Saturday, August 11, 2018

Synchronizing the Truth

How the acoustics evidence killed the JFK conspiracy


I’m not sure how many ways it can be said or how many times I have to explain it, but there is nothing to the recent allegations that the acoustics evidence offered by the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1979 as scientific proof of conspiracy is somehow valid - again.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) cut the legs out from underneath that horse a long time ago (I should know, I helped them) and continuing to beat that horse isn’t going to make it get up and gallop away.

Still, there are a few diehards working very hard to do just that, claiming that “skips” and “missing words” explain all of the anomalies that led the NAS to deep-six the HSCA’s acoustic evidence thirty-seven years ago. Allow me to help set them straight.

Straight up

There are no “skips” on the Channel One Dictabelt. There are no words “missing” from the Decker crosstalk. The Dictabelt recording is intact. Period.

If “skipping” were the case, the acoustics firm of Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) would never have been able to reach their conclusion (erroneous as it turned out) that the “impulse sounds” recorded during the approximate time-frame of the assassination were gunshots that synced up with the Zapruder film. Instead, BBN would have immediately alerted the HSCA that the “skipping” damage to the Dictabelt made it impossible to complete their study.

But that didn’t happen, did it?

Volatile evidence

Dictabelts are nothing more than thin, vinyl sleeves meant for simple one-time recordings, and not more than a few playbacks.

That’s because, each time the Dictabelt is played back using the Dictaphone machine, the thin vinyl sleeve becomes worn, increasing the possibility of introducing artifacts and skips or even rendering the Dictabelt unusable.

Shortly after the assassination, in order to preserve this volatile evidence, James Bowles, Communications Supervisor at the Dallas police headquarters, transferred the Dictabelt recording to reel-to-reel magnetic audio tape in order to preserve the recordings from repeated Dictaphone machine playback.

The National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Ballistic Acoustics (NAS-CBA) – also known as the “Ramsey panel” – microscopically examined the original Dictabelt for artifacts such as scratches and re-recording. They found nothing during that examination that indicated re-recording or skipping. Nothing. Nada. Zip.


In 1981, I made a stereo copy of Channel One and Channel Two recordings on a single cassette tape, syncing the Channel One Decker crosstalk with the original Decker transmission on Channel Two. I found that they synchronized perfectly. I shared that information in a letter to Gary Mack, who then published my letter in an issue of Penn Jones' “The Continuing Inquiry.”

The fact that the two recordings synchronize proves that that are no “skips” or “missing words” as some ill-informed researchers contend.

Hearing is believing

Many people have a difficult time hearing the Decker crosstalk transmission in the background of the Channel One recording, due to the extraneous noise emanating from the motorcycle with the open microphone. That is certainly understandable. However, the Decker crosstalk is there in its entirety as voiceprints produced by the NAS-CBA established beyond any doubt.

There is something, however, that you can hear without special scientific equipment; a sound that was recorded within 4-seconds of the Decker transmission on both Channels One and Two. The sound was initially thought to be a “carillon bell,” but turned out to be radio frequency interference that was recorded simultaneously on both channels.

This is highly significant – and something often overlooked. The fact that the radio frequency interference (the “bell” sound) was recorded on both channels proves all by itself that the Channel One and Two recordings sync up perfectly, in relation to the Decker crosstalk.

Listen for yourself

Here is a link to the audio recording of the actual Decker transmission as recorded on Channel Two which includes the radio frequency interference (“bell” sound) at the end of the recording:

Here is a link to the Channel One Dictabelt recording of the crosstalk picked up by an open motorcycle microphone followed by the radio frequency interference (“bell” sound). The faint speech you hear in the background is the same Decker transmission broadcast on Channel Two.
Listen to the above two audio clip links and follow along with the transcript below (the underlined words are the only ones audible on the Channel One crosstalk):

Decker: Have – um Station 5 to move all men available out of my department – back into the railroad yards there in an effort to try to determine – just what and where it happened down there and hold everything secure until the – homicide and other investigators can get there.

Dispatch: 10-4, Dallas One, Station 5 will be noti[fied 12]:31.

NOTE: The portion of the word “notified,” within the brackets, is accompanied by the radio frequency interference (“bell” sound).

Dictaphone machine mechanics

In 1989, while doing research for my booklet “Double Decker,” which was published by conspiracy author and researcher Robert Cutler, I spoke with a gentleman named Robert Killen of the American Dictaphone Co., who was responsible for maintaining and repairing Dictaphone machines.

HSCA chief counsel and staff director G. Robert Blakey, in an effort to resurrect the validity of the acoustic evidence following the NAS-CBA’s devasting conclusion, had suggested that a “jumping needle” could explain how the Decker crosstalk transmission came to overlap the BBN impulses (“gunshots”). In other words, according to Blakey, the Dictabelt machine’s needle inexplicably jumped backwards and recorded the Decker transmission over the top of the impulse sounds, blending the two together into a single audio recording.

I asked Mr. Killen about the possibility of the Dictabelt machine “skipping” during the recording process and was told that Dictabelt machines do not “skip”.

Mr. Killen stated that in order for such a thing to happen, the machine would have to receive “quite a thump,” due to the weight of the machine and the manner in which the mechanism holds the stylus in place during recording. And by “quite a thump,” Mr. Killen didn’t mean someone simply bumped the Dictaphone machine during recording. He meant, someone would have to have smacked it with a sledge-hammer!

Mr. Killen explained that the Dictabelt stylus is held in place by a worm drive (a threaded shaft) that keeps the stylus in place during recording and playback. The stylus is not loose (as one might encounter in a vinyl record turntable setup) or even capable of being moved in either direction because of the worm drive.

In short, from a mechanical stand point, the Dictabelt machine cannot “skip” in any direction, as proposed by Blakey and others seeking to undermine the NSA-CBA’s conclusions.

The claim that because not all of Decker’s words can be heard on the Channel One “crosstalk” recording is somehow evidence of “skipping” is equally lame and easily disproved.

When the Channel One recording is speed corrected (it recorded at a slightly different speed than its Channel Two counterpart) and laid side-by-side with the Channel Two recording, both recordings synchronize perfectly. This could only be possible if both recordings were made at the same time. Listen for yourself. Here is a link to a stereo recording that demonstrates the synchronicity of the two recordings (Left channel: Channel One; Right channel: Channel Two).

The result of that synchronization proves that the sound impulses, thought by BBN to be “gunshots,” appear in the recording at least one-minute after the actual assassination is known to have occurred. And that’s the ballgame!

The evidence is clear

All of the head-standing, hoop-jumping and language-twisting by those who are genuinely ignorant of the facts or refuse to face the facts cannot overcome the reality of that simple truth.

The fact of the matter is there are no missing words and there is no missing time on the Dallas police Dictabelt recording – a recording that was relied upon by the HSCA to reach their conclusion of conspiracy and which, over the course of better than fifty-years, has been the only hard, scientific evidence ever offered to support a conspiracy in the assassination of President Kennedy.

And anyone arguing that the HSCA’s acoustic evidence is alive and well doesn’t know what they’re talking about. [END]

Stephan N. “Steve” Barber is an internationally recognized expert on the acoustic evidence in the JFK assassination, a consultant to the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Ballistic Acoustics, and a frequent contributor to numerous television programs broadcast worldwide on the JFK assassination story.