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Thread: JFK Research Methodology

  1. #1

    Default JFK Research Methodology

    I am still working on a more enlightening presentation on the criticism of Judyth Vary Baker. I would like to personally understand better why there is much more outrage about the book by Baker (which may contain embellishments) and books such as "Dallas 1963" by Minutaglio and Davis which is total deception and lies cover to cover. And "Dallas 1963" was often to be found in bookstores and at least two libraries which I frequent, INCLUDING THE AUDIO BOOK.

    Below I am listing the top 21 names and number of citations in Baker's book "Me and Lee" and Jim Garrison's book "On The Trail of The Assassins."


    Judyth Vary Baker
    Oswald,Lee Harvey 200
    Vary, Judyth 200
    Baker, Robert 170
    Ochsner, Alton 122
    Castro, Fidel 105
    Sherman, Mary 88
    Oswald, Marina 87
    Ferrie, David 84
    Banister, Guy 75
    Marcello, Carlos 71
    Hanover, Susie 62
    Monaghan, William 56
    Oswald, June 44
    Vary, Donald 42
    Shaw, Clay 41
    Lewis, David 37
    Ruby, Jack 35
    Garrison, Jim 32
    Vary, Gloria 29
    Murret, Charles 22
    Paine, Ruth 22
    Trail of the Assassins
    Oswald,Lee Harvey 164
    Shaw, Clay 122
    Garrison, Jim 110
    Ferrie, David 86
    Banister, Guy 61
    Ivon, Louis 28
    Sciambra, Andrew 26
    Klein, Frank 25
    Alcock, James 22
    Ruby, Jack 18
    Gervais, Pershing 17
    Russo, Perry 17
    Thornley, Kerry 17
    Dulles, Allen 16
    Craig, Roger 14
    DeMohrenschildt, George 14
    Andrews, Dean 13
    Mercer, Julia 11
    Oser, Alvin 11
    Blakey, G Robert 10
    Lane, Mark 10

    The statistical correlation between the two lists is 62%.

    In my factor analysis of the top 30 JFK books, factor number three was "New Orleans Suspects.." On that factor, below are the statistical loadings (much like correlations) based on the 100 most often cited names in the "New Orleans" books:

    Farewell to Justice by Joan Mellen----------------.68
    Me and Lee by J V Baker--------------------------.67
    Heritage of Stone by Jim Garrison----------------.59
    On The Trail of The Assassins by Garrison--------.51

    In contrast, below are the loadings on the same factor for other well-known books

    Road to Dallas by David Kaiser---------------------.18
    Warren Commission---------------------------------.29
    The Man Who Knew Too Much by Dick Russell-----.19
    Rush to Judgment by Mark Lane--------------------.02

    So based on pure statistical correlation of names and citations, it comes out that Baker's suspects are almost identical to those of Joan Mellen and very close to those of Jim Garrison.

    I am listing this information is listed for two reasons: (1) Because such a huge emphasis is placed on the single book by Baker in many, many places on the internet, and (2) as a plug for my method of comparing various JFK books by using mathematics rather that emotional put-downs perhaps based on God knows what kind of motivations.

    James Lateer
    Last edited by James Lateer; 06-29-2018 at 12:49 AM.

  2. #2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by James Lateer View Post
    I am still working on a more enlightening presentation on the criticism of Judyth Vary Baker. I would like to personally understand better why there is much more outrage about the book by Baker (which may contain embellishments) and books such as "Dallas 1963" by Minutaglio and Davis which is total deception and lies cover to cover. And "Dallas 1963" was often to be found in bookstores and at least two libraries which I frequent, INCLUDING THE AUDIO BOOK.

    Below I am listing the top 21 names and number of citations in Baker's book "Me and Lee" and Jim Garrison's book "On The Trail of The Assassins."


    Judyth Vary Baker
    Oswald,Lee Harvey 200
    Vary, Judyth 200
    Baker, Robert 170
    Ochsner, Alton 122
    Castro, Fidel 105
    Sherman, Mary 88
    Oswald, Marina 87
    Ferrie, David 84
    Banister, Guy 75
    Marcello, Carlos 71
    Hanover, Susie 62
    Monaghan, William 56
    Oswald, June 44
    Vary, Donald 42
    Shaw, Clay 41
    Lewis, David 37
    Ruby, Jack 35
    Garrison, Jim 32
    Vary, Gloria 29
    Murret, Charles 22
    Paine, Ruth 22
    Trail of the Assassins
    Oswald,Lee Harvey 164
    Shaw, Clay 122
    Garrison, Jim 110
    Ferrie, David 86
    Banister, Guy 61
    Ivon, Louis 28
    Sciambra, Andrew 26
    Klein, Frank 25
    Alcock, James 22
    Ruby, Jack 18
    Gervais, Pershing 17
    Russo, Perry 17
    Thornley, Kerry 17
    Dulles, Allen 16
    Craig, Roger 14
    DeMohrenschildt, George 14
    Andrews, Dean 13
    Mercer, Julia 11
    Oser, Alvin 11
    Blakey, G Robert 10
    Lane, Mark 10

    The statistical correlation between the two lists is 95%.

