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Correspondence with Vincent Salandria (1993-1999)
Editorial notes are in italics. All the names are real except for two, Ralph Brown and John Thomas, who for reasons unknown to me objected to having their real names mentioned. Brown is a college professor and long-time assassination researcher, and Thomas is a businessman and Vietnam veteran. Marty Schotz is a psychiatrist in Boston, the author of History Will Not Absolve Us (Brookline, MA: Kurtz, Ulmer, & Delucia, 1996). Steve Jones is a clergyman and assassination researcher in Pennsylvania. Gary Aguilar is an ophthalmologist and assassination researcher in San Francisco, a co-founder of the Coalition on Political Assassinations. John Kelin runs Fair Play magazine, an on-line assassination research journal. Vincent Salandria is a lawyer in Philadelphia, an early assassination researcher whose November 1964 article "The Warren Report Analysis of Shots, Trajectories, and Wounds: A Lawyer's Dissenting View" was one of the first--if not the first--publications to challenge the Warren Report"; he was an advisor to and friend of Jim Garrison, during the 1969 Clay Shaw trial and afterward. (I did not know this at the beginning of our correspondence.) I teach English at the University of Kassel, Germany.
I enclose the Main Line Times article of 3/17/77 reviewing a lecture which I gave. I tell 12 reporters, "I have been up for debate for 13 years and no one has debated me yet. If there was anything to debate it could have been debated." Now, after almost thirty years, I am still available on no notice to debate, and there are still no takers.
I enclose the Sept. 3 and Oct. 1, 1976 Nissenbaum letters showing that Specter had agreed to debate me and backed out of the debate. After backing out, he was willing to and arranged to speak on Feb. 27, 1977. When I learned of this, I vehemently objected. Whereupon his speaking engagement was cancelled, and I was invited to give the enclosed talk, which was entitled "The Design of the Warren Report, to Fall to Pieces."
Salandria's articles are available on this site:VSNov64, VSJan65, VSMar65, VSMar66, VSApr66, VSOct66, VSOct71, VSDec71, VSApr77.
You will note that in this talk I apologized for writing my early articles, which established a design for a microanalysis of the Warren Report. These early articles did not truly get written by me but rather jumped out of the government's Warren Report and its accompanying exhibits. In its exhibits the government reports on experiments which demolished the Warren Report. Let's examine one set of such experiments.
In the Main Line Times article I make reference to CE 399, 572 and 856. The government showed us CE 399 and instructed us that this is the bullet which was fired from a rifle which had a sight that would direct a bullet high and to the right. This bullet coursed through President Kennedy at a downward angle of 17°, making single holes in his coat jacket 5 5/8" from the top of his collar, and in his shirt 5 3/4" from the top of his shirt collar. It emerged from his necktie knot and struck Governor Connally in his back, shattering the fifth rib, emerging from under his right nipple. It then smashed his right wrist, shedding metal fragments in and around the wrist and lodged a fragment into Governor Connally's right femur. The bullet fell from stretcher at Parkland Hospital sans blood, tissue, clothing threads and sans clothing weave embossed on it. It suffered essentially no loss of weight.
Every hunter in the world knows that a bullet looking like CE 399 could not have been fired into anything but tubes of cotton or its equivalent. But all of us are not hunters. So the government offered to us who had no hunting experience the benefit of the government's experimentation.
The government showed us CE 572, two bullets that had been fired into tubes of cotton. Lo, they bear a remarkable resemblance to CE 399!
But, just in case we remain in doubt, they offer the reader CE 856. This is a bullet, the government tells us, that was fired into a cadaver wrist. Lo, it is mangled and bears no resemblance to CE 399!
Why did the government spare us the trouble of conducting our own experiments? Why stuff these experiments which destroy the Warren Report down our throats? In my talk I review many other examples of the government's forced-feeding process.
If the transparent conspiracy theory is correct, and I believe it is, then I am not a seminal thinker. Rather, I am playing in my research the same role for the government that I play here: I am serving as a volunteer clerk.
If the transparency conspiracy theory is correct, then the question of whether the assassination was the work of a disgruntled husband, or the Mafia, or some foreign government, or some low-level rogue element of the U.S. government is put to rest. The transparent conspiracy theory requires conspirators who were in power, expected to remain in power, expected to contrive the investigation and control the press, academe, the Congress and the political parties--large and small. The conspirators expected to be able to control the responses of foreign governments. The conspirators even perhaps expected ultimately to be acclaimed for killing a monster.
I must correct Marty with respect to Jones Harris initiating the idea that Johnby would be killed. The McGuiness article which has me predicting that Johnson would step down and that Johnby would run and would be killed appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer of 1/7/67. Chris Kefalos, who was present in New York City when Jones Harris told me Johnby would be killed, can confirm that this conversation occurred in the spring of 1968.
While we slow down for the summer, our Pentagon and intelligence services appear to have Clinton's nose firmly clenched and are leading that boy into incidents they desperately need to create as the excuse for their existence and growth.
Enclosed you will find Gaeton Fonzi's Third Decade Conference keynote speech. In his address Gaeton made reference to Marty's believing-knowing analysis of the American public's psyche.
What Gaeton accomplished so effectively in this speech is to demonstrate conclusively that the Kennedy killing was the work product of a high-level conspiracy; that the United States intelligence community dominated its planning and execution, and that high-level persons in the American establishment, knowing of the conspiracy, actively involved themselves in seeking to prevent the public at large from coming to know its true nature and purpose.
Gaeton has contributed and given fully of himself in investigating the assassination. He is one of my heroes. My role in assisting his efforts was of no significance. His accomplishments grew out of his extraordinary talents as an investigator and out of his dedication to an open society.
Gaeton is to present-day United States what Dave Graham Phillips (no relation to David Atlee Phillips) was to our country at the turn of the century. He was the quintessential investigative journalist of his day. He was also a novelist of considerable skill who exposed in his novels the weaknesses of our democratic structure in that period which saw the defeat of the progressive movement.
I include the Philadelphia Inquirer's August 21 article which shows how we atom bombed Japan when we knew of the war weariness of the Japanese military and when we knew of their willingness to surrender.
Ralph Brown in his August 12 letter comes at John Thomas on the issue of the relevancy of our addressing political-economic issues. If I were a judge sitting in court, and I am not, I would rule the issue of collectivism vs. a market system irrelevant. But all of us, I know, come down strongly in favor of free speech, irrespective of relevancy.
Brown inquires about my feelings re the Posner book, Case Closed. When Garrison's book, Heritage of Stone, was released, Kirkwood's attack on himn in American Grotesque was piled high in the book stores. Gaeton Fonzi's book is scheduled for release on Nov. 22. I feel that the Posner book is the release of establishment gas seeking to smother the Fonzi work.
I enclose a note of mine dated Sept. 20, 1993 to Robert Meerapol, Esq. I also enclose Marty Schotz's letter which will be printed in Jewish Currents. Some of us may not be as certain as Marty is about the complete innocence of the Rosenbergs. But, a careful reading of the literature on the subject will, I feel, convince all of us that the Rosenbergs were framed by the United States government. It is this framing and their assassination by the government that provides some relevancy to our concentration of interest--the killing of JFK by the U.S. government.
I enclose my letter of Sept. 11, 1993 to Dr. Michael D. Morrissey complimenting him on his article in Sept. 1993 issue of The Third Decade, which article is herewith enclosed. It was just such a letter which got John Thomas into our group. In his case a little effort brought a giant reward to us.
Thank you very much for your kind words about my article, and yes, I would certainly like to join your group of correspondents.
I enclose one of the remaining copies (I only made 50) of Looking for the Enemy.
I gather that you are as frustrated by Chomsky's position on the assassination as I am. After a year and a half of correspondence, it became clear to me that he wasn't going to budge--or, from my point of view, listen to reason. This was a very depressing, but in the end enlightening, experience for me. There was nobody whose opinion I respected more than Chomsky's, and nobody I would have considered less likely to be a victim of mind control. (After all, he writes about it all the time.)
I was wrong. Nobody deserves that much respect, and we are all victims, one way or another. If anyone else had argued the way he has on this issue, I would dismiss him as either being "on the payroll" or hopelessly propagandized. I still respect him too much to seriously consider the former, but I have no choice now but to conclude the latter. Propaganda takes many forms--and maybe that is not the right word--but in Chomsky's case the model or mindset or paradigm or whatever you want to call it which he obviously cannot escape from is clear: anything that smacks of conspiracy theory is "illegitimate," i.e. wrong, trivial, and ill-motivated.
In the case of Alexander Cockburn, who is by the way a good friend of Chomsky's, I cannot be so generous. As I try to show in the book, he fights dirty. Cockburn is much too talented a writer to resort to the sordid treatment he gave the Stone film without being aware of it. Why would he stoop so low in this instance? According to Deborah Davis (Katherine the Great), he was one of the flunkies sicced on her by Graham to destroy the first edition of her book, and at the time he was living with Graham's daughter. Doesn't sound like the behavior of a radical leftist to me.
More importantly, and as I have tried, as diplomatically as possible but to no avail, to point out to Chomsky, the simple cui bono fact is that he and Cockburn, leading the rest of the anti-conspiracy faction of the left, are aiding the Establishment press immeasurably by helping to discredit the notion that the assassination had anything to do with anything--specifically with the policy change in Vietnam. No one could be happier than the boys at Langley, I imagine, about Cockburn and Chomsky deflating the Garrison/Stone thesis with what I will call, in Cockburn's case, bullshit, and in Chomsky's case, sophistry, though I guess there's no difference.
I sent Chomsky a copy of my book, and he was not pleased at all. He was "shocked" that I had published his letter, even more than by the "quality" of what I had written. He said Schlesinger, whose letter I also included, would be within his rights to sue me if he wanted to, implying that he would be too. (Perhaps you as a lawyer can clarify that point.) Then it was my turn to be shocked, because I wasn't aware of anything he'd said in the letter that he hadn't said in print elsewhere. I left out the name-calling. He had referred to one person as a "raving fascist" and a "fraud" and refused to explain further, even when I pressed him. Nor do I have any idea what he meant by the "quality" of the book, unless he meant the recycled paper. I haven't written to him since.
I was quite startled, and pleased, to see in both Brown's and Robert Thomas's letters the references to a "let's show'em we've got'em by the balls" theory, which, when I then read Fonzi's speech, apparently originated with you. I have often considered this myself, but have never seen it in print. I agree with you. Why an ambush when a pill in his coffee would have done the job (as with Pope John Paul I)? Keep most of them busy chasing the details, and for the ones who dare to see the obvious, the message is clear.
As you'll see in my introduction and as I also fleetingly implied in the Third Decade article, I extend this theory to the Stone film phenomenon. For those who see the film as the truth, or close enough, what is left but resignation? As Brown says, for the True Believers there is the false sense of empowerment, but for the disabused (now the majority of the general population, I think) there is the false sense of disempowerment. Sure they can publicly execute a president, shove a fairy tale down our throats, make us fight their wars, and then even show us how and why they did it on the silver screen. That's enough to discourage anybody. But it's a scam. We can still win--if we only knew it.
Thomas is absolutely right--and this is exactly the argument I have with Chomsky et al.: explaining political realities in terms of the "structures" of capitalism is as helpful as discussing the weather. Worse, as he says, because we have about as much hope of changing the one as the other. For all Chomsky's volumes of talk about the evils of capitalism and the implicit call for grass-roots revolution, when the chance comes along to really have one--for that is what I think bringing the assassination and Vietnam together represents--he jumps over to the other side. I won't digest that anytime soon.
I think I'll send the first chapter of the book, "The Bay of Pigs Revisited," to The Third Decade, though it will probably be too long--and if Chomsky is right I'll risk getting sued by Schlesinger. But I haven't seen the case made elsewhere. If only someone could discover that Barbara Bush was once Barbara Jane or Jezebel or something. That would clinch it. Didn't Nancy Reagan falsify her birth certificate too? I tried the Smith College registrar; they have no record of a middle name--just plain old Barbara Pierce. An aristocrat with no middle name?
Dr. Morrissey's letter of 9/22/93 is enclosed. He, like the rest of us, has had the experience of corresponding with Professor Chomsky about the Kennedy assassination. He, like the rest of us, has been instructed by Professor Chomsky not to circulate or discuss with anyone the contents of his letters, which the professo views as private although they are clearly statements on subjects of public interest on which he makes public comments.
Dr. Morrissey also seems to buy into the transparent conspiracy theory. He, like some others of us, thinks that Thomas is correct about the futility of attacking capitalism in an effort to get to the root cause for the JFK killing.
Dr. Morrissey, I know nothing about science, and therefore cannot evaluate your material on AIDS. For a long time now I have struggled with the question of why our rulers have not addressed in a world undergoing a cybernetic revolution with a consequent reduction in the need for human labor in post-industrial capitalism the problem of a burgeoning world population. You provide a hypothesis to explain AIDS as such a problem-solving device.
Because of my ignorance of science, I cannot evaluate the hypothesis, without running the risk of sounding like Professor Chomsky sounding off on the legal issue of what one can or cannot do with a letter one receives. But I ask you whether you should be addressing the question of the origin of AIDS in the same context of the JFK assassination. The killing of JFK at the highest level of U.S. governmental power I consider fact. The AIDS hypothesis is a theory. To join these problems together is to ask the public to swallow two large watermelons together. That is the way I see it.
My sense of the critical community is that it was from the beginning heavily infiltrated by the intelligence community. Powerful persons and forces which consummate a successful coup would not be satisfied to surrender to honest critics the task of analyzing the implications of the cover story or stories and the consequent effects of the coup on our society. It is safe to say that the killers would place in the critical community various persons who would occupy the whole spectrum of possible analyses.
One or more would defend the Commission's findings but attack the Commission's methodology and explain away mistakes on the basis of poor methods, sloppy execution, time constraints, etc. Others would entertain a possible conspiracy but would emphasize the prolix nature of the evidence, the need to ascertain all the hows of the execution of the killing and the error of seeking to draw any conclusions about the meaning of the assassination until all the mysteries of how it was accomplished were resolved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Others would undertake to apply scientific analyses to the data of the Commission's findings and seek to attribute evidence that ran contrary to the Commission's conclusions as requiring further experimentation. Others would leap to the conclusion that there was a conspiracy of a communist nature. Others would emerge from the Birchite direction to announce that there was a U.S. governmental conspiracy so as to discredit that explanation. Others would leap forward with various other false sponsors such as the Mafia, low-level right-wing, rogue intelligence elements, and the like.
