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Customer Review

140 of 151 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Closes the book on the Warren Commission apologists, April 18, 2013
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This review is from: Hit List: An In-Depth Investigation into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination (Hardcover)
This book is a unique and welcome addition to the massive trove of JFK Assassination literature. There is no conjecture here, just the facts concerning fifty mysterious witness deaths presented in an easy-to-read format. Warren Commission apologists are reduced to irrelevancy; the proof of conspiracy is overwhelming and beyond any doubt. The authors cite my probability analysis in the background information presented in the beginning of the book. The calculations are fully explained in my blog post: [...]

1400 JFK-related witnesses, the probability of at least

- 15 UNNATURAL deaths within ONE year of the assassination: 1 in 167 TRILLION.
- 33 UNNATURAL deaths within THREE years: 1 in 137 TRILLION TRILLION.
- 70 UNNATURAL deaths from 1964-77: 1 in 714 MILLION TRILLION TRILLION.
- 40 HOMICIDES from 1964-77: 1 in a BILLION TRILLION TRILLION TRILLION.

552 Warren Commission witnesses
- EXACTLY 10 HOMICIDES in THREE years: 1 in 31,000 TRILLION.
- EXACTLY 14 HOMICIDES from 1964-1977: 1 in 4,000 TRILLION.
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Showing 1-10 of 237 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 21, 2013 9:14:50 AM PDT
A Customer says:
Some information in this book does not seem to tell the complete story---1)-the London Sunday Times amended those figures soon after they were released because: they used 15 named people in the United States instead of 15 named people in the Warren report, which would bring those figures down a lot lower. 2) Dorothy Kilgallen was killed 20 months after the supposed interview with Ruby. Why would she wait so long to tell this story and why was she not killed a lot sooner if she "knew" something?? Just 2 examples I found in question about this book. Just curious.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2013 10:06:38 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 1, 2013 3:34:09 PM PDT
I cover the London Times and HSCA obfuscation here:
http://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/executive-action-jfk-witness-deaths-and-the-london-times-actuary/

HSCA statistical expert Jacqueline Hess testified that the actuarial calculation was "invalid" due to the "impossibility" of defining the "universe" of material witnesses. Her dismissal of the odds was a ruse (like the Magic Bullet Theory) to maintain the cover-up. The fact is that there was a definable set of 552 Warren Commission witnesses, of whom at least 19 died unnaturally in the period from 1964-1977. Only four would normally be expected. The 552 is a subset of the approximately 1400 JFK-related witnesses named in the reference "Who's Who in the JFK Assassination".

Among the 552 Warren Commission witnesses, the probability of at least 20 UNNATURAL deaths and 1 attempted murder is 1 in 236 MILLION. Omitting suspicious deaths, the probability of 6 homicides, 2 suicides and 7 accidents is virtually ZERO: 1 in 19 MILLION.

But the two "suicides" and seven "accidents" were very likely homicides. The probability that 15 of the 552 witnesses would be murdered is 1 in 131 THOUSAND TRILLION, closely matching the actuary's calculation.

The London Times

In a response to a letter from the 1977 House Select Committee on Assassinations, London Sunday Times Legal Manager Anthony Whitaker wrote: "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 - 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 the story can remember the name of the actuary we consulted, but in view of what happened, you will, I imagine, agree that his identity is hardly material".

The actuary's identity was hardly material? It was and still is very material. Only the actuary could speak to his interpretation of the problem and method of calculation. And no one on the editorial staff remembered his name? Really? We are supposed to believe that? Both statements made no sense; nothing else the Times editor said should have been taken at face value. In fact, Whitaker misrepresented what is essentially a simple mathematical problem: to determine the probability of a given number of unnatural deaths over relevant time intervals within a given population group.

His first error was to provide an incomplete and misleading statement of the problem. The U.S. population is not relevant; the number of JFK-related witnesses is. The "short period of time" is not specific. He misrepresented the essential goal of the probability analysis by not considering the frequency of unnatural deaths.

His second error was one of omission. He did not provide unnatural death mortality statistics and probability calculations used by the actuary. Was it because they would show that the calculation was plausible?

