Reclaiming History? Or Re-framing Oswald?

  • Vincent Bugliosi's massive tome on the JFK assassination purports to be a "comprehensive and fair evaluation of the entire case.....The theorists may not agree with my conclusions, but in this work on the assassination I intend to set forth all of their main arguments, and the way they, not I, want them to be set forth, before I seek to demonstrate their invalidity. I will not knowingly omit or distort anything."

    We beg to differ. Judge for yourself.

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July 24, 2007

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Dr. Gregg Wager

Pat,
Interesting assortment of reportage, although it all begs a burning question: why would the Dallas Police Department have taken a paraffin cast of Oswald's cheek in the first place, if it wasn't a routine procedure? Why suddenly all the doubts about this routine test when no nitrates show up on Oswald’s cheek?

I also have read that Dr. Guinn denied doing the NAA tests on the paraffin casts in 1964, despite the fact that certain newspapers had printed this. Apparently Mark Lane, who is otherwise a thorough investigator, did use these erroneous newspaper accounts in his book, Rush to Judgment. I remember watching Guinn testify to the HSCA back in the late 1970s, and he was always presented as an “outsider,” that is, someone with no connection to the FBI or the original NAA tests (even though he was involved enough to get into the fray, even if by mistake).

I took a quick look at your online book too. It looks like you’ve done some great work there. We’re of the same generation that has had to piece this thing together for ourselves and come to the conclusion that key elements in our government and media are still lying about all this (what else are they lying about?).

Pat Speer

Thanks, Gregg. While the DPD had never performed a paraffin test on a cheek prior to Oswald, such tests were performed at times in other jurisdictions and the DPD performed the test, reportedly, to cover all the bases.

As outlined in my essay and at patspeer.com, the standard paraffin test, whereby a chemical was applied to the wax cast to make nitrates visible, was eventually considered too inaccurate to be reliable. Many mistakenly believe this means the Neutron Activation tests performed on the casts are also unreliable. This is not true. The Neutron Activation tests were far more specific, and could isolate antimony and barium, which are normally found together in gunshot residue. These tests were performed up until the seventies and might still be used today if cheaper methods for testing gunshot residue had not become available.

As far as Guinn and the WC, McKnight pretty much cleared this up in Breach of Trust. He found FBI memos regarding phone calls from Guinn, shortly before Gallagher performed his tests. So Guinn didn't lie. He never worked for the WC. He merely advised the FBI, unofficially. He then blabbed about it at an overseas conference. The reporter incorrectly made it sound like Guinn was working for the WC. Thus, the confusion.

Inspired by the work of Weisberg and McKnight, I did a little digging of my own and found a 10-64 article by Guinn in an obscure forensics journal. In this article he acknowledged that he'd been testing s specific rifle and had found that gunshot residue was always present in abundance on the cheek of the shooter. From the newspaper article and the FBI memo, there can be little doubt he was referring to the rifle purportedly used by Oswald.

Jeff

Respectfully gentleman, you are each living in the fantasy land that Bugliosi points to. For the sake of argument - let's forget about any paraffin test for a moment. So let me guess? You probably think that the rifle found on the 6th floor wasn't Oswalds? Do you not think those were his fingerprints found on the rifle? Do you not think those are his fingerprints on the boxes in the sniper's nest? And do you think he brought curtain rods to work instead of the rifle? Quit trivializing yourself on small inconsistencies that exist in every case and look at the bigger picture of evidence. If you've studied this case like you say you have then eventually common sense should overtake you and help you realize that the case against Oswald is ironclad.