Others would come forward with an all-inclusive combination of big oil, big business, military-industrial, C.I.A., Joint chiefs, Mafia, Johnson, Southern Rim, etc. to make the conspiracy so large as to reduce it to an absurdity. Others would emerge to trash JFK as the quintessential cold warrior and point in the direction of Castro. We can go on and on with this. I feel that I can identify persons who came forward with these approaches with the result that rather than improved political insight and knowledge growing out of the killing of Kennedy we got babble.
Dick Levy's October 24 letter speaks of Ira Einhorn and encloses an article on him. Ira came to me early and joined with Tom Katen, another writer and me to review for Liberation Epstein's Inquest. He toned down our stridency. Then he became a frequent visitor at my home.
He tried to get me to meet with his friends, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. He befriended Gaeton Fonzi. Then I learned that he was supplying drugs to students at colleges, universities and professional schools. I also learned that he had barged into a meeting of people working in the peace movement. He told them that they should get bombs and undertake to practice terrorism.
When I confronted him with my evidence, he said that politics was street theatre, and that I should not take what he had done seriously. I told him that I strongly suspected that he was an intelligence agent and that he should stay away from me.
When Ira was arrested for murder, Arlen Specter represented him. He got his bail reduced to $40,000 or $4,000 cash. Ira left the country before the trial. When he was recently prosecuted and convicted of murder in absentia, the newspapers carried accounts that Ira had told friends that he was connected with U.S. intelligence.
Ira, in my judgment was an exemplar of one type of agent employed by the CIA during the 1960s and 70s to bring confusion and disrepute to the JFK assassination inquiry, the peace movement and the civil rights movement.
The agents who infiltrated the critical community were of various types and served various purposes. They shaped and participated in the debates on the subject. The bad critics were accepted by the media to drive the good critics from the marketplace of ideas.
Some of these critics were originally well intentioned but got tipped into serving the interests of the establishment. I can recall being visited very early in 1965 by Professor Jacob Cohen of Brandeis University, who promised me wide circulation in the major news media. I declined the offer because I knew what would be expected of me. He then promised me tax audits. Those I got in profusion.
I've decided to order Rethinking Camelot after all. I've only seen parts of the newly declassified material, and I want to see if there really is any evidence that JFK's withdrawal policy changed between Oct. 11, 1963 (NSAM 263) and Nov. 22, as Chomsky implies but never comes right out and says so. He vacillates between saying there was never a withdrawal policy in the first place, and saying estimates of the progress of the war changed radically after Diem's assassination.
The few pages I do have from the recently declassified materials (Foreign Relations of the US, 1961-63, Vol. IV) say the exact opposite of what Chomsky says, so I really don't know what he means when he refers (in virtually every sentence) to "the record" as supporting his view, e.g.:
Memorandum of Discussion at the Special Meeting on Vietnam, Honolulu, November 20, 1963
Ambassador Lodge described the outlook for the immediate future of Vietnam as hopeful.... Finally, as regards all US programs--military, economic, psychological--we should continue to keep before us the goal of setting dates for phasing out US activities and turning them over to the Vietnamese; and these dates, too, should be looked at again in the light of the new political situation. The date mentioned in the McNamara-Taylor statement of October 2 on US military withdrawal had--and is still having--a tonic effect. We should set dates for USOM and USIS programs, too. We can always grant last-minute extensions if we think it wise to do so.
There was some documentary evidence of negative analyses of the progress of the war after Oct. 11, but there were many conflicting (optimistic vs. pessimistic) reports. The bottom line is still that official policy, nevertheless, as set down in NSAM 263, did not change between Oct. 11 and Nov. 22.
Our letters crossed.
It's true what you say about the watermelons. I just put them together because that's how they came to me. In a way, there is a connection. I don't think I would have paid any attention to the Segal theory at all if I hadn't been hit by the truth about the assassination just a few months before.
I'm not a scientist, either, just an English teacher. Still, I refuse to leave this discussion--or any other that affects all of us--to the "experts." We have seen often enough what this leads to.
I put this chapter through the e-nets and have gotten some pretty good response, though not as much as I would like. I enclose the exchanges since then.
On the role of CIA-infiltrated assassination critics, the problem, of course, would be finding evidence of direct connections. There is no question--in my mind at least--of the effects, which you summarize very well. As far as that goes, you would have to take people like Chomsky and Cockburn into account too. I repeat what I have said before: No one has done more to undermine the potential political effect of the Stone film and critical assassination research in general than these two. I am referring primarily to myself, because of the high regard I had for them pre-JFK, but I know from you and from others that they have had the same effect on many other people. How many (literally) thousands of people, including some of the most otherwise politically aware, have decided, thanks to Chomsky and Cockburn and I.F. Stone et al., that the entire subject of the assassinations is better left alone? That is exactly what they are saying.
Back to Chomsky et al. in a moment, but I can't help bringing up another name in this context: Harold Weisberg. I know he has a fairly solid reputation as one of the early researchers, and the fact that he has had to self-publish his books speaks for him (though what I've tried to read is so poorly written as to be excruciating reading--this is one guy who could really use an editor). On the other hand, wasn't he the one who stole an early version of the JFK screenplay and leaked it to the press, who commenced their damage control even before the film was released?
Mainly, though, my suspicion of Weisberg stems from my very unpleasant personal experience with him. We exchanged a few letters in the latter part of 1990. At first he was friendly and seemed reasonable enough, but some of the things he said sounded quite weird, and I made the mistake (I guess) of repeating some of them to Harrison Livingstone. Livingstone, whom Weisberg described as "troubled," then showed Weisberg my letter, and Weisberg flipped out. He wrote me the most vulgar and insulting letter I have ever received, and probably ever will receive. I cringe to even take it out and look at it again. It was frightening. Someone who can sit down and write a letter like that to someone he doesn't even know, just because I quoted a couple of things he said (and he didn't deny that he said them or that the quotes were indeed his opinion), is for my money a psychopath, capable of anything. I apologized, not because I had felt I had done anything wrong, but because I had obviously (and quite unintentionally) hit a nerve in this guy (who made a point of telling me how old he was and how frail, how his fingers hurt to type because of bad circulation) that sent him over the edge. I didn't want anything more to do with him.
He said Lifton "presents an impossible theory as fact and knew that he was misrepresenting but that way he sold lots of books." Garrison is "simply not truthful" and his book (On the Trail) is "fiction." Marrs' Crossfire is "a summary of all the nut theories," "an atrocity," "a stack of awful crap," and he (Weisberg) could "not exaggerate the subject-matter ignorance reflected in the pages." Melanson's work on the King assassination is "a brew of crap." The Groden/Livingstone theory (High Treason) of faked autopsy photos and X-rays has "no purpose."
Of course I tried to pin him down on these summary dismissals, but got nowhere. I still don't even understand what he said about Groden/Livingstone (8/30/90):
They claim that the autopsy X-rays and photographs are fakes, were doctored by officialdom. The existing film disproves the official solution, as you'll see clearly I think in Post Mortem. So, the question I asked and ask is, why would the government go to all the trouble and potential great danger to fake film that destroys the mythology on which it had already fixed? The only apparent purpose of creating fakes is to substantiate the official mythology. So it makes no sense at all to allege that the existing film is faked. There is no purpose in such faking and there were hazards in creating fakes.
You refer to the "testimony" of the Dallas doctors. I think you were referring to what Livingstone said they told him, perhaps Lifton, too. But they were taken to the National Archives for the Nova TV show and they all came out and said that the film they had just examined coincided with what they recall from their observations of the JFK body at Parkland Hospital.
Here's part of my answer (10/29/90):
I'm afraid I still do not understand your point about the JFK autopsy photos and x-rays. Take the drawing/photo of the back of JFK's head, showing only a small entrance wound--that does support the mythology, but it does not show the wound described by the Dallas doctors or the one visible in Zapruder Frame 335. If that autopsy drawing/photo (cf. Groden, after p. 23 and 389) is not a fake, it must be of someone else.
As for the Dallas doctors, I believe what I saw and heard two of them say in the Turner (ITV) film (McClelland and Perry, I think). I didn't see the Nova show, and I don't know what the doctors saw at the Archives, or which doctors you mean, but if any of them were tricked or intimidated into changing their stories I wouldn't be surprised. Enough credible eyewitnesses have described the huge exit wound in the back of JFK's head to make that official autopsy photo impossible.
If there are things in the photos and x-rays that do not support the government's theory consistently, I don't find that surprising either. They didn't have much time and had to improvise as events developed and facts leaked out. Obviously, the cover-up was far from perfect, but why is this surprising?
In fact, in retrospect, the entire assassination and cover-up seem so crudely done that I wonder if the crudeness wasn't intentional. What better way to let us know, without admitting it outright, that they had (and have) us by the balls? Maybe they were saying: "Look what we can do. We blew his brains out in broad daylight, created a fairy tale, and got away with it. You can be as suspicious as you like, but we're in total control, and there's nothing you can do about it."
After all, they could have just dropped a pill in his coffee. CIA and their friends certainly had the techniques for causing "natural" deaths in 1963 just as they do now. Why go to the trouble of a public ambush and massive cover-up when it could have been done without anyone even suspecting foul play?
The Lifton book is weak because he doesn't go beyond the usual innuendoes about "dark forces." But if he is wrong and the body being altered, why did it arrive at Bethesda in a different casket and in different wrappings from what it left Parkland in?
I know it's asking a lot, and maybe when I get your book that will take care of it, but I wish you would explain why you find Garrison, Groden/Livingstone, and Marrs "fictional." Their conclusion is the same--that it was a coup d'état. Do you disagree with that?
I think Garrison rightly puts the finger on the CIA (Groden points more at Nixon, Marrs more at Johnson). Fletcher Prouty wrote a series of articles which he has been trying (unsuccessfully so far) to get published in book form, in which he carries further his notion of the "Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the USA and the World" (his 1972 book). That about says it all. The CIA (and allies) control the Presidency--this was Allen Dulles and Co.'s objective from the beginning. Now we have an ex-DCI (do they ever retire?) in the White House, and nobody bats an eye. After all that has been revealed about the CIA, it is riding higher than ever. Presidents come and go, but the secret police remain, responsible to no one--certainly not to the President (regardless of what the law says).
Weisberg said in response to this (undated but ca. 12/5/90):
First, there is absolutely no non-paranoidal reason even to suspect that the Dallas doctors were subject to any kind of pressure to get them to say on camera for the Nova show that when they saw the official pictures and X-rays at the Archives they saw what they recalled from their viewing of the body. They did not even have to agree to view the film. And when you read Post Mortem, you'll find that I quoted two of them in open disagreement with the official mythology and in 15 years not a thing has happened to them. I also call to your attention that none of the conspiracy theorists use those portions of a book that is widely used and misused [meaning Post Mortem, presumably].
You say you are not surprised that the autopsy film destroys the official story because 'they didn't have much time and had to improvise as events developed.' In considering what I say please recall that you go into Prouty and others in pinning it on the CIA. This is to say that the CIA also controlled the autopsy prosectors [sic--?]. And indeed they didn't have much time! Until 4 o'clock nobody knew where the autopsy would be performed, and the body was at the Navy hospital not much more than three hours later. So, for the CIA to be able even to think that it had to phony the autopsy film it had to know where it would be done and then to be able to control all those having anything to do with the autopsy. Aside from the two military hospitals in the Washington area there were a number of excellent civilian hospitals and the District of Columbia coroner. For what you want to believe to be true the CIA had, within so short a period of time, to be able to control, into perpetuity, all the many people who would in any way have been involved in handling or just seeing the body and all involved in the autopsy itself, and can you imagine how many technicians of various kinds that would have included, aside from the doctors?
...A simple test you can make of his [Lifton's] honesty is to compare what he says about the body being in a plastic body-bag with the Sibert-O'fNeill FBI report on which he depends for his theory...the FBI agents are quite specific, there was no body bag. And they were there when the casket was opened at Bethesda...Like the body being in a different casket. The FBI agents, unless you make them part of the conspiracy, also disprove that. As I recall, in that same paragraph.
...when he [Groden] gets to making interpretations he goes wild. I've asked Livingstone, without any response, why anyone would go to all the trouble and great risk of faking any of the film and winding up with what destroys the very purpose of the alleged fakery...
You wonder whether the crudeness of the cover-up wasn't intentional, to be a warning to all. I've no reason even to suspect it. The plain and simple truth is that neither the Dallas police nor the FBI had anything to go on except what pointed to Oswald. So both immediately ordained a lone assassin. If you understood the way the FBI really works you'd know that Hoover, for whom this was an instant vision--and I have that in FBI records--didn't even have to tell the field agents. They knew how they lived and what was and was not expected of them. In Dallas, before Oswald was charged and from the internal evidence before the FBI supervisor even knew his name, he ruled out following any other leads because 'real subject has been located." That record was typed, checked through the indices with citations added by hand, annotated by the supervisor, was itself indexed and was filed, before Oswald was charged! I have other similar records of that time. Do you now want to include the entire FBI in the conspiracy with the CIA--which Hoover detested?
You say it would have been easy to drop poison in JFK's coffee rather than go to all the trouble of the shooting. That would have had to have been done by someone who had access to his coffee and to him and that limits quite a bit. But you forget that there would have been an autopsy and the poison would have been discovered. And then it would have been child's play to know who could have done it.
Here is part of my answer (12/13/90) to that:
...I want to respond to your letter in detail because, frankly, I find it very confusing and I cannot believe that it is a true reflection of your thinking. I wish I had Post Mortem and your other books so I would have more indication of what you do think, as opposed to what you think is crap.
I did not see the Nova show (do you know where I could get a copy of it or any of the other assassination documentaries shown in the US?), so I don't know which Dallas doctors you are referring to, what they said, or what they saw at the Archives. You say the doctors said on camera that what they saw at the Archives is what they saw in Dallas, i.e. supporting the official version. In the next sentence you say two of them (which ones?) dispute the official version. Are you saying that because there is contradictory testimony, we cannot know which is true? If that were the case, we would never know anything. The adversarial system begins with contradictory evidence; it doesn't end there.