Whitaker claimed that he asked the actuary to calculate the probability that 15 names included in the Warren Commission Index would die within a "short" period. One must assume that the actuary assumed unnatural deaths and utilized corresponding unnatural mortality rate(s) in his calculation. Just because the Times Editor did not specify unnatural deaths does not mean that the actuary was oblivious to the distinction.

Is it just a coincidence that at least 15 Warren Commission witnesses (listed below with links to their testimony) died unnaturally and/or suspiciously. Or that others died mysteriously at convenient times just before they were due to give testimony at the Garrison/Shaw trial or at the HSCA?

It is important to note that Whitaker did not specify unnatural deaths - as he should have. In any case, his response settled the matter. The HSCA's designated "statistical expert" just added to Whitaker's obfuscation.

HSCA Obfuscation

The HSCA designated statistical expert Jacqueline Hess dismissed the actuary's odds as being invalid, claiming that it was "unsolvable". Hess testified that she consulted with actuarial experts, who told her "you cannot establish any kind of universe" of material witnesses. This was pure disinformation; a universe of 1400+ JFK-related witnesses was presented in the "Who's Who in the Kennedy Assassination" reference.

In her list of 21 names, Hess conveniently left out scores of mysterious, unnatural deaths. Hess focused on five names in the list where the deaths appeared to have been natural (heart attacks). But they were still suspicious.

For example, Thomas Howard was one of three people who met in Ruby's apartment on Nov. 24, 1963. All died within a little over a year (two unnaturally). Hess never calculated the odds of that.

She did not include David Ferrie and Eladio del Valle. Ferrie supposedly died of an aneurysm within days of being called as a witness by Garrison. Ferrie was held in protective custody until Feb. 21, 1967. He was found dead in his apartment the next day. Ferrie associate Eladio del Valle was also sought by Garrison. He was murdered on Feb. 21. Hess never calculated those odds, either.

What is even more unbelievable, Hess neglected the strange deaths of nearly a dozen prospective HSCA witnesses. She gave a convoluted excuse as to why she did not include George De Morenschildt, Oswald's friend who allegedly shot himself with a rifle the day he was notified by HSCA. Nor did she mention the seven (7) high level FBI officials who died within a six-month period in 1977 just before they were due to testify at HSCA. She obviously never calculated the probability. Apparently, HSCA-related deaths were immaterial; she limited her analysis to 1964-1967.

Hess claimed the actuary concluded that on 11/22/63 the odds of 15 witnesses being dead was 1 in 10 to the 29th power which is 1 in 10,000 TRILLION TRILLION. That is obviously an incorrect statement. The actuary calculated the odds as 1 in 100,000 trillion (1 in 10 to the 17th power). He presumably used the Poisson probability function of rare events - the perfect mathematical tool for the problem (see below). One in 100,000 trillion is E-17, or 0.0000000000000001. Hess appears to have been anything but a "statistical expert". If she was one, she would have done the calculations herself.

There were approximately 1400 JFK-related witnesses. In 1964-1977, at least 70 died unnaturally (homicide, suicide, accidental, unknown) and 34 deaths were suspiciously timed heart attacks, cancers, etc. Normally 11 unnatural deaths would be expected.

Cause........rate; expected; actual; prob
suicide....... 0.000107; 2.1; 7; 1 in 170
homicide.... 0.000062; 1.2; 40; 1 in 1 BILLION TRILLION TRILLION TRILLION
accidental.. 0.000359; 7.0; 23; 1 in 2.3 MILLION
unknown... 0.000014; 0.3; 5; 1 in 5 THOUSAND

TOTAL UNNATURAL..0.000542; 10.6; 70; 1 in 700 MILLION TRILLION TRILLION

Assuming 1400 JFK-related witnesses and using the mortality rates above, the probability of at least
- 15 UNNATURAL deaths within ONE year of the assassination: 1 in 167 TRILLION.
- 33 UNNATURAL deaths within THREE years: less than 1 in 100 TRILLION TRILLION.
- 70 UNNATURAL deaths from 1964-77: 1 in 700 MILLION TRILLION TRILLION.
- 40 HOMICIDES from 1964-77: 1 in a BILLION TRILLION TRILLION TRILLION.

