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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Wed 21 Aug 2019, 10:09 pm
Rather than derail the thread in which the topic of Oswald's paraffin casts originally appeared (http://reopenkennedycase.forumotion.net/t1875p775-fair-play-for-brian-doyle#29956), I thought I'd start a new one. My current thinking (subject to revision, of course) is as follows. If I've got anything wrong, or if anyone can locate either of the two FBI memos I refer to, please let me know.

Limitations of the Chemical Test

The chemical test, in which diphenylamine or diphenylbenzedine is applied to the paraffin casts to react with nitrates from gunpowder residue, is pretty much worthless. The test can produce false positives, since it cannot differentiate between nitrates from gunpowder and nitrates from sources other than gunpowder. The test can also produce false negatives if: (a) the test is carried out after the subject has carefully washed his hands or face, or (b) the test is carried out more than a few hours after the subject has fired a gun, or (c) the subject fired a rifle sufficiently well-made that no measurable quantity of nitrates was able to reach the subject's skin.

Results of the Chemical Test

The chemical test showed that the casts of Oswald's hands contained nitrates. This fact allows the possibility, but does not prove, that he had fired a gun of some sort, or that he had handled books. The chemical test also showed that the cast of Oswald's right cheek did not contain nitrates. This fact allows the possibility, but does not prove, that he did not fire a rifle.

Purpose of the Chemical Test

The practical purpose of the test is as Greg suggested in the other thread. In general, chemical tests on paraffin casts are performed in order to pressure the suspect into confessing. In this case, it had the bonus of allowing Henry Wade to mislead the press by falsely claiming that the test showed that Oswald had fired a gun. Some of the press took the hint and quickly transformed Wade's word, "gun", into "rifle". As Greg pointed out, Oswald had been fingerprinted before having the paraffin casts applied, no doubt to make sure that his hands at least would turn up positive.

Neutron Activation Analysis

The neutron activation analysis of the paraffin casts, on the other hand (pardon the pun), does produce worthwhile results. NAA is able to detect minuscule quantities of barium and antimony, which are ejected from the primer of a cartridge when a gun is fired. Many common substances contain barium or antimony, or both, although not always in a form which would allow them to adhere to someone's skin, as the gunshot residue would do. A list of the everyday items which contain both barium and antimony, provided by the FBI, includes one item which Oswald's hands had repeatedly come into contact with that morning: "printed paper and cloth, paint, storage batteries, rubber and matches, pyrotechnics and possibly other items" (Gallagher Exhibit no.1: WC Hearings, vol.20, p.1: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=1137#relPageId=21).

Do Rifles Emit Detectable Residues?

Courtland Cunningham of the FBI testified to the Warren Commission that rifles in general do not emit gunpowder residues containing nitrates which attach themselves to the shooter's face, and that the FBI had carried out test firings of the sixth-floor rifle which resulted in no evidence of nitrates being discovered on the shooters' cheeks by the chemical test (WC Hearings, vol.3, pp.492-4: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=39#relPageId=500). According to Vincent Guinn of the General Dynamics Corporation, however, a poorly constructed rifle, such as the sixth-floor weapon, will emit gunshot residues containing barium and antimony which will attach themselves to a shooter's face, and these residues will be detected by NAA.

Guinn, independently of the FBI and the Warren Commission, had set up a controlled NAA test which demonstrated that firing that type of rifle would indeed deposit measurable amounts of barium and antimony on the shooter's face. An FBI internal memo from R.A. Jevons to Conrad on 27 February 1964 reported that Guinn told John Gallagher of the FBI that "triple firing of this rifle will leave unambiguous positive tests every time on the paraffin casts. ... Further be advised that the tests to date indicate that powder residues are deposited on both cheeks of the shooter after the rifle is fired either one time or three times."

I haven't been able to check this, as neither the full text nor a facsimile of the memo appear to be available online. I got the text from Pat Speer's site (http://www.patspeer.com/chapter4e%3Acastsofcontention; it's a long page, so you'll have to do a bit of CTRL+F to find the passage). This is presumably the memo which Gerald McKnight refers to on p.422 n.82 of Breach of Trust as having no classification number. It's an important document. Speer also cites another memo from Jevons to Conrad, dated 10 March 1964, which repeats much of the earier memo. This one doesn't seem to exist online either. Guinn apparently repeated his claim on several other occasions, including in an article, 'Recent Developments in the Application of Neutron Activation Analysis Techniques to Forensic Problems,' Journal of the Forensic Science Society, vol.4 no.4 (October 1964), pp.184-191 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0015736864701983 - yours for just US$55.20): "firing of this type of rifle deposited quite measurable amounts of Ba (Barium) and Sb (Antimony) on both hands and both cheeks of the firers." That's according to another article by Speer (https://www.reclaiminghistory.org/speer_2007-07-24.htm). Again, I haven't checked the wording for myself (not that I'm mean, but I'm not paying $55 just to check a reference). I think it's fair to assume (a) that Speer and McKnight quoted the various texts accurately, (b) that Guinn reported the results of his tests accurately, and (c) that NAA therefore has the capacity to exculpate someone accused of firing a rifle, if it fails to show that a paraffin cast of the shooter's cheek contains significant quantities of barium and antimony.

Results of NAA

If Oswald had fired the sixth-floor rifle three times, residues must have been deposited on his right cheek which, although they might not be detected by the chemical test, would certainly be detected ("unambiguous positive tests every time") by neutron activation analysis. Gallagher's carefully rehearsed questioning by Norman Redlich (WC Hearings, vol.15, p.751: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=51#relPageId=761), a performance intended to place on the record the least damaging spin on the NAA results, revealed three interesting facts about the NAA of the cast of Oswald's cheek:

1 - The cast contained quantities of barium and antimony that were so small as to be insignificant, too small to have come from the firing of a rifle.