For my part, I really don't think it is a matter of "what I want to believe." Much more to the point is what most Americans do NOT want to believe, and therefore cannot believe. I saw and heard Dr. McClellan and Dr. Peters of Parkland Hospital describe and draw a picture of the head wound (in the British ITV film "The Men Who Killed Kennedy," in which you also appear--I presume you've seen it) which corresponds exactly to the lower drawings in Groden, p. 23 f.
You say that for the film to have been faked, the CIA would have to have known where the autopsy would be performed and be able to control everyone involved. What makes you think they did not know? Do you think they would tell us that they knew? The question of control is crucial. First of all, it eliminates every suspect in the conspiracy below the highest levels of the US government: the Mafia, anti-(or pro-) Castro Cubans, Russians, "renegade" elements of the CIA, Big Oil, Minutemen, etc. None of these groups would have been able to participate at all in the conspiracy, much less carry it off alone, without the full power of the government to protect them. The second question is, could even the full power of the government carry it off? The answer stares us in the face. The mission has been accomplished, to date. Of course people can be controlled. The FBI and CIA have plenty of practice at this. True, many people were involved, but not that many would have been in a position to put two and two together or, more importantly, had any concrete evidence and the courage to make it known. And how does any one brave individual make something known, even if he dares to, and resists threats, bribery, flattery, and appeals to patriotism? (Can you imagine being prevailed upon by the highest officials in government not to endanger the "national security" of your country?) Would the big newspapers and TV networks publish your information? Even if it were published, what then?
You seem to forget that not everyone was controlled. A lot of people have been killed and a lot more have simply been ignored. If they have not been completely ignored, it has been due solely to the efforts of private researchers like you. Absolute, 100% control is not necessary: the best way to keep the lid from blowing off is to let out a little steam. But the end effect, again, stares us in the face. Quite a few people have spoken "out of control." What happens? A book or two may be published ad even sell (though the most dangerous ones, like Garrison and Groden/Livingstone and Marrs--and yours?) are not reviewed or advertised. We continue to have a mass of "contradictory evidence" and unanswered questions, with the end result--and that is what counts--that the mystery continues. That is control.
Re the body bag and casket. Why do you give the FBI more credence than Paul O'Conner? Do you believe the FBI agents who reported that there had been surgery to the top of the head and that the back wound wasn't longer than a finger (I don't have the precise reference)? Do you believe what William Webster et al. say about the CIA or what Victor Marchetti, Philip Agee, and other apostates say? Who has more reason to lie? Who has a proven record of deceit, conspiracy, violence, and collaboration with organized crime. You say yourself the CIA is the enemy of the people. Surely you don't think the FBI is any better. You say, "The FBI agents, unless you make them part of the conspiracy, also disprove that [the casket was changed]." That is the whole point. That is what Garrison, Groden/Livingstone, Marrs, etc. are saying. Of course they are part of it--not every agent, but the ones that count. We already know how they work, from the top down, but with plausible deniability, compartmentalization, self-defined accountability ("national security") and all the rest.
My question to you is: How can you believe that anything the FBI or CIA says has any credibility at all, especially when it supports the government's case. It is more logical to seek credibility in the few things they have produced which are self-contradictory.
...Your next paragraph is very confusing, because you say that the FBI field agents automatically responded to Hoover's vision that Oswald was guilty because they knew "what was and was not expected of them." But then you say: "Do you want to include the entire FBI in the conspiracy...?" You answer the question yourself: if Hoover was in on it, the whole FBI would have been in on it. Hoover may have detested the CIA, a rival (and much more powerful, since the CIA Director is also DCI) secret force, but of course he would have cooperated with them. He hated Kennedy too. Hepburn says in Farewell America that Hoover knew all about it and cooperated by simply doing nothing. That seems likely. At least, the core of the conspiracy would have to have been in the more powerful (CIA) rather than less powerful organization.
I do not agree that an autopsy would have discovered a poison or other simpler cause of death. First, the CIA has long had toxic agents that can simulate natural deaths and are totally undetectable. Secondly, you again seem to be skirting the implications of the thesis that the government itself was the perpetrator (that it was a coup d'etat). With this thesis, there need not even have been an autopsy, much less an honest one.
As for the tramps, or winos--what difference does that make? Winos don't have trimmed haircuts either. Why do you avoid the most important question, which is why they were released without any record of their testimony or identities? As for Lansdale, no one has claimed he was "the shooter." If Prouty is right, he would have been the one, or one of the ones, in charge. "What in the world would have kept him from fleeing?" you ask. Obviously, nothing did! Let me ask you: Would you have believed, in a penny dreadful, that three tramps/winos could be "arrested" under such circumstances and released without a trace, and that whoever the other people were in the photographs have never been officially identified?
Weisberg's reply (12/19/90), in part:
...You appear to have accepted without question books that you should have perceived on your own are not really serious. Example: Farewell America. It was a phony, by the French spooks in SDECE. How you could as a scholar read that diatribe and not perceive that it is supposedly the solution to the JFK assassination yet it says almost nothing about it baffles me.
...There is no way we can responsibly say who did it. Period. ... Governments just donot work the way those who have influenced your thinking have led you to believe. The FBI, Secret Service, CIA and the military did not have to confer on how to cover up, yet all covered up.
But let us assume in terms of your thinking, that this was a conscious conspiracy. You are unable to distinguish between this conspiracy and one there undoubtedly was, to kill. Even if one assumes as you do, that both were governmental, there is neither fact nor reason to combine the two into one.
...Livingstone and Groden are friends and their book is a big success and it is still another that deceives and misleads the grieving people...the autopsy pictures and X-rays destroy the official solution. Now who in his right mind would create fakes todo that when he wanted the official solution to be believed? ...[Lifton] postulates a theory, which he really presents as unquestionable fact, that there can be successful conspiracies of thousands who preserve perpetual silence, no one of whom has any qualms of conscience. You should also be able to see that this conspiracy involved each and every one of JFK's most trusted, who then were with him...it was never possible for the conspirators to have unseen access to the corpse in the Dallas hospital or on the plane and in any event it was not possible to hide the corpse on the plane outside the casket. It was not possible to remove the corpse unseen on the other side of the plane, where as one of his alleged sources says, Manchester, there were 3,000 spectators within about 100 feet. As Manchester also states, the second ambulance was sent by LBJ's heart doctor in the fear he might have another heart attack. The second helicopter, as Lifton also knew, carried the honor guard from Fort Myer and from the airport to the Navy hospital. The back gate of which that [sic] he says was used to sneak the altered corpse in was securely locked as soon as it was known that JFK's body was coming there and the guard was removed so nobody could pull rank and demand it be opened for him. And if this doesn't give you enough reason to be unwilling to believe a word Lifton wrote, how can you trust him when in the very paragraph of the FBI report that refers to an alleged surgery of the head it also says that there was no body bag and Lifton doesn't mention that.
...You've gone for the nonsense that Penn Jones invented when you say, "A lot of people have been killed." Aside from the fact that most had no connection with or any way of having knowledge of the assassination, nobody was killed to silence him, none had not had an opportunity to say anything he wanted to say, some of his key ones were not even killed, and don't you ever ask yourself any questions at all? Do you think that the CIA has 80-year-old kamikazes who can pick the precise moment to drive the wrong way on a divided highway to kill the cab driver who had already, on the record, destroyed the integrity of the assassination investigation? And even apologized on the record for doing it?
And if it were not for your addiction to the theory-book drug you [would] not be asking questions like about the hole in JFK's back being longer than a finger. Try to get someone to move an arm up and down and see what happens to the shoulder blade. JFK was erect when shot, prone when they foolishly and wrongly stuck a pinkie in.
This was the end of our substantive correspondence. Then came the incident with Livingstone, and I won't repeat the expletives that gave rise to from Weisberg's side.
Back to Chomsky, I am not ready to say he is a CIA agent, but frankly I find it harder and harder to dismiss the possibility. The only other explanation is that he is himself a better exemplar of mind control than any other Establishment stooges he has mentioned in his own work. Marty (in his letter of 3/25/93) says Chomsky could only have the outrageous position he does because he is "fundamentally uninterested" in the assassination and therefore does not know the evidence. Chomsky himself says he has been through the literature and finds no evidence of high-level conspiracy. The question is, first, how can anyone, especially anyone as politically engaged as Chomsky, be "fundamentally uninterested" in the assassination(s)? The second question is, how can anyone, especially someone as supposedly perceptive as Chomsky, have been through the literature and not have seen this evidence, which abounds?
Assuming he is not an agent and purposely misleading us, I can only guess that fear is a more likely explanation than disinterest. As Cockburn put it in his terrible review of JFK, if the conspiracists are right,
"Out the window goes any sensible analysis of institutions, economic trends and pressures, continuities in corporate and class interest and all the other elements constituting the open secrets and agendas of American capitalism (The Nation, 1/6-13/91:6-7).
In other words, if the conspiracists are right, Cockburn's and Chomsky's life efforts go "out the window." If that is the way he really sees it, no wonder he can't see the truth. His assumption is wrong, of course. If JFK is the truth, it hardly nullifies what the Cockburn/Chomsky crowd call "institutional" or "structural" analysis. But if that's the way they see it, their whole lives, identities, sense of self, etc. (Marty can help with the terminology, I'm sure) are deeply threatened by the notion of conspiracy.
More simply put, if we are right, they are wrong. Especially now that Chomsky and Cockburn have so forcefully joined the anti-conspiracy faction, what will it take for them to say they were wrong, and so crucially wrong? A coup d'état occurred under their noses, and they didn't even notice, even after all these years. Chomsky, after all his "radical dissent" and acid condemnation of others as being mind controlled, would now have to admit that he was more mind controlled and duped and propagandized and oblivious to the most important political event of the century than a large portion of the population. It would take a big man indeed to admit that, even to himself. That is the fear, and I don't think the fear can be consciously overcome, even if one realizes it is there.
One has such an exalted opinion of Chomsky that it is very hard to imagine his mind functioning on such a mundane level, but it is the only explanation that makes sense to me, unless I am willing to question his sincerity. He is simply afraid to see that he has been magnificently, thoroughly, royally screwed. All these years. Why should he be any different from the rest of us in this respect?
Marty's analysis of Stone (5/14/92), that is, of what has happened to Stone, seems exactly right to me. These are very perspicacious remarks. Again, in a word, it is fear, isn't it, but Mary expresses it much better. I would extend the analysis to Chomsky. He too has sold himself out, by rejecting conspiracy theories, for the right to maintain his position as "leading respected American dissident." His rewards may not be as conspicuous as Stone's, but after all, he too appears on TV and radio (more the latter), goes on the lecture circuit, gets interviewed and published constantly, and enjoys an immaculate reputation as a worthy opponent, even among those who violently disagree with him. How much of this would go down the drain (he must think), if he were to side with the conspiracists?
Fear, and Marty adds to that, narcissism. Yes, I can see both. Fear of exclusion, and the pleasure of the spotlight. I agree with what Marty says about Chomsky and I. F. Stone in his letter of 4/25/93 too, but I am skeptical of his embrace of Marxism and especially his enthusiasm for the former Soviet Union and Cuba. I know of no country whose rulers profess communism or Marxism where I would wish to live. I prefer the capitalist US or Western Europe, with all their faults. Someone once called me, after one of my rants against the Gulf War, an "undogmatischer Oppositioneller," which translates as non-dogmatic dissident, which I took as a compliment. I'll plead guilty to that.
Nor do I fault Chomsky for his (seldom expressed) syndico-anarchism (anarchism being not all the same as chaos) or what he would probably also call conservatism in its true sense. The only label I would feel inclined to accept myself would be "Thoreauvian conserative": "For government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone" (Civil Disobedience). I think that's the most we can expect from government. It doesn't mean we all have to or should take to the woods, though. Concern for the common weal does not have to be legislated, and ideally it should not be. If government can do the job of keeping us off each other's backs, I am willing to leave it to our positive instincts to improve the world.
That's a bit simplified, since part of keeping us off each other's backs is removing the structures of capitalist exploitation, and I suppose Marx was right about all that. What I cannot accept is the notion of the State being somehow superior to the individual. Feeling responsibility or love for others is not the same as having these feelings for some political order. In fact, that is where we so often go wrong, transferring feelings for people to feelings for abstractions, whether they be nations, ideologies, or religions.
About Weisberg, I knew him before and during the Clay Shaw trial. He appeared angry, egotistical and was bereft of any social graces. But he tipped me off about Boxley. He was without funds. I went with him to New Orleans and had to pay his way. At that time I had no reason to believe he was not interested in discovering the truth about the killing of JFK. More recently, when George Lardner of the Washington Post called me, it was clear to me that Weisberg was cooperating fully with him. It was also clear to me, and had to be to Weisberg, that Lardner was doing the work of U.S. intelligence. Weisberg and I fought over whether Jim Garrison should go after the X-rays which the government had on JFK during the Shaw trial. I was against the effort, feeling that the murderers would not be helping Jim prosecute Shaw. Weisberg tried to persuade Jim to go for them. I won the argument, and Jim lost interest in the X-rays. What is clear to me now is that Harold Weisberg has no problem cooperating with the government at this time.
There was a terrible article in Der Spiegel by the publisher, Rudolf Augstein, reviewing the Posner book and concluding that now, he (Augstein) "too" is now finally convinced that Oswald did it. Does anyone know of a good critique of the book (which I haven't read)? The Augstein article seems to use the same technique as Time, Newsweek et al.--mentioning everything (to give the impression of thoroughness) but actually making no arguments at all.
The only argument of Posner's that Augstein goes into is the timing of the shots, but as far as I know that argument has never been an important one for conspiracy theorists. No one denies that it might be theoretically possible to make the hits in that time, but no one has duplicated the feat and the likelihood of Oswald's having done it is very small. Augstein (I don't know about Posner) says nothing about the hundreds of other arguments for conspiracy, yet he is "finally convinced." That is the important thing, the only message the reader is supposed to take away.
