Thursday, April 21, 2022

Response to Kelly re: "HSCA Evidence of Conspiracy"

Researcher Bill Kelly recently published a blog article that attempts to debunk the “Lone Nut factoid” that “the only evidence of conspiracy that the HSCA came up with was the acoustical study, that has since been debunked.” Apparently because he is unhappy with my eBook, The Bishop Hoax, Kelly chose to focus his wrath on me.

Kelly writes:

Parnell tried to contest [Brian] Bennder’s (sic) mentioning the fact that the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) conclusion that there was probably a conspiracy in the assassination of President Kennedy, saying the only evidence of conspiracy that the HSCA came up with was the acoustical study, that has since been debunked.

The problem is, I never said this. What I did say is that the conclusion by the HSCA of a probable conspiracy was based primarily on the now debunked acoustic evidence.

The first draft of the HSCA report dated December 13, 1978, states:

The committee finds that the available scientific evidence is insufficient to find that there was a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy.

In his dissenting view to the final HSCA report (HSCA, 495), Robert W. Edgar noted:

Up to that moment in the life of the committee, we were prepared to go to the American people with that conclusion. Only after the report of Mark R. Weiss and Ernest Aschkenasy, in the 11th hour of our investigation, was the majority persuaded to vote for two gunman and a conspiracy. I respectfully dissented.

Indeed, the HSCA report listed four factors that led to the conspiracy conclusion:

(1) Since the Warren Commission's and FBI's investigation into the possibility of a conspiracy was seriously flawed, their failure to develop evidence of a conspiracy could not be given independent weight.
(2) The Warren Commission was, in fact, incorrect in concluding that Oswald and Ruby had no significant associations, and therefore its finding of no conspiracy was not reliable.
(3) While it cannot be inferred from the significant associations of Oswald and Ruby that any of the major groups examined by the committee were involved in the assassination, a more limited conspiracy could not be ruled out.
(4) There was a high probability that a second gunman, in fact, fired at the President. At the same time, the committee candidly stated, in expressing it finding of conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination, that it was "unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.

But it is obvious that the first three factors listed by the committee were known to them at the time of the first draft and were not persuasive enough to lead to a finding of conspiracy. As noted by Edgar, it was only the “high probability” of a second gunman by way of the acoustics evidence that caused the committee to change its mind.

Kelly also notes that:

And the acoustical echo analysis, though often disputed, has never been debunked because the only way to prove or disprove a scientific study is to repeat it, and the HSCA acoustical echo analysis has never been duplicated.

Of course, this is nonsense. All that is needed is to show that the methodology of the original acoustics study was flawed and this has been done again and again. To date, the best summary of the problems with the acoustics data comes from Nicholas Nalli in his article The Ghost of the Grassy Knoll Gunman. Nalli draws on the work of noted acoustics critics including Dale Myers, Michael O’Dell and Steve Barber.

In addition to his misrepresentation of my position on the HSCA conspiracy findings, I have a few other problems with Kelly’s piece. He writes:

Parnell, one of the numerous die hard lone nutters who still try to contend the President was killed by a deranged loner for no apparent reason …

Again, I have never said that Oswald killed JFK for “no apparent reason.” In fact, I know of no “lone nutter” who has stated this. The Warren Commission did write that they “could not make any definitive determination of Oswald's motives.” Since Oswald was dead, this seems very reasonable. But they did, in fact, list several “factors” which “might have influenced his decision to assassinate President Kennedy.” They were:

  • His inability to enter into meaningful relationships with people, and a continuous pattern of rejecting his environment favor of new surrounding;
  • His urge to try to find a place in history and despair at times over failures in his various undertakings;
  • His capacity for violence as evidenced by his attempt to kill General Walker;
  • His avowed commitment to Marxism and communism, as he understood the terms and developed his own interpretation of them; this was expressed by his antagonism toward the United States, by his defection to the Soviet Union, by his failure to be reconciled with life in the United States even after his disenchantment with the Soviet Union, and by his efforts, though frustrated, to go to Cuba.

My own vote goes to “a place in history,” although any or all of these could be correct.

Back to Kelly as he turns his ire toward my book:

And a point that I don’t expect Parnell to address in his mythical interpretation of Antonio Veciana’s story, is how David Atlee Phillips, as Maurce (sic) Bishop, took Veciana to an office in the Pan Am Bank building in Miami in order to sign a security oath and begin his lessons in psychological warfare.

But Kelly has his Veciana stories mixed up, which is understandable considering their nonsensical nature. The training Veciana supposedly received was in Havana not in Miami. What was ostensibly at the Pan American building was a Knights of Columbus-like “commitment ceremony.” But the CIA has no such ceremony although they do have real agency employees sign a secrecy oath. But an examination of Veciana’s actual CIA paperwork created when he was an (unused) asset of sorts for a short period starting in 1961 shows no such oath and no evidence of CIA employment.

Finally, Kelly writes:

[Lopez and Hardway] also went to Mexico and wrote the long censored Lopez Report, that details many of the conspiracy leads that Parnell won’t even recognize. Both Lopez and Hardaway, to this day, are dedicated and proud conspiracy theorists.

Dan Hardway may or may not be a “dedicated and proud” conspiracy theorist. But he definitely is the person who became so skeptical of Veciana’s claims that he asked John Newman to look into them. Newman found that both the 1959 and 1960 stories of how Veciana met Bishop are false if you believe Bishop was David Phillips. Summing up, Kelly promises to “get to” my book with a rebuttal. That is fine with me, but I hope in the future he will not mischaracterize my views as he has done in this latest blog article.

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