    In my factor analysis of the top 30 JFK books, factor number three was "New Orleans Suspects.." On that factor, below are the statistical loadings (much like correlations) based on the 100 most often cited names in the "New Orleans" books:

    Farewell to Justice by Joan Mellen----------------.68
    Me and Lee by J V Baker--------------------------.67
    Heritage of Stone by Jim Garrison----------------.59
    On The Trail of The Assassins by Garrison--------.51

    In contrast, below are the loadings on the same factor for other well-known books

    Road to Dallas by David Kaiser---------------------.18
    Warren Commission---------------------------------.29
    The Man Who Knew Too Much by Dick Russell-----.19
    Rush to Judgment by Mark Lane--------------------.02

    So based on pure statistical correlation of names and citations, it comes out that Baker's suspects are almost identical to those of Joan Mellen and very close to those of Jim Garrison.

    I am listing this information is listed for two reasons: (1) Because such a huge emphasis is placed on the single book by Baker in many, many places on the internet, and (2) as a plug for my method of comparing various JFK books by using mathematics rather that emotional put-downs perhaps based on God knows what kind of motivations.

    James Lateer
    Sorry, this is not a scientific way at all to evaluate anything related to historical research - sorry. I've had years of science, history, math, statistics, also courses in logic. Two books can have the same or about the same number of references to things/persons/whatever - it matters not one bit - it is WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THOSE NAMES OR EVENTS that counts. Books that refute one another [take opposite viewpoints] can easily/likely will have similar numbers of references to X, Y, and Z if they are on the same topic. Your approach is outside the limits of scientific analysis and logic, sorry. No mathematical model is valid for determining the quality of the work, logic, effort, background, research, validity, thoughtfulness, etc. of a book. You might as well weigh the books and say the heavier the better; or look at the quality of the paper or binding. The quality is in the thought, sweat, mental effort and analysis, and the research work that went into the book - and how it was explained to the reader - and best if well referenced. Cross out 'emotion' and write in 'decades of plowing these fields' is how people determine what research is worth reading and move the research field forward and closer to the truth - from those which can only be useful to help hold a door open.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  3. Default

    James,

    I agree with Mr. Lemkin.

    Its not if both books refer to the same personages or entities.

    Its what they have to say about them, and how credible the information is.

    Jim Garrison was the DA of New Orleans and he kept files which were made up of reports and interviews and other direct evidence. I know this since I was allowed to look at and copy some of these through the auspices of his son Lyon Garrison.

    Baker does not have anything like that kind of record. And the very few exhibits she does have have been rendered questionable.

    So I don't understand the comparison.

  4. #4

    Default JFK, Judyth Vary Baker and Jim Garrison

    To the previous criticism of my statistical approach: considering that this criticism is coming from one of the most knowledgeable people on this site (judging by quality of information), I can only say that I would expect more specific analysis and criticism than "sorry".

    Since the folks who lambaste the work of JVB only level criticisms such as "lies" etc., I might reply that at least my analysis has some objectivity. My aim here is to smoke out those people who seem obsessed on this issue, but have no specifics to refute JVB.

    Obviously, if two books quoted the same list of names in the JFK case, there is no conflict over whether those people would be either suspects or witnesses. If you have two books which name the same 20 suspects, and the same 20 witnesses, it is absurd to argue that each book may be making opposite arguments about the same 20 suspects, or same 20 witnesses.

    Let's say one book has a list of 20 persons who they claim WERE NOT INVOLVED in the JFK murder. And the other book has the same 20 persons who they claim WERE INVOLVED in the JFK murder. If that were the case, then you could draw some pretty obvious conclusions about those two books. And the book who listed the 20 persons as suspects would have more credibility than the one that excluded the same 20 persons with no list of its own.

    And that is the apparent answer to the JV Baker controversy. Her critics claim that her unique list of suspects is invalid, yet they don't have any unique list themselves. Or, their list is the same as hers, but they say those suspects WERE NOT THE GUILTY ONES. In other words, they claim that she is a liar, but they don't claim to have the truth themselves.