The fact that Augstein and Spiegel are willing to put themselves on the line like this is clear evidence to me (as if more were needed) that Spiegel is as tightly on the leash as Time et al. and that the cover-up is as imperative as ever. Unless we want to fall back on the mind control analysis (i.e., Augstein really is convinced), which frankly I am getting a little tired of when it comes to people like this. It may be much simpler. Either he's an idiot or a liar, and clearly he is not an idiot. If anybody wants a copy of the article (in German), let me know.
Morrissey asked for a critique on the Posner book. I enclose the November issue of The Investigator with Martin Shakelford's "Critique of Case Closed."
Marty, I agree that Professor Chomsky is not a CIA agent. But with respect to his pronouncements on the JFK assassination he is worse than a CIA agent. Without being an agent, with his enormous prestige as a thinker, as an independent radical, as a courageous man, he does the work of the agency. He turns off his receptors and shuts off Marcus' scientific work. He is unconvinced by the evidence of a conspiracy, but his is utterly convinced that JFK was a consummate cold warrior who could not have changed and did nothing to irritate the military industrial intelligence complex. This is in the face of overwhelming evidence which appears in the literature and in the record.
In my judgment the assassins of JFK killed the presidency. Before JFK there was Eisenhower and his farewell address. Here was a president who saved us from horrible wars when he dragged John Foster Dulles back from the brink on several occasions. Here was a president who would inform us that "until the latest of our world conflicts the United States had no armaments industry... Now the conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence--economic, political, even spiritual--is felt in every city, every state, home, every office of the Federal Government...In the councils of Government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
In his forward to Fred J. Cook's The Warfare State, in 1962, Bertrand Russell, a pretty fair philosopher in his own right, said: "There is only one way of reversing the trend towards preemptive war. It is to make the truth known to the American public. This is a difficult task, since the military-industrial fanatics have a large measure of control over the major means of publicity."
Then we had JFK, who in his American University speech of June 10, 1963 spoke of the struggle for peace as a kind of dialectical process. See speech attached.
Eisenhower and Kennedy were presidents. Since the killing of JFK I feel that we have had no presidency. Clinton today must join the 11 to 15% of the American public who believe the Warren Report. He knows his limitations, as Johnson knew his limitations, as Nixon knew his limitations, etc. The CIA even placed its own former head into the President's slot and with no howls from a public thoroughly conditioned to accepting the clandestine aspects of the government as essentially the government.
Not only did the killing of JFK destroy the American public's confidence in the presidency but in essentially all aspects of the legitimacy of the government. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and respected members of the Congress and of the American establishment placed their names on the Warren Report, which the American public considered to be a fraud. The public lost ist confidence in the media, which refused to investigate the killing. These changes were significant and important, and they can be traced and are traced by so many of us to the assassination.
After the killing of Kennedy it was easy to splinter the broad democratic and Democratic coalitions in the large cities consisting of ethnics, the poor, the working class and the more liberal and leftish elements. Racism was fanned. Martin Luther was dispatched. Top demonstrate that the Kennedy clan was finished, Johnbie was shot away. In 1975 Kirkpatrick Sale in his Power Shift said "After November 22, 1963, everything changed." See the attached excerpts from this book.
First some heartfelt thanks are in order: for the Fonzi book, which has arrived and I am reading; for the second box of back correspondence; for copying and distributing my Looking for the Enemy; and generally again for including me in this very special group of people, which I appreciate more with every mailing you send out. This may well be the best way for us to live with the monstrosities that we are discussing. You have been living with it (or them) for 30 years. For me it's only been five, but it's already clear to me that the mental adjustment we probably all have to make to live with this situation is profound, difficult, on-going (perhaps interminable), and important.
It matters, I think, how we choose to live with it. I mean, lots of facts of life require adjustments, but our particular fact--what we know, as Marty says, as opposed to merely believing--is something that the things we are talking about are things that we think we should be able to do something about, theoretically at least, and therein lies the problem. We think we should be able to do something, but at the same time, and increasingly as time goes on, our "thing" appears as inscrutable and immutable as other bedrock facts of the human condition, like death and taxes.
Sometimes I think the others have it right: Why worry, there's nothing we can do about it anyway. I've been told that the Stone film turned a lot of young heads around, but I haven't seen any signs of it myself. That's what my German students say, at least, and I've always considered them relatively politically aware. I may succeed in shocking them, but most (if not all) of them succeed in "adjusting" very quickly. It's not that JFK is history for them. They react the same way to the AIDS question (which is one reason I go after both topics) and everything else. "Even if it's true, there's nothing we can do." That is generally the final response. Then they go on about their business. Not just young people, but also friends, relatives, colleagues. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new. The thing is, how can I honestly tell them, much less convince them, that they are wrong? What should I say? Write to your congressman (or Bundestagsabgeordneter)? Grow up, study law, and change the world? (That's what I tell my 17-year-old-daughter, when I see an opening.) "Sure," they'll say. "Good idea. What's for lunch?"
Long story short, I think our group is important. We need this contact, and the way you have chosen to do it--by correspondence--may be the best and even the only way. These are not things you can chat about easily with your friends and neighbors, and what else can you do? Subscribe to the assassination journals, write articles, correspond with individuals, attend conferences. All of these are hit-or-miss, short-lived experiences. What we are doing, thanks to your initiative and support, allows us to share ideas in a way that just isn't possible otherwise--at leisure, at length, in detail, and over a long period of time.
You ask us what we think of Paul Hoch. I knew the name but had never read anything by him before. I would put him in the same category with Chomsky. If he is not on the (CIA) payroll, he's got himself fooled too, just like Chomsky. "The single bullet theory is not a joke"? Perhaps Mr. Hoch is a joke. Paul Hoax? I wish I could laugh.
I fully agree with you about Chomsky: he is worse than an agent. It's taken a while, but my opinion of him has diminished to the vanishing point and is still going. Ralph reasonably suggests that we should put him and Cockburn et al. behind us, but it's not that easy for me. Chomsky has occupied too much of my intellectual life to be easily dismissed. He must be driven off. First there was his linguistics, which as Ralph said in a previous letter, and as several of my professors at Cornell were notorious for saying (Robert Hall, Charles Hockett), is much ado about little. I've always felt that way instinctively, but since I also know I don't have a mathematical mind, my attitude was more: "Maybe it is great stuff, and probably is since everybody says so, but not my cup of tea."
I'm not very interested in linguistics anymore, but my impression now is that his original attack on Skinner and behaviorism was exaggerated, especially since his own theories may actually be much more mechanical, dogmatic, and simple-minded than Skinner's were. I don't think Skinner ever pretended to be doing more than exploring a very small aspect of human psychology, but Chomsky is much less modest. He thinks linguistics (his brand in particular) is a branch of mathematics and his grammatical model approaches to Objective Truth in a way similar way to the laws of physics. His grandiose observation that language ability is innately human and infinitely creative is as simple-minded and obvious a truism as you can imagine, but he is credited with this as a discovery.
The same thing could be said about his politics. Chomsky himself sees no parallels between his linguistic and political ideas, but there are some. Both are highly abstract, idealized models of the reality they purport to describe. People, as individuals, have no place in them. His grammar is Saussure's langue, totally abstracted from the reality of everyday speech. What people actually say doesn't matter; only the system is important. Likewise, capitalism, "business interests," or the "corporate sector," as he variously refers to the root of all evil, has no "interesting" or "important" connection to individual people or events. Everything that happens is predictable (post hoc!) and of course explicable by the overarching (and simple) paradigm. Individual presidents and murders of presidents don't matter. They can only be examples or manifestations of systemic pressures.
But ironically, in the case of the assassinations, he refuses even this. He won't even accept Dealey Plaza as an example of the diabolical forces he constantly (and always vaguely) refers to. This is the point where his contribution becomes negative. He rejects the best examples of his own theory (such as it is) of corporate imperialism and "manufacturing consent."
Chomsky's abstract approach, besides depriving people of the best examples of what he himself is saying, leaves us feeling powerless--as I think one of us (Marty?) has said but I can't remember who. No significant change is possible unless the entire structure of society is changed. There can be no revolution but total revolution. At the same time, Chomsky is not at all concerned with how such a far-fetched notion of revolution is to be accomplished. "Keep yourself informed but propaganda-free and support grass-roots movements" is all he can say. Again, an almost vacuous statement, and certainly nothing new.
What does the man really have to say, behind all the footnotes and rhetorical pyrotechnics (both of which are useful, of course)? "Business interests" drive US foreign policy, the media are prejudiced, and people absorb the propaganda and values of their culture. Thank you, Mr. Chomsky. Is this really all it takes to gain a reputation as one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century? What is going on here? Why has he achieved this exalted place in (some of) our minds?
I think the answer, as usual, is as clear as the nose on our faces: Chomsky is himself part of the propaganda. There is not just one set of things that people are supposed to believe; there are many. Chomsky is part of the set of things "radical leftists" are supposed to believe. We accept him as an infallible genius simply because that is the way he is presented to us. That's all there is to it. So it is written in the encyclopedias, the textbooks, and the journals--and thus in our minds.
It is not easy to learn to say (and mean it): "I am just as intelligent as Noam Chomsky." Even after a year and a half of correspondence with him, knowing that his argumentation was poor, I could not bring myself to think this blasphemous thought. I could not possibly be right, and he wrong, about such an important topic as the JFK withdrawal plan. Yet this is the case. I won our argument. There was no one who could confirm it, because there was no one whose opinion I respected as much, including my own. This was a mistake. I suppose it's ok to have heroes, but in the end there's really only one, and that is yourself. So I have learned something from Mr. Chomsky, after all.
Change is growth.
Chomsky may well be the type who holds a grudge. I suspect he's got one against me, now. He is very tight, you know, with Ellen Ray and Bill Schaap. (I notice Ellen was on one of your earlier mailing lists.) Ironically, Chomsky is the one who first told me about CovertAction Information Bulletin (now Quarterly), and they published a couple of things of mine in Lies of Our Times, but either I'm getting paranoid or something (or somebody) has soured our relationship. I sent Ellen Looking for the Enemy, but didn't hear from her except for a short note from Danny Mintz saying they'd both read it and found the part on AIDS and the exchange with Chomsky "interesting." They don't even respond to my faxes anymore. I know they've got a small staff but not that small. The lack of response is suspicious. Chomsky gave the main address at their recent 15-year anniversary, and I wouldn't be surprised if I've been blacklisted.
I also sent the Bay of Pigs chapter to Schlesinger (minus the letter but with his remarks now incorporated in the text). If he responds, I'll let you know.
I had never read the complete text of JFK's American University speech. I see now why people have said it was so important. That was really extraordinary. No one, as far as I know, talked that way about the Soviets until after Gorbachev. That alone is enough to explain the assassination.
The Sale excerpt is good, too. It should be possible to show in exactly how the assassination affected the economy (i.e. the things Sale mentions briefly on pp. 131-132), which companies profited most after the assassination and during the war, etc. I would like to see a strict accounting for that $570 billion that Vietnam "cost" (in 1991 dollars). Should be possible, one would think. Whose pockets did those dollars end up in, exactly? They are probably the ones ultimately responsible for both the assassination and the war.
Ralph should be assured that I am no more qualified to speak to the subject of AIDS than he is. I'm just an English teacher. I haven't even tried to learn about the biology of the matter, because I know I would never get far enough to make any difference. My basic principle regarding science and technology, however, has always been that if the "expert" understands the matter well enough himself, he should be able to make it understandable enough to the layman to satisfy his questions. This includes the ability to say "I don't know" when he doesn't know, which is something too many of them do not have. As you see, I've tried to follow the argumentation of the few who have been willing to talk with me at all, but when it gets tough, they invariably shrug you off.
Segal is an exception. If nothing else, he is clear. Unfortunately, and sadly, in his last letter he said that he is counting on no more than another year of active working life (he is 83 and in deteriorating health), and even that is limited. I know of no one willing and able to carry on the debate. I have not been able to make contact with Dr. Robert Strecker. It's incredible that a question of this enormity should go unanswered, but we're used to that, aren't we? The situations, AIDS and JFK, are very similar.
Ralph's point connecting AIDS with the cybernetic revolution and the general anomie is well taken. On the other hand, I was "radicalized" by a TV program. That was the catalyst, anyway. So the media can have a mobilizing effect, even if 99.9% of the time it is for the wrong causes. Hence the strict control. But what about networking? This shows some promise. The connections are so complicated and chaotic that commercial and government control at present is weak, and if the technology continues to develop apace the kind of control we see in the other mass media may be impossible. Whether this kind of communication can be considered social interaction is another question, but it does bypass publishers and television and film producers.
I have recently joined an Internet list called VWAR-L, which is a discussion forum for Vietnam vets and other interested parties. I joined as a draft dodger and ex-protester. I'm getting some flak, of course, but also some very satisfying feedback from a few people. Unfortunately, the listowner has banned the discussion of "conspiracy theories" and threatened to delete me from the list if I do not comply, so this is obviously a counterexample to the point I was just making, but there are other lists--thousands I think--and the nature of the medium, plus the sheer volume (number of messages sent and people sending them), would make widespread control very difficult.
Good to know this inside information about Livingstone, Weisberg, and Lardner. Weisberg told me Livingstone was "troubled." I think they are both troubled, and trouble for anybody who messes with them. I felt the same way about High Treason 2 as Ralph feels about Killing the Truth (which I haven't read yet)--a "small hand grenade" with some useful information, but much more that is confusing, contradictory, and in the end counterproductive (not the least all that Camelot slobber). I wonder too about Carroll and Graf, because if any book ever needed editing, it was that one.
Ray Marcus is right that connecting the assassination with AIDS would be a tactical error. The evidence on AIDS is far from in. That was basically my point--that there are unanswered (and unasked) questions. The rest was mostly speculation on my part. Legitimate speculation, I feel, but obviously speculation. Our opponents will use anything they can against us. On the email list I mentioned, "conspiracy theories" are lumped together (and banned) as one--including everything from the 60s assassinations to holocaust revisionism.
My specific tactical proposal would be to concentrate on demolishing the Posner book. It is an opportunity to focus. So many big guns have endorsed this book as Warren Report II (I'm dropping my subscription to The Nation after reading their laudatory review) that it gives us a chance to make a concerted effort to demolish it and with it everyone who has endorsed it. The Shackelford article looks like a good start, but there would have to be much more.
