Thursday, November 22, 2007

Max Holland's Weird "Science"

Max Holland is at it again, trying to "solve" the Kennedy assassination and "prove" that Oswald was the only actor in that drama. But to do so, he literally perverts all scientific technique.

When conducting an investigation, I think we can all agree on the following:

You find a conclusion that fits the facts.
You don't change the facts to fit the conclusion.


But what Max Holland does in the New York Times today is such a perversion of scientific method, I have to call it out.

Over the years, one of the many ways in which the lone nut scenario in the JFK assassination falls apart is this: If Oswald only had three shots, how could he make them in the time allotted by the Zapruder film? All credible experts on this matter have conceded, he can't.

Now, a scientist would say, if the only scenario that would make Oswald the lone assassin doesn't work, scientifically, than it had to be a conspiracy.

Max Holland has a different method, one which the Bush Administration seems to live daily: If the facts don't fit the desired conclusion, alter the facts. This is exactly what Holland does in his column today, co-written with Johann Rush:

If one discards the notion that Zapruder recorded the shooting sequence in full, it has the virtue of solving several puzzles that have consistently defied explanation. The most exasperating one is how did Oswald, who was able to hit President Kennedy in his upper back at a distance of around 190 feet, and then in the head at a distance of 265 feet, manage to miss so badly on the first and closest shot?

A first shot earlier than anyone has ever posited gives a plausible answer.
Incredible. The reason no one has posited a first shot earlier is because there's never been any evidence to support that!

So who does Holland turn to to support the insupportable?

Amos Euins.

I have a decent memory of all that I've read over the years, and as soon as I saw Euins referenced, I started laughing. Evidently Holland didn't bother to read Euins testimony, or was praying no one else had, because Euins is not the witness he wants to highlight.

Euins heard FOUR shots, which means there was a conspiracy. And Euins saw a man with a big white bald spot fire a gun, which means it wasn't Oswald on the sixth floor!

Now - at this point, you have three options, only one of which is useful. You can believe Holland. You can believe me. Or you can actually go look at the data yourself. I highly recommend you always choose option three. Don't just believe. Find out. On any topic.

Because most of you don't have access to the Warren Commission hearing evidence, I've summarized the key points here. You can check this out by going to a library and double checking this for yourself. But here is what Euins had to say. Interestingly, the man questioning Euins, who took his testimony re a fourth shot, was none other than Arlen Specter, the current Senator from Pennsylvania, and the man who ultimately gave the world the "magic bullet" scenario in which, like Holland, Specter simply remade the facts in the image of the conclusion he wanted.

Here are the relevant bits, from Euins testimony, WCH Vol 2, pp. 204-205:

Euins: …I seen this pipe thing sticking out the window…I could see his hand, and I could see his other hand on the trigger, and one hand was on the barrel thing.

… After he shot the first two times, I was just standing back here. And then after he shot again, he pulled the gun back in the window …

…I seen a bald spot on this man’s head, trying to look out the window. He had a bald spot on his head. I was looking at the bald spot. I could see his hand, you know the rifle laying across in his hand. …

Specter: The question I have for you now is where you were when he fired on that fourth time.

Euins: I was still behind point B [Euins identified on a map where he was at the time of each shot].

Specter: You were still at point B when he fired the fourth time?

Euins: Yes, sir. Then he pulled the gun back in the window.

Specter: Did you see him pull the gun back in the window after the fourth shot?

Euins: Yes; he just come back like this.
On page 207, Specter asks for more description of the man. Euins can’t say if he was black or white, could not tell what clothes he was wearing. Couldn’t tell if he was slender or fat. This confuses Specter. From page 208:

Specter: …Let me ask you about a couple of specific things here, Amos. In the statement [to the Sheriff’s department] you say here that he was a white man. …

Euins: No, sir; I told the man I could see a white spot on his head, but I didn’t actually say it was a white man. I said I couldn’t tell.


And hilariously, because Holland depends on Euins for the first shot, Euins didn’t even SEE the first shot, and just assumed it came from the same place. From page 209:

Specter: Amos, when you heard the first shot, did you have any reaction or impression as to where the noise was coming from at the exact time?

Euins: No, sir; not at the exact time. You know, because everybody else started looking around. [I haven’t checked the frames, but I’ve never heard anyone credibly posit a shot at the frame Max posits. I suspect people are NOT looking around at this time.] So I just started looking around, thinking it was a backfire, just like everyone else.

Specter: Did you look up towards that window before the second shot, or just when the second shot occurred?

Euins: I think—just a little before, because as soon as I did, I looked up at it—pow.

Specter: You heard a pow?

Euins: Yes, sir.

Specter: Now, as you were watching and heard, did you have the impression that the noise you heard was coming from that rifle [on the sixth floor]?

Euins: No, sir; I didn’t, because I wasn’t thinking of the rifle at first—you know, because it looked like a pipe at first.

