Saturday, January 12, 2013

Framing the Patsy: The Case of Lee Harvey Oswald

Framing the Patsy: The Case of Lee Harvey Oswald

Framing the Patsy: The Case of Lee Harvey Oswald

by Jim Fetzer and Jim Marrs

The deliberate dissemination of false information about JFK continues to this day. Professor Hany Farid, a member of the computer science faculty at Dartmouth, affords a stunning illustration, where he injected himself into a long-running dispute concerning the authenticity of photographs related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. These photos reportedly of the accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald are collectively known as “the backyard photographs.” What Farid has done, however, simply perpetuates the fraud.

Claiming to have studied one feature of one of these photographs and declaring his support for their authenticity, Farid’s analysis immediately raised the ire of many assassination researchers, who for years have known the photos are clever fakes.

In an article published in The Huffington Post (November 5, 2009), however, Fraid  asserts his conclusion that it is “extremely unlikely” that backyard photographs of Oswald are fake, based upon his digital analysis of the shadows.

Apparently referring to the more famous of the backyard photos — the one published on the cover of Life on February 21, 1964 nearly eight months before the Warren Commission handpicked by Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin — Farid says, “You can never really prove an image is real, but the evidence that people have pointed to that the photo is fake is incorrect. As an academic and a scientist, I don’t like to say it’s absolutely authentic … but it’s extremely unlikely to have been a fake.”

Farid, who has previously conducted research on how poorly the human visual system can be at correctly judging how shadows are cast, admitted, “[W]e are really bad at judging shadows. I’m bad at it and this is what I do for a living.”

Despite this caveat, Farid jumped feet first into the controversy of the backyard photos, causing further tumult in the issue. While his announcement of no fakery, propelled by an unquestioning mass media, caused a sensation with some segments of the public, serious students of the photos expressed dismay and concern that Farid had further muddied the issue without seriously delving into the abundant literature on the issue, which remains quite important as the Life cover-photo was successfully used to convince the public of Oswald’s guilt.

Most researchers into the backyard photos, which includes an official with the Canadian Defense Department and a retired British detective expert, consider the evidence of fakery to be simply overwhelming. But Farid appears to be unaware that other experts have studied them before him.
To appreciate the magnitude of the issue, consider the words of Robert Blakey, now a professor of law at Notre Dame but who served as Chief Counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) during its reinvestigation of the deaths of JFK and of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1977-78. Speaking to the committee about these very photographs, Blakey stated,

“If [the backyard photographs] are invalid, how they were produced poses far-reaching questions in the area of conspiracy, for they evince a degree of technical sophistication that would almost necessarily raise the possibility that [someone] conspired not only to kill the President, but to make Oswald a patsy.”

It might be recalled that Oswald himself used that same word — “patsy” — meaning a person set up to take the blame for a crime. In light of the major importance of the backyard photograph issue, Farid immediately drew critics, who claimed his research was superficial and not as definitive as he implied.

No Literature Search
If Farid had only conducted a literature search, he would have known that the shadows were but one of multiple indications of fakery and that, even if he were right about the shadows, he would be wrong about the photos.  Unfortunately, neither the news reporters nor the professor seems to have known enough to appreciate that his conclusion is contradicted by multiple lines of proof, including digital analyses, which are easily accessible — even by Google!

Such proofs include that the chin in the photos is not Oswald’s chin; that there is an insert line between the chin and the lower lip; that the finger tips of one hand are missing; and that the figure in the image is too short to be Oswald.  Farid’s involvement therefore raises serious questions about the integrity of his research and the abuse of his standing as a Dartmouth professor to make public pronouncements impressionable to a wide general audience.

According to the Manchester, NH, Union Leader (November 6-7, 2009), Farid created a 3-dimensional model of Oswald’s head using a computer program called “Facegen” to determine if he could replicate the shadow beneath his nose by manipulating a source of light that simulated the sun. He said he had a difficult time until he realized that he had modeled the neck “too thin”.

Farid told the Union Leader that, given the technology available 46 years ago, “there is no way someone would have been able to get the internal and external elements of the photo just right in order to fabricate not only the one photo, but two others in the series.” But his own conclusions make it difficult to believe that he was even aware of, much less that he had studied, even two of them.
The professor could have learned much more had he only conducted a search of the literature.

Even YouTube includes this documentary, FAKE: The Forged Photograph that Framed Lee Harvey Oswald. One of the most interesting has been posted by Judyth Vary Baker, whom we believe to be who she claims — a cancer researcher who became acquainted with Oswald in New Orleans.
In her study, she notes that digitizing a backyard photo creates a problem of trustworthiness, where the strongest conclusion he is justified in drawing is that the pixels in the copy of a copy of a copy he analyzed were not tampered with. He simply reconstructed portions of a backyard photo — we do not know which one he chose — but only seems to have reconstructed the head and neck, not a full figure corresponding to the image.