I agree with Dick Levy about the military. At the upper-operational end, all we have to do is follow the known command structure. McGeorge Bundy was the highest common denominator between JFK and LBJ. Below him was the DCI (McCone). Richard Helms was DD Operations, with Lansdale, Harvey, Phillips, Hunt etc. under him. The CIA uses the military, not the other way around. They had been making war in Southeast Asia since the WW II and were in control of all operations until the Marines finally landed in 1965. I prefer the term MIIC: military-industrial-intelligence- complex, with emphasis on the last.
On that subject, has anyone ever tried to find out who gave--who could have given--the order to stand down to that army unit that was supposed to provide additional presidential security in Dallas? There must have been a command structure, and the number of people who could have given such an order must be very limited. Similarly the order for almost all the Cabinet members to take off for Honolulu and Japan. Is there any documentation on this? Did JFK himself instruct them to go? Who else could it have been? Rusk and McNamara and the rest of them are still alive. Would it do any good to ask them?
In my opinion, only one person was in a position to give these orders: McGeorge Bundy. As to his bosses, I don't know, but it's probably nothing surprising. (As I said, I think an accounting of the $570 billion "cost" of the Vietnam War would give us some names.) Hepburn mentions some names in Farewell, America--one of the most interesting books on the assassination, I think. Seems to me the author, whoever he was, must have either been an insider or had access to an insider. What do you think? Nobody talks about that book, strangely. (It's out of print but available from Tom Davis.)
Further on Chomsky, he is not God. He can be right on some things, and wrong on others. He is wrong on the assassination(s) and on the Vietnam withdrawal plan. His argumentation is faulty--inflexible, dogmatic, sophistic (playing with words), illogical, and simplistic. He calls people names and will not explain why. He is arrogantly dismissive of people who disagree with him, and disingenuous.
As an example of the latter, I have a letter he sent to a Third Decade reader (who sent it to me) in which he says my article is "hardly worth commenting on," although we had just finished a lengthy correspondence on the subject, and he even thanked me at one point for helping him clarify his own position.
He is also a closet chauvinist, having written (and said in the film Manufacturing Consent) that despite everything, the US is "the freest country in the world." There were some groans in the German audience at that point, and rightly so.
As for the behavior of the Kennedy family, I think we saw the answer to why they haven't spoken out in 1963 and in 1968. They have families. Why should they keep sticking their necks out?
Marty sends us a memorandum dated 1/1/94 captioned "The Mind of Kennedy's Assassins." I gave Jim Garrison Isaac Don Levine's The Mind of the Assassin to read prior to reviewing with him why I thought Bill Boxley was a CIA agent. I also gave Jim references to the secret executive session of the Warren Commission wherein Dulles tells the other Commissioners that he will ask Isaac Don Levine to deal with Marina Oswald, about whom he was to do an article for Life magazine (never published). Dulles said he would get Levine to convince Marina not to testify to the effect that Oswald was a double agent for U.S. and soviet intelligence. After reading the book and the material on the Secret Executive session, Jim was ready to accept that Bill Boxley, whom he had trusted as a dear friend, was working for the CIA. Dulles, incidentally, was announcing that he was going to commit the crime of suborning to perjury. Of course, this was for Dulles a minor crime, but he was brazen about it. The Commissioners seemed to take it in stride.
Now, what Marty did was read the book and apply the psychiatric concept of projection to Isaac Don Levine's work. The results I consider enormously impressive. I consider Marty's approach as a Rosetta Stone to understanding the JFK assassination. He wants to use this approach and Castro's speech as the basis for a book. He feels that annotations to the Castro speech along with the Isaac Don Levine piece would constitute a book.
Marty, I think that the book should be expanded. I feel that Castro was mistaken in feeling that the U.S. government ever intended to nail Cuba or the Soviets with the assassination. I believe that I can prove that the U.S. government never intended to have any other explanation for the assassination other than Oswald as a single assassin.
I feel that our book should sweep Dealey Plaza immediately after the assassination. We should demonstrate that the evidence of Dealey Plaza spoke clearly of conspiracy at the very time when the news media and the U.S. Government were foreclosing any options for any conspiracy. A government which does not keep options open in such a situation is necessarily a guilty government. All the evidence at Dealey Plaza which spoke of conspiracy at that time could have been wrong, but nonetheless, an innocent government would have to entertain it; analyze it; investigate it and reject it only after a thorough investigation had been conducted.
Our book should examine Oswald in accordance with the model provided to us by Isaac Don Levine of an intelligence agency's instrument for carrying out a political assassination. Marty's analysis of the Levine work will convince any fair-minded person that the intelligence agency that assigned Oswald as the patsy meant to have him killed immediately after the president was dispatched. If Oswald had not been killed we weould have been able to have him clear up the following matters which now can be offered up as mysteries. If Oswald had not been killed the assassination would have been immediately traceable to U.S. intelligence. Here is why.
Oswald would have been able to provide us with an accurate chronicle of his whereabouts before the assassination. This chronicle would have cleared up the double and triple Oswald material. Whether he was in Mexico and why would be clear.
He could have told us why he had political contacts as diverse as the Communist Party U.S.A., Fair Play for Cuba Committee, the Socialist Workers Party, the ACLU, the White Russian community in Dallas, and the right-wing groups around Dallas whose meetings Michael Paine told me Oswald was attending and making notes about.
He could have told us why he was being baby-sat by George de Mohrenschildt. He could have told us about how Ruth Paine got him the job at the School Depository building. Ruth Paine, given a conspiracy, must have a connection. There was no way conspirators could have left to happenstance getting the Oswalds to the Dallas area, Oswald getting a job at the Depository Building, Oswald having a place to store a rifle, Oswald being able to live separately from his wife and children and Oswald not being able to get a lawyer after he called Ruth Paine to get John Abt, and she failed to advise to advise him of her inability to get Abt. If Oswald had lived any longer, he would have wanted to know which agency employed Ruth Paine to accomplish vital aspects of framing him. Was this fine Quaker woman employed by the Mafia? By Castro. By right-wing nuts? By the Soviets? None of the above seem like probably candidates.
If Oswald hadn't been killed quickly, then all of the above would not seem like an insoluble mystery that was to keep a critical community busy for thirty years mulling over the rich load of dung deposited by the CIA so as to envelope us in a quagmire. While we were struggling to get one shoe free from this excrement, the CIA was ruling the world.
Once we view the assassins as being assured that Oswald was going to die at or soon after capture and without a record of police interrogation, we are confronted with assassins who possessed great power. These assassins knew that they would be able to have the patsy killed after they had killed the president. These assassins knew they could control the press and destroy the Anglo-Saxon concept of justice that one is innocent until proven guilty. These assassins knew that they could get the state of Texas to violate the law and permit the presidential limousine to leave the jurisdiction with vital evidence to be reworked by the U.S. Government. These assassins knew that they would be able to get the state of Texas to allow the president's body to be shipped out of the jurisdiction contrary to the law of Texas. These assassins knew that the autopsy of the president would be controlled. In short, these assassins knew that they were the government.
Mike, I am still in close touch with Ellen Ray and her husband, Bill Schaap. I am certain that they don't share Professor Chomsky's view of the Kennedy assassination. Jim Garrison had no better friend than Ellen Ray.
Farewell, America was delivered to Jim Garrison while I was in his office. I felt it was CIA misinformation. I still feel that way. As for the Kennedy family, they were not protecting their necks. Rather, they were willing to stick their necks out for the system. Back in 1968, in early spring, Norman Mailer wrote me and asked me to meet with Hones Harris in New York City. I met with Harris, and he told me that Robert Kennedy had made a deal with the murderers on the Warren Report in exchange for a run for the presidency. Harris said that Robert Kennedy recognized that he should not have made a deal with murderers. Robert Kennedy, said Harris, would be killed so soon as he demonstrated that he was a serious candidate and would win the presidency. Chris Kefalos was present at that meeting.
I agree with you, Michael, that political action and the truth of the Kennedy assassination are not incompatible. But political action is rarely concentrated on truth. If there is a choice to be made by me between pursuing political action or the truth, I opt for the latter. Politics, as I see it, is the art and science of mobilizing people towards social ends, whereas the hunt for truth is ist own reward, an end in itself and may run counter to one's political goals.
Ralph, when I did my early work I found that the left was not much interested. The moderates were the ones who lent their ears. Castro tells us that the assassination of Kennedy was an attack on the moderates. He was, in my judgment, right. I think that the Kennedy assassination was more than internecine violence. This was a Cold War consolidation of the military-intelligence-industrial complex on the presidency and on the moderates in the politics of the United States.
Marty, I'm glad to hear you say that Chomsky is wrong and even dishonest on this question, which is a lot different than what you said last time. I agree. The only thing I'm not sure about is whether Chomsky is also lying to himself, but I am seriously beginning to think not. He's too smart for that. That would mean he is just lying to us. If that is true, my cynicism will have hit a new low. But that is what "dishonest" means, isn't it?
I also agree with everything else you said in the letter and the Boston Globe article, and I don't wish to quibble, but I think it would be simpler to use the word "capitalism" or "government" where you use "democracy," if we want that word to retain its meaning. Of course, the word is terribly abused by others, which I suppose is what you are reacting to, but I don't think any of us would contend that our government, or any other government for that matter, approaches true democracy. Just out of curiosity, though, do you consider the Cuban government democratic?
I admire you for telling off the stooges at The Nation. Perhaps I should do the same, rather than just let my subscription lapse, but I'm not sure it's worth the 3 DM postage. I was also interested, and felt vindicated, to see that Fred Cook discovered their true colors back in 1964. What are we to make of this behavior? What makes them do it? Money? Threats? Patriotism (i.e., keep the lid on or the country will go berserk)?
I hope you didn't mean what you said to Vince about not being interested in "the case" anymore. True, there doesn't seem to be any doubt in any of our minds that the CIA did it, and as Vince says, the time for microanalysis has passed. I would add that the time for macroanalysis has passed, too, since I think we also know why they did it. The time now is for the psychological analysis, which should be of particular interest to you as a psychiatrist.
By the way, before I forget to mention it, Fonzi's book should remove whatever doubt remains about the CIA being behind it all. A great book, a mine of information, and most importantly, totally credible. I was surprised, though, at Fonzi's negative comments about Gonzalez, because I had thought of Gonzalez as the only guy left in Congress with any guts or sense of justice (Bush impeachment initiative, BCCI investigation). His attack on Richard Sprague doesn't fit this image. Strange. I would also have liked more discussion of the acoustic evidence, especially of the so-called refutation of it after the report came out.
Back to psychology. History, I'm sure, will look back on this whole period and see the most important question as this: How can so many people not have known what we know? I am not particularly interested in speculating about what the Kennedy family thinks about anything. I don't know them, never will, and have no idea how their minds work. What does interest me, crucially, is how people like Cockburn and Chomsky think, because having read them I feel I know them to some extent, and at one time at least respected and admired them.
You say, Marty, that "many of us have only come to know this very painfully and slowly--that the CIA could kill the President, and all the major institutions of power in the society would be essentially content to look away." Very true. But it's not just the institutions of power that look away. It is also the people we would least expect to behave like institutions. This is "the case" for me. How can people I thought I understood perceive reality so completely differently than I do? I am not willing to accept the notion of reality as total solipsism.
Ironically, Chomsky himself expresses this as "Orwell's problem": How is it that we know so little? (As opposed to "Plato's problem": How is it that we know so much? By which he means, How does language work?) I want to add to that "Chomsky's problem": How is it that a man like this can have such a big hole in his head, or be a shameless liar?
Vince, your very interesting observation that the "hunt for truth is its own reward, an end in itself and may run counter to one's political goals" brings up another question that is indeed something to ponder, probably for a lifetime, and my thoughts on it will not be terribly coherent, and very likely self-contradictory. I want to comment anyway, though, because it's a subject I have been struggling with.
I have no answers, but let me ask some questions. Take the AIDS thing. I have no "scientific" interest in the truth of this matter. Still, I am interested. Would I be content to "know" the truth about it, as we know the truth about the assassination? I don't think so. Why not, if truth was all I was after? What else would I want? I'm not sure. Which means I guess I have no well-defined political goals. But I know I wouldn't be satisfied unless and until something happened. This wanting something to happen--it's like your itch that won't be scratched. But it is more than a desire for truth. If it wasn't, we wouldn't itch, because we already know the truth.
Suppose I pick up the paper tomorrow and the truth about AIDS is written all over it: Segal is right; it was a biowarfare experiment gone awry. The government is investigating, the guilty will be punished, there will be stricter controls on such research, etc. Then what? The truth is known and officially acknowledged. The world is back in order--a little worse for wear--but back in order. Would I be satisfied?
I think not. We have exactly that situation right now with the radiation experiment business. I hadn't heard about it before, but those who did know about it must have felt the same way we do about JFK. Conspiracy buffs one day, and harbingers of the truth the next. One day, the powers that be decide the time is ripe, and they stop stonewalling. The walls come down; the truth is out. There might be a prosecution here, an institutional reform there. But two days later it's Old News.
This will happen, one day, with the assassination(s). That is, nothing will happen. One day, we (more likely, our children or grandchildren) will pick up the paper and there it will be: the Whole Truth. But what will have changed? Who will have changed? Very little, if anything. On top of that, we or our children or grandchildren will have to suffer the inevitable arrogance of those who will say, the day after it comes out in the papers, that of course they knew it all along. Where will the satisfaction be in that for anyone, whether it happens tomorrow or in a hundred years?
We saw it in Vietnam. After the war (or after Tet in 1968, when the government decided to begin pulling out), everybody became antiwar. Of course the war was wrong!
All we have to do is wait. The truth will out. And when it comes out, it won't be new or surprising, and most people will say they've always known it, having convinced themselves that this is so. Is this the truth we're after?
I don't think so. The truth, by itself, that is, the facts, will not be enough. I don't know how to put it, whether this wanting something to happen is political or not. Maybe what I really want is just some kind of ritual, to express my anger. Maybe art would be a better way to achieve that than politics. But I also want to see people squirm, to see their arrogance and self-satisfaction and apathy destroyed. And I do want radical change in the way our government(s) operate. So yes, I am political too. I have a hard time separating these things.