552 Warren Commission witnesses
The probability of at least 20 UNNATURAL deaths and 1 attempted murder in the 1964-77 period is 1 in 236 MILLION.

If the two "suicides" and seven "accidents" were actually HOMICIDES (very likely), then the probability of 15 HOMICIDES within 14 years is 1 in 131,000 TRILLION, quite close to the actuary's calculation.

The probability of 10 HOMICIDES in the three years following the assassination is 1 in 31,000 TRILLION.

The Poisson probability function is:
P(n) = a^n * exp(-a)/n!
where a = the expected number of unnatural deaths = R*N*T

In a random group of 1400 individuals, ONE unnatural death is expected in any given year:
a = 0.7588 = R*N*T = 0.000542*1400*1

Using the expected number (a=.7588) of unnatural deaths and the actual number (n= 15) in the Poisson formula, the probability that there would be EXACTLY 15 unnatural deaths is
P (15) = 0.7588^15 * exp(-0.7588)/15!
P (15) = 5.70E-15 = 1 in 175 trillion

The probability of AT LEAST 15 unnatural deaths is of course slightly higher: P (>14) = 1 in 167 trillion!
The spreadsheet formula is P (>14) = 1- Poisson(14,1400*0.000542*1, true)

Posted on Apr 30, 2013 1:13:06 AM PDT
Those are powerful numbers and came by a list of the witnesses that had passed in a relatively short time since the assassination. I was thinking to myself only last month that someone should write a book on this. While I was listening to the author of Bush Family Secrets, who had brought up the fact that Poppy Bush couldn't remember, when asked, where he was the day JFK was assassinated... I mean who doesn't, at his age and level of involvement of government, recall their whereabouts that day? Anyhow adding this to my wish list and thanks for the information. It wasn't ONLY to dispatch a skeptic...

Posted on Apr 30, 2013 7:47:47 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 30, 2013 11:41:58 AM PDT
CB says:
Interesting point.

Is there any overlap between this book and Craig Roberts' "JFK: The Dead Witnesses"?

Edit: Just read the preview of the book here, and they do reference Roberts' book several times. Will have to check this book out now - thanks for the review!

Posted on May 14, 2013 5:46:28 AM PDT
Alan Bennett says:
Mathematical bunk!

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2013 2:03:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 14, 2013 2:11:37 PM PDT
Thanks, Alan, for that incisive analysis. You sure know your stuff. I love the way you refute the analysis in such a succinct, compact and elegant way. You just taught us all something new: Mathematics is bunk. Especially when it is used to disprove the official govt. conspiracy theory: that Oswald did it all by himself. Even if 90% of the people believe otherwise.

We all look forward to your next gem.

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2013 2:19:16 PM PDT
Alan Bennett says:
I used to think Richard Belzer was a humorous, edgy, albeit left-leaning comedian. I thought his cameo appearances on that indifferent cop show were just OK. After witnessing him on YouTube shamelessly peddling his latest conspiracy nonsense, I've concluded he has become an insufferable, sanctimonious, humorless machination freak. He makes Oliver Stone seem level-headed.

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2013 8:13:45 PM PDT
A Customer says:
Just because 90% of people believe in something does not make it true---case in point, religion.

Posted on May 14, 2013 9:47:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 14, 2013 9:51:33 PM PDT
The quality of these comebacks isn't worth following the thread anymore... Considering there is really no comeback to the math which has been offered, I chalked this one up a long time ago... it's not even close here, choose your battles better boys... Ignoring is also a great Amazon option...

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2013 10:48:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 15, 2013 1:49:00 PM PDT
Alan Bennett says:
I said "Mathematical bunk", not "Mathematics is bunk" ( some people can't even read). And reasoning doesn't seem to be your strong suit either: a rational that says that because a majority of simple folk believe in something is strong evidence is that it is so. I don't know if you have noticed or not but the American people are not all that discriminating in their sources of information. For example - look to the positive reviews to the likes of Richard Belzer's flimsy analysis. Could you imagine Belzer up against the likes of Vincent Bugliosi in a public debate? That I would pay to see.
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