Debunking John McAdams’ “Debunking” of Jim Marrs’ JFK Witness List
July 8, 2013http://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/201 ... ness-list/
John McAdams is the foremost Warren Commission apologist and Lone Nutter. He has spawned a number of wannabees who parrot his misinformation on internet forums dedicated to the JFK Assassination. He attempts to debunk Jim Marrs’ list of “Strange” and “Convenient” Deaths Surrounding the Assassination here: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/deaths.htm
Before we look at McAdams’ attempt to refute Marrs, we will show that establishing a connection of any witness to the assassination is unnecessary and misses the essential point. The following logical analysis represents a profound PARADIGM SHIFT in analyzing the significance of the “convenient” deaths. It is simply this: In the defined finite group of witnesses called to testify in four investigations, the number who died unnaturally was far beyond the number that would be expected statistically based on unnatural mortality rates. Witness relevance and connection to JFK becomes obvious after the fact.
To prove the conspiracy, it does not matter one iota if the witnesses were individually related or material to the assassination – even though they obviously were. The salient proof is that the number of witnesses called to testify and died unnaturally far exceeded the mathematical expectation. The probabilities of unnatural deaths of witnesses called in the four investigations, individually and collectively, are all ZERO. The deaths cannot be coincidental.
McAdams valiant effort to refute all of the witnesses cited by Marrs is an exercise in futility. He failed to analyze the 800 witnesses who testified or were called to testify by the Warren Commission, Garrison/Shaw Trial, Senate Select Committee and the HSCA. Fifty-five (55) met “convenient” deaths after testifying at the Warren Commission or just prior to their scheduled testimony in the three investigations which followed. The probability is ZERO.
McAdams is once again exposed as the supreme coincidence theorist (CT) by basic mathematical analysis which proves a conspiracy to assassinate JFK. Facts, logic and probability analysis are the bane of the disinformationist. http://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/201 ... -cover-up/
To illustrate, consider the 552 witnesses who testified at the Warren Commission (in person or affidavit). In the 14 year period from 1964 to 1977, eighteen (18) died unnaturally. Most were individuals employed in occupations which were not fraught with danger. In other words, they were typical Americans citizens. But as a group, their weighted unnatural mortality rates defied the norm.
Knowing the unnatural mortality rate R applied to n witness unnatural deaths from a group of N individuals over given time period T is all that is required to calculate the probability. Not having a math background, McAdams is apparently unaware of this simple fact. We will teach you, professor.
552 Warren Commission witnesses
There were 27 deaths (18 unnatural) among the witnesses in the 14 years from 1964-1977 Let’s calculate the probability that at least n=18 of N=552 Warren Commission witnesses would die unnaturally in T=14 years from 1964-1977.
Given the weighted average unnatural mortality rate R=0.000164, the expected number of unnatural deaths is E = N*T*R = 1.26 = 552 *14 *0.000164. The probability is easily calculated using the Poisson distribution function in a spreadsheet:
P = 1-Poisson (n-1, E, true)
P = 1-Poisson(17, 1.26, true)
P = 3.0E-15 = 1 in 333,599,972,397,814
P = 1 in 333 trillion (ZERO)
And that is conservative. How many of the other nine suspicious deaths were unnatural?https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... Tnc#gid=22
I should stop right here. Consider it a PARADIGM SHIFT in analyzing the problem. There is no question about the relevance of witnesses by definition; they were important enough to be called to testify. But even more important, the conspiracy is proved by a simple calculation strictly based on expected and actual unnatural mortality for a given universe of 552 Warren Commission witnesses. This puts the lie to the canard that the universe of witnesses is unknowable.
The Poisson function does not include a motive or connection variable. The connection is proven by the 1 in 333 trillion probability that at least 18 would die unnaturally. And that is conservative; it assumes just 18 of the 27 suspicious deaths were unnatural. Coincidence? Hardly.
