at last ; as I have explained earlier, Lifton + Backes + Bradford + Wecht + Aguilar + Brown + Marrs versus Moore + McAdams + Posner. That would be VERY interesting. At last people would get ANSWERS instead of QUESTIONS. Then the public would decide who is right after all. Because those who would be proven wrong without any doubt would have to acknowledge it publicly! What do you think? (I could try to write anybody to help you organize that debate).
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Best regards,

François Carlier
Well, it sounds interesting, doesn't it ? Unfortunately, ladies and gentlemen, Debra Conway never replied. Yet, she had promised to answer ; I waited for a day or two. Then a week, then a month. Then it was clear she would not reply. She never addressed the issue. She never understood the importance of having open-minded debates, or worse, she understood it but decided to do nothing. In other words, she has done nothing to help us get to the truth. In a nutshell, she is a zero, pure and simple. I know that some people who know her personally, and who therefore are subjective or will not dare hurt her feelings, will try to defend her no matter what. Well, good for them ! But I, for one, do not care what Debra Conway thinks of me. I do not write articles to please anybody or to make friends with other researchers. I only write articles to point out the flaws in most people's attitude. Debra Conway is doing a very poor job, and that's a fact. On top of that, she is not open-minded. Someone had to say it publicly. I am that someone !
Think about it:
Very little has been achieved in thirty-seven years by the so-called "research community", when you think about it. Consider this introductory text, visible on JFK-Lancer web site :
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We believe these basic facts in the assassination of President Kennedy and the wounding of Governor John Connally :
- there was more than one shooter,
- there has not been a true investigation of this crime by our government,
- the intelligence agencies did not give those investigations the information they should have,
- the assassination case is still open and research should be ongoing.
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Now, let's stop for a minute, shall we? Now, can everybody realize it ? Do you realize how mild this text is, how little is said, and that after thirty-seven years !
Let's take one statement at a time :
"Research should be ongoing"? Well, why not. It can do no harm to do research on any topic. "The intelligence agencies did not give the investigations the information they should have"? Well, it has already been explained by historians that intelligence agencies cannot - of course - reveal all that they know at any given time. There are things that must not go public, such as agent names, operations going on, etc., which does not mean in the least that the agency is conspiring against the government. "There has not been a true investigation of this crime by our government"? Well, it is true that the Warren Commission was pressed for time. And there was bound to be some flaws in its organization. O.K. So what? That in itself certainly does not prove that something fishy was going on, does it ?
So, in the end, what do we end up with ? "There was more than one shooter and the assassination case is still open"? O.K., but that does seem to be more of an opinion than a fact. Most of all, where does it say that Oswald did not do it? All they can say is that there was more than one shooter. But that does not exonerate Oswald! So, after thirty-seven years, after listening to every conspiracy author and reading every book JFK-Lancer cannot go as far as saying that Oswald did not do it ! What a failure ! In other words, it is clear that Oswald did do it !
O.K. Let's think. The JFK assassination did not happen in some remote country, centuries ago, with no witness. It was done in front of dozens of people, armed with cameras, very recently, and some people have devoted their lifetime to try to discover the truth. And all you have as a consensus is that "the assassination case is still open and research should be ongoing", because you think that "there was more than one shooter"? Come on, you people from JFK-Lancer, and all the CT's by the same token, can't you realize how ridiculously little you have? It reminds me of a sentence in "Case closed", by Gerald Posner ; (I quote) : "After thirty years of studying the case the critics have failed to produce a single, cogent, alternate scenario of how the alleged conspiracy happened or who was involved".
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November in Dallas 2037 ? What will it be like ?
... Have a look at the end of this issue...
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- 5. JFK research community ?
Research community ? Researchers ? Now, hold it. Shouldn't we choose the words with more care?
Where is the community? I wish there was one. Actually, I have always said there should be one because only by having people work together can we get to the truth. But unfortunately there is no such thing as the JFK research community.
Well, in a way it shows that Warren report critics, or at lest most of them, don't have the faintest idea what good research is.
They would be well advised to inquire about the scientific community. Indeed science is a community. Scientists work together. They apply the same methods and are open-minded. Science is a self-correcting process that thrives by digesting new facts. Scientists tell the rest of the community about their findings. Then their colleagues check and double-check their results. And when reputable scientists correct flaws in an experiment that produced fantastic results, then fail to get those results when they repeat the test with flaws corrected, they withdraw their original claims. They do not defend them by arguing irrelevantly that the failed replication was successful in some other way, or by making intemperate attacks on whoever dares to criticize their competence (Martin Gardner). They move on. The community advances. But with the JFK assassination, nothing of the kind exists. Theories are not tested by other writers. And most important of all, if an author is proved wrong by subsequent research, he does not retract ; he prefers to let people keep believing in wrong theories. Critics are out there to defend their own theories (and also to "make a buck") rather than to help people get to the truth.
The JFK assassination? It's every man for himself !