2 - There was barium and antimony not only on the inside of the cast, which had touched Oswald's skin, but also on the outside, which had not. The cast had been contaminated, presumably either by careless handling of the casts of Oswald's hands or by coming into contact with some everyday object or substance which contained barium and antimony. The existence of contamination on the outside of the cast implied that at least some, and perhaps all, of the barium and antimony on the inside was the result of the same contamination.

3 - There was noticeably more barium on the outside than on the inside. In other words, the amount of known contamination on the cast exceeded the amount of barium and antimony that could have come from other sources.

Even including the known contamination, there was much less barium and antimony on the cast than would have been produced by the firing of a rifle. It is not unreasonable to conclude that all of the barium and antimony on the inside of the cast was the result of contamination, and that none of it came from the firing of a rifle.

As for the casts of Oswald's hands, Gallagher's interpretation was limited to: "the barium and antimony in these residues are present in amounts greater than found on the hands of an individual who has not recently fired or handled a recently fired weapon" (WC Hearings, vol.15, p.748: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=51#relPageId=758). To put it another way, there was more barium and antimony than you would expect to find on the hands of someone who had not come into contact with everyday objects which contain barium and antimony, such as books, or who had not recently been fingerprinted, but not enough to be able to say with confidence that the source was gunshot residues. 

Neutron activation analysis makes it almost certain that Oswald had not fired a rifle on the day of the assassination, and allows the possibility that he had not fired a revolver either.
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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Thu 22 Aug 2019, 11:30 am
Jeremy Bojczuk wrote:Rather than derail the thread in which the topic of Oswald's paraffin casts originally appeared (http://reopenkennedycase.forumotion.net/t1875p775-fair-play-for-brian-doyle#29956), I thought I'd start a new one. My current thinking (subject to revision, of course) is as follows. If I've got anything wrong, or if anyone can locate either of the two FBI memos I refer to, please let me know.

Limitations of the Chemical Test

The chemical test, in which diphenylamine or diphenylbenzedine is applied to the paraffin casts to react with nitrates from gunpowder residue, is pretty much worthless. The test can produce false positives, since it cannot differentiate between nitrates from gunpowder and nitrates from sources other than gunpowder. The test can also produce false negatives if: (a) the test is carried out after the subject has carefully washed his hands or face, or (b) the test is carried out more than a few hours after the subject has fired a gun, or (c) the subject fired a rifle sufficiently well-made that no measurable quantity of nitrates was able to reach the subject's skin.

Results of the Chemical Test

The chemical test showed that the casts of Oswald's hands contained nitrates. This fact allows the possibility, but does not prove, that he had fired a gun of some sort, or that he had handled books. The chemical test also showed that the cast of Oswald's right cheek did not contain nitrates. This fact allows the possibility, but does not prove, that he did not fire a rifle.

Purpose of the Chemical Test

The practical purpose of the test is as Greg suggested in the other thread. In general, chemical tests on paraffin casts are performed in order to pressure the suspect into confessing. In this case, it had the bonus of allowing Henry Wade to mislead the press by falsely claiming that the test showed that Oswald had fired a gun. Some of the press took the hint and quickly transformed Wade's word, "gun", into "rifle". As Greg pointed out, Oswald had been fingerprinted before having the paraffin casts applied, no doubt to make sure that his hands at least would turn up positive.

Neutron Activation Analysis

The neutron activation analysis of the paraffin casts, on the other hand (pardon the pun), does produce worthwhile results. NAA is able to detect minuscule quantities of barium and antimony, which are ejected from the primer of a cartridge when a gun is fired. Many common substances contain barium or antimony, or both, although not always in a form which would allow them to adhere to someone's skin, as the gunshot residue would do. A list of the everyday items which contain both barium and antimony, provided by the FBI, includes one item which Oswald's hands had repeatedly come into contact with that morning: "printed paper and cloth, paint, storage batteries, rubber and matches, pyrotechnics and possibly other items" (Gallagher Exhibit no.1: WC Hearings, vol.20, p.1: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=1137#relPageId=21).

Do Rifles Emit Detectable Residues?

Courtland Cunningham of the FBI testified to the Warren Commission that rifles in general do not emit gunpowder residues containing nitrates which attach themselves to the shooter's face, and that the FBI had carried out test firings of the sixth-floor rifle which resulted in no evidence of nitrates being discovered on the shooters' cheeks by the chemical test (WC Hearings, vol.3, pp.492-4: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=39#relPageId=500). According to Vincent Guinn of the General Dynamics Corporation, however, a poorly constructed rifle, such as the sixth-floor weapon, will emit gunshot residues containing barium and antimony which will attach themselves to a shooter's face, and these residues will be detected by NAA.

Guinn, independently of the FBI and the Warren Commission, had set up a controlled NAA test which demonstrated that firing that type of rifle would indeed deposit measurable amounts of barium and antimony on the shooter's face. An FBI internal memo from R.A. Jevons to Conrad on 27 February 1964 reported that Guinn told John Gallagher of the FBI that "triple firing of this rifle will leave unambiguous positive tests every time on the paraffin casts. ... Further be advised that the tests to date indicate that powder residues are deposited on both cheeks of the shooter after the rifle is fired either one time or three times."