Nor does he appear to have used the sun as his light source, which means that his “conclusion” is based upon a flawed methodology. Since digital photography did not exist in 1963, it is also relatively effortless to state — with a high degree of confidence — that no digital tampering of the original photos took place.

Misleading JFK Studies
The manipulation of the scene and pre-positioning of the elements to achieve a desired effect is reminiscent of a recent Discovery Channel program, “Inside the Target Car”, in which a rifle anchored to scaffolding was fired into a carefully-designed wooden box representing Kennedy’s limousine striking dummies with gelatin heads. The resultant splatter of matter was then studied in an attempt to prove the Warren Commission’s theory of one bullet causing seven wounds to both Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally.

The program assured its audience that all the elements were exactly the same as in Dealey Plaza in 1963 — except that a modern telescopic sight was used for greater accuracy. Of course, Oswald did not have the advantage of a modern telescopic sight and no mention was made of the fact that, even according to the official version of the assassination, Oswald was firing at a target moving laterally and downhill away from him with tree branches obscuring the line of sight.

And this is far from the only time that “documentaries” and other studies that claim to have vindicated The Warren Report (1964) have appeared, many of which attempt to support the “magic bullet” theory, even though it has not only been proven to be false but is not even anatomically possible. If you have any doubt, Google “Reasoning about Assassinations”. And there are many more.

There appear to have been at least four photos — plus a negative and a missing color transparency — in the entire set. We suspect Farid thought there was only one. Oswald’s face is tilted in different directions in different photos, yet the v-shaped shadow under the nose never varies, which is an obvious indication of fakery. Since he studied the nose shadow, he should have discovered this.
The most charitable interpretation of his work is that he naively assumed that the shadow beneath the figure’s nose in the image that was published in Life was the basis for rejecting the photographs as fakes — and nothing else.

Had Farid simply entered the words, “backyard photographs, Oswald”, on Google, he would have found a study entitled, “EXAMPLES OF DIGITAL EVIDENCE ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION // BACKYARD PHOTOS EVIDENCE OR FAKERY // PRESENTED BY RALPH THOMAS”. It should have captured his attention, since Farid was planning to do a digital analysis himself.

Thomas illustrates and explains not only that there is an apparent inconsistency in the shadow of the nose in relation to the shadow of the body but also that the body shadows in different photos indicates they were taken at different times. And, under the heading, “Close Ups Of The Two Faces”, he makes key points about two of the backyard photographs:

For many years researchers have said these faces were faked. (1) A fine line runs through the chin. (2) The shadows appear to be the same under the nose. (3) The second head has merely been tilted to fit into the rest of the photo. (4) Although taken just seconds or minutes apart, the tilt of the head on the second photo also tilts the nose shadow.

Under the heading, “Overlay Of The Two Faces”, he also explains that, when the second face is turned into a transparency and titled to the same angle of the first one and the photos are overlaid on top of each other, (5) they match up perfectly, as indeed he shows in an additional third photo. But this would be impossible if the photos were authentic.

These studies contradict Farid — even about the shadows that he claims to have studied. They raise serious questions about the integrity of Farid’s research and suggest he considered only a single aspect of a single photograph. And this is far from the only contrary evidence that a Google search would have produced.

Ignoring Expert Testimony
The day following the assassination two photographs and the negative to one of these were found by Dallas police in the garage of the Irving home where Oswald’s wife was staying. These two were designated as Warren Commission Exhibits (CE) 133-A and B.

In 1976 the Senate Intelligence Committee discovered yet another backyard photo in the hands of the widow of a Dallas policeman. Mrs. Roscoe White said her husband once told her the picture would be very valuable some day. In this heretofore unknown version of the backyard photo, Oswald is depicted holding the rifle in his left hand and newspapers in his right.

This is the same pose used by Dallas police in reenacting the photo for the Warren Commission — clear evidence that authorities were aware of the suppressed picture long before it became known to the public. This photo has been identified as CE 133-C by researchers.

In the same study, Thomas himself provides a summary of far more detailed testimony from Jack White, a longtime analyst of JFK photos and films, who presented his findings of fakery to the HSCA but which the HSCA chose to disregard. Here are his observations:

1) STANDING OFF CENTER: White concluded that Oswald is standing off center and outside the weight bearing alignment of his feet. A person could not stand in such a position.

2) PROPORTIONS: When the body proportions are brought into alignment from the knees to the head by adjusting the size of the photographs, one head is much larger than the other.