- 6. In defense of Jim Garrison.
Let me state at the very outset ; I never met the late Jim Garrison. Having said that, I think I can say that I know the man fairly well, having read his book and interviews, listened to his July 1967 "Network reply (to NBC)" and appearance on the Johnny Carson show dozens of times, watched him on numerous videos, and studied his work, especially the Clay Shaw trial. At least this gives me the right to have an opinion on him... and to defend him.
Lots of people are now attacking Jim Garrison and some even try to make fun of him. That's easy. (Let's here forget about people such as the conceited and haughty Reitzes, who has come out of the woodwork and used Garrison for his fifteen minutes of fame). Yes, it is easy to make fun of a man who has been proven wrong, after the events. I mean, I too claim that Garrison is wrong (remember, I am a lone-nutter), but I do so thanks to the knowledge I have in the year 2000, and Garrison, thirty-years earlier, could not possibly have that knowledge. I have taken advantage of the work made by researchers over the last thirty years. For example, Garrison thought Oswald had not fired a shot. Of course, I disagree wholeheartedly. I now know that Garrison was wrong because I have read recent books, but would I have said so in 1967? Who knows? I may very well have been one of his followers, and so may his critics.
Because, when you look back, it is plain to see that anybody could well have reached the wrong conclusions that Garrison reached. If I had been him, I too would probably have reached the wrong conclusions. And I am not the only one. Indeed, when you review the numerous elements, it is clear that Garrison, whom I regard as a good man, made reasoning mistakes that most people would honestly have made.
For instance :
- Isn't it true that there were people who came forward stating that Clay Shaw was Clay Bertrand ? (And that in itself could be true and still be irrelevant ; Clay Shaw could be a female impersonator - I'm not saying that he was, I don't know - and still have nothing to do with the Kennedy assassination)
- Isn't it true that Dean Andrews stated to the Warren Commission that a Clay Bertrand called him to ask him to represent Lee Oswald ?
- Isn't it true that the same Dean Andrews said that the FBI tried to convince him that there was no such person ?
- Isn't it true that Perry Russo has repeatedly claimed (even in the nineties) that he saw Clay Shaw with Lee Oswald and David Ferrie?
- Isn't it true that Dean Andrews told Mark Lane (in front of witnesses) that he could not discuss the Clay Bertrand subject because people in Washington DC had warned him he would have a bullet in his head if he dared talk about it ?
- Isn't it true that a good number of Dealey Plaza witnesses thought they had heard shots come from the grassy knoll, some of them even seeing a puff of smoke ? (They may have been wrong, but Garrison certainly did not invent their testimony)
- Isn't it true that Doctor Humes burned his original autopsy notes ? (It may not mean that there was a conspiracy, but it does sound suspicious, at least)
- Isn't it true that the address stamped on the leaflets Oswald handed out in New Orleans leads to the very building where Guy Banister worked ?
- Isn't it true that the Zapruder film shows Kennedy's head going back and to the left ?
- Isn't it true that there is no transcript of the twelve hours of Oswald's questioning ?
- Isn't it true that NBC once claimed that they had located and talked to "the real" Clay Bertrand, although it later proved false ?
So, even I, François Carlier, who believes and defends the Warren report's conclusions, will never dare blame Garrison. He was wrong, all right. But he was seeking the truth. He reached the wrong conclusion, all right. But that's because it was hard to reach the right one at the time, considering what he heard, what he saw, what he was told by others, and what he witnessed.
Please don't pass judgement on Garrison based on what you see in other critics' books. It is better to let Garrison himself speak. I think he was more honest than people say he was. Asked on the Tonight show (01/31/68) if he would be able to get a conviction of Clay Shaw when the trial would start, this is what he replied : (I quote)
"I cannot make a statement which would reflect on Mr Shaw. Since the day we charged him and arrested him I have not made a statement which inferred that he is guilty and I cannot infer that now. But I am trying to tell you that there is no question as a result of our investigation that an element of the Central Intelligence Agency, of our country, killed John Kennedy and that the present administration is concealing the facts". (J.G.)