I haven't been able to check this, as neither the full text nor a facsimile of the memo appear to be available online. I got the text from Pat Speer's site (http://www.patspeer.com/chapter4e%3Acastsofcontention; it's a long page, so you'll have to do a bit of CTRL+F to find the passage). This is presumably the memo which Gerald McKnight refers to on p.422 n.82 of Breach of Trust as having no classification number. It's an important document. Speer also cites another memo from Jevons to Conrad, dated 10 March 1964, which repeats much of the earier memo. This one doesn't seem to exist online either. Guinn apparently repeated his claim on several other occasions, including in an article, 'Recent Developments in the Application of Neutron Activation Analysis Techniques to Forensic Problems,' Journal of the Forensic Science Society, vol.4 no.4 (October 1964), pp.184-191 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0015736864701983 - yours for just US$55.20): "firing of this type of rifle deposited quite measurable amounts of Ba (Barium) and Sb (Antimony) on both hands and both cheeks of the firers." That's according to another article by Speer (https://www.reclaiminghistory.org/speer_2007-07-24.htm). Again, I haven't checked the wording for myself (not that I'm mean, but I'm not paying $55 just to check a reference). I think it's fair to assume (a) that Speer and McKnight quoted the various texts accurately, (b) that Guinn reported the results of his tests accurately, and (c) that NAA therefore has the capacity to exculpate someone accused of firing a rifle, if it fails to show that a paraffin cast of the shooter's cheek contains significant quantities of barium and antimony.

Results of NAA

If Oswald had fired the sixth-floor rifle three times, residues must have been deposited on his right cheek which, although they might not be detected by the chemical test, would certainly be detected ("unambiguous positive tests every time") by neutron activation analysis. Gallagher's carefully rehearsed questioning by Norman Redlich (WC Hearings, vol.15, p.751: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=51#relPageId=761), a performance intended to place on the record the least damaging spin on the NAA results, revealed three interesting facts about the NAA of the cast of Oswald's cheek:

1 - The cast contained quantities of barium and antimony that were so small as to be insignificant, too small to have come from the firing of a rifle.

2 - There was barium and antimony not only on the inside of the cast, which had touched Oswald's skin, but also on the outside, which had not. The cast had been contaminated, presumably either by careless handling of the casts of Oswald's hands or by coming into contact with some everyday object or substance which contained barium and antimony. The existence of contamination on the outside of the cast implied that at least some, and perhaps all, of the barium and antimony on the inside was the result of the same contamination.

3 - There was noticeably more barium on the outside than on the inside. In other words, the amount of known contamination on the cast exceeded the amount of barium and antimony that could have come from other sources.

Even including the known contamination, there was much less barium and antimony on the cast than would have been produced by the firing of a rifle. It is not unreasonable to conclude that all of the barium and antimony on the inside of the cast was the result of contamination, and that none of it came from the firing of a rifle.

As for the casts of Oswald's hands, Gallagher's interpretation was limited to: "the barium and antimony in these residues are present in amounts greater than found on the hands of an individual who has not recently fired or handled a recently fired weapon" (WC Hearings, vol.15, p.748: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=51#relPageId=758). To put it another way, there was more barium and antimony than you would expect to find on the hands of someone who had not come into contact with everyday objects which contain barium and antimony, such as books, or who had not recently been fingerprinted, but not enough to be able to say with confidence that the source was gunshot residues. 

Neutron activation analysis makes it almost certain that Oswald had not fired a rifle on the day of the assassination, and allows the possibility that he had not fired a revolver either.
Very good summary, Jeremy.

Where we might disagree is in the idea of false negatives and positives.

That is the line taken by Nutters (McAdams etc) because they know the tests actually exonerate Oswald - so --- attack the tests!

What you say does hold true - if and only if - you hold the tests up as tests for GSR.

But that is not the reality. 

The Paraffin Test on the hands is only a test for nitrates. So if nitrates are found, it is an indication that the person may have fired a handgun. 

Let us assume however, that the person has thoroughly removed all the residue. Does this make a negative test, a false negative? IMO, no... it gave an accurate reading.

Let us assume the nitrates came from some other source/ Does that make it a false positive? Only if you are calling it a test for GSR - but it is not because GSR is made up of other things on top of nitrates. We should therefore stick to what it actually does.

This all begs the question regarding how long nitrates stay on the hands and how easily they wash off.

A search of the web shows this question is evenly split between those who claim it is hard to wash off and stays on for 3 days and those who claim it only stays on or a few hours and so easily washes off, even a bit of sweat will do it.

Here are a couple of sites as examples, highlighting that and other issues:

So the first problem with the GSR technique is that a shooter can fire a gun and immediately rush out of the room, so not getting any GSR on them. But an innocent bystander, coming to investigate the incident anywhere within the next eight minutes, could have lots of GSR landing on them.


The second problem is that of "cross contamination". GSR is like talcum powder, and is easily shaken or washed off the hands of the guilty party. In fact, sweat is enough to wash it off - so it moves around easily. GSR is found in most American police cars, police stations and investigation rooms. It's incredibly easy for an innocent person to brush up against a contaminated surface and transfer some GSR on to themselves.


The third problem is that it's not just gunshots that generate these tiny spheres of lead, antimony and barium -fireworks and the disc brake pads in cars also have these chemicals. Most car mechanics and auto electricians carry some of these particles on their clothing. However, the temperature and pressure reached in car brake pads is not as high as those reached in fireworks or firearms. So while the particles from brake pads have the same chemicals as GSR (lead, antimony and barium), they have a different shape.


And this leads to the fourth problem with the GSR technique. There are different standards of analysis used around the world. Sometimes the local police regard the presence of barium and antimony (ie, just two of these chemicals) as proof of a gunshot, but sometimes they need the third chemical lead as well to make a positive identification. Sometimes a positive identification needs three of these microscopic particles - and sometimes it needs more, or less. Sometimes laboratories just look for the chemicals, but sometimes they also use an electron microscope to look at the shapes of the particles. So in the USA, the FBI has higher standards than say, the Police in Smallville, USA. In July 2006, in Anoka, Minnesota, Judge Sharon Hall threw out gunshot residue evidence, saying that it lacks scientific backing and has no place in a courtroom.
https://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2007/03/22/1878536.htm



Whereas this site says 

Oswald's Paraffin Casts Nitrat10
Unlike Brian Doyle, I'm no expert, so I don't know which side of the hand washing debate is correct.