800 witnesses (Warren, Garrison, Church, HSCA)
Of the 800 called to testify, there were 55 suspicious deaths (36 were unnatural). Let’s calculate the probability of 36 unnatural deaths. Given the weighted average unnatural mortality rate R=0.000164, the expected number E of unnatural deaths is E = N*T*R = 1.83 = 800 *14 *0.000164. The probability of 36 unnatural deaths is given by
P = Poisson(n, E, false)
P = Poisson(36, 1.83, false)
P = 1.24E-33 = 1 in 800 million trillion trillion (ZERO)
And that is conservative. How many of the other 19 suspicious deaths were unnatural?
The homicide rate was 6 per 100,000 (0.000062). Therefore, the expected number of homicides in the four investigations was E = 0.69 = 800*14* 0.000062. At least 22 of the 36 unnatural deaths were homicides. The probability of 22 homicides is given by
P = Poisson(22, 0.69, false)
P = 1.46E-25 = 1 in 6 trillion trillion (ZERO)
And that is conservative. How many of the 14 accidents and suicides were really homicides?
My comments (in bold font) follow McAdams.
JM- If there really was the vast conspiracy that the buffs claim, then a lot of people have to know about it. Indeed, a lot of people have to have been part of it — not to speak of the people who must have been intimidated, bribed, or otherwise forced to cooperate by giving false testimony, covering up key evidence, or keeping quiet about some sinister thing they knew.”
Yes, that is true. It was a really big conspiracy.
So why have no credible witnesses come forward with the evidence necessary to blow open the coverup? For the hard-core conspiracy believers, it’s because a “clean-up squad” is going around the country killing off people who might “blow the whistle!”
Many have come forward or were about to and have been eliminated.
This theme was first taken up by Penn Jones, Jr., publisher of the Midlothian Mirror, a small-town Texas paper. The most widely cited current list of “mystery deaths” was published by author Jim Marrs (who also released the book Alien Agenda about UFOs). His book Crossfire contains a list of 103 people who have supposedly died “strange” or “convenient” or “mysterious” deaths. As Marrs puts it: “This section has been entitled “Convenient Deaths” because these deaths certainly would have been convenient for anyone not wishing the truth of the JFK assassination to become public”. Unfortunately for Marrs and other conspiracy authors, the logical problems with this whole argument are many and massive.
I have posted probability analysis of witness deaths extensively on my website, blog and various JFK forums which prove that the “convenient” deaths were not just coincidental occurrences. http://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/201 ... ssination/
If the purpose of the “clean-up squad” is to eliminate people who have knowledge of a conspiracy, recruiting people into a “clean-up squad” is a counter-productive activity. Each person recruited becomes yet another person who has knowledge of a conspiracy and might “spill the beans.”
1. Marrs’ list is drawn from a pool of literally thousands of people — a few of whom had a clear connection with the assassination, many of whom had some tangential connection with the assassination, and some of whom had no connection with the assassination at all.
For example, Marrs’ list includes one woman who was one of Kennedy’s mistresses, but had no known connection with the assassination. It includes a man who was mayor of New Orleans (but who had no known connection with the assassination), and it includes the Chief Steward on Air Force One!
Wrong. Not thousands. Hundreds. Approximately 50 witnesses on Marrs’ list were among an estimated 800 called to testify in four investigations. If McAdams is referring to Mary Pinchot Meyer, he should have mentioned that she was divorced from Cord Meyer. According to E. Howard Hunt in his deathbed confession, Cord Meyer was approached by LBJ to come up with a plan for the assassination.
2. The list includes people who were merely connected to the Mafia, the CIA, anti-Castro Cubans, or Time-Life, Incorporated. Marrs is assuming that all these groups were connected with the assassination. In other words, he assumes a conspiracy involving all these groups, tabulates deaths, and then announces that the large number of deaths supports the idea of a conspiracy! Circular logic.