- 7. Questions and answers.
Below are reprints of some posts that I wrote on the newsgroup alt.conspiracy.jfk
Clint Bradford wrote :
"Truth is" Lifton will pop in when something intelligent is presented to him here. That's been his history in this newsgroup....

==> [me, F.C.] Not true. Lots of intelligent things have been presented to him over the years, and he NEVER replied !
Everybody is still waiting for his answer on the issue of Connally's wounds.
And you know it.
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==> [me, F.C.] Unlike what Greg Jaynes said, I never meant that being a conspiracy believer is the sole meaningful indicator of someone's merit as a researcher.
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==> [me, F.C.] Hello everybody,
I know John McAdams does not need me, but I wish to hereby publicly defend him.
I wish to say publicly that what counts -- indeed the only thing that will always matter -- is the available evidence. And the evidence points to Oswald, pure and simple.
Jim Moore wrote a very good book making it plain. Gerald Posner, in his turn, wrote a book debunking myths and proving beyond any doubt that the official version was true. John McAdams -- and he deserves our thanks -- has created a marvelous web site, full of pictures, articles, sounds, what have you, that enlighten us and show the evidence with great clarity and intelligence. I say that John McAdams' web site is THE BEST on the Net. His web site is very good because it debunks quack theories and brilliantly show what the evidence has always shown ; that Oswald, and he alone, killed Kennedy. Now, it is plain that close-minded people do not dare read McAdams' web site. They do not dare debate with him. They do not dare publicly take his challenges, because they are bound to lose. They cannot answer, so they duck the issues. So they resort to ad hominem attacks, or worse, to rudeness. I'm not surprised ; close-minded people always do that ! Shame on you, you C.T.'s You may go ahead and try to make fun of John McAdams ; he is right all the same, and you would admit it yourselves if only you were open-minded enough to study the evidence. Several years ago, I myself used to believe in conspiracy theories. At the time I thought Lifton and friends were good researchers. But they are not. At the time, I used to think that John McAdams was wrong. Well, I had to acknowledge that he was right and I was wrong. I admitted it. I did not resort to ad hominem attacks. I moved closer to the truth. But it seems most of you in this newsgroup are afraid of the truth.
Misters Marsh, Shackelford, Bradford and others, don't you think it is high time you acknowledged you had been wrong ? You are intelligent and -- unlike most people in this newsgroup who do not deserve to be mentioned -- you seem to be good men. So please open your eyes, think of history, of posterity, of yourselves, of the concepts of truth, open-mind and guts ! And admit it .... Like it or not, John McAdams is right !
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==> [me, F.C.] Hello everybody,
What is a JFK assassination researcher ? Who deserves to be called that ?
1. If a researcher is someone who spends 100% of his time, during years and years, focusing only on the Kennedy assassination, then I am certainly not a researcher. (--> Indeed there are so many other interesting things and topics in life, such as love, music, sports, entertainment, family members, nature, astronomy, religion, friends, science, gardening, etc.)
2. If a researcher is someone who writes articles and books, whatever their contents and the theories put worth, as long as they are published, then I am certainly not a researcher. (--> Indeed some people have published books or articles saying JFK's body was altered, or the Zapruder film was altered, or Oswald was on the first floor when it was Billy Lovelady, or nonsense like that. I am proud not to belong to that category).
3. But if a researcher is someone who has devoted a good part of his time studying the JFK assassination, who has visited Dealey Plaza, who has read the primary sources and also the secondary sources (especially all the well-known books), who has talked to, interviewed, met or exchanged messages with most of the key people in the community, who has attended conferences on the assassination, who has, most of all, read all the arguments on both sides of each issue, who has been to the important places (Parkland, Bethesda, Love Field, the Sixth Floor, etc. among others), who has watched the videos, who has spent a fair amount of time reading web sites and posts on newsgroups in order to be aware of what people say and what their lines of reasoning are, who has weighed evidence, and, very important, who has applied critical thinking skills to reach a substantive conclusion, then I AM a researcher. And let me tell you, I consider myself one of the best JFK researchers in the world (yes, I mean it).
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==> [me, F.C.] You think that anyone who agrees with McAdams must either be idiot or have a hidden agenda. But there is a third possibility ; that McAdams is honest and right. But you are not intelligent enough to realize it!
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Greg Jaynes wrote :
"How do you compare yourself with these guys (Gary Mack, etc.) ? Do you consider yourself to be an expert on the assassination?"
==>[me, F.C.] It depends on your definition of "being an expert on the assassination"...
If spending all your life, 100% of your time, during years and years, on the assassination, focusing on every detail and interviewing hundreds of people, is necessary to be considered as an expert, well, in that case I am not an expert at all. By that definition, David Lifton IS an expert, no doubt. Does that mean, then, that his theory of body snatchers can be trusted ?
Me, I say what matters is the ability to separate facts from fiction. Some people are just unable to do that. What is important is to use critical thinking skills, to weigh evidence and use REASON. Very few people are capable of that.
There are a lot of things that are said and written. The secret is to be able to select what is worth knowing and discard what is useless.
O.K., I don't mind people making fun of me. I am also ready to acknowledge that I do not qualify as an expert. If that pleases you and other people on this newsgroup.