In any case, I don't see any opportunity for Oswald to have washed his hands. It is interesting, if true, that police stations are easy place to pick up contamination. 

Let's assume that Dr Karl is correct and the GSR comes off easily but also goes in easily from any source. In that case, all the tests are useless if they come back positive. If they come back negative, it is an indication that they may not have fired a weapon.  In this scenario, you would be looking at all the possible variables to rule them in or out as influencing the result.

Let's assume the other argument is the valid one and GSR can be detected for up to 3 days and does not wash off easily because it gets trapped in the pores of the skin. In this case, a positive test would be an indication that a pistol may have been fired (and a rifle if also found on the cheek). A negative test in this scenario is all but a guarantee that the suspect is innocent, depending on all the variables.

_________________
Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the Great Leap Forward

            Billy Bragg
-----------------------------
 Australians don't mind criminals: It's successful bullshit artists we despise. 
             Lachie Hulme            
-----------------------------
The Cold War ran on bullshit.
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The menu is not the meal” Alan Watts
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool." Brigham Young
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For evil deeds may better than bad words be borne." Spenser
 



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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Fri 23 Aug 2019, 8:01 pm
Greg, you're correct about the false positives and false negatives. I think I was trying too hard to accommodate the nutters' point of view.

A false positive occurs when the sample contains none of the relevant substance from any source, not when there is none of the substance only from one particular source, such as the firing of a gun. A false negative occurs when the sample contains the relevant substance and the test fails to detect that substance, whatever the source.

There is some evidence that the chemical test was incapable of detecting nitrates. The FBI ran an experiment in which one agent fired the sixth-floor rifle three times. The chemical test was done on the casts of each of his hands and his face, and the result in all three cases was negative (WC Hearings, vol.3, p.494: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=39#relPageId=502).

Those of a suspicious disposition could point to the fact that the FBI lab probably would have been under institutional pressure to produce a negative result, and to the fact that the sample size, or at least the sample size that we know about, was the smallest possible. But let's assume that the test was conducted fairly, that no inconvenient evidence was filed away in a drawer, that there were no other factors that might have affected this one sample, and that the result is accurate.

Since, according to Guinn, the sixth-floor rifle was a leaky piece of junk which would certainly have left residues on the FBI agent's cheek ("triple firing of this rifle will leave unambiguous positive tests every time on the paraffin casts"), we can conclude that the chemical test won't always detect any residues given off by the firing of a gun, as opposed to the more sensitive and efficient NAA, which would always detect such residues. It seems to me that the most we can say about the negative result of the chemical test on the cast of Oswald's cheek is that it allows the possibility, but does not prove, that Oswald did not fire a rifle.

As for whether washing the face would remove residues, Gerald McKnight's Breach of Trust includes this passage (pages 422-3, note 85):


The extreme difficulty of washing away "contamination" of handgun and rifle residue is detailed in the following relevant studies: H.R. Lukens et al., "Forensic Neutron Activation Analysis of Bullet-Lead Specimens," Report by Gulf General Atomic, San Diego, California, June 30, 1970, distributed by National Technical Information Service, U.S. Department of Commerce, Springfield, Va.; Ralph T. Overman and Herbert M. Clark, Radioisotope Techniques (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960), 391-392, 394; Department of Energy Study 1128.98, "Guide of Good Practices for Occupational Protection in Plutonium Facilities," 4-28, 4-29; Department of Energy, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, "Health Physics Manual of Good Practices for Uranium Facilities," June 1988, 11-2; Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, "Personnel Decontamination," July 6, 2000, 1-7. I wish to thank Clay Ogilvie, an administrator for the Department of Energy's Emergency Management Program, for directing me to these sources.


I think the balance is tipping against the possibility that washing would remove all traces of residues, not that there's any evidence that Oswald had in fact washed his face. These documents seem to refer to the type and level of residues that NAA can detect, and not necessarily to the residues that the chemical test might be able to detect. Here is the text to which that note applies:


It should be noted that Gallagher did not resort to arguing that Oswald must have washed his face and hands to cast doubt on the reliability of paraffin testing when Redlich deposed him. The reason had to do with the science of neutron activation analysis. NAA is so highly sensitive that it can pick up trace elements such as barium and antimony in parts per billion and trillion. Even if Oswald had used that brief stopover at the rooming house to scrub his skin to remove surface residues, the scientific certainty is that there would still remain enough atoms of barium and antimony deep in his facial pores, especially considering the heavy blowback from this particular type of rifle, to be detectable. Once the hot paraffin is applied to the cheek or hands, the heat will extract any residual nitrates buried in the pores. Short of Oswald spending the afternoon in a Russian steam bath sweating out his pores, the negative results on the paraffin cast of his right cheek argue strongly for his exculpation.


It seems fair to say that washing would not get rid of every trace of incriminating residues, at least not the residues that would certainly be detected by NAA. Oswald did not fire a rifle in the 72 hours before the paraffin casts were applied.
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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sat 24 Aug 2019, 12:03 pm
Jeremy, I believe we are getting there.

If I understand correctly, Cunningham that the test subject had not fired a weapon all day and had just washed his with soap prior to having a positive result on both hands bit not the cheek -, using the chemical (paraffin) test. I will add that it is not stated that he washed his face also. 