I guess we're all tired of hearing the name Noam Chomsky, but I have to share a couple of things he said to me, particularly after what reading what Vince and Fred Cook had to say about Edward Epstein.
First, here is what Chomsky said to me at one point (July 1, 1992) about "the case":
You say the issue is whether the government is so corrupt that it can murder even the president and then keep it secret. That would be an interesting question if there were any reason to believe that it happened. Since I see no credible evidence for that belief, I can't accept that the issue is as you pose it....
I personally have no interest in the assassination of JFK, RFK, Reagan (attempted), etc., unless there is some reason to believe that something of larger significance is at stake (therefore Hampton is far more interesting, and King possibly so)....
This should be enough (if we care what he says at all) to justify our continuing interest in "the case." Since it is clear to us that there is reason to believe it happened and that something of larger significance is at stake, we can be assured, by the Great Man himself, that we are not hung up on a triviality.
Secondly, here is an example of just how much Chomsky knows about the case and how he chooses to evaluate the data (same letter, my emphasis):
[Assassination theories] are in a realm where evidence doesn't mean a lot, because of the ground rules, which make them immune from refutation. Thus if we begin by assuming conspiracies and lying of cosmic proportions, all counterevidence can be eliminated simply by appeal to the assumption. Thus when the National Academy of Sciences refutes by careful experiment the one reason offered by the House Committee to question the Warren Report, we can simply conclude that the scientists are in on the conspiracy. Anyone who knows them personally knows that this is laughable, but the ground rules are constructed so that counterevidence is self-refuting.
Thus, for Chomsky, the Maverick Defier of Institutions and Established Thought, the HSCA and the National Academy of Sciences are the final word on the matter.
Thirdly, keeping in mind Vince's and Cook's remarks on Epstein, here is a passage in which Chomsky mentions the only assassination researcher he ever mentioned to me. It was in the course of denouncing Fletch Prouty as "utterly untrustworthy" (May 21, 1992):
Serious journalists dismiss him. Edward Epstein, who does think there was an assassination conspiracy, dismisses him out of hand, because his stories just don't hold up, even by the not-very-rigorous fact-checking standards of the Readers Digest, for which Epstein was writing. Nothing can be based on sources like that [i.e., Prouty]--even apart from the fact that he's a raving fascist, supporter of the Liberty Lobby, etc.
Epstein, for Chomsky, is a "serious journalist." Prouty, on the other hand, is a "raving fascist," though Chomsky did not respond to my request that he explain this.
What do you all think of Prouty? I've been corresponding with him for several years and I think he's ok. I think it was a mistake for him to associate himself, however loosely, with Liberty Lobby (The Spotlight, Tom Valentine), but I think he just wanted a forum.
Nuff said, perhaps. But while I'm at it, consider this too. Chomsky's early linguistic work was funded, at least in part, by the military. His mathematical, mechanical approach to language was (and perhaps still is) ideally suited to machine translation and whatever other military applications might be dreamed up. I'm sure that MIT is one of the most important, if not the most important, connecting points between academia and military intelligence and technology. It strains the imagination just a little to think that someone like Chomsky would have been tolerated on the faculty so long, if he were really what he purports to be--namely, the No. 1 radical dissident in the country, who calls Washington the "terrorist capital of the world." It doesn't fit.
Change of subject. I told you I am on this email discussion list with a bunch of Vietnam veterans, and that the listowner (manager) has forbidden discussion of the JFK assassination (interesting in itself), but a few weeks ago I sent the following out "back channel" (privately) to about twenty people on the list:
The question I am pursuing is whether you think it is possible, from your experience with weapons, that a bullet fired from an elevated position (6th floor) a couple of hundred yards away to JFK's right rear could have caused the motion of JFK's head that is clearly visible in the Zapruder film, namely: violently and instantaneously backward, upward, and to his left. (Blood, brain matter, and a large skull fragment were also blown to the rear of the limousine.) The Warren Commission claimed that Oswald's bullet, striking the head at the cowlick at a downwards angle from the right rear and emerging from the right side of the head, caused the head to move violently upwards to the left rear.
One vet answered the question as follows, and I would like to know what you think of his answer:
Head jerks in the direction the round came from is normal. action reaction dictates it. Remember that the round goes all the way through. So not all the energy is dissipated in the target head. The energy that is dissipated therein, and the energy still left in the round as it exits is the action. The reaction goes in the other direction, of course. The entry wound, being much smaller, has a much smaller reaction, so the head (or most any small loose object proportionate to the size of the round) is jerked in the direction of the gunman. One of the most solid arguments against a second gunman actually hitting the Pres. If the other gunman missed, well, evidence is inconclusive in either direction. You can prove this to yourself with a 9mm and a watermelon. Works every time. I know it works on heads from personal experience."
I will try the watermelon experiment as soon as I have the opportunity, but I must say this goes against my common sense. The only shooting I've done is with a 9mm pistol at a firing range, and I don't remember the target moving forward at impact. Maybe the watermelon will behave differently. I will find out.
My second problem with this explanation is that I don't think I've heard it before. I believe the government ballistics experts explained the backwards motion of the head as a muscular reaction, which of course would not apply to watermelons.
I would also like to ask X if he could describe the personal experience he is recollecting. I wonder if even in Vietnam there were many opportunities to observe carefully exactly what happens when someone is shot in the head. Remember that I am talking about the moment of impact and immediately thereafter, not what happens to the body afterwards, when due to the inertia of the last position or motion it may fall in one direction or the other.
I realize that this is a gruesome topic, and I would not ask about it if it were not so important. But I value your opinion at least as much as that of the Warren Commission's so-called "experts" (more, in fact). So if you do have an opinion based on experience, I'd be very grateful if you'd share it with me--or perhaps you can send this query on to others who might be able to respond.
I got no response whatever to this query. Zilch. I guess I really will have to try it out myself. Any of you in a rod and gun club? (I think a cantaloupe would be better than a watermelon.)
Back to psychology again. I'm not sure this is relevant to our topics, but here is a comment I sent out the other day to VWAR-L:
I've been following the posts on guilt and victimization and would like to add my two cents. I live in Germany. I know no German veterans of World War II who have "syndromes" from that war. Why? I think it is because hardly anyone here is still struggling with the illusion they may have had at the time, namely, that it was a good idea. Those who still have such illusions (and there are some, of course) probably keep quiet or join neo-Nazi groups. But the vast majority of veterans and civilians accepted their defeat and their victimization by the Nazis long ago. They had no choice.
America also lost its war in Vietnam, but the difference is this: our government has not changed. It is still essentially the same as it was then. It has never accepted or admitted defeat, and has never allowed us--the veterans and the people in general--to "cleanse" ourselves of that war by denouncing and reforming the enormously powerful political and economic forces that made it happen. That's why the Vietnam War, in a sense, is still going on, and why emotions on this list still run high. The Germans could put it behind them. We cannot.
Not long ago Jonathan Shay [another non-vet on the list who is a psychiatrist and works with vets] wrote:
Loss of self-respect is damn near universal among survivors of severe, prolonged trauma under conditions from which there is no way to leave. Concentration camp survivors, incest survivors [remember, that's both men and women], battered women, survivors of political torture, of abusive cults, all experience this.
The incest analogy is interesting. Father rapes son and has son rape little brother. So son becomes both victim and perpetrator. But if son is to be healed, isn't the first thing he has to do is recognize himself as victim and perpetrator, and the second thing to recognize the father as the *primary* perpetrator and the only one truly to blame? What role does the son's subsequent relationship with his father play in the (possible) healing process? Should the son be enraged at his father, hate him, denounce him, indict him, see him punished, prevented from doing it again, and (possibly) rehabilitated? Or should the son just accept his victimization by his father as bad luck, and try to make the best of it?
In the case of the Vietnam War, father was Uncle Sam. Has he ever been called properly to task by the victims of his crimes, or by anyone else? Has he admitted his guilt? Has he been punished? Has he been rehabilitated? Quite obviously not. When Bush announced "our" triumph over the "Vietnam syndrome" at the end of the Gulf War, he did not mean that Uncle Sam had seen the error of his ways, but just the opposite. Nothing much has changed. I wonder if this is what lies at the heart of much of the psychological problems of Vietnam vets, as opposed to vets of other wars.
I would not be surprised if, say, VVAW [Vietnam Veterans Against the War] vets are more at ease with themselves, in general, than other Vietnam vets, because as political activists they have been able to use their sense of victimization to fight for others, and thus overcome it to some extent. Those who have not been able to identify the US government as the primary perpetrator and victimizer, and thus cannot express their rage in a meaningful way (through political opposition), are inclined to direct their rage towards themselves and others (e.g., "long-haired Commie protestors") who are equally blameless. Note the great interest on this list in "soldier morality" at My Lai, etc. The far more important question is why any US soldier was there or anywhere else in Vietnam in the first place. Not asking it, or not continuing to ask it, or pretending that it has been answered, is simply letting Uncle Sam off the hook (where he belongs) and continuing to blame the victims (ourselves).
The veterans of WWII (on both sides) were able to begin their post-war lives in a political culture they felt a part of. The Americans won the war, and did not feel they had been screwed by their own government, so they did not have that estrangement to deal with. The Germans lost WWII, as we lost in Vietnam, and had every reason to think they had been screwed by the Nazis, just as Vietnam vets have every reason to think they were screwed by their government. But when the Germans lost their war, they also got rid of the government that was responsible for their suffering and the suffering they had been forced to cause others. They had a chance to start again, and re-integrate themselves into a new and rehabilitated culture.
Nothing analogous to that has happened in the United States since Vietnam. What we got instead was a Watergate here, a few confessions ("limited hangouts") by the CIA there. We've never gotten the whole story, never even been able to bang on the table and shout our rage and denounce the bastards (except in private ways), much less reformed the government. Many of the individuals who can rightly be accused of genocide against both the Vietnamese and our own citizens are still around, and still in positions of power. More importantly, the structures of privilege and power and greed are the same now as they were then. If there had been a revolution in 1968, with veterans and other "victims" (having turned their victimization into activism and leadership) leading the way, I suspect there would be a lot less "stress syndromes" today. But the revolution was decapitated (RFK, MLK), the same way a recalcitrant Administration was decapitated that had threatened to deprive the warmongers of their $570 billion war. How can any Vietnam vet "adjust" to such a situation without becoming an outraged political dissident?
My suggestion for thought, then, is that much of these presumably psychological problems are really political, and need to be dealt with politically. That is partly what I imagined I might be able to contribute to on VWAR-L. Jonathan also wrote:
What about the rest of us, who are not combat vets? Do we have anything to give, or should we just unsub and get out of the way? I believe we *do* have something to offer. If we can be trustworthy listeners I think it matters a lot. But what does in mean to be trustworthy as a listener?
But my question here is, how can trust be built up just by listening and commiserating? How can someone trust me if he can't see me for what I am? (That's why I took a deep breath and plunged into the list as "Draft Dodger," etc.) And how can I trust him, if all I do is say "Uh huh" and "Amen" (however compassionately) to whatever he says? Maybe that's what shrinks are supposed to do, but I have my reservations, and in any case, I am not a shrink. It can also have negative consequences, which I've noticed occasionally on the list from some who seem to believe their "baptism of fire" gave them a halo.
Haven't gotten any reaction to this yet, either. I think they're ignoring me and hoping I will go away (which I probably will soon). I mention it here not only because of the JFK-Vietnam connection, but also I think there may be something in this notion of recognizing one's own victimization before one can recognize that of others. I know it was true in my case. It was the recognition that I had been a victim of mind control (and perhaps still am, in some way that I have not yet recognized) that changed me. That was the key.
But victimization requires a perpetrator, and failing to find one outside oneself, one tends to take on that role oneself. I suspect this is true of all of us, not only combat veterans. But if the true perpetrator can be identified, one can resist the debilitating feelings of helplessness and hopelessness by fighting back at the perpetrator. Thus recognition of the truth and politicization go hand in hand.
Sounds simple, but it ain't, as our present discussion shows. Where is the perpetrator (enemy), and how can we/should we fight him/them, especially when so many of our fellows deny that a crime has even been committed? But who said it should be easy?
Vince, a couple of questions. What is it about Farewell America that makes it suspicious? Ditto for Josiah Thompson, William Turner and Paul Hoch, mentioned in your previous letter. Ralph also mentions Thompson's "non-argument." Are we talking about the author of Six Seconds in Dallas (which I haven't read)? I'm missing something here. Are these all repetitions of "Chomsky's problem," where we can't be sure whether they are just lying to us or to themselves as well, or is it clearer than that?
I have the Groden book. I was disappointed, though, that the identification and commentaries on the photos was not done more carefully. I'm not sure what the origin of many of the pictures is or what they are supposed to show.
I also have Livingstone, Scott, and you-know-who's Rethinking Camelot (the sequel to which, Rethinking Chomsky, I may write myself). I'll be working my way through them. Anything else recommended? Crossfire II?
I'm glad my Bay of Pigs article has come out in The Fourth Decade. It was also interesting to see how the other journals rejected it. CovertAction Quarterly finally answered, with somebody named Phillip Smith saying:
We regret that we are unable to use your manuscript. While your take on CIA motivations surrounding the Bay of Pigs is interesting, it is unsupported by any documents, interviews, etc. other than the one source you cite. And the speculative leap between Bay of Pigs and the JFK assassination is indeed breathtaking. Furthermore, CAQ is, as a rule, less interested in historical articles than in contemporary features that rely on substantive investigative journalism.
Now, this is not sour grapes. I'm used to manuscript rejections. But the "one source" I cite happens to be the only official one. Did they want me to take the lies of Dulles, Bissel, etc. into account? True, I limited my sources to this one document, which is not kosher, normally, but 1) it is the only one I trust, and 2) it suffices to make my case. And no one, so far, has denied that I made the case! That should be all that counts. Strange, don't you think?
I wonder, Vince, if Ellen Ray would think this jump is so breathtaking? Seems like just a little hop to me. What has happened to these people?