But I know of two people who are EXPERTS on the assassination : Jim Moore and Gerald Posner. Read their books again. Well, read them only if you are open-minded and willing to listen to them, and think over their arguments.
FACTS matter. FACTS show there was no conspiracy and Oswald did it alone.
For God's sake, don't you realize that I myself used to believe in conspiracy theories ? Don't you know that I was on the newspaper, with a quote from me saying Posner was wrong ? Don't you realize I used to give lectures telling people there had been a conspiracy to kill Kennedy ? Then I opened my eyes. I had been wrong all along. Luckily I was open-minded enough to publicly acknowledge I had been wrong. It was hard to tell my girlfriend and family members that what I had kept telling them for years was wrong !
Good thing people like Jim Moore, Gerald Posner and John McAdams exist.
They tell the truth, pure and simple. But you will always have people, wherever you are, and at any period of time, who will refuse to admit their mistake. People are rarely grateful for a demonstration of their gullibility.
So you'll always get some people who will claim that there was a conspiracy to kill JFK. What conspiracy ? Lifton's ? Groden's ? Garrison's ?
I am glad and proud because Gerald Posner once praised my journal FACTS. I also received praise from other people. But I have received nothing but insults from jerks such as Reitzes or Fetzer. That's fine by me. It shows I am on the right track.
So, to answer your question, YES I think I can be called an expert because I am intelligent enough to draw the right conclusion, after having selected what was worth knowing and what could be discarded.
I have not wasted 15 years of my life writing a book on a theory that no-one believes because it is as farfetched as it is wrong !
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==> [me, F.C.] Haven't you realized that Reitzes is nothing but a dishonest coward ? He is a jerk. He will never dare answer anybody. He is not in the business of debating. He just wants people to remember his name, that's all...
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==> [me, F.C.] McAdams never "sent" me. We did not exchange messages, and in fact I do not feel like doing it.
I never said I like or respect John McAdams. I certainly do not always support his behavior, nor does he support mine. As a matter of fact, he has more than once rejected some of my posts in his newsgroup, which is why I NEVER go to his moderated newsgroup.
But that does not change the truth : he is RIGHT in his conclusions about the Kennedy assassination, and his web site is excellent and deserves to be praised.
John McAdams is very intelligent, his work is very good quality, and he has debunked loads of bizarre theories. Anybody who thinks otherwise should go to a brain surgeon at once. I, for one, am ready to acknowledge the obvious. I am open-minded enough. McAdams is right, whether you like it or not.
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==> [me, F.C.] Hello Jerry and everybody,
My picks ?
For what it's worth, I really think :
most open-minded : Jim Moore (Yes, I'm sincere !)
most close-minded : Joe Backes
most intelligent : Gerald Posner
most dishonest : Dave Reitzes
best writer : David Lifton
both hardest worker and most close-minded : Harold Weisberg
most hopeless : Robert Groden and Jack White
most tenacious : David Lifton (again)
special "best on the web" : John McAdams and Clint Bradford
most ridiculous : James Fetzer
most enjoyable posters on alt.conspiracy.jfk : Anthony Marsh and Martin Shakelford
most useful source on Dealey Plaza : Gary Mack
P.S. : and yes, I still want to defend Mark Lane ; he has been attacked but he does not deserve all that criticism. He is far more honest that some people say (well, to my mind, at least).
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==> [me, F.C.] Dear Mister Shakelford,
It is something to share conclusions with someone or not. It something else to accuse that person of being dishonest.
I share Posner's conclusions regarding the JFK assassination, although I do not know the man personally. I really think that Posner is the most intelligent because it did not take him long to realize there had been no conspiracy and that people like Lifton and Groden and all were delusioned.
Obviously I believe that Mark Lane is wrong. I read his book "Rush to judgement" 12 years ago for the first time. I have learned a lot about the man since then, as you can imagine. I keep on thinking that, although he is wrong in claiming that there was a conspiracy (or, at least, in disbelieving the official version), his books and his work method are good quality.
Whatever your conclusions about the JFK assassination, I disagree with anybody who claims that Posner and Lane are dishonest.
They are quite different, for example, from those who claim that they saw the "true" Zapruder film ...
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==> [me, F.C.] Mister Lifton, I do not share your conclusions regarding the JFK assassination. I claim you are flatly wrong ; your theory is just a theory that has been explained away, and among others you were never able to explain how Connally could have been shot from behind. So I disagree with you, and you know it, and everybody knows it. Well, aren't you the one who once called me "the Posner of France" ?
Still, I have always said that you were intelligent and very knowledgeable on people in the research community and all that goes around it.
So I want to thank you for your post. I enjoyed reading it. Please rest assured that I am with you in your opposition to Livingston, who, to my mind, is just a dishonest fool with an agenda.
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==> [me, F.C.] Mister Shakelford,
Two things :
1. "SASHAY" could very well be said concerning Livingstone, because he has again ducked the issue. He has not replied to Lifton. Lifton has challenged him to put up or shut up. Livingstone has not replied. I say, to quote Lifton, the implications are obvious !
2. If Livingstone does not dare answer, perhaps YOU can try : What do you have to say regarding the fact that Powers 's statement (you know, "The coffin was never unattended. Lifton's story is the biggest pack of malarkey I ever heard in my life. I never had my hands or eyes off of it during that period he says it was unattended, ...") is contradicted by the Stoughton photographs, which show Powers (and O'Donnell) at the front of the plane during the swearing in ?
Come on, Mister Shakelford, let us all know who is right : Powers or Lifton ?