Rex Bradford

Re: fantasy lands, this points up the general problem of people talking past each other. I responded in a different comment directly, if briefly, to the issue of the evidence against Oswald. Here, the same commenter prefers to "forget about any paraffin test for a moment" and revisit the oft-cited "proofs" of Oswald's guilt. I personally simply don't see what's so science-fiction about planting a rifle and some cartridge cases; it doesn't seem like rocket science to me. For the record, there were no fingerprints on the rifle which was purportedly assembled and fired on the 6th floor, and no gloves were found at the "sniper's nest." Far from "conspiracy theorists" ignoring the evidence, what I see is others refusing to confront the vast number of problems with that evidence. I recommend Don Thomas' essay on this blog for a look at some reasons why the attempts to put Oswald on the 6th floor with a rifle in his hand failed. "Common sense" tells me that this case smells at every turn, and for the obvious reasons. Repeating the presence of a rifle tied to Oswald, some cartridges, etc. doesn't cut it.

Pat Speer

Jeff, I take your response to an article on the paraffin tests with an assertion that the other evidence against Oswald is "ironclad," as an acknowledgment that the paraffin tests are not suggestive of Oswald's guilt, as stated by Bugliosi.

Now, maybe you can answer me something. If the evidence against Oswald is so "ironclad," why did Bugliosi throw so much obvious nonsense into the mix, which only hurt his credibility? And how does the possibility that Oswald fired shots from the sniper's nest undercut the likelihood, based on the eyewitnesses, earwitnesses, photographic evidence, and medical evidence, that at least one shot came from somewhere else?

What was Oswald's motive? To become famous? How many other people performing an act to become famous have insisted that they did not perform the act which made them famous? Where in Oswald's background is there any evidence that he was starving for fame?

(And don't tell us the Walker incident, as there is no evidence whatsoever that Oswald sought any fame from this incident.)

The evidence against Oswald is all open to interpretation. Some of it may have been faked. Please do a little research and show us where, in history, a man was convicted in a court of law after supposedly smuggling a rifle into a building, where EVERY witness to the package supposedly carrying the rifle insisted the package was too small to have held a rifle. Looking for reasonable doubt? There it is.

That simple fact, along with the paraffin tests, might have set Oswald free (for killing Kennedy--the case that he killed Tippit was a bit stronger). But we'll never know because Jack Ruby killed Oswald right in front of dozens of Dallas Police officers. If that doesn't set off your smell detector, your nose just ain't working.

This is far from a "simple act of murder" and the case against Oswald is far from "ironclad." And anyone pretending it is, a la Bugliosi, is either deceiving himself or deliberately deceiving others.

Jeff

It's ironclad Pat - get used to it. And as usual, neither you or any other conspiracy theorist can provide a single shred of evidence that anyone other than Oswald is guilty. You and your fellow conspiracy theorists have turned the entire perspective of history into a joke. You grasp on faint hopes that an inconsistent piece of testimony or evidence somehow exonerates Oswald. I could debate your points one by one with you and would love to engage you in that. If you'd like let's do it. However I have better things to read and write, rather than argue with someone (you) who feels that the fact that Oswald owned the rifle (which had has print on it) that fired the bullets that killed the president isn't the beginning of solid pattern of evidence. Sure Pat - and I always carry curtain rods to work in a brown paper bag. And of course those rods are nowhere to be found - but the bag is found on the 6th floor near the sniper's nest. All just a big misunderstanding, right Pat? And let me guess Pat - Oswald didn't kill Tippet either, right?
I'm sure you're a good guy Pat - but I find your summary (along with all the other CT's) preposterous. Sure would love to hear your thoughts on the magic bullet sometime.

Jeff

Pat,

Can you provide me a link to your web site that describes your opinion of how the assassination took place (# of shooters, # of bullets, etc..).

Thanks.
Jeff

Jeff

Pat, you wrote:

>show us where, in history, a man >was convicted in a court of law >after supposedly smuggling a >rifle into a building, where >EVERY witness to the package >supposedly carrying the rifle >insisted the package was too >small to have held a rifle. >Looking for reasonable doubt? >There it is.