Specter: When you say the second—when you heard the second shot, when you say you were looking at the rifle, did you have the feeling that the noise came from the rifle when you heard the second shot, when you were looking at it?

Euins: No, sir; I did not.

Specter: Well, did you have any impression at all about where the noise was coming from?

Euins: No, sir; not on the first shot.

Specter: How about the second shot?

Euins: Yes, sir.

Specter: Where did you think the noise was coming from on the second shot?

Euins: I seen him shoot on the second shot.

Specter: So you thought the noise was coming from the rifle on the second shot?

Euins: Yes, sir.
So Euins is not a good witness for when or from where the first shot was fired. He saw a man too bald to be Oswald. And ultimately, he heard enough shots to verify a conspiracy.

Great witness for the first shot, Max, eh?

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post, Lisa. "Great witness for the first shot, Max, eh?"

I also wonder what James Teague would say about Holland's hilarious fiction?

From the Holland article: "About 1.4 seconds before Zapruder restarted filming, a horizontal traffic mast extending over Elm Street temporarily obscured Oswald’s view of his target. That mast was never examined during any of the official investigations. Yet if this mast deflected the first shot, that would surely explain why the bullet missed not only the president, but the whole limousine."

Let me get this straight. The first bullet deflected off the mast and then bounced down Elm Street and hit James Teague? Or has Teague been conveniently edited out?

4:47 PM  
Blogger Real History Lisa said...

Btw - don't miss Gary Aguilar's comments on Max Holland. He's been following him for years. See Max Holland Rescues the Warren Commission and the Nation.

Also - I've written about Max before on this blog.

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Great job Lisa, I knew you'd come through!

When I read Holland's piece in the Times on Thursday it depressed me as it was the most prominent mention of the assassination I encountered in my media travels on the anniversary of the event. No TV station was showing JFK or any documentaries on the Kennedy presidency or assassination at all

What a sad commentary on the fourth estate (OK, I know I'm naive for expecting more) that this critical event has been relegated to the status of historical trivia and, when it is mentioned only "defenders of the faith" (so to speak) are permitted a voice.

I asked my school-age niece if she had been taught anything about President Kennedy in school. It seems she hasn't but they were told something about Lincoln so maybe in a future grade ... I wonder if they point out that Lincoln WAS assassinated as the result of a conspiracy!

Anyway, thanks for that delicious smackdown of Holland and the Grey Lady. Unfortunately, pointing out the absurdity of the Lone Nut theory has become a game of whack-a-mole lately. I hope you don't get carpal tunnel syndrome!

6:30 PM  
Blogger Real History Lisa said...

Thanks, Phil!

It's funny you should use the Whack-a-mole analogy, as I've used that myself for years. And the term "mole" in this regard is probably more appropriate than we know.

This year was easy in that there were few articles to rebut. But next year, there will be a landslide, because it's a major anniversary (45th next year).

I was only sad to have to use up a couple of hours of my Thanksgiving morning to do battle with Max Holland yet again. Search his name on this blog to see other rebuttals to him here.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Max Holland (born 1950, in Providence, Rhode Island) is a journalist, author, and the editor of Washington Decoded, an online newsletter from the nation's capital that began publishing March 11, 2007. He is currently a contributing editor to The Nation and The Wilson Quarterly, and sits on the editorial advisory board of the International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence ( Hmmm.... http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/tf/08850607.html )


As of 2004 he had had more than two decades of journalism experience; his articles have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, American Heritage, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun, Studies in Intelligence, the Journal of Cold War Studies, Reviews in American History, and online at History News Network.

Holland's published books include: The Kennedy Assassination Tapes: The White House Conversations of Lyndon B. Johnson Regarding the Assassination, the Warren Commission, and the Aftermath (Knopf, 2004); The CEO Goes to Washington: Negotiating the Halls of Power (Whittle Direct Books, 1994); and When the Machine Stopped: A Cautionary Tale from Industrial America (Harvard Business School Press, 1989).

In 2001, Holland won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, bestowed jointly by Harvard University's Nieman Foundation and the Columbia University School of Journalism, for a forthcoming narrative history of the Warren Commission, to be published by Alfred A. Knopf. That same year he won a Studies in Intelligence Award from the Central Intelligence Agency, the first writer working outside the U.S. government to be so recognized. Mr. Holland lives in Washington, DC. ----- Continue, Wikipedia

4:05 AM  
Blogger Ralph Cinque said...

We now have hard proof of subterfuge in the handling of JFK assassination evidence.

Go to JFK Lancer and serach for a thread entitled "Two nearly identical images of the exact same scene". You will see that they staged the passing of Billy Lovelady at the Dallas police station twice, using two different men. The two nearly identical images are there, but the subtle differences prove that there was a second take. Here is the link:

http://www.jfklancerforum.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=3&topic_id=95992&mesg_id=95992&page=

8:16 AM  

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