Maybe this was the cause of the positive test?
Oswald's Paraffin Casts Soap10
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/07ad/f5c1a323b500041b69259d6663972906d7bd.pdf

As for the negative test after 3 shots... it really depends on it being correct that it is a leaky piece of junk. As with just about everything in this case, you can find people on both sides.

The expert in the vid below claims it is anything but junk, and as far as I can tell, he has no dog in the hunt.  An unbiased opinion (such as this appears to be) is hard to find...

"It helps to determine whether a person fired a gun recently or not. But the test gives false negatives if there was no leakage or if the suspect used gloves or washed the hands thoroughly afterwards. It may also give false positives in the presence of other source of nitrogen compounds like urine, fertilizer etc."
https://blog.agnibho.com/post/forensic-gunshot-injury#types_of_firearms

If there was no leakage from the weapon, there was nothing to find.

I note that it is also claimed that similar test was done a revolver and this too, came back negative. It seems to me they are being cute here. They want to tell us that the rifle was the same and used similar ammo... but all the info we get here is "revolver". Some revolvers also do not leak, and the caiber (as previously shown) can also influence results. 

So once again - bearing in mind that the test really is not for GSR, and bearing in mind the variables that may be present (leakage/no leakage, gloves/no gloves, contamination/no contamination and so on)  I utterly refute the notion that there can be random/unaccountable false positive or false negative results. 

The paraffin test on Oswald's hands showed nitrates from the inkless pad used for the palm-prints. He therefore never fired a handgun. 

Here is where I now do my famous backflip. The negative on the cheek, if caused because of a lack of leakage, leaves the door open that he did fire a rifle. 

However, there is a ton of evidence showing he could not have.
                                                                 


_________________
Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the Great Leap Forward

            Billy Bragg
-----------------------------
 Australians don't mind criminals: It's successful bullshit artists we despise. 
             Lachie Hulme            
-----------------------------
The Cold War ran on bullshit.
              Me

The menu is not the meal” Alan Watts
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool." Brigham Young
"
For evil deeds may better than bad words be borne." Spenser
 



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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sat 24 Aug 2019, 2:29 pm
greg parker wrote:Jeremy, I believe we are getting there.

If I understand correctly, Cunningham that the test subject had not fired a weapon all day and had just washed his with soap prior to having a positive result on both hands bit not the cheek -, using the chemical (paraffin) test. I will add that it is not stated that he washed his face also. 

Maybe this was the cause of the positive test?
Oswald's Paraffin Casts Soap10
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/07ad/f5c1a323b500041b69259d6663972906d7bd.pdf

As for the negative test after 3 shots... it really depends on it being correct that it is a leaky piece of junk. As with just about everything in this case, you can find people on both sides.

The expert in the vid below claims it is anything but junk, and as far as I can tell, he has no dog in the hunt.  An unbiased opinion (such as this appears to be) is hard to find...

"It helps to determine whether a person fired a gun recently or not. But the test gives false negatives if there was no leakage or if the suspect used gloves or washed the hands thoroughly afterwards. It may also give false positives in the presence of other source of nitrogen compounds like urine, fertilizer etc."
https://blog.agnibho.com/post/forensic-gunshot-injury#types_of_firearms

If there was no leakage from the weapon, there was nothing to find.

I note that it is also claimed that similar test was done a revolver and this too, came back negative. It seems to me they are being cute here. They want to tell us that the rifle was the same and used similar ammo... but all the info we get here is "revolver". Some revolvers also do not leak, and the caiber (as previously shown) can also influence results. 

So once again - bearing in mind that the test really is not for GSR, and bearing in mind the variables that may be present (leakage/no leakage, gloves/no gloves, contamination/no contamination and so on)  I utterly refute the notion that there can be random/unaccountable false positive or false negative results. 

The paraffin test on Oswald's hands showed nitrates from the inkless pad used for the palm-prints. He therefore never fired a handgun. 

Here is where I now do my famous backflip. The evidence regarding a rifle is inconclusive. 

However, there is a ton of evidence showing Oswald could not have fired one that day 12:30 from the 6th floor of the TSBD.
                                                                 

edited

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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sat 24 Aug 2019, 7:29 pm
Thanks to uncle Malcolm Blunt.

Oswald's Paraffin Casts Naa_on10

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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sat 24 Aug 2019, 10:35 pm
Thanks Bart, but I'm not sure how helpful that is without the Readers's Digest article and whatever it was based on.

Moreover, it seems like Redlich is suffering Doylesquian confusion. 

Barium and antimony can indeed be found in some products -

From Wiki

Antimony
Antimony is mainly used as the trioxide for flame-proofing compounds, always in combination with halogenated flame retardants except in halogen-containing polymers. The flame retarding effect of antimony trioxide is produced by the formation of halogenated antimony compounds,[56] which react with hydrogen atoms, and probably also with oxygen atoms and OH radicals, thus inhibiting fire.[57] Markets for these flame-retardants include children's clothing, toys, aircraft, and automobile seat covers. They are also added to polyester resins in fiberglass composites for such items as light aircraft engine covers. The resin will burn in the presence of an externally generated flame, but will extinguish when the external flame is removed.

Barium
Barium, as a metal or when alloyed with aluminium, is used to remove unwanted gases (gettering) from vacuum tubes, such as TV picture tubes.[7]:4 Barium is suitable for this purpose because of its low vapor pressure and reactivity towards oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water; it can even partly remove noble gases by dissolving them in the crystal lattice. This application is gradually disappearing due to the rising popularity of the tubeless LCD and plasma sets.[7]:4
Other uses of elemental barium are minor and include an additive to silumin (aluminium–silicon alloys) that refines their structure, as well as[7]:4

  • bearing alloys;
  • lead–tin soldering alloys – to increase the creep resistance;
  • alloy with nickel for spark plugs;
  • additive to steel and cast iron as an inoculant;
  • alloys with calcium, manganese, silicon, and aluminium as high-grade steel deoxidizers.