    If the suspects of JVB correlate 62% with Jim Garrison and Joan Mellen, then I would say her book was 62% accurate based on the best information available. And no two books on the JFK case have identical lists of suspects. In my research, there is almost always about a 50% overlap between the citations in two different JFK books. And sometimes a lot less.

    I don't have any personal commitment to the particular theories of JVB. Like Colonel Fletcher Prouty, even if one grants both of them status as complete "insiders", their information is woefully incomplete, almost laughably so.

    As many people know, my organization chart of the JFK plot has about 70 persons on it. I would be shocked if any other book cited even 20 or 30 of them with any frequency.

    Being an accountant, I am a believer in quantitative analysis. I feel my statistical technique can be defended as a legitimate way to classify JFK books as to their theories. Their theories are a function of their list of suspects.

    Let me repeat that---THE THEORY OF A BOOK ON THE JFK ASSASSINATION IS A FUNCTION OF THE PERSONS AND SUSPECTS THEY CITE IN THE BOOK. I don't see how anybody who lays claim to expertise in statistics can question that!

    James Lateer

  5. Default

    James -

    Since the folks who lambaste the work of JVB only level criticisms such as "lies" etc.
    I'm between re-installations of my Mac OS but since there's an interest, I'll excerpt some of Walt Brown's commentary on JVB in the coming weeks. There's plenty of it to pick from.

    Obviously, if two books quoted the same list of names in the JFK case, there is no conflict over whether those people would be either suspects or witnesses.
    Let me address that briefly. Jim Garrison, Allen Dulles, Sylvia Odio and James Angleton might occur in the index of two different books.

    The first book says Garrison was a well-intentioned investigator who was on to something, Dulles was a CIA/deep-state figure determined to cover up the truth, Odio a witness who saw something of interest, and Angleton a shady character who may have been involved in the plot.

    The second book says Garrison was a crank who was after publicity for re-election, Dulles a respectable fellow who did his best to investigate the murder of the President, Odio a nonentity named by conspiracy theorists whose story led nowhere once investigated, and Angleton a brave man who fearlessly fought the communist infiltration of America.

    Both arguments could lead to an equivalent index listing with all the respective names mentioned the same number of times in the volume, but with the thesis of the respective books at polar opposites from one another.

    How is this not blindingly obvious to you?

    Her critics claim that her unique list of suspects is invalid, yet they don't have any unique list themselves.
    Do we need to have a 'unique list' to assess another written work as rubbish?

    In other words, they claim that she is a liar, but they don't claim to have the truth themselves.
    I think every anti-Warren Commission volume from ACCESSORIES AFTER THE FACT onwards has done exactly this.

    I feel my statistical technique can be defended as a legitimate way to classify JFK books as to their theories.
    I think just reading the actual book is a good way to find out what theory the author is pushing. You've mentioned that you did this with a lot of JFK volumes. That's commendable - I don't think touting the index as a key to what the author is arguing is a step forward though.

  6. #6

    Default

    Let's take her very first report of meeting LHO. In the post office. And suddenly speaking Russia to the other. Now who on earth does this EVER?

    Her book is an interesting read. I did believe her back in 04 but the more I read and learned the more her story did not add up. Her need to interject herself into every aspect of this case is also a big red flag for me.

  7. #7

    Default JFK Books and Assassination Theory-Statistics

    Mr. Thorne and others:

    Your example of a book mentioning Sylvia Odio, Angleton, Garrison, Dulles may be accurate. But I think you can see that once you get beyond four or five names, it's unlikely that an author mentions names at random. And in my work, I used the top 100 (plus or minus) names cited. In practice, I had to cut off at, say, 80 names, or 110 names, etc. You have to take every name cited 5 times, or 6 times, etc. It never comes out to exactly 100.

    In a generic history book about the JFK administration, your argument may apply. But in books about the JFK assassination, authors all mention names for the same reason--to list persons who were either suspects, or were somehow related to the act of the assassination. It's not likely that an author would list 100 names at random. As you can see from the matrix below, even the names mentioned by the Warren Commission fit a pattern. And you can also see how certain authors have limited themselves to analyzing Warren Commission suspects.

    In practice, in doing the analysis on 30 books, there are very high correlations of names and frequency of citations between books which advocate the same theories. Just look at my matrix of correlations/factors and you will see what I mean.

    I listed a few books on the Minutemen, John Birch Society and Southern Politicians to see if they correlated to the information in any JFK books which might blame right-wing groups. Also, I had a hard time knowing which right-wing groups any individual might belong to, i.e. John Birch Society, Minutemen, etc.

