Executive Action: JFK Witness Deaths and the
The 1973 film "Executive Action" depicted a conspiracy to
assassinate JFK. It was based on a book by
At the end of the film, it was revealed that an actuary engaged by the London Sunday Times calculated the odds of 18 material witnesses dying within three years of the JFK assassination. as 1 in 100,000 TRILLION. Assuming the data and calculation methodology were essentially correct, then it was clear proof of a conspiracy and refuted the Warren Commission conclusion that Oswald was the lone assassin.
There has been much controversy about the actuary's calculation. Apparently, no one at the Sunday Times even remembers the actuary's name. And even more strange, the Times editor did not provide the 1977 House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) the actuary's calculation assumptions or methodology. The editor claimed that the problem was not clearly defined and therefore the calculation of the odds was suspect. This analysis indicates that the calculation was essentially correct - and that the editor's response to HSCA was misleading and incomplete.
In fact, there were more than 18 suspicious deaths in the three years following the assassination. The actuary did not include Oswald and Ruby - and at least 20 others. The JFK witness spreadsheet database shows there were at least forty (40) suspicious deaths in the three years; at least 33 were unnatural (homicide, accident, suicide, unknown). The probability of 33 unnatural deaths is lower than 1 in 100 TRILLION TRILLION!
The probability of at least 70 unnatural deaths in the 14 years following the assassination is 1 in 700 MILLION TRILLION TRILLION (1.4E-33). . But there were at least 100 unnatural and suspicious deaths, so the probability is even lower. Since the probability of at least 70 deaths is infinitesimal, why bother to look any further?
Perhaps the problem is better illustrated if we ask: How many unnatural deaths are required in the 14 year period (assuming 1400 material witnesses) to obtain a probability of less than 1% (ONE in ONE HUNDRED)? This would meet the definition of beyond a reasonable doubt. The answer is 18. How many would return a probability of ONE in ONE THOUSAND? The answer is 22. As the number of deaths increase, the probability rapidly approaches ZERO.
HSCA statistical expert Jacqueline Hess testified that the calculation was "invalid" due to the "impossibility" of defining the "universe" of material witnesses. Her dismissal of the odds was a ruse (like the Magic Bullet Theory) to maintain the cover-up. The fact is that there was a definable set of 552 Warren Commission witnesses, of whom at least 19 died unnaturally in the period from 1964-1977. Only four would normally be expected. The 552 is a subset of the approximately 1400 JFK-related witnesses.
But in addition to the 19, two others should be noted. Domingo Benavides was a witness to the Tippit murder who could not identify Oswald. But after his brother was killed by a gunshot, he identified Oswald. Warren Reynolds was also at the Tippit scene. He changed his testimony after making a miraculous recovery from a gunshot to the head.
There were different categories of witnesses: 1) The 121 eyewitnesses who gave depositions to the FBI (51 said the shots came from the front, 38 from the rear, 32 were unsure); 2) the 552 interviewed by the 1964 Warren Commission; 3) witnesses sought by Jim Garrison 3) witnesses sought by the HSCA; and 4) the full set of 1400+ JFK-related witnesses.
The timing of the deaths makes it all the more suspicious. At least fifteen died the year after the assassination; several died in 1967, soon after being named as witnesses in the 1969 Garrison/Shaw trial; at least 12 died in 1977 just before they were due to be questioned by the HSCA (including 6 FBI officials). Using this information, we can calculate probabilities of these unnatural, suspicious deaths for each witness category.
Hit List: An In-Depth Investigation Into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination is a comprehensive study by Richard Belzer and David Wayne (published April 2013).
The following graph of unlikely deaths among the 552 Warren Commission witnesses over the 14 year period from 1964-1977 shows that the probability of at least 19 deaths is essentially zero.
But even the "natural" deaths were suspicious: heart attacks, sudden cancers, etc. Jack Ruby died just before his second trial, 29 days after being diagnosed with cancer. He claimed that he was injected with a virus. Another mysterious death was that of David Ferrie, who supposedly had a brain aneurysm that was ruled a suicide the day after his release from protective custody, shortly after New Orleans D.A. Garrison named him as a witness in the Clay Shaw trial.
In spite of their efforts to the contrary, the HSCA was forced to conclude that both the JFK and Martin Luther King murders were conspiracies. Acoustic evidence indicated a 96% probability that at least four shots were fired. At least one came from the grassy knoll, indicating at least two shooters. That should have closed the book on the Warren Commission's physically impossible, irrational Magic Bullet Theory but this 50-year old work of fiction is still presented as gospel by the mainstream media while the overwhelming scientific ballistic, acoustic, video, medical, eyewitness and mathematical evidence of suspicious deaths is ignored.