It is obvious that antimony and barium are not usually found in the same products except in ballistics... and that what is actually found in common substances is not antimony and barium - it is nitrates. 

With the original chemical tests, nitrates were found on hand casts. 

But the chemical tests were preceded by palmprints taken with an inkless pad.
http://sds.chemtel.net/webclients/safariland/finished_goods/Identicator%20-%20ID%20Print%20Inkless%20Fingerprint%20Pad.pdf

The main element in an inkless pad is iron trichloride - also known as iron(III) nitrate or ferric(III) nitrate.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron(III)_nitrate

There is no doubt that the inkless pad caused the positive result in the Parrafin Test on the hands.

I am inclined to toss Redlich's in the bin. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron(III)_nitrate

Oswald did not fire a pistol that day based on the paraffin test alone if you accept the inkless pad as the culprit. 

With all of the subsequent NAA and chemical testing of hands and cheeks....  I have to conclude there were reasons for the results including that the M-C carbine is not the piece of crap it is painted as and does not in fact leak - and that any positive tests were the results of contamination. But Jeremy's posts have thrown enough doubt that I have to call them "inconclusive" as far as whether pr not Oswald fired a rifle. But Oswald doesn't need to be exonerated by NAA or paraffin... he had an air-tight alibi which will be easily demonstrated when Brian comes good with the films.

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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sun 25 Aug 2019, 12:07 am
Greg,

it is a proposed article, there is nothing in this huge text batch in the first 6 months of 1964 RD articles. And I do not have the suggested article at hand.

https://archive.org/stream/in.ernet.dli.2015.100916/2015.100916.The-Readers-Digest-Vol84jan-june1964_djvu.txt

Not just inkless, ink itself is filled to the brim with nitrates. And what about books?
So from that perspective it was a lost cause from the word get go. That is if they applied the test to his hands first.

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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sun 25 Aug 2019, 9:32 am
barto wrote:Not just inkless, ink itself is filled to the brim with nitrates. And what about books?
So from that perspective it was a lost cause from the word get go. That is if they applied the test to his hands first.

It was an inkless pad that they used so I did the work to see what was in those.

And yes, they did apply it first, according to the Texas AG report - and also one of the cops let slip in testimony that they did it first, before quickly "correcting" himself.

As for nitrates from the books he may have handled... the cops had no way of knowing if he even did any work that morning or if he had the opportunity to give his hands a thorough wash. The only way to make certain of a positive test was to make sure they got some nitrates on him. 

But otherwise, docs like that from Redlich only serve to fuel the confusion between antimony and barium and nitrates. Unless Lee was supposed to have been playing with flame resistant toys before changing a tube in a tv.

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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sun 25 Aug 2019, 11:11 am
Oswald's Paraffin Casts Downlo11
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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sun 25 Aug 2019, 11:14 am
Oswald's Paraffin Casts Downlo12Oswald's Paraffin Casts Downlo13
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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sun 25 Aug 2019, 11:15 am
Oswald's Paraffin Casts Downlo14
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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sun 25 Aug 2019, 11:31 am
Mick Purdy wrote:Oswald's Paraffin Casts Downlo12Oswald's Paraffin Casts Downlo13
Thanks Mick. I should have checked wiki for barium sulphate, not just barium but it also claims that neither barium nor antimony will get on your skin from handling the items listed.

That begs the question as to whether nitrates do. I would assume that the nitrates would get on the skin from the inkless pad - otherwise no print could be made from the fingers or palms. 

But if in all other cases, nitrates, antimony and barium are virtually impossible to get on you from items commonly found, that contamination should be ruled out as a cause of "false" positives.

Bottom line: confusing and contradictory information rules in this field.

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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sun 25 Aug 2019, 5:48 pm
Mr. BELIN. Sergeant, did you make any other tests or obtain any other evidence or information from Lee Harvey Oswald other than the paraffin that you made? 
Mr. BARNES. I obtained palm prints from Lee Harvey Oswald. 
Mr. BELIN. When did you do this? 
Mr. BARNES. Immediately before we made---no, immediately after, I am sorry, immediately after we made the paraffin test. 
Mr. BELIN. I would assume you did it afterwards? 
Mr. BARNES. That is right. It was after we made the tests. 


To me someone who corrects himself straight after his mistake isn't real evidence of wrongful behaviour. The only indicator that there is for the finger prints to be taken before the paraffin tests is in Ramparts Magazine (page 4). And that is not much to get on with either.


Inkless/ink pads being used for finger prints makes no difference either and since there is no real record when each set of prints were taken I reckon this is as much of a swamp like the TSBD elevators or Mexico City are.

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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sun 25 Aug 2019, 6:26 pm
barto wrote:Mr. BELIN. Sergeant, did you make any other tests or obtain any other evidence or information from Lee Harvey Oswald other than the paraffin that you made? 
Mr. BARNES. I obtained palm prints from Lee Harvey Oswald. 
Mr. BELIN. When did you do this? 
Mr. BARNES. Immediately before we made---no, immediately after, I am sorry, immediately after we made the paraffin test. 
Mr. BELIN. I would assume you did it afterwards? 
Mr. BARNES. That is right. It was after we made the tests. 


To me someone who corrects himself straight after his mistake isn't real evidence of wrongful behaviour. The only indicator that there is for the finger prints to be taken before the paraffin tests is in Ramparts Magazine (page 4). And that is not much to get on with either.


Inkless/ink pads being used for finger prints makes no difference either and since there is no real record when each set of prints were taken I reckon this is as much of a swamp like the TSBD elevators or Mexico City are.
Bart,

if that was all I had to go on, I'd agree.

