Wednesday, November 20, 2013

13 Pages On The 'Conspiracy Industry' - And TIME Gets Hardly Anything Right

In two lengthy articles on the "conspiracy industry" in the latest TIME (Nov. 25, pp. 40- 52) the two authors (David von Drehle, 'We Have Lived With It For Half A Century';  and Jack Dickey, 'Debunker Among the Buffs')  try to take us back to look at that fateful day  50 years ago and the intervening years in terms of how the conspiracy meme became entrenched. But alas, the ardent truth seeker finds very little other than useless conflations, misdirection, long since exposed canards and the usual balderdash the corporate media has refined in the last 50 years to keep Americans deaf, dumb, blind and stupid.

Von Drehle in his first article, consuming nearly 10 pages, at least makes a halfway decent effort but after the first few pages it's evident he lacks the bona fides, education or determination to separate wheat from chaff in parsing conspiracy theories to do with this event. And yes, like the conspiracy zeitgeist in general, not all theories are created equal because not all theorists put in the same amount of research, hard work. This ought to be self-evident, but not to von Drehle. who first complains (p. 42) that "the number of explanations offered for that moment in Dallas is dizzying: Kennedy was murdered by a lone gunman, the Mafia, the CIA, the Military -Industrial complex, his own Secret Service, right wing millionaires, Fidel Castro, Kennedy's Vice President Lyndon Johnson".

And when the untutored reader sees this, he's inclined to agree, failing to see the components involved are muddied together, which makes it appear that the whole conception of conspiracy is absurd. But that has been the intent of the 'Mockingbird' media for as long as I can recall. For example, if one intelligently grasps that the ones who actually carried out  the deed are separate from the architects, then he also sees it's stupid to single out actors as if they are all distinct possible conspirators to the same degree and with the same objectives.  But had von Drehle really done his homework for the piece, especially using texts such as Donald Gibson's 'Battling Wall Street - The Kennedy Presidency',   he'd have seen how the CIA, Oil, Banking, and the Military-Industrial Complex have been in bed together for decades.  Hence, it's nonsense to separate the Military-Industrial Complex, the CIA and right wing OIL millionaires, when they had shared interests in seeing Kennedy killed and were linked at the hip by the backgrounds of people like Allen Dulles, H.L. Hunt. John Foster Dulles. But people like von Drehle are too lazy or intellectually incompetent to pursue the research where it leads.

As for the Mafia, as I noted in my previous FAQ (Pt. 7) it was G. Robert Blakey who incepted that nonsense to misdirect the attention of the HSCA away from the CIA. No serious researcher today believes or accepts the "mob" had anything to do with the killing in any other than a mechanics capacity, i.e.  responsible for bringing in Jean Soutre- a  member of the Corsican Mafia hired out of Marseilles to be one of the snipers. Former Justice Dept. specialist Walt Brown  ('Treachery in Dallas'  ) indicates that FOIA -released files suggest Soutre was the likely grassy knoll shooter. (Often referred to as "Badgeman" from the Mary Muchmore photo taken at the instant of the head shot).

As for LBJ no one, including me, has said he was an active participant. But no one other than a dunderhead (like Vince Bugliosi) would deny he stood to gain immensely if JFK was knocked off - since Kennedy planned to dump him from the 1964 ticket on account of the political damage from the Bobby Baker scandal.  Knowing this, and there's little doubt he did, all LBJ had to do is nominally assent to an existing plan, probably made aware of by Allen Dulles. NO documents need have been signed, or actual vocal indication given. In effect, LBJ as a passive benefactor could not really be regarded as a "conspirator" as such - also because all aspects of the plan were compartmentalized. Hence, LBJ wouldn't have known the identities of any actual mechanics.

As for the Secret Service, I already dealt at length with their plausible passive role in this blog:

The author then whines about a "forest of conspiracy theories which can swallow a person up" and which are "part scholarship, part fever dream".   He goes on, his frustration obvious (ibid.):

"How easy it is to go from a split second in Dealey Plaza to a fathomless argument over the windshield damage in a presidential limousine. And from there to the idea of forged autopsy documents. And from there to the idea of multiple Oswald's.....the path forks endlessly leading everywhere and nowhere."