3) OVERALL BODY SHADOWS: Although the photos were supposed to have been taken just seconds apart, the overall body shadows in the photographs are all different. In 133-A the photograph has a 10 o’clock shadow, 133-B a 12 o’clock shadow and 133-C a 10 o’clock shadow again.

4) ARM AND ELBOWS: White said that the elbow is too high in one photograph and the elbow doesn’t show up on the one photograph of the arm were Oswald is holding the rifle. Attempts to duplicate this pose have been unsuccessful.

5) HANDS AND FINGERS: In the photographs, the left hand and finger looks normal. Yet the right hand is missing fingernails and the hand appears too stubby to be normal.

6) WATCH: The photographs reveal that Oswald is wearing a watch but all witnesses have stated that Oswald did not wear and didn’t own a watch. No watch was found among the possessions of Oswald and he was not wearing one when he was arrested.

7) RIFLE: When the photographs are blown up to the actual height of Oswald that was 5’9″, the rifle in the photograph is too long. When the rifle is adjusted in the photograph to it’s proper length, Oswald’s height is six inches too short.

8) SCOPE: White noted that in the photograph the rear end of the rifle scope is missing and pants wrinkles appear where the end of the scope is supposed to be, raising the prospect that the photo was retouched before being found by the Dallas police.

9) FACE: The face shows Oswald with a broad flat chin but Oswald’s Dallas Police mug shots depicted him with a pointed and cleft chin. There is a line that breaks up the grain of the photograph that runs across the chin that many say is where a cut took place to paste Oswald’s face onto the photograph. This strongly supports Oswald’s complaint to police that someone had pasted his face onto another’s body.

10) PHOTOGRAPHIC OVERLAY: When Mr. White took 133-A and 133-B, adjusted and overlaid them, nothing in the background or figure matched up as expected in two separate photos made moments apart with a handheld camera, as stated in the official testimony. However, the face of Oswald was a complete match on both photographs. This could only be explained if someone made a composite photo by pasting the same Oswald face on both pictures.

11) FACE SHADOWS: Both photos show the same V-shaped shadow below the nose. However, on one of the photos Oswald’s head is tilted but the shadow does not adjust for this tilt.

12) NECK SHADOWS: On one of the photos there is light on the right side of the neck but the same photo shows the rifle casting a shadow in the opposite angle.

13) COLLAR SIZE: The figure’s collar size can be determined from the photograph using a mathematical formula, which came out to size 16. Oswald wore a size 14-1/2 collar and all his clothes found among his personal belongings were in the 14.5 to 15-inch range.

14) BACKGROUNDS: White determined that one photograph had the top cropped off and the other photograph had the bottom cropped off making it appear as if they were two separate pictures. However, except for small differences, the backgrounds matched on both photographs, meaning the camera never changed position which contradicts the official story of Oswald’s wife reluctantly walking into the backyard to take the photo.

15) SMALL DIFFERENCES: For many months White was puzzled by the small differences he noted in the backgrounds as they were not off by much. After looking at the photographs some more he determined that on the background of one, the camera appeared to be slightly tilted. He then took another copy of the photo by tilting it on a board and everything came perfectly into alignment.
An elementary “literature search” would not only have revealed to Farid that much more than the shadows he claims to have studied themselves afford multiple indications of fakery, as White notes in points (3), (11) and (12)! If he had been determined to conduct a serious and objective study, it’s difficult to imagine how he could have missed them.

Questions of Authenticity
These photos are authentic only if they are authentic in every respect. Even if he had been successful in his study of the nose shadows, disproving one out of more than a dozen proofs of photo fakery cannot show that these photos are “unlikely to have been faked”, much less that they are authentic. There turn out to have been five versions of these photographs — plus a negative of one and a separate color transparency — as we explain below.

The more we have thought about this, the more obvious it becomes that Farid was unaware of any problem besides the nose shadow or of any photos than the one he studied. Either Farid does not understand the requirements to prove their authenticity — which is absurd, since this is one of his areas of specialization — or he did not conduct a literature search and did not know the history of research on these photos. The only alternative would appear to be that he has deliberately perpetrated a fraud.

Incredible as it may seem, the photo shown here — a “ghost” image, in the words of researcher Robert Groden — was discovered in the files of the Dallas Police files more than 20 years after the fact. In his classic study, The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald (1995), Groden provides an excellent introduction to the problems with the backyard photos on pages 90-95. Indeed, 404 evidence photos that have now been released from an official archive not only include ten photographs of the backyard without figure — which would have been indispensable to fake them, which using multiple lines of proof we know was done in this case — and two “ghost” images, which suggest that they were either produced or planted by members of the Dallas Police Department.

Farid has in fact published numerous articles regarding the use of digital analysis of photographs, which suggests that he possesses the academic ability to have analyzed them properly. Even on our charitable interpretation — that he was simply unaware of other problems and had not done a search of the literature to dispel his ignorance — then at the very least we would expect that his analysis of the nose shadows would be competent.