But it was prints first, paraffin second in the official AG report. In light of that report, I do find the testimony to be a case of Freudian Slip.

Oswald's Paraffin Casts Agrepo10

Note that the report is in error in one respect. The prints taken were palms, not fingers.

It does matter about the inkless pads on two counts.

1. You published a report that said that it was virtually impossible to get antimony or barium from the common sources listed, which included ink.  If you cannot get contaminated with antimony or barium by ink, presumably the same holds for nitrates.

2. Inkless pads do contain nitrates and the whole purpose of these pads is to get that nitrate on your fingers and palms so that the print can be made. 

On the other hand, if your report is wrong, and these substances can be transferred, we still needed to know that inkless pads did in fact contain nitrates.


Last edited by greg parker on Sun 25 Aug 2019, 8:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

_________________
Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
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Out to where the van is waiting
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 Australians don't mind criminals: It's successful bullshit artists we despise. 
             Lachie Hulme            
-----------------------------
The Cold War ran on bullshit.
              Me

The menu is not the meal” Alan Watts
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool." Brigham Young
"
For evil deeds may better than bad words be borne." Spenser
 



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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sun 25 Aug 2019, 6:51 pm
From Turner's Ramparts story:

Oswald's Paraffin Casts Turner11

Turner agrees with me that the source of the nitrates was the palm-printing. Although he does not cite a source, it just about has to be the AG Report.

However he is confused when he says the NAA testing found nitrates in abundance. NAA does not test for nitrates. What was found, had to antimony and barium.

_________________
Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
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             Lachie Hulme            
-----------------------------
The Cold War ran on bullshit.
              Me

The menu is not the meal” Alan Watts
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool." Brigham Young
"
For evil deeds may better than bad words be borne." Spenser
 



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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Sun 25 Aug 2019, 7:44 pm
Yes, after seeing this report at MFF it makes the hickup during the WC testimony more suspect, and the consequence would be that with such a blunder the paraffin tests were useless from a result pov.

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=10483&fbclid=IwAR1YpqsZ_vgAaVJd3g7ClmBevRas9b6rDxMimR6sZlOfxyFttaYFz2maM90#relPageId=569&tab=page

Thanks Greg

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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Mon 26 Aug 2019, 12:34 pm
In any case the correction made by Barnes is telling to my mind. It tends to agree with what actually transpired, and in what order at least.
From my view point, I am of the belief like most everyone else here - is that Lee Oswald did not fire either a gun or a rifle on November 22nd 1963. I think the evidence in the record speaks in favor of that. After reading through Turners piece above it is almost certain that Oswald did not fire a rifle. The evidence surrounding the gun and Oswald firing that is so weak, and completely contaminated that the I believe the paraffin test was most likely a rues anyways. If we are correct and Lee Oswald did not fire those weapons then Fritz and Co. most certainly knew that. Ordering the test was part of the game plan against the man they had in custody, at least that's my opinion.
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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Wed 28 Aug 2019, 1:18 am
Greg,

You're correct that the nitrates on Oswald's hands, detected by the chemical test, may well have been due to contamination from having his prints taken. But there are a couple of other possibilities that we can't rule out. If his hands had retained nitrates from having fired a revolver, these nitrates may have been detected along with those from the contamination. Alternatively, even if he had fired a revolver, all the detected nitrates may still have come from the contamination, as he may well have washed his hands between firing the revolver and having his prints taken. I'm not aware of any reports that Oswald took a leak between being arrested and having his prints taken, but it's very likely he did. The paraffin casts were applied around 12 hours after he had filled his bladder with the bottle of coke which he got from the second-floor lunchroom before going downstairs to eat his lunch and then outside to watch the parade while (probably) being filmed in the doorway. So we can't entirely rule out the possibility that he had fired a revolver, at least going solely by the result of the chemical test.

The point made by Vincent Guinn was that the rifle he tested gave off residues in quantities that could easily be detected by NAA, with the implication that the sixth-floor rifle would do the same. The point made by the guy in the video (I was surprised how sane he appears, for a gun enthusiast; I was expecting to see someone dressed in camouflage gear, ranting about black helicopters) is that the Carcano's bad reputation was to do with its lack of accuracy, which was down to its need for non-standard sized bullets. Apparently, people used commonly available bullets which were not quite the right size, and this reduced its accuracy. I'm not sure that the rifle's accuracy with the right type of bullet, i.e. the 6.5mm bullets found on the sixth floor, prevents it releasing the amounts of residue which Guinn detected using NAA.

None of the available online quotations from Guinn concerning his experiment mention the type of bullets he used. At least, I haven't been able to find anything. It was no secret that the ones apparently used in the assassination were 6.5mm Western Cartridge Company bullets, so it seems reasonable to assume that Guinn knew this and used the correct type in his experiment. If so, his experiment proves that this type of bullet does not prevent residues escaping from the rifle.

There's other evidence that the sixth-floor rifle did indeed leak residues. Pat Speer's long article (http://www.patspeer.com/chapter4e%3Acastsofcontention) mentions a study of various types of rifles. High-speed photographs showed that all of them emitted residue in the direction of the shooter's face. Speer includes a photograph of a rifle (not a Mannlicher Carcano, but one that used the same bolt-action mechanism) emitting a cloud of residue toward the shooter's face.