    31% 9% 6% 5% 4% 4% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3% 2%
    warren garrison lbj-hoover dallas res cubans uk-jews mossad
    castro-mafia jbs southpols mil-complex solidarist authopsy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
    RUSHJUD 0.87 0.05 0.02 0.03 0.10 0.01 0.04 0.01 0.04 0.02 0.01 0.07 0.12
    MEAGHER 0.81 0.25 0.23 0.00 0.03 0.01 0.09 0.04 0.08 0.24 0.02 0.15 0.01
    WARRENC 0.71 0.36 0.23 0.02 0.04 0.01 0.11 0.02 0.07 0.33 0.04 0.13 0.06
    BLAKEY 0.68 0.43 0.19 0.01 0.24 0.00 0.05 0.03 0.11 0.08 0.09 0.01 0.26
    PDSCOTT 0.62 0.37 0.19 0.04 0.41 0.01 0.05 0.03 0.14 0.06 0.21 0.00 0.15
    HERITAGE 0.56 0.36 0.54 0.02 0.08 0.01 0.02 0.08 0.22 0.17 0.01 0.14 0.01
    CASTRO 0.18 0.78 0.08 0.03 0.15 0.03 0.08 0.14 0.04 0.22 0.04 0.08 0.02
    KAISER 0.29 0.78 0.15 0.03 0.16 0.01 0.03 0.03 0.15 0.07 0.08 0.01 0.20
    TMWKTM 0.19 0.60 0.24 0.03 0.14 0.01 0.18 0.04 0.16 0.14 0.08 0.03 0.13
    DOUGLASS 0.37 0.56 0.32 0.04 0.11 0.01 0.02 0.28 0.26 0.08 0.03 0.11 0.06
    BTREASON 0.37 0.53 0.31 0.04 0.43 0.01 0.17 0.11 0.25 0.03 0.06 0.12 0.12
    TRAILASS 0.23 0.18 0.85 0.03 0.06 0.02 0.02 0.05 0.12 0.12 0.20 0.07 0.06
    MELLEN 0.13 0.26 0.78 0.02 0.11 0.02 0.05 0.04 0.10 0.06 0.25 0.02 0.10
    MENLEE 0.20 0.48 0.51 0.00 0.07 0.03 0.08 0.10 0.15 0.17 0.18 0.02 0.10
    WALKER 0.22 0.03 0.46 0.34 0.16 0.25 0.38 0.09 0.08 0.10 0.03 0.14 0.11
    JBSBIG 0.00 0.02 0.01 0.93 0.01 0.00 0.01 0.08 0.00 0.02 0.01 0.02 0.02
    EXTREMIS 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.90 0.06 0.03 0.09 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.06
    MENRIGHT 0.01 0.05 0.02 0.81 0.00 0.07 0.23 0.05 0.02 0.00 0.03 0.02 0.02
    LBJMASTE 0.05 0.18 0.07 0.01 0.88 0.04 0.08 0.14 0.05 0.05 0.01 0.08 0.06
    HOOVER 0.37 0.24 0.11 0.04 0.79 0.03 0.08 0.05 0.00 0.00 0.16 0.03 0.06
    CITZCNCL 0.05 0.05 0.05 0.02 0.12 0.86 0.02 0.07 0.06 0.09 0.11 0.03 0.15
    GOTHICPO 0.10 0.04 0.05 0.08 0.23 0.76 0.02 0.12 0.09 0.12 0.16 0.03 0.18
    DAL1963 0.13 0.15 0.04 0.06 0.11 0.00 0.90 0.04 0.03 0.07 0.02 0.05 0.00
    PROUTY 0.06 0.09 0.02 0.05 0.13 0.01 0.01 0.93 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.03 0.02
    HEPBURN 0.05 0.35 0.05 0.17 0.34 0.12 0.37 0.43 0.08 0.01 0.14 0.13 0.19
    FONZI 0.12 0.19 0.13 0.00 0.06 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.88 0.09 0.05 0.03 0.11
    RINELLA 0.24 0.23 0.08 0.00 0.03 0.00 0.06 0.01 0.09 0.85 0.07 0.01 0.04
    EIR 0.04 0.04 0.28 0.03 0.11 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.06 0.06 0.87 0.01 0.09
    MDEALEY 0.24 0.07 0.07 0.01 0.11 0.01 0.04 0.01 0.03 0.00 0.01 0.93 0.04
    FINALJUD 0.23 0.24 0.18 0.02 0.14 0.01 0.03 0.05 0.13 0.04 0.11 0.05 0.82


    The parties blamed are across the top. The shortened names of books/authors are at left. The percentages on the top is the percentage of variance explained by the books with high numbers in the particular column. You can see that the Warren Commission suspects account for 31% of the variance. My interpretation of that percentage is that 31% of the total evidence and 31% of the discussion written by authors is just stuff in the focus of the Warren Commission. Also, note the high correlation between the Col Prouty book and James Hepburn. (MDEALEY is "Murder in Dealey Plaza").