He then refers to "the most truly resonant image from the grisly scene" as the First Lady  "on the trunk of the limousine" - but is either too lazy, too dumb or too duped to connect the dots between all of the above.  He's not processing that the windshield damage constitutes physical evidence and if the limo is sent away to be dismantled and rebuilt - as LBJ ordered- then one has destroyed evidence. He's not processing that the forged autopsy documents really DO exist - and Gerald Ford was the one who altered those original documents, to change the location of the back wound higher for Arlen Specter's "single bullet theory" to work, i.e.

The initial draft of the report had  stated:

"A bullet had entered his back at a point slightly above the shoulder to the right of the spine."

Ford altered it to read:

"A bullet had entered the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine."

Clearly, Ford wanted the document to conform with the single bullet myth and would stoop to altering a document on record to attain the goal. If von Drehle had really prepared for the article he wrote he'd also have encountered the forged autopsy photos used by the Warren Commission - see the one below at left and compare to one of the actual autopsy photos (right):

If von Drehle had any rudimentary physics background - even a high school course under his belt - he'd have been able to intelligently relate the photo at right to the fact of Jackie moving across the limo to try to capture a fragment of JFK's exploded skull.  Then, instead of his hyper-emotional bloviating about the "whole shocking sequence" he'd be able to make some sense of it and why exactly the conspiracy meme has been accepted by a majority of Americans (now 62% but down from 81% in 2000, probably because of the incessant media drumbeat to legitimize the Warren Commission follies)

As for von Drehle's  conspiracy "forest" - that was an understandable consequence of the early days in the wake of the Warren Commission- when skeptics learned the Commission (and LBJ ) had ordered all files remain closed to the public until 2037.  In this closed information arena dozens of different and widely variant theories surfaced and hundreds of books attempted to make sense of the events based on a limited constellation of accessible facts. Thanks to the Oliver Stone film 'JFK' this changed and the JFK Records Act was passed to make available millions of files by 1993. These included Oswald's CIA file : 201-289248 CI/SIG, as well as others, which finally opened the window on Oswald to serious researchers - showing he wasn't the "lone commie nut" portrayed by the Warrenites and their apologists and enablers.  This was the first breakthrough paving the way to the CIA as the primary culprit.

Then, with the HSCA's exposure (mainly thanks to brave investigators like Gaeton Fonzi, Danny Hardway, Ed Lopez (author of the Lopez Report) and others, we finally saw how David Atlee Phillips used forged cable to frame Oswald for the hit. With the actual released photos of an Oswald impostor in Mexico City the framing became more evident, and the path led to assets of the Mexico City Station’s Chief of Covert Action and Cuban Operations, David Atlee Phillips.

Von Drehle rambles on in his piece noting the Dallas connections to Big Oil, Clint Murchison and H.L. Hunt, as well as the right wing extremists (like Ted Dealey) ensconced there, and then mentions the attack on Adlai Stevenson, but it's all mainly a parade of incidents that he refuses to tie together - hence leaving the reader to believe we are confronting dozens of unrelated characters and coincidences.  He does also mention Oswald's famous declaration at the Dallas Police station: "I am just a patsy" but evinces cluelessness at what it means. He writes:

"Exactly what he meant by this is never revealed, because instead of facing trial Oswald was shot to death on Nov. 24th while being transported from one jail cell to another."

Had von Drehle done enough research to make himself aware of David Atleee Phillips' role in framing Oswald, he'd not have wondered - despite Lee's being murdered by Jack Ruby-  who later insisted he needed to go to Washington to explain. He maintained it wasn't about merely "protecting Jackie from having to testify" as the media made out. Ruby died of cancer before his final explanation emerged. Meanwhile, von Drehle and cohorts remain undisturbed by the fact that all other lone assassins proudly proclaimed their deed. Oswald, the one they insist had a "huge ego" and believed himself bigger than life, didn't. How come? They don't have any answers and are too dense to see their narrative of Oswald doesn't jibe with his patsy statement.