You write that "the negative on the cheek, if caused because of a lack of leakage, leaves the door open that he did fire a rifle." That's true. Personally I'm persuaded by two items of evidence: (a) Guinn's claim that that type of rifle would certainly leak sufficient residues to be detected by NAA; and (b) the various sources which claim that it was close to impossible to completely wash off such residues. Obviously, nothing in this case is absolutely certain (apart from the fact that the Harvey and Lee theory is nonsense), but to me the fact that NAA failed to detect any significant amounts of barium and antimony on the cast of Oswald's cheek makes it safe to conclude that Oswald hadn't fired a rifle. Of course, as you write, the balance of the evidence is that he was nowhere near the sixth floor anyway.
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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Wed 28 Aug 2019, 11:00 am
jeremy wrote:Greg,

You're correct that the nitrates on Oswald's hands, detected by the chemical test, may well have been due to contamination from having his prints taken. But there are a couple of other possibilities that we can't rule out. If his hands had retained nitrates from having fired a revolver, these nitrates may have been detected along with those from the contamination. Alternatively, even if he had fired a revolver, all the detected nitrates may still have come from the contamination, as he may well have washed his hands between firing the revolver and having his prints taken. I'm not aware of any reports that Oswald took a leak between being arrested and having his prints taken, but it's very likely he did. The paraffin casts were applied around 12 hours after he had filled his bladder with the bottle of coke which he got from the second-floor lunchroom before going downstairs to eat his lunch and then outside to watch the parade while (probably) being filmed in the doorway. So we can't entirely rule out the possibility that he had fired a revolver, at least going solely by the result of the chemical test.
Jeremy, I actually did consider these possibilities.

But the official conclusion about the paraffin tests on Oswald's hands were that they matched what you would see from someone who had fired a pistol.

If that is true, then


1. he did fire a pistol, or
2. the cops knew what area of the palm to press down on to duplicate a pistol fire.

What I don't think is likely is nitrates from multiple sources because that would not show as looking like gunpowder residue alone.


The point made by Vincent Guinn was that the rifle he tested gave off residues in quantities that could easily be detected by NAA, with the implication that the sixth-floor rifle would do the same. The point made by the guy in the video (I was surprised how sane he appears, for a gun enthusiast; I was expecting to see someone dressed in camouflage gear, ranting about black helicopters)
LOL. I'll leave the black helicopter types for others to use. I think there may have been one hovering over the Texas Theater that was supposed to pick up the 4th Oswald... the one who got popcorn without paying.


None of the available online quotations from Guinn concerning his experiment mention the type of bullets he used. At least, I haven't been able to find anything. It was no secret that the ones apparently used in the assassination were 6.5mm Western Cartridge Company bullets, so it seems reasonable to assume that Guinn knew this and used the correct type in his experiment. If so, his experiment proves that this type of bullet does not prevent residues escaping from the rifle.
Don't know about Guinn, but Cunningham reports that "Mr Killion fired it 3 times rapidly, using similar ammunition used in the assassination. We ran the tests on the cheek and both hands. This time we got a negative reaction on all casts."  

These are men used to dealing in precise language. When he says "similar" he really means "not the same". Yet all the chemical tests came back negative for nitrates. I doubt they would have come back negative for barium and antimony under NAA. But my point here is that even using "similar'/not the same ammo, all tests were negative for nitrates. 

I may well show my ignorance here, but I am assuming that the internal explosion causes emissions, backwards and forwards, and that the backwards emissions are nitrates only, while the forward emissions contain antimony, barium --- and in some cases only (depending on the weapon and other variables), nitrates. 

As has been discussed, it came out in testimony that rifles do not leak from the chamber. So... no nitrates on the cheek or hands from a rifle rifle... but very likely antimony and barium blown back from the muzzle. 

As for Guinn... the fact that we can't find anything regarding what ammo he used is a good indication that it was not the same... yet I think Killion proves it didn't matter... you would still not get nitrates showing in the chemical tests. However, you would get barium and antimony regardless of the ammo used.


There's other evidence that the sixth-floor rifle did indeed leak residues. Pat Speer's long article (http://www.patspeer.com/chapter4e%3Acastsofcontention) mentions a study of various types of rifles. High-speed photographs showed that all of them emitted residue in the direction of the shooter's face. Speer includes a photograph of a rifle (not a Mannlicher Carcano, but one that used the same bolt-action mechanism) emitting a cloud of residue toward the shooter's face.
I'll refrain from giving my thoughts on that egotistical arsehole and just say that here, I have no argument. It is what is contained in that blowback that matters. I could be wrong, but I believe in most cases, it will not include nitrates. I am not going to read Speer's bloviations, but I bet he doesn't specify the contents of the emissions. Because like others, he is confused by the different terms.


You write that "the negative on the cheek, if caused because of a lack of leakage, leaves the door open that he did fire a rifle." That's true. Personally I'm persuaded by two items of evidence: (a) Guinn's claim that that type of rifle would certainly leak sufficient residues to be detected by NAA; and (b) the various sources which claim that it was close to impossible to completely wash off such residues. Obviously, nothing in this case is absolutely certain (apart from the fact that the Harvey and Lee theory is nonsense), but to me the fact that NAA failed to detect any significant amounts of barium and antimony on the cast of Oswald's cheek makes it safe to conclude that Oswald hadn't fired a rifle. Of course, as you write, the balance of the evidence is that he was nowhere near the sixth floor anyway.
Yeah, I think I did stuff that up and was right the first time. I think I started out following a narrow line of thought on chamber leakages, and in trying to be balanced, forgot about the muzzle.

The leakage issue - when looking at the whole picture -  is a non-issue, if the Killion experiment was conducted with integrity.

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             Lachie Hulme            
-----------------------------
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              Me

The menu is not the meal” Alan Watts
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barto
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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

on Wed 28 Aug 2019, 9:24 pm
Those bullets ‘found’ in Oswald’s pocket before the Markham line-up were similar too........🤠

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Oswald's Paraffin Casts Empty Re: Oswald's Paraffin Casts

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