But elements from each group – and others- were involved. Many died unnaturally. The timing of many deaths was suspicious, occurring shortly before they were due to testify. In 1977, seven FBI officials died within a six month period just prior to their scheduled testimony at HSCA. Coincidence? And 14 others never got the chance, either.
3. Most well-known conspiracy witnesses and authors are still alive. For example, of the best-known conspiracy authors who wrote books in the 1960s, Mark Lane, Edward J. Epstein, and Josiah Thompson are still alive. Sylvia Meagher is dead, but not even Marrs lists her death as “suspicious.” Penn Jones died in January 1998 in a nursing home at the age of 83 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Harold Weisberg likewise died in February of 2002 after a long period of failing health. The most prominent conspiracy authors from the 70s and early 80s like David Lifton, Robert Groden, Henry Hurt, Anthony Summers, and Harrison Edward Livingstone are all still alive.
But a number of reporters died unnaturally, including Bill Hunter and Jim Koethe, who just happened to meet in Ruby’s apartment on Nov. 24, 1963. And there were others- like Dorothy Kilgallen, Lisa Howard, Leonard Pullin, C.D. Jackson…
4. The star conspiracy witnesses who are seen in all the videos had long lives. Beverly Oliver is still alive. Malcolm Summers died on October 8, 2004, Ed Hoffman passed away in 2010. Jean Hill passed away on November 7, 2000. All three witnesses died after having decades to give their testimony to anybody who would listen, and not even their conspiracist supporters claim their deaths were sinister.
But they tried to give testimony – and no one would listen. Or they were told that they were “mistaken”. They were told that they did not hear more than three shots or they did not see gunman behind the grassy knoll.
5. If a conspiracy was going around killing people who knew things that were dangerous to it, it would make sense that all the key witnesses would be killed quickly. But Marrs’ list includes people who died as late as 1984. Given that many people associated with the assassination were at the peak of their professional careers at the time of the shooting, it’s not surprising that many of them would have died within twenty years.
But what is surprising is that so many died unnaturally (homicide, accident, suicide) within 20 years. The number of deaths spiked at convenient times. Sixteen material witnesses died in 1964 during the Warren Commission. Another 21 died in 1977-1978 during the HSCA. Timing is everything.
6. Marrs’ list is laced with people who have a larger than average chance of a violent death: law officers, people on the edges of the underworld (strippers), people very much part of the underworld (Mafia figures), and people with a clear history of alcohol or drug abuse, or of mental illness (Rose Cheramie, Lou Staples, George de Mohrenschildt).
Strippers? Mental illness? Come on, John McAdams. You are really reaching now.
7. About half the people on Marrs’ list died of natural causes. Marrs assures his readers that of course the CIA can kill people and make the death look “natural” (Crossfire, p. 556-557). This raises the question of why the conspirators allowed any of the deaths to seem violent or suspicious.
Not true. Approximately 75% died of unnatural causes (homicide, suicide, accident). The rest were mostly heart attacks. John asks: why not induce them all with heart attacks? Hmm…
8. In virtually every case, there is no evidence that the person had any information on the assassination not already given in Warren Commission testimony, statements to police and the media, and interviews with private researchers. The logic seems to be that they must have known something, since, after all, they were killed.
But they did know something, that’s why they were called to testify – and that’s why they had to be eliminated.
9. People who supported the Warren Commission version of events, or whose testimony was used by the Warren Commission to help convict Oswald, are well-represented on the list. Why would a conspiracy want to kill off those people?
Testimony which exonerated Oswald and exposed the Single Bullet Theory was misrepresented or ignored by the WC. They wanted to insure the silence of these witnesses while at the same time intimidate others from talking.