Here's what Erwin Marquit, editor of Nature, Society, and Thought (a new Marxist journal, recommended to me by Michael Parenti, who liked my article and thought CAQ should publish it) said:
Despite the interesting material contained in it, we find that its subject matter is appropriate for a journal that is less theoretical than ours. We would expect a historical paper on a subject for which a body of scholarly literature already exists to reflect critically the existence of this literature in the development of its arguments....I should add that your introduction of the controversial question of CIA involvement in the Kennedy assassination would certainly raise objections from the referees. This is really a separate topic that is an inappropriate add-on to the discussion.
Again, not a word about whether I made the case or not. If I made the case on the basis of that one official source, the rest of the "body of scholarly literature" is irrelevant. But for Marquit, in any event, the connection with the assassination is too "controversial," and not "theoretical" enough.
Ecco Academia. It makes me want to puke. Vince, I don't think you're going to get any interest from Edward Herman either. You know he co-authored Manufacturing Consent with Chomsky. I doubt that he will touch the assassination. Who needs these fools? I would rather do an Isaac Levine-type exposé on "The Minds of the Assassins' Minions," meaning all these academics who think they know it all and are blind as bats.
The Castro speech is indeed interesting. It may well prove to be the first document that told the truth about the assassination. I would be very interested to know what he thinks about it now. Also about the fall of the Soviet Union. I agree with what Ralph said about that (and other things) in his 1978 Continuing Inquiry articles. It didn't just happen. It was a plot, a long time in the making.
That article, Ralph, is astounding. To think that you wrote it in 1978! You touched on everything--the phony "population problem," the drug culture, the secret Soviet-American alliance, the unacknowledged right-left convergence. All things I have only recently become aware of. You've been at this a while, too, obviously. I feel like a babe in the woods.
Ralph, I was probably wrong to voice my suspicion about Chomsky discrediting me. I am certainly not important enough to merit his attention. I'm just bitter about him, that's all. I'll get over it. (At least, I'm working on it.) On the other hand, if Chomsky is willing to call people raving fascists and frauds in letters without even trying to justify the name-calling, that does not speak well for him. (His defense of Faurisson's right to speak doesn't bother me so much, though I also find it strange.) One thing is certain. His prestige is such that if he wanted to, he could ruin someone in certain circles without trying very hard.
I'm not sure what to say about building (or maintaining) bridges. With friends like Chomsky and Cockburn and Navasky, who needs enemies? I prefer enemies I can see, in any case. I can't see these guys at all anymore. I don't know who they are, what they want, or whose side they are on. I don't trust them. They say interesting things, but so do Lyndon LaRouche and The Spotlight, and I don't trust them either. (At least LaRouche and the Spotlight people recognize the truth about the assassination, whatever we might think of their other ideas.)
I don't think the assassination per se is more important than many of the other atrocities we can read about daily, but the mind control issue does seem much more important, and this is clearest in the case of the assassination(s). Furthermore, it's hard to see how there will ever be an end to elitist shenanigans when our own supposed pro populo leaders, whether left or right, are walking around with enormous holes in their heads--assuming they are on our side at all, which is a serious question. How can I feel solidarity with people I think are either 1) more mind controlled than I ever was, or 2) on the side of the controllers?
Enclosed is a letter to me from Jim DiEugenio about the Paines. I will, by way of answer, send him a copy of this letter without the enclosures. Jim, I don't know whether Shirley Martin is still alive. I did visit the Paines in August of 1965 with Shirley. Of course the Paines are federal agents. But Shirley Martin never advised me that she was of that opinion. We were close friends until the visit with the Paines. Then, on the way back to her home in Oklahoma she acted hostile to me. That was it for the relationship.
Michael Paine, who wasn't supposed to know me, when he met me told me to continue with my work in civil liberties and civil rights and not to pursue the assassination inquiry. He and Ruth both contended that they were convinced that Oswald was alone in the assassination. Michael told me that Oswald had been attending meetings of right-wing groups and would make extensive notes about what went on in the meetings.
Why do the Paines have to be federal agents. We know that the assassination was the work of U.S. intelligence. The plotters could not have left to happenstance getting the Oswalds to the Dallas area, housing Marina and the kids free of cost to Oswald, getting Oswald a job at the Texas Book Depository building, providing a place to store the "assassination weapon--which put the Quaker peace-loving folks on the defensive since Ruth was a prominent and respected Quaker, and getting Oswald to call Ruth Paine about obtaining John Abt as a lawyer and not making contact and not getting a lawyer for him. Michael Paine did not get secret clearance allowing him to work on military projects at Bell Helicopter, while having a father who had been a Trotskyite, without providing some quid pro quo to our government. The Paines could not have been associated with right or left wing nuts, the Mafia or spin-off elements from intelligence. They were good citizens who were in the grips of the CIA. They point directly to a high-level U.S. intelligence killing.
In his January 23 letter Marty strongly disagrees with my thinking about the value of Dealey Plaza evidence immediately following the assassination. My interest in this evidence stems from my conviction that evidence of conspiracy that appeared immediately in Dealey Plaza, no matter how mistaken, could not have been dismissed by an innocent government at that time. The fact that enormous amounts of evidence of a conspiracy that confronted the world at Dealey Plaza was ignored, rejected and dismissed by the authorities proves the guilt of the U.S. government at the highest levels. An innocent government would have had to hold ist options open. That's the way bureaucracies work, all of them. Only a guilty government would have foreclosed a conspiracy immediately after the assassination given the eyewitness testimony, the Secret Service agents' affidavits, the Zapruder film, the Nix and Muchmore film, the Altgens photo of what we are asked to believe was Lovelady, the propulsion of the President's body, the direction of blood, brains and skull fragments as a consequence of bullet impacts, the wound of Tague, the wounds of Governor Connally, the smell of gunpowder on ground level, the number of shots heard, the account of Holland and others of what they saw behind the picket fence, the reports of bullet fragments at the scene, the damage to the presidential limousine, the slowing of the limousine after the first shots and so much more. Marty, I respectfully and lovingly disagree with you on this subject.
John Thomas's discussion (1/28) of capitalism and socialism is not so far off from Marty's view. Kennedy's brand of liberalism which was willing to coexist with command societies even in underdeveloped lands, in my view, would have tended to lead to a new world order of a mixed economic system. Command economies would predominate in industrially underdeveloped countries. Mixtures of market and command economies would tend to predominate in more industrialized countries. Global, multinational conglomerates would not have gained such a powerful grip on the world economy. I agree with John that we are in for a "long twilight struggle" against a powerful and brilliant foe.
On Thompson, I believe he was an agent from the beginning. I met him when I was called to get him and other peace demonstrators out of jail. He then curled around me trying to get me to write Six Seconds in Dallas with him. I separated myself off when he saw the front entry throat hit as an exit caused by exiting bone. Perhaps this is a delusion of grandeur, but I feel that he was sent in to give me media exposure and thereby neutralize and/or coopt me.
On February 12, 1994 William H. Schaap wrote to me asking for story ideas. Here is your opportunity, Mike. I would be honored to serve as your conduit.
I'm glad you sent some of our stuff to Ellen Ray et al., Vince. Thanks. In response to your request, I thought about suggesting again that Ray et al. go after the AIDS thing, but they have my book, and you saw Bill Schaap's answer on p. 129. I'm in contact now with two people in the States who are interested in reviving the origins question. One of them just came here to talk with people in Paris, London and Berlin (the Segals). Who knows, something may come of that, and if it does, we (or they) will be looking for a publisher, so I may try Ray and Schaap again at some point, though I am not hopeful.
I'll also keep David Starks in mind. I first heard of the Segals on a TV documentary that was shown here in 1989 ("AIDS--Die Afrika Legende"), and I've heard in the meantime that a Swedish group has done an English version of it, though I don't know what distribution (if any) it's gotten. An updated version of that might be the way to go. The problem is getting competent biologists to open their mouths (and minds). One of my new contacts, who caught some of my exchange with K.S. on the Internet, says he is a disinformation specialist. I did think it was unusual for a grad student to know so much about biowar research, and when I asked him if he'd had any experience in that area, he broke off the correspondence.
I was very impressed with David Wise's work when I first ran across it. What has he been doing lately? Seems he should be in the forefront of assassination research. I think all this work of the 60s is particularly interesting, in the same sense that the first reports of the assassination are--like the news report of "killers" you mentioned in your speech to the Women's League, and others that described volleys of shots like firecrackers or machine guns (or multiple simultaneous shots). There was that Buchanan book and Farewell, America (I still don't understand why you think it is suspect), Garrison, and of course your own work. That would be an idea for a book--recount everything the earliest commentators had to say, then compare it with what has happened since then.
I'm glad to know that story about Bundy in the Situation Room. I've hated that guy ever since I used to watch him on TV telling us all about how vital South Vietnam was to US security. For me he epitomizes the depravity of Academia. Here's another idea (sorry, I'm an Aquarius): Before he dies, we ought to formulate a bunch of questions for him and figure out a way to force him to either answer or make his refusal to answer public. Same for Rusk, McNamara and the others that are still around, but Bundy for my money is the one nearest the top.
I'm surprised more people haven't caught on to it, but once you know how the national security is set up (all the intelligence agencies > DCI > Nat. Sec. Adviser > President), it's not hard to calculate the highest common denominator between the JFK and LBJ administrations. If it was a coup, or if there was anything going on that the government had to hide, and if the ostensible organization of the government has any relation to reality at all, Bundy had to be at the heart of it--much more than Johnson, who as mere V-P was probably out of the loop. Bundy was the No. 2 man. It would interesting to know more about his financial history and private connections. So if Dallas taught us anything and if organizational charts mean anything (which they don't, necessarily), if we want to know who's calling the shots now, we should look at Anthony Lake and the people he talks to, not Clinton.
Marty, I'm touched by your letter (March 4) too, because I feel you struggling for what I think we all want--a feeling of solidarity with some group larger than ourselves but smaller than humanity as a whole. You seemed to have picked on Fidel and the Cubans as a nucleus to adhere to. I'm afraid I can't follow you on that. Fidel is a charismatic figure, no doubt about it, but I have never lived in Cuba and know almost nothing about life there, so I cannot share your enthusiasm for his form of "democracy" (your definition).
I can't accept your notion of democracy as "any process" that "is leading us to the eventual achievement of that state," either. By that definition you could justify virtually anything, the end justifying the means. Why have you decided Cuba is the "inheritor of America's long lost democratic ideals"? What about North Korea, Vietnam, China, and the former Soviet states and satellites? What about Libya, which also practices a form of "socialism"? We shouldn't forget that the Nazis were also socialists. After 40 years of so-called Marxism, communism, socialism or whatever you want to call it rule in East Germany, it doesn't seem the people there have learned anything about democracy, and I have been repeatedly surprised at how little Marxism they seem to have absorbed there. I'm hardly an expert, but if they have anything to teach us they're being awfully quiet about it. The general impression is that they are more racist, nationalistic, conservative, fascist, close-minded, etc. than West Germans. That may be a false media image because of the skinheads, but it's widespread.
I don't like any of these words. As I've mentioned before, politically I am non-ideological, agnostic, and pragmatic. Anarchy is an ideal state, like democracy. Everyone shares equally in governing, or there is no government at all--both utopias. I think we should consider these directions, rather than goals. I still like Thoreau's idea of government as a device we should use to leave each other alone as much as possible. That would classify as pragmatic anarchism, I guess, or as I prefer to call it, Thoreauvian conservativism (conservatism in the true sense, as Chomsky sometimes uses the term, having nothing to do with the current understanding of it).
It's interesting that in Krushchev's Jan. 31, 1963 letter to Castro, JFK's agreement not to invade Cuba in return for withdrawing the missiles is clearly seen as a significant victory ("you have won a truce"), which we can thus assume was seen as an enormous defeat by the same faction in Washington that would have been upset by the nuclear test ban later in the year and the decision to withdraw from Vietnam. But K also says there was little hope of a disarmament agreement (p. 326), which seems to negate any significance of the 1961 McCloy-Zorin agreement as a factor in the assassination.
It was also interesting for me to see K's prediction that in twenty years "the material and technological basis for communism will by then have been created" (pp. 325-326). 1983 coincides pretty well with the advent of Gorbachev, doesn't it? I don't think we have the slightest idea what really is behind the fall of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev was not an accident, and neither was the 1991 (or was it 1990?) coup. These were not popular revolutions. I know it's grasping in thin air, but I tend to think people like Prouty and even the Spotlight, with their notion of a "one-world" conspiracy of capitalists and communists acting together at the highest level, may be on to something.
We are all searching for the truth of the assassination. But the problem I tried to describe last time was that of living with the truth once you think you know what it is. I think we're all facing that problem, primarily.
I like Marty's reference to Ghandi's "truth of witness." It is possible, and perhaps enough, to witness truth, as opposed to establishing it, isn't it? What does the latter mean, anyway? Once truth becomes established, it just means people don't think about it anymore (much less witness it). That's exactly what I was getting at last time. And then you point out something that may be often said, but is often forgotten--that we owe it to the children to at least be witnesses, to give them "a legacy of struggle for the truth," as you very nicely put it.
As for that solidarity we're looking for, I feel it within our little group, and I agree with Marty that Vince deserves enormous credit for getting us and keeping us together. If Marty finds solidarity with Fidel and the Cubans, I have no quarrel with that, but as I said I can't share it. I'll keep looking, but I'm also asking myself how well defined this notion of solidarity has to be. A country, a class, a political philosophy, a religion, a leader?
Just out of curiosity, what do the psychology textbooks say about this? Do they say "mental health" requires that we feel we are part of something larger than ourselves? Family, community, country--those are the usual categories. Beyond that, I would think, anything goes. Not that I think "mental health" is a very clear or useful concept, but I'm interested in how Marty sees it, as a practicing psychiatrist. Do we "need" religion, patriotism, a sense of identity with a social class or philosophy, etc.?
Ralph says (March 1) that political theses of the assassination are scorned even by "those who now want to show their epiphany and 'expose' the frauds around us." I guess you're referring to Livingstone and Weisberg. I still haven't read the latest Livingstone (not very inspired to start after what you said about him), but you're certainly right about Weisberg. He's a weird guy, and ain't got no couth at all. Who else were you thinking of? How about that as a subject for a book--how assassination research has consistently drifted (and/or been steered) into politically harmless directions. In fact, now that I've said it, that sounds like an excellent theme for a book by all of us! Chomsky would take up at least one chapter.