    James Lateer

  8. Default

    But in books about the JFK assassination, authors all mention names for the same reason--to list persons who were either suspects, or were somehow related to the act of the assassination.
    James, thanks for your response. Bugliosi's RECLAIMING HISTORY mentions many figures from typical assassination literature. It does not view them as suspects, or as related to the assassination. Rather, it discusses how conspiracy theorists viewed those figures as suspects, and felt they were related to the assassination, and how the claims of conspiracy about those figures fall apart when viewed through the prism of Bugliosi's fine intellect. A person examining the index of Bugliosi's book might view it as the greatest assassination volume of all time simply from the broad number of entries cited, yet they would be off target in thinking so.

    I can feel we're going around in circles so I'll finish with the comment that I don't view the number of entries in JVB's index as a decent measure of how good her book is. If you feel indexes are a good way to compare the quality of assassination volumes, fine.

  9. Default

    Your approach is based on a number of questionable assumptions:


    1. Each author has independent evidence for each name cited and aren't just repeating what others have written.
    2. The information each author has regarding each name mentioned is accurate and unbiased.
    3. The identities of all of the major suspects are known.
    4. A significant majority of the authors are in agreement about the guilt or innocence of the persons mentioned.


    I'm sure every book on the case mentions Lee Harvey Oswald. However, the WC defenders cite him as not only a suspect but the only suspect. On the flip side, just about every book supporting a conspiracy cites LHO as a patsy. What is the value of this information? We can't really conclude anything about LHO's involvement or guilt merely from the number of times he's cited in books. Obviously most authors have an agenda and only some are supported by the actual facts of the case since the guy is either guilty or he's not (he's not!).

    Regarding suspects like the Mob, Mossad, LBJ what we really have is speculation rather than hard evidence irrespective of how many authors have decided to mention these people or entities as suspects. So I don't really see any value in calculating statistics on the number of citations for this group.

    The only thing that actually matters is hard evidence. Citations in books may or may not have some degree of correlation with the identities of the actual suspects but without an evaluation of the quality of the evidence the author is relying on it seems like a rather shaky basis for determining the guilty parties.

  10. #10

    Default JFK Books and Assassination Theory

    In my experience working with accounting information, you first run the numbers and the numbers tell their own story, i.e. reveal information that you don't know before you run the numbers.

    I am amazed that so many people this website think that you start with your own pet theory and then try to prove it through arranging evidence. As for my own theory, it did not emerge in my mind until I had read at least 100 out of the 150 or so book I read preparing for my own publication.

    My statistical factor analysis was not done to prove which book was accurate or had the correct theory. Rather, it was done purely to see what factors would appear by using the books as the variable.

    (It is also possible to flip the matrix and use individual people as the variable, which I also did. Using individuals actually did tend to identify certain individual suspects).

    My main take-way is that some books are loaded or correlated on as many as four factors. Caufield, Prouty and Hepburn are mostly in that category. The merely tells me that those authors went way beyond just looking at Warren Commission evidence or simplistically blamed one group or faction.

    THINK ABOUT THAT! What if we (in the US) had a Bureau of Political Assassination just before 1963? And then assume that the US Bureau of Assassinations carried out the Kennedy murder. That were the case, then you would have a book with a list of names which would be the employees of that Assassination Bureau. Ditto if the JFK murder were carried by the Italian Mafia and only the Italian Mafia. Then the names in the book would only be names of members of the Italian Mafia. Outside of the books oriented only to the Warren Commission evidence, there is no consensus in the total book information about the guilt of ANY ONE GROUP OR ORGANIZATION. And even the Warren Commission investigated people from several organizitions, such as Dallas Solidarists, Dallas Police, FPCC, etc.

    But the names in almost all of the books cut across a gamut of organizations. That would include such as groups as the Mafia, Cubans, FBI (Hoover), world leaders, etc. So, to me, it's very very unlikely that a book which is limited to blaming the only CIA, Military Intelligence, Southern Segregationists, etc. has gotten the right picture.

    Beyond that, LET THE READER DECIDE what the factors mean and what the groupings of the various books together signify. That is the purpose of the exercise. I don't pretend to have all the answers.

    James Lateer

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