10. Many of these objections can be answered by positing on ongoing surveillance of witnesses. Maybe a witness, after many years of concealing the truth, has finally decided to go public and “blow the whistle.” Conspirators, learning of this, then proceed to kill the person. What’s wrong with this is obvious: it vastly complicates the problem discussed in 1. (above). For every witness who might potentially “spill the beans,” a team of conspiracy operatives must keep a close surveillance in order to catch the moment when the person decides to talk, and then promptly kill the witness. This would require an entire army of assassins!
An entire army? Surely, you jest. A pro can do one hit a month.
Marrs tries to argue for the sinister nature of his list by saying:” Of course, it is impossible to state with any certainty which of these deaths resulted from natural causes and which did not. . . The area of convenient deaths leads one into a well of paranoia, yet the long list of deaths cannot be summarily dismissed”.
Given the immensely large pool from which the hundred or so people on Marrs’ list are drawn, one of two things must be true. Either: (1) many hundreds or thousands of deaths have escaped Marrs’ notice, or (2) being associated with the Kennedy assassination is a guarantee of a very long life!
Large pool? Read the “Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination”. There were approximately 1400 material witnesses, of whom at least 77 died unnaturally. Go ahead John, figure the odds. But I know you don’t know how, so I will point you to them: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... KTnc#gid=0
Let’s Look at Specifics
The death of Lee Bowers seemed “strange” to Oliver Stone, Geraldo Rivera, and Jim Marrs. David Perry is an insurance investigator by profession, and an assassination buff by avocation. See what he concluded when he investigated this issue.
Come on, John. Bowers was a witness to activity on the Grassy Knoll from his vantage point. Yes, a one-car crash is very strange.
Another “mysterious” death was that of David Ferrie. Did he commit suicide to avoid being prosecuted for Kennedy’s murder by DA Garrison? Was he killed by minions of The Conspiracy? In this essay, Dr. Robert Artwohl discusses Jim Garrison’s contention that Ferrie died of an overdose of Proloid, a thyroid medication, and Garrison’s apparent mishandling of evidence. Ferrie left two supposed “suicide notes,” however on close inspection it’s not at all clear they are in fact suicide notes. The official autopsy produced a clear finding of natural death.
Natural death? He was struck on the head causing a brain aneurysm. David Ferrie was murdered the day after he was released from protective custody. Just a coincidence?
Eladio del Valle, a Cuban who died on the same night as David Ferrie, is another of those “mystery deaths.” Conspiracy books imply that he had all sorts of “links” to the assassination, but there are some other things about him that make his death seem not so mysterious. Click here for documents on del Valle. Conspiracy books never tell you, but the Dade County authorities indicted a man for del Valle’s murder. More information can be found on Gordon Winslow’s web site.
Del Valle, an associate of Ferrie, was a prospective witness in the Clay Shaw trial. He just happened to die the same day as Ferrie by an axe to the skull. Coincidence?
Dorothy Kilgallen, a reporter and quiz show personality, is always among those on the “mysterious deaths” lists. Supposedly, she was about to “blow the lid” off the conspiracy. In this essay, historian Eric Paddon does not discuss the circumstances of her death (which the medical examiner didn’t consider sinister), but rather the question of whether she actually knew anything that might threaten a supposed conspiracy. Had she learned something new about the assassination, or was she just repeating standard conspiracy buff stuff? How might Kilgallen have gotten critical information that would have allowed her to “blow” the conspiracy? According to Gary Wills and Ovid Demaris, (Jack Ruby, page 72):
Conspiratorialists of the wilder variety believe that Dorothy Kilgallen had a private interview [with Jack Ruby], one that caused her death. This tete-a-tete never took place: she leaned over the rail and talked to Jack in the open courtroom during a break in the proceedings. Lawyer Joe Tonahill, who hoped to collaborate with Miss Kilgallen on a book, arranged the brief exchange, and was present at it.
But the important thing, as John Leyden has pointed out, is that Kilgallen didn’t die “mysteriously” until 20 months after the interview. Darn patient reporter who can sit on a big story that long.