Well, Pat - are you sure about that? EVERY witness. Let's start with the biggest witness. Let's take a look at Buell Frazier's testimony to Mr. Bugliosi during 1986 below. Hardly sounds like he's "insisting" (that is your word Pat) that the paper bag was too small for a disassembled rifle. So who "smuggled" Oswald's rifle into the TBD? The Easter Bunny? So someone stole the rifle out of Paine's garage and placed it in the TBD without anyone else seeing them drop the rifle there - and of course they fired some bullets from Oswald's rifle just for fun right - because as you know the bullets that were found came from Oswald's rifle. Nice web site but you are grasping at straws sir.
--------

VINCENT BUGLIOSI -- "Did you recall how he {Lee Harvey Oswald} was
carrying the bag?"


BUELL WESLEY FRAZIER (Oswald's co-worker; he drove LHO to work on
11/22/63 and watched Lee carry a paper package into the Book
Depository that morning) -- "Yes sir. He was carrying it parallel to
his body."


MR. BUGLIOSI -- "Okay, so he carried the bag right next to his
body....on the right side?"


MR. FRAZIER -- "Yes sir. On the right side."


MR. BUGLIOSI -- "Was it cupped in his hand and under his armpit? I
think you've said that in the past."


MR. FRAZIER -- "Yes sir."


MR. BUGLIOSI -- "Mr. Frazier, is it true that you paid hardly any
attention to this bag?"


MR. FRAZIER -- "That is true."


MR. BUGLIOSI -- "So the bag could have been protruding out in front of
his body, and you wouldn't have been able to see it, is that correct?"


MR. FRAZIER -- "That is true."

Pat Speer

And what is it in Frazier's testimony that makes you think the bag was bigger than he'd previously asserted? That it COULD have been protruding out in front of Oswald's body? Now, tell me, can you honestly imagine anyone carrying a taped-together paper bag containing a de-constructed rifle by cupping it with one hand at the bottom and leaning it out in front of his body. An intact rifle maybe. A de-constructed rifle I don't think so.

If Bugliosi has ever demonstrated how this was done, please find it for us. As it is, he cherry-picks the testimony of the 1986 mock trial which he wants us to swallow. His book included a cd rom. He has a website promoting his book. Why didn't he make a full transcript of his supposedly successful mock trial available? What is he trying to hide?

The WC couldn't figure out how Oswald got the rifle in the building so they just decided that Frazier and Randle were wrong. As far as I've been able to determine, they never looked into the depository cleaning crew to see if any of those with access to the building were likely suspects. Perhaps one of the night janitors was a John Birch Society member or a devotee of General Walker's. We'll never know. Particularly as those with a budget to investigate the case, a la Bugliosi, refuse to do so, and merely rehash the same old arguments.

Jeff

Pat,

With all due respect, your words on the JFK assassination are a joke. Like I said, I'm sure you're a good man and a good person but your theories and words borderline on pure ignorance. Just to point a few more (and this will be my final post with you because it's a waste of time to continually prove you wrong) but you say that "Bugliosi cherry picks the testimony". Pat, are you forgetting the fact that the jury at that trial listened to ALL of the testimony and found Oswald guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt? Likewise Pat, this is the same conclusion from every investigation into the murder (WC, HCSA, Rockefeller, etc).

And once again you just cannot point out one single shred of evidence that anyone other than Oswald committed the crime, can you? You mention the night janitors and a devotee of General Walker's. Hello?? Are you really that desperate Pat to grasp for those strawas?? So what you're saying is that your amateurish review of the Warren Commission and FBI has brought you to the point where you think a member of the cleaning crew should be investigated?? And of course you probably think that just maybe a Walker devotee or a member of the cleaning crew went to the Paine's garage earlier to "plant" Oswalds rifle on the 6th floor, correct - and they fired a few bullets from the rilfe since the ballistics evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the bullets came from Oswald's rifle?

You're in another world Pat. Have fun chasing your tail with all of this. You'll just continue to look more foolish than you already do, and that's hard to imagine.

Jeff

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