Dartmouth scientist says Oswald photo real

November 7, 2009

Article follows after commentary

During interrogation by the Dallas police, Oswald was shown the photo, which allegedly had been found in the Payne’s garage where Marina was staying, and he said, “That’s my head on someone else’s body.” None of the evidence “discovered” there has proper chain of custody, since Marina Oswald and Ruth Payne left the house when the police arrived to search and Ruth Payne signed for what was found much later in the day at the police office. Marina suggested that the Oswald’s hid weapons from Payne since she was a Quaker. Michael Payne reportedly came home during the police search and was upset to find them going through his personal belongings, and he led them to the garage to see Oswald’s materials instead. The blanket that the gun was supposedly wrapped in showed no oil or stretch marks from the rifle and the rifle had no hairs from the blanket.

Marinia Oswald at a research conference in Cambridge, MA said that Oswald had asked her to take pictures of him holding a rifle and a pistol behind the house in Irving, TX where they shared a room, but she said she stood in the alleyway and Oswald stood in the back yard, the opposite orientation from the released pictures.

Photo experts have pointed not only to the shadow discrepancies between his body and nose but also to cut lines across his chin and a differently shaped lower face and jaw than in other photos of Oswald. FBI photographer Lynne Chaney staged a picture to support the authenticity of the photo and recreate the shadows, and it appears in the Warren Commission volumes. However, the FBI man holding a rifle and a pistol at a somewhat similar angle to Oswald and with a body shadow at a similar angle from the sun, inexplicably also has a paper bag over his head, totally obscuring facial shadows.

Different prints and negatives of the “backyard photo” were found over the years, all of which have discrepancies that led researchers to question their authenticity. The angle at which the body is leaning over seems unusual as well, almost to the point of being off balance.

There is an additional issue, which is that the person in the picture is holding at the same time a copy of the Communist Party Daily Worker and the Socialist Worker’s Party newspaper, a Trotskyist journal, with conflicting views about communism, socialism and history. Few leftists would have been subscribing to both publications, based on their ideological views.

The rifle and pistol depicted seem to match the Mannlicher-Carcano allegedly the JFK murder weapon found at the Texas School Book Depository building after the shooting, and the pistol that Oswald allegedly used to shoot Dallas police officer Tippit. Both these guns were ordered from a post office box in Dallas that could not be linked to Oswald, in fact a letter addressed to Oswald’s name at that box ended up in the dead letter as a bad address for him. The signatures on the order forms for both guns do not match Oswald’s handwriting. Thus it is unlikely that Oswald would have had his picture taken with these guns that clearly were not owned or ordered by him, but which were used to incriminate him in the murder of JFK.

Even if the photo were legitimate, it proves nothing about whether Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy, though it might in fact have proven that he was being railroaded and framed instead as the “patsy” he referred to himself as. Oswald was clearly not a shooter at either the Dealey Plaza assassination of JFK nor at the Irving, TX shooting of Officer Tippit.

Dartmouth scientist says Oswald rifle photo real

By HOLLY RAMER (AP) – 1 day ago

CONCORD, N.H. — The infamous photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald holding a rifle in his backyard would have been nearly impossible to fake, according to a new analysis by a Dartmouth College professor.

Oswald, who was shot to death days after being charged with the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, claimed the photo of him holding a rifle in one hand and Marxist newspapers in the other had been doctored. Over the years, many others have pointed out what appear to be inconsistent lighting and shadows.

But Hany Farid, director of the Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth, said the shadows are exactly where they should be.

“You can never really prove an image is real, but the evidence that people have pointed to that the photo is fake is incorrect,” Farid said Thursday. “As an academic and a scientist, I don’t like to say it’s absolutely authentic … but it’s extremely unlikely to have been a fake.”

Farid, whose work using digital forensic tools to analyze images often has been used by law enforcement, said he has been getting requests from conspiracy theorists to analyze the photo for years. He said he held off until he had the appropriate software to create three-dimensional models of Oswald’s head and surroundings.

With the modeling software, he was able to show that a single light source could create both a shadow falling behind Oswald and to his right and one directly under his nose. Farid admits even he was skeptical before starting his research.

“When I looked at the photo, I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand the shadows, and I do this for a living,” he said.

But Farid’s latest finding, which will be published in the journal Perception, is in keeping with his earlier research that showed the human visual system does a poor job at judging whether cast shadows are correct, he said.

“It turns out we’re really bad at it. Even though our visual system is very, very good … we are really bad at judging shadows,” he said. “I’m bad at it and this is what I do for a living.”

He spent about two months off and on analyzing the Oswald photo.

“I felt because it’s the Kennedy assassination and because there’s so much history about this, you really want to answer this correctly,” he said. “You don’t want to make a mistake on something of this magnitude.”

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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