In the book “Hit List”, there is a detailed chapter on Kilgallen. She was the only reporter who was granted an exclusive interview with Ruby in jail. She openly attacked the coverup in her New York Journal American columns on 2/2/64 and 9/3/65. She reported a meeting between Ruby, Tippit and a Texas oilman, revealed that Oswald was in too many places at one time, had links to U.S. intelligence and that Oswald’s true story was known to just a few government agents. She told her friends that in five days, she would “bust this case wide open”, but died on 11/8/65 shortly after returning from Dallas where she met with Ruby and had secret transcripts of his testimony. She was gathering information for a book “Murder One” and gave her notes and manuscripts to her friend Florence Pritchett Smith for safekeeping. Smith died within few days of Kilgallen. None of the manuscripts were recovered. How do you explain that? Just a coincidence?
Colonel Daniel Marvin told an explosive story in the most recent installment of The Men Who Killed Kennedy. He claimed to have been asked by a CIA operative to kill a supposed autopsy witness named William B. Pitzer. If true, it’s hard evidence of a conspiracy “clean-up squad” killing witnesses. Researchers Robin Palmer and Allan Eaglesham have worked closely with Marvin, and have come to doubt his story. Their “Letter to Dr. J.D. Rose” lays out the details. Eaglesham, who initially believed the death was “suspicious,” has now concluded that it wasn’t. A diligent and honest researcher, he continued investigating even after reaching that conclusion, and that research solidified his view that the death was indeed a suicide.
Not suspicious? A suicide? So we are to believe Pitzer decided to take his own life just before retiring with a good pension. Give us all a break, John: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKpitzerW.htm
Umpteen Trillion to One Odds?
The conspiracy literature occasionally still quotes a supposed study done by the London Sunday Times which found that “the odds against these [assassination] witnesses being dead by February 1967, were one hundred thousand trillion to one.” The House Select Committee on Assassinations asked the newspaper where they got that number. The paper replied with the following letter.
“The Editor has passed me your letter of 25th April.
Our piece about the odds against the deaths of the Kennedy witnesses was, I regret to say, based on a careless journalistic mistake and should not have been published. This was realized by The Sunday Times’ editorial staff after the first edition — the one which goes to the United States and which I believe you have — had gone out, and later editions were amended.
There was no question of our actuary having got his answer wrong. It was simply that we asked him the wrong question. He was asked what were the odds against 15 named people out of the population of the United States dying within a short period of time to which he replied — correctly — that they were very high. However, if one asks what are the odds against 15 of those included in the Warren Commission index dying within a given period, the answer is, of course, that they are much lower. Our mistake was to treat the reply to the former question as if it dealt with the latter — hence the fundamental error in our first edition report, for which we apologize.
None of the editorial staff involved in this story can remember the name of the actuary we consulted, but in view of what happened you will, I imagine, agree that his identity is hardly material”.
(4 HSCA 464-65)
The actuary’s name is hardly material? I confirmed the actuary’s calculation and debunk Whitaker and the HSCA here: http://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/201 ... -cover-up/
George deMohrenschildt was one of Lee Oswald’s most interesting friends. His testimony before the Warren Commission said nothing that suggested a conspiracy, but in later years he started to give a much more “interesting” account. DeMohrenschildt’s suicide in 1977 has seemed quite “suspicious” to conspiracy buffs. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Death Investigation on deMohrenschildt’s passing is extremely detailed. See whether there is any evidence of murder.
Sure John, De Morenschildt just happened to shoot himself the day he was to be interviewed by Gaeton Fonzi of HSCA. Just a coincidence? He had GW Bush’s phone number in his wallet. He was scared and wrote to Bush asking for help. How come you don’t mention that little factoid?
John M. Crawford is yet another of those people on the “mystery deaths” lists. Did he really have the “connections” to Wes Frazier and Jack Ruby that conspiracy authors claim? See David Perry’s assessment of this case.