Then there is Jack Dickey's article which mainly extols one of the top disinformationists around, Prof. John McAdams. According to Dickey's piece, based on talking to McAdams, he is a "debunker". Just like the guys that debunk UFOs John sees his job as debunking conspiracy theories, and hence being a proper apologist (like Vince Bugliosi) for the Warren balderdash.

Long before there was Twitter, Facebook or Blogs, there was something called Usenet where entities known as "newsgroups" sprang up to encourage debate and discussion on any number of issues, topics.  I had observed McAdams putdowns in the (un-moderated)  newsgroup alt. conspiracy.jfk for some months before actually engaging in a one on one exchange with him. This was concerning my REAL FAQ  that I had published in the newsgroup as an antidote to a pro-lone nut FAQ by frequent poster John Locke. 

In one particular confrontation, McAdams complained about my reference to Jackie “climbing over the limo trunk” in an effort to retrieve part of JFK’s blown out skull fragment (later inferred to be the Harper bone fragment retrieved by William Harper). He insisted she wasn't "climbing over anything" to which I then said, Ok, she's moving across it to the rear - which shows a frontal shot".  He tried to "debunk" this but a picture says a thousand words. And in my FAQ Part 5 readers can see the image for themselves.

I added more kapow to my response citing  her Warren Commission Testimony (from Volume Five of the special hearings) where she says:

"You know, then, there were pictures later of me climbing out the back, but I don't remember that at all."

She was referring to this Z-film image:

From her secret testimony (excised from original version), op. cit., p. 16:

"I was trying to hold his hair on. But from the front there was nothing. I suppose there must have been. But from the back you could see, you know, you were trying to hold his hair on, and his skull on."
But once again, McAdams disputed my sources and said Jackie also must have been mistaken, as there was no time at which she climbed across the trunk. SO much for John's "debunking" which is largely a matter of denying reality.

Perhaps the best information ever assembled on John McAdams (nee, “Paul Nolan”) was put together by Jim Hargrove. The basic thrust is to answer questions concerning McAdams and his background because it so much seems to fit the sort of CIA assets described in the CIA document 1035-960 wherein it specifies under subsection (3b) the objective: “to employ propaganda assets to negate and refute the attacks of the critics”. While TIME author Dickey waxes on about, oh no, move along, no CIA here with McAdams, he never does cite the CIA document that legitimized the role for assets including in Usenet newsgroups.

Hence, when McAdams blabs: "These people think the CIA cares about them. It does not!"

One is led to ask, 'Oh really? Then how account for the CIA document that explicitly states in one primary objective:  "To employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics".

How can this be reconciled with a guy who "just likes to brawl"? Well, if brawling consumes more time than useful communication about facts (like Jackie's limo trunk action) and files (like Oswald's  201-289248 CI/SIG) than one can say the objective has been achieved.

If McAdams has been a real CIA propaganda asset, it makes sense one of his first obligations would be to neutralize any outlets for serious JFK assassination discussion he doesn’t control (like his moderated newsgroup). Thus his intrusions into the un-moderated group shed definite light on his intentions.  Consider, for example, this McAdams post from  (John McAdams) Date: 14 Feb 1997 22:17:02 -0700:

You buffs have been cooperating marvelously with my scheme to make this group a shambles. And you know the bizarre part? My scheme is not a secret. I have publicly announced it. I have made it perfectly obvious.  I have rubbed you buffs' noses in it. It's blatantly obviously to everybody.”
Hmmmmmm......sounds like a fuckin' CIA asset to me. 
Now, let’s clear our heads and think about this a bit: Would a normal everyday professor of Political Science be doing these things? Would he be bragging about leaving a Usenet newsgroup a “shambles”?  It doesn’t add up.  Bill Hargrove, in his “McAdams FAQ” provides the Charter Policy written by McAdams himself for his own moderated group. Reading its first paragraph sheds a lot of light:

This group will be for the purpose of providing an area for serious discussion and research of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The group will be moderated to prevent the noise and chronic personal attacks which have plagued alt.conspiracy.jfk and made it nearly useless as a vehicle for intelligent research. Questions surrounding JFK's death have made this one of the most talked about and controversial issues of our generation. This will be the one usenet group which deals seriously with this important
But as Hargrove observes:
One supposes that since the noise and chronic personal attacks which have plagued the alt.conspiracy.jfk group were and are part of McAdams freely admitted plans to turn the group into a shambles, the moderated group can only be seen as his personal vehicle for selective manipulation of content

Which is totally logical, and again, it comports with CIA doc. 1035-960!  Hargrove then quotes McAdams from a letter written to The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

“(Dr) Gary Aguilar accused me on the politics forum of being A CIA sponsored disinformationist because I was once the Marquette Official representative of the I.C.P.S.R. an utterly 
unspooky social science data archive.”
In truth, The ICPSR is housed in the Institute for Social Research, or ISR which itself has been documented as recipient of “spook” (e.g. CIA) research grants.
 They also have a webpage:
Which the interested reader can explore for himself. My own take is that it could easily be a CIA  (Clandestine Operations) front for  psy-ops intelligence operations which could easily include anti-conspiracy propaganda. We already know that the founder of American Propaganda – Edward Bernays – was steeped in the social sciences and firmly believed the public was too irrational to entrust to its own thought and conclusions and therefore had to be manipulated toward specific directions. In his own words:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society
What better way to do that than from a networked academic consortium – interwoven into all the social sciences – with access to a central data clearinghouse that’s amassed everything from the latest frequency of teen pregnancies, to homicides by race or gender, or assorted other historical arcania. It’s literally a propagandist’s dream.
All of this leaves us with the question of why TIME would put two such dubious articles in its issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of the event. But in this case, we perhaps need some recollections of TIME's own history.  If we look at TIME's background, we see that it was (and is) part of the Luce Press, including FORTUNE. As James Douglass observes[1]:
“Besides being CIA-friendly, Henry Luce was an enemy to Kennedy. In the wake of the April, 1962 steel crisis, Luce’s FORTUNE magazine had implicitly warned the president, on behalf of the American business elite, to beware ‘the ides of April’ for his dominant role in settling the crisis”.
And who can forget that the Zapruder film first came into possession of TIME, where CIA handlers attempted to exchange key frames to remove the backward head snap, providing support for the theory that a shot came from behind. Fortunately, they didn’t succeed and the (Orville) Nix film shows not only the backward head snap but a piece of skull hurtling over the limo trunk. Such motions are impossible for a rear shot.
In fact, Kennedy was going up against not only U.S. Steel but powerful banking interests. As James Douglass has pointed out (ibid.), in connection with an unsigned editorial appearing in Fortune (a Luce Press magazine), betraying the extent of corporate hostility:
“The editors of Fortune knew that the decision to raise steel prices had been made by the executive committee of U.S. Steel’s Board of Directors. It included top level officers from other huge financial institutions, such as Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, The First National City Bank of New York, the Prudential Insurance Company, the Ford Foundation, AT&T.”
Douglass goes on to note  (ibid.) that the Fortune editors themselves answered the key question of why financial interests baited Kennedy into “a vitriolic and demagogic assault”. It had to do with their perception of his prior appeal not to raise prices as “a threat of jawbone control” of prices.  In Douglass’ own words – which I can’t match:
In plainer language, the president was acting too much like a president, rather than just another office holder beholden to the powers that be.”
If readers and those interested in history truly want insight as opposed to pop bunkum and dignifying CIA assets they are better served by reading James Douglass' book JFK and the Unspeakable than TIME's nonsense.  Yes, the latter is shorter, much shorter, but that alone ought to suggest why you need to dig a bit deeper. (Oh, and be sure to turn off all the morning news programs and most of the nightly ones, that keep to the propaganda of one lone nut)

[1] James Douglass: 2007, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters, Orbis Books, p. 164.

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