His conclusion supports our inference. If Farid studied more than one of these photographs, as he claims, then he should have noticed that the nose shadow remains constant across different photos, an obvious indication of fakery. In fact, the figure’s entire face remains constant in these different photographs. Either he did not know there was more than one or he is deliberately deceiving us.
Clearly, Farid has violated a basic canon of scientific research, which is that all the available evidence that makes a difference to a conclusion must be taken into account. It is impossible to demonstrate that a photo is not fake by selecting one issue, excluding consideration of the rest of the evidence, and showing that it would have been possible under special conditions.

Farid focused on the nose shadow, but ignored inconsistencies between the nose shadow and the shadows the figure casts, the similarity in the nose shadow from one photograph to another, and problems with the shadows on the neck. Farid was competent to investigate the shadows, but he did not perform that task in a competent fashion. The question becomes, why was he doing this at all?

Jim Marr’s Response
The author of Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy (1989), Jim Marrs has long been persuaded that the backyard photos are indeed composites, just as Oswald asserted. When separate photographs made at different times with a hand-held camera are turned into transparencies and placed on top of each other, nothing should match. The problem is Oswald’s face (above the chin) is a near-perfect match when they are superimposed, as shown here.

The only difference that Marrs has detected is slight distortion of the mouth in one of the photos, which could have been done with retouching.

In “The Many Faces of Lee Harvey Oswald” (YouTube), Jack White has compared the thick neck and block chin of the figure with the narrow neck and pointed chin of Oswald. He also noticed a bump on the backyard figure’s wrist (CE-133A) not on Oswald.

A rookie with the Dallas Police Department, Roscoe White, had a thick neck and a block chin, like the image in the photographs, and a similar bump on his wrist.

The first, depicting a man holding a rifle up over his head with both hands, was shown by Marina to Oswald’s mother. Marguerite, the night of the assassination and then again at the Executive Inn, where Marguerite burned it and flushed it down a toilet (WC Vol. I, pp. 146-152). So that photo is no longer available.

The second is the version of CE 133-A with “Hunter of Fascists” handwritten on the back in Russian, which was found long after the assassination in the belongings left behind by George DeMohrenshildt, who appears to have been Oswald’s CIA handler and had filed several reports with the agency. Jeanne DeMohrenschildt, George’s widow, told Marrs during an interview that she had never seen the photo before and believed it was planted in their belongings while they were traveling in Haiti.

Another copy and a third version (CE-133-A and B) were both found in the garage of Ruth and Michael Paine on the Saturday following the assassination, but Marrs has observed there is a major discrepancy in the record. Detectives Guy Rose and R. S. Stovall of the Dallas Police Department told the Warren Commission that they arrived at the Paine home after noon (“about 1 p.m.” quoting Stovall in Vol. VII of the Warren Commission Supporting Volumes, p. 193) on Saturday, November 23, 1963, but only brought the backyard photos discovered in the Paine’s garage back to DPD headquarters around two hours later (Rose, WC Vol. VII, p. 231).

Yet, in his statement to the Warren Commission, Capt. Will Fritz, who was in charge of the JFK homicide, related how Oswald was brought back to his office for further interrogation at 12:30 p.m. that same day, “… in an effort to find where he was living when the picture was made of him holding a rifle which looked to be the same rifle we recovered. This picture showed [by its own internal features] to be taken near a stairway with many identifying things in the backyard…. He was placed back in jail at 1:10 p.m.” (WC Report, Appendix XI, p. 607.)

But how could Fritz have seen a backyard photo before Stovall and Rose found two of them in the garage and had brought them back to the police headquarters?

This account lends great support to the stories of Pat and Robert Hester, a husband and wife team called from home on November 22, 1963, the day of the assassination, to help process assassination-related photos for the FBI and the Dallas police at National Photo in Dallas.

Both of the Hesters told Marrs that they had seen an FBI agent with a color transparency of one of the backyard photos and that one of those Robert processed had no figure in the picture. Hester’s claim was corroborated by his wife, Patricia, who also helped process film on the day of the assassination.
Marrs believes that the FBI had the photos as early as Friday evening and either passed them to the Dallas police (who lied about finding them) or planted the photos in the Paine garage (where a thorough search of the Paine home Friday had not produced them) in order to be found by the detectives prior to the police search during which they claimed to have found the photographs.

He suspects that the fabrication of the photos can be traced back to J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the FBI, who was intent on having proof that Oswald would have been convicted of the assassination had he lived to stand trial. And, indeed, there are multiple indications that Hoover took steps necessary to block a real investigation, which made him at least guilty as an accessory after the fact.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...