Re Garrison, I've been wondering if it is correct to refer to him as the originator of the coup d'état by the warmongers theory. Was he the first to lay this on the line?
The O'Hehir article is unmitigated bullshit, but I may disagree with you on the Stone film. I think the message of the film is very clear. The interesting thing, which the O'Hehir article illustrates very well, is how the reviews manage to bury that message--which is their purpose, of course. How many reviews tackled the message--the central question--of the film straight on: Did the warmongers kill him because he was threatening to deprive them of their war? Very few. Note that O'Hehir doesn't even mention "coup d'état until page 4 of the article, and doesn't mention Vietnam until page 5, and even then camouflages the message/question as I've just posed it, which is also how the film poses it. O'Hehir says: "Oliver Stone readily admits that he's trying to find out why he got so fucked up in Vietnam, his contention being that had Kennedy lived, the war would not have continued long. That issue is problematic, but never mind."
No, no. "Oliver Stone readily admits that the military-industrial-intelligence complex killed JFK because he wanted to withdraw from Vietnam." That sounds different, though. Concrete. True. Hear it and you have to deal with it. The purpose of O'Hehir journalism is to make sure important questions like that are not heard, much less discussed. JFK is not a "postmodern" film, in my opinion, nor is it particularly interesting as a film. It is a political message, thinly disguised as fiction, and that is its importance. That's why the firemen have tried so hard to quench it.
I guess you agree with me, from the rest of what you say about depoliticization being the goal of power, which I agree with. It was also the ultimate goal of JFK, as we've already discussed. Stone was used. Time Warner made the film for exactly the purpose that the results suggest: to depoliticize the entire issue of the assassination (and the war).
It may be true that the anti-abortion movement is directed at keeping women at home, but I think it's more than that. Bush has been a Planned Parenthood enthusiast for decades. Do you think this guy cares about helping parents plan families? No, he's interested in keeping down the Third World population (in the US as well as elsewhere). Now, if that were my first priority, and I was a politician, how far would I get in America saying it that way? And if was a top-notch CIA guy, what would I think of as a cover for my real intentions? Why, I would assume the mantel of "pro-life," of course. Costs me little, because I don't think abortions actually make a dent in birth rates, and gains me the favor of all the pro-lifers, plus a great disguise for my true position, which is anti-life.
John, your reaction to that meeting of the Coalition is exactly what mine would have been. I'm amazed that Wecht is so naive about infiltration, and even more that Scott would hesitate to reject the Magic Bullet theory. I don't know anything about Lesar, but from what you say he sounds either suspect or so weak as to be useless (or worse). I've read some of Judge's stuff. It's pretty wild, but I wouldn't hold his ponytail against him. He seems to think the Power Elite are Nazis. Also that the Jonestown massacre was a CIA experiment. None are ideas I would dismiss out of hand, but they, rather than the ponytail, make it easy to discredit him. I'd like to hear more about and from him, but not necessarily as the head of a coalition. By the way, I learned in one of his articles that Mark Lane was Jim Jones's lawyer, which I believe raised some suspicion in Judge's mind about Lane (plus the fact that Lane represented Liberty Lobby in the Hunt case). What do you all think of Lane? (I'll direct that question primarily at Vince, our resident jurist.)
In any case, I mistrust any organization whose first action is to ask for money, especially when they don't specify what the money is for. What will a "Coalition" do that the other groups haven't? I think you pegged them exactly. Refusing to reject the Magic Bullet is like refusing to reject the proposition that the moon is made of green cheese, just because you can't prove it. I'm not sure we need another organization. What we need is what John shows in his letter: RAGE. Red faces, shouting, and pounding on tables. I have no idea how that could come about on a scale large enough to have any effect, but I think that's what needs to happen.
"What is to be done?" John asks. I look at this first from a personal point of view. The biggest problem is burnout. It's hard to stay mad forever. When you lose the anger, you lose interest. On the other hand, I don't know if we can control these things. Either you're mad, and interested, or you're not. Most people aren't. Beyond that, and as part of that, I would say we are doing exactly the right thing. I feel better and better about our little correspondence group, and not because it is a substitute for doing other things, but because it is a foundation and a stimulus, an inspiration, to do other things.
Yes, Dick, I've seen Jacob's Ladder, but don't remember it too well. There was something about chemical warfare, I think. I also saw Ruby, just the other day in fact, but I don't have much of a reaction to that either. There were clear implications of CIA-Mafia ties, but nothing that struck me. Also saw John Roberts recently. Lot of truth in that one, too. I suspect there's more truth in Hollywood films these days than anywhere else. I can't get excited about them any more, though, for the same reason that I don't spend much time on the MLK and RFK murders. JFK and JFK are enough. It's hard to see how the "replays" will have any more impact than the original. I'd be interested in your analysis of the films, though.
The quotes from William James are interesting, and I especially like the image of the cow path in the woods, since it reminded me of Vince's (Crane's) Wayfarer. I was thinking about the contrast of the two images when I read Ray's letter (March 5). What if I became convinced that the correct model for reality is that the country (and the world) is, say, a city controlled by the Mafia? Would my priorities and behavior change? Would I care anymore about the truth? What if I saw myself as facing not a government and institutions that turn a deaf ear to the truth, but real criminals who would not hesitate to slit my throat if they thought I was important (dangerous) enough? It's hard to imagine, because in the back of my mind I still hope that things are not that bad. But the truth is that I don't know. That brings me back to the Wayfarer and the path filled with knives. It is not necessarily a metaphor.
Sorry. These are ugly thoughts, and paralyzing if you dwell on them. Some things you really do just have to banish from your mind, I guess. I could banish them now with the delete key, but I won't. I'd be interested to know if they ever cross your minds too.
But let me close on a positive note by saying again how much I enjoy and profit from reading all of your letters and other contributions.
I no longer have Farewell, America but I remember how it was delivered to Garrison's office. It first appeared mysteriously as a manuscript. I recall coming away from reading it with the sense that it was not at all sourced. Ist suspects were not the ones I had in mind. It supplied no explanation of who the writer or writers were and why they chose not to identify themselves. It could not be used as Gaeton's book will be, as an exemplar against which misinformation and otherwise wrong facts and theories can be judged.
Mike asks whether it is correct to refer to Garrison as the originator of the coup by warmongers theory. I guess that Tom Katen and I were the first to suggest this to Garrison when he arranged to meet with us in New York City early in his investigation. But, Mike, he deserves the credit, since he was the first public figure to espouse the view and was the first person to be persecuted for airing it.
Mike also asks me to comment on Mark Lane. That is not easy for me. I first met Mark Lane when we had dinner together as he came through Philadelphia on his first speaking tour. This was early in 1965. Spencer Coxe, the then Executive Director of the Philadelphia branch of the ACLU invited Lane and me to his home for dinner.
I immediately put the question to Lane whether he had considered Oswald to be a U.S. intelligence agent. He said it was possible, but he had no opinion other than that it was possible. He evinced no real interest.
At the dinner Lane offered to make me head of a Philadelphia branch of his committee to investigate the Kennedy assassination. Since I had and have an aversion to committees (present company excluded), I declined. He then countered by asking me to investigate the assassination in Dallas in the summer of 1964. I accepted this offer. He provided leads for me. I went to Dallas with my brother-in-law, Harold Feldman.
I thought that Lane used the information we obtained for him intelligently and well. I gave him some financial support. He encouraged me by complimenting my piece in The Legal Intelligencer. He invited me to New York to hear him speak in 1967. I was disappointed in the speech because it seemed like no more than a rehash of his doubts of Lee Harvey Oswald's guilt. He was in no rush to make sense of why the assassination had occurred.
We conducted a correspondence with one another. Although we had considerable mutual contacts, we really never got to know one another personally. The impression I got of him was that he was a leftist of keen intelligence and considerable courage.
He had an assistant, Deidre Griswold. I considered her bright, attractive, radical, sincere and honest. With an assistant such as Deidre, I could not imagine Lane to be an agent.
At the Shaw trial we continued to keep our distnace from each other. He got Garrison the handwriting expert who identified the signature of "Clay Bertram" in the VIP room in the New Orleans Airport as Shaw's handwriting. This did not turn a losing trial into a winner, but it was nonetheless helpful.
I noticed that Lane wore fancy clothing, stayed at fine hotels, squired pretty women and had expensive tastes while he apparently had little income. But he was an attractive man, and I guessed that he garnered support for his cause from admiring people of means. The dualism of a radical with expensive tastes did not bother me. B. B. Shaw in The Quintessence of Ibsenism spoke of Henrik Ibsen's radical ideology and taste for silk gloves and a top hat. This did not make Ibsen less of a radical.
The efforts from obvious governmental sources to discredit Lane convinced me that he was bone fide. However, I was disappoint that, depending upuon where and to whom he spoke he would vary from stating that the CIA had killed Kennedy to shrugging his shoulders and stating that he did not know what had killed Kennedy or for what reason. I took this vacillation to be prompted by his desire not to lose his respectability for audiences before whom he appeared. I just can't claim to know Lane as a person as I have come to know and love each of you.
I was glad to find your latest packet of correspondence on our return Saturday from a week in south Portugal (ah, sunshine!)--makes the re-entry more palatable.
I had copied the enclosed articles from The Spotlight before I left but didn't send them, because frankly I'm afraid of what your reaction might be to insinuating this dubious rag into our correspondence. But seeing your comments on Mark Lane, I thought it might be interesting after all to see that here, at least, he is quite straightforward about who did it. As for The Spotlight itself, I have very strong misgivings about it, since about half the things they say do smell of anti-Semitism, racism, and an ugly nationalism that is or borders on Naziism and fascism (I guess that's enough -isms for one sentence), all of which is at the opposite end of my own beliefs. But they also write stuff that I don't seem to read anywhere else (although living here it's difficult to keep up with the whole range of alternative publications). The article by Ryan, for example, seems pretty gutsy and on target. But then, in the same issue, there is an article headlined "Zhirinovsky: Mad Dictator or Enlightened Man of Peace?" which is pretty hard to take. My conclusion is to take everything they say with a boulder-size grain of salt, but not to dismiss everything just because some of it is obviously wacko.
The other thing I've tacked onto the second page of the Ryan article is from Peter MacKenzie's series published in the Clear Lake Independent, a weekly somewhere in Washington (I assume around Seattle, which is where he lives). I believe he used to be or still is an editor of Freedom magazine, which I've never seen but I know Prouty published some articles in it. Prouty sent him my book and he contacted me a couple of months ago. I was glad to learn there was at least one other person in the world interested in the origins question.
The Alfred Lee he mentions, the one who wrote the 1986 Sunday Express article (also enclosed), must be the same Alfred Lee we've been talking about. In 1986 the origins question was hot; now, with the re-emergence of the JFK question, it seems he's been reassigned to that disinformation team. This is quite a gamut of adversaries we're facing--from the Posners to the Lees, and everything in between. The "renegade CIA" theory, the No. 2 fall-back theory after the Mafia theory, will be upon us soon. The strategy may be to promulgate them concurrently rather than consecutively, since that would make for more confusion. "Renegades did it" is just another way of saying the Agency itself was not involved, and Lee makes sure we understand this: "...the CIA was not involved" (p. 6).
I read the other day in the International Herald Tribune of another of Posner's converts--David Marwell, director of the Berlin Document Center, who says, "With careful analysis and compelling new research and findings, Posner does indeed close the case for me." Marwell thus joins Rudolf Augstein, the prestigious editor of Der Spiegel, and the rest of the believers. I still think it would be worth a concerted effort to debunk Posner, less to expose him than to expose the gullibility (or mendacity) of his converts, the latter being the more interesting and revealing phenomenon. In fact, this is the kind of specific project that an organization like the Judge-Lesar Coalition could and should take on, in my opinion.
A couple of weeks ago I paid a visit to the Heiligenrode gun club. (Heiligenrode is the village where I actually live, which is incorporated with another town called Sandershausen to form Niestetal--the Nieste being a little brook that runs into the Fulda--which is really a suburb of Kassel. Bit of local German Landeskunde in case anybody's interested.) I decided that I wouldn't ask them to do my experiment with the cantaloupe because I realized that it would be more complicated than I thought. I'd have to set up a video camera at a right angle to the cantaloupe and then play it back in slow motion to see anything at all, I think. Already too elaborate for me--I don't even have a video camera.
But they did let me shoot a few times with a .22 rifle from 50 meters at a target which was about the size of a cantaloupe (or a man's head). It was extremely difficult to hit, even with a perfectly aligned telescopic sight, a fixed support for the barrel, and all the time I needed to aim. The idea that even an expert marksman could have done as well, with a misaligned sight, through a tree, at a moving target 90 meters away, firing and reloading and re-aiming three times in 6 seconds under conditions of extreme stress seems even more preposterous to me now than before. Ralpht, you would think every member of the NRA would be ashamed not to proclaim the Warren Report as bunk on that basis alone.
Interesting to learn from Monte Evans (p. 17) that the subject of the PFIAB meeting on Nov. 22, 1963, was how to dismantle the CIA. I wonder if there is any documentation on that meeting. This jives with Fletch Prouty's insistence on the significance of NSAMs 55-57, whose purpose (though sabotaged by McGeorge Bundy, as Prouty points out) was to effectively put the CIA out of the paramilitary operations business and put the JCS back in charge.
Ralph, I agree with you that intra-imperialist rivalries would have been enough to cause the coup, but why must you only "entertain the idea that JFK was planning a total pullout from Southeast Asia" (p. 4)? This was the plan and the policy, not a speculative idea--which is the point I keep trying to make contra Chomsky. It doesn't mean he wouldn't have maintained covert operations there and elsewhere, and it doesn't make him a dove. Nixon eventually withdrew from Vietnam, Eisenhower withdrew from Korea, Reagan withdrew from Lebanon, Bush withdrew from Iraq, and none of these presidents are considered doves.
Your remarks on depoliticization through the creation of illusory sites of resistance (the Internet of course being one too) are very astute, and I can imagine a wonderful book on that, if there isn't one already (or another one if there is). Assassination research, then, is just a microcosm of the larger phenomenon. If Vince's transparency theory is correct, though, it is more than a microcosm; it