Roger Craig told a variety of “interesting” stories about the assassination, most of which clearly indicated a conspiracy. So it might seem quite logical that a conspiracy would want to silence him. And indeed Craig’s death at age 39 in 1975 by suicide (conspiracy books usually put quotes around “suicide”) might seem suspicious. But do the details of his death actually seem suspicious?
They tried to kill Craig at least three times, so yes, John McAdams, I would say his “suicide” is very suspicious. But even if it was a suicide, why would he do it? For you to suggest that his death was not suspicious is quite disingenuous. But it does not diminish your credibility because you have none left. Roger Craig was a hero (RIP). He is interviewed by Mark Lane in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFEx8hjD8kE
What happens when a real investigator (Jacqueline Hess of the House Select Committee) tackles the issue of “mysterious deaths” and enlists the services of people who specialize in working out the probability that any particular person will die in a year, or two, or ten? In other words, enlists the service of actuaries? Hess’ testimony before the House Select Committee outlines the results of her investigation.
What happens is that I fully debunked Hess using the math logic I presented above. Her analysis was incomplete, misleading and incorrect. Here is the post: http://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/201 ... -cover-up/
I won’t dwell on McAdams lame explanations to try and refute the convenient deaths; his pattern of obfuscation is established. Why beat a dead horse? I will just note that he makes no attempt to even discuss the number of witnesses who died conveniently that were called to testify in four investigations. If McAdams (or the HSCA) had done the analysis and calculated the probabilities, obfuscation and disinformation would be impossible. After all, he has a reputation to protect.
Let’s Just Think About This, OK?
Excerpted from “The Case of the Grassy Knoll: The Romance of Conspiracy” by John Kaplan; printed in The Historian As Detective, Winks, editor; originally published as “The Assassins” in Stanford Law Review (May 1967).
[Regarding the "mysterious" deaths of "witnesses" to the assassination], even the most cursory examination of the stories shows how essentially foolish they are. A good many of the deaths hardly seem mysterious in that they were caused by auto accidents, heart attacks, and other phenomena that afflict our entire population. Moreover, before we could tell whether the number of these deaths is in any way unusual, we would have to know the number of equally “mysterious” deaths that occurred to people completely unconnected with the WR. But even apart from any statistical refutation, the theory that a set of conspirators is now devoted to wiping out a host of unimportant witnesses is almost too silly to be put forth. There is not the slightest indication that any of the “victims” have had anything to tell that they had not already told, and indeed the deaths seem concentrated among those who bore only the most peripheral relation to the assassination. When one stops to consider that almost each one of the “mysterious” deaths requires the recruitment of at least one and often several new conspirators, it would seem that, like the pyramid club, the conspiracy would be getting bigger and bigger rather than smaller. One would think that in light of what had happened to those who knew too much it would get very difficult to recruit new members into the conspiracy. Most important, however, it is hard to say why the supposed killers are taking whatever chances these murders entail when it is so obvious that, whoever the conspirators are, they have already gotten off scot-free.
So this is what McAdams relies on: a load of asinine tripe and pathetic talking points. As I showed above, the relevance of the witnesses is a moot point..but they are relevant because a) they were important enough to be called to testify in four investigations and b) the probability that 55 out of 800 witnesses called would die of any cause is 1 in 4 TRILLION TRILLION. Now THAT is very relevant…and proves beyond any doubt that there was a conspiracy. Of course, John, I expect you to disregard the facts, logic and the math. Consider yourself debunked.
Now let’s consider this, ok? The reference text Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination includes 1400+ material witnesses.
Fifty material witness deaths are described in depth in the book Hit List: an In-Depth Investigation Into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnessess to the JFK Assassination. It includes my probability calculation for 15 unnatural deaths in the year following the assassination (see inside). http://www.amazon.com/Hit-List-Investig ... 1620878070
The JFK Calc spreadsheet contains 113 convenient material witness deaths, including 90 from Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... KTnc#gid=1