- 8. Miscellaneous ...
Every other month I check Fair Play's web site. I used to enjoy reading it. But I began to notice a long time ago that they have nothing new to say. Indeed the last issues have been mostly empty. John Kelin, like other conspiracy believers maintaining a web site in order to tell the American people that they should be aware of the fact that a conspiracy took the life of their beloved President Kennedy more than thirty years ago, does not seem to have succeeded. As a matter of fact, nothing he has put on his web site has managed to convince many people, and to the contrary people such as Gerald Posner have been more successful. Now, John Kelin has nothing more, nothing new (it's the same for "Probe", by the way). So he presents old articles from the seventies or even the sixties ; old articles that everybody has read years ago. "Scrapping the bottom of the barrel", that's what it is called. To me it indicates that, overall, conspiracy theorists are close to the end. They have tried all they could to convince us that there had been a conspiracy. But they failed. Indeed if it was as obvious as they would like us to think that there had been a conspiracy, no-one would deny it. But conspiracy theorists have proved far less convincing than Posner or McAdams, and now almost nobody in the mainstream media pays attention to them. I think it's the beginning of the end for conspiracy theorists. They seem tired. Little by little they will realize that they have no real arguments. So Mister Kelin you had been wrong all along. But that's O.K. Let's play fair with John Kelin !
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Below are reprinted some extracts taken from my readings which should illustrate both my point when I write FACTS and what most people in the conspiracy world should learn.
A psychiatrist was consulted by a patient with a very peculiar delusion. He was convinced that he was dead, and nothing could be done to dissuade him of this. The psychiatrist tried to reason with him. "Tell me", he said, "do dead men bleed?" "No, of course not!" cried the patient. "That is a stupid question!" The psychiatrist pricked the man's finger with a needle, and a drop of blood appeared. "And what do you conclude from that?" asked the psychiatrist. The patient paused for a few seconds to examine the wound. "Obviously I was wrong", he murmured quietly. "Dead men do bleed..."
It is practically impossible to reach substantive conclusions by comparing visual descriptions of people observed under casual conditions.
Watson : "This is indeed a mystery. What do you imagine it means?"
Holmes : "I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."
Obviously, a man's judgment cannot be better than the information on which he has based it.
It is known from experimental work within psychology that different observers may give different accounts of what they see and hear in the same situation, and that changes may occur in memory before the event is recalled at a later date. With the passage of time accounts may show progressive changes and become increasingly less accurate when checked with the original events.
Most memories of past events can be located at some point in time by virtue of the fact that they arise in a context; there are events before and after them. If this context is lacking, it will be difficult to place the memory in time, and it will lack reality. A dream largely lacks this context, and when it is recalled, there is little to guarantee that it happened last night, some other night, or that it was not primarily generated at the time of recall. Just as perception is affected by memory, recall is affected by contemporary conditions, and when the memory is vague, as when a dream is recalled, the amount of material added to it may be large.
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Below is an article that I found in Mr James Randi's web site (see http://www.randi.org/). I reprint it here because I believe it can enlighten some conspiracy theorists who put too much faith in testimony, as it shows how poorly people can recall events with accuracy. It is written by Mr Lance May, who read a book written by a David M. Burns, M.D., and had come upon a passage that puzzled him. Here is the passage from David Burns, then the article by Lance May :
". . . One of my happiest childhood memories is when I was eight years old and saw Blackstone -- World's Greatest Magician, perform in Denver, Colorado. I was invited with several other children from the audience to come up on stage. Blackstone instructed us to place our hands on a two-feet by two-feet birdcage filled with live white doves until the top, bottom, and all four sides were enclosed entirely by our hands. He stood nearby and said, "Stare at the cage!" I did. My eyes were bulging and I refused to blink. He exclaimed, "Now I'll clap my hands." He did. In that instant the cage of birds vanished. My hands were suspended in empty air. It was impossible! Yet it happened! I was stunned."
I knew both Blackstones, père et fils, very well. This episode is an account of a performance by Blackstone Sr., though Junior did precisely the same routine in his time. Between them, they probably performed the trick ten thousand times or more. It was a staple part of their shows, and I myself handled the equipment many times. Let me enlighten Dr. Burns on just where his account varies from reality.
The cage was hardly "two-feet by two-feet." It was precisely 4.5 by 4.5 by 5 inches. The good doctor's misrecollection of its size might be partly explained by his own diminutive proportions at the age of eight, but still seems a bit excessive. But, I can tell you from LONG experience, tellers of good tales rather tend to hyperbolize the details in order to make the story just a bit better.
And, need I say, that tiny cage was not "filled with live white doves," or indeed, even one white dove. It had hanging in it a fake yellow canary. The thing was a fake simply because Blackstone Sr. had at one time done the trick using live canaries, then accidentally killed one during a show, and immediately adopted the fake for future use.
Dr. Burns might well have been easily confused on this point because of other huge cages -- really "filled with live white doves" -- that both Blackstones caused to appear and to vanish during their shows. His error is quite understandable.
But there is another point where the gentleman errs. He writes that "[Blackstone] stood nearby and said, 'Stare at the cage!' . . . He exclaimed, 'Now I'll clap my hands.'" Well, friends, that would have been difficult, to say the least. In actuality, the magician held that cage at each side between his own two hands, and the kids were asked to place their hands on the front, back, top, and bottom. He counted, "One, two, three!" and brought his hands together on empty air, as did the children, to their total amazement. He did not stand nearby, nor could he clap his hands.
Briefly, Dr. Burns' description is typical of so many accounts that try to be accurate and to represent the actuality of what the teller experienced. A minimum of some 15 to 20 years -- probably more -- had passed between Burns' experience of the magic show, and his written account. He'd told the story many times, and it had changed along the way. The memory that he built up and reinforced became his reality, and I'm sure he was very confident that it was accurate. (Lance May)
Now, can you see my point? The same phenomenon applies with JFK-assassination witnesses (in Dealey Plaza, Parkland, Bethesda, etc.). That should teach some authors to be more cautious than they are.

Every human being only has one life. Some of us want their life to be useful. There can be little doubt that David Lifton is someone who feels he has to do something to help people get closer to the truth. Unfortunately, he took the wrong road. He has spent most of his life spreading false news. Although he did not do it intentionally, he actually took his followers AWAY from the truth.
It would be great if David Lifton could - at long last - realize he had been wrong all along, and publicly acknowledge that fact. Can you imagine what good it would do to the JFK community? If Lifton would go public saying : "O.K., my theory proved false, my book was wrong, I made a big mistake". It would prove to be a huge lesson for everybody, even outside the JFK world. People would then realize that anybody can be impressed by a thorough book, that seems to be well researched, but that still is wrong. "Best evidence" is an impressive book but what it says is completely wrong. But only those who have a very good knowledge of the facts and critical thinking skills can see that "Best evidence" is as far from the truth as can be. If its author was open-minded and honest enough to publicly acknowledge that fact, he would render a great service to the world. That would be a great lesson. Now, it's up to Lifton. Does he want to be remembered as a man who gave a great lesson to all researchers in the world, or as a narrow-minded writer who clung to his position even after it had been proven wrong? I have a dream ; I hope Lifton is great enough to choose the former option !
This journal of research on the Kennedy assassination is sent free, either by electronic mail or by snail mail, to the following people:

Cyril Wecht, David Lifton, Gary Aguilar, Jim Marrs, Robert Groden, Ian Griggs, Gerald Posner, John McAdams, Debra Conway, Debra Hartman, George Michael Evica, Jack White, John Judge, Anthony Summers, Walt Brown, Henri Hurt, Michael Kurtz, Michael Griffith, Ed Dolan, Jim Moore, Carl Oglesby, Anthony Marsh, Gary Mack, Jerrol Custer, David Scheim, Mark Oakes, David Reitzes, Barb Junkkarinen, William Reymond, Martin Shackelford, Gary Shaw, Jo Backes, Sam McClung, James Fetzer, Tony Pitman, Jerry Organ, Greg Jaynes, Gaeton Fonzi, Larry Charbonneau, David Starks, Thierry Lentz, Gerard MacNally, Leo Sgouros, Isabel Kirk, David Stager, Michael Beck, Ken Vogler, Gordon Winslow, W.Tracy Parnell, T. Jake, D. Roberdeau, John Hunt, Roger Feinman, Vern Pascal, James Crary, Eulalia Moreno, Todd W. Vaughan, Bob Vernon, Pierre Carbonneau, Dale Myers, Ron Judge, Jean-Yves Vanlemmens, Bill Kelly, Sophie Rougevin-Baville, Cheryl Overfield, Lisa Pease, Emmanuella Uche, and Paul-Eric Blanrue.
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(Four people - Clint Bradford, Craig Roberts, Robert Harris and John Kelin - asked to have their names removed from the mailing list. I respected their decision. Then Clint Bradford changed his mind and asked to be included again in the mailing list, which pleased me, for I have respect for him).
JFK Camelot "Friday the twenty-second" Conference

Only 37 years, 1 month, and 11 days left until 11/22/2037

The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy


November 22, 23, 24 2037,

[at the Freddies' bar, Dallas, TX]

JFK Camelot's FTS 2037 Committee is happy to invite you to the
"Friday the twenty-second" 2037 Conference.
This year's conference theme is "What really happened in the true reality that we know for sure and are convinced about".
As usual, we will ask a lot of questions.
Please note that we are not in the business of answering them.
We encourage you to join us.
Food coupons will be given to certified CT's.

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Robert Lifton - a nephew of the late David Lifton. He never read his uncle's book, but he will be a speaker all the same.
William Taylor - he is the guy who saw the guy who saw the guy who seem to remember having overheard a conversation referring to someone unknown who may be related to some kind of plot.
Jeffrey Mc Donald - he is convinced that Dealey Plaza was altered. He says he has proof, but does not want anybody to debate with him.
Michael B. Ford - he has studied Love field Airport for fifteen years. He will lecture on the fact that an airport employee was found writing a love letter to her boss one week before the assassination of President Kennedy.
Rose Brown - she has an extensive collection of pictures of Jackie Kennedy when she was a baby. We think this may help us understand what REALLY happened in Dealey Plaza last century.
Pete Sampras - the former tennis player will tell us about who he thinks killed Kennedy.
(enjoy yourselves !)
Best regards to everybody
[François Carlier, 2002]
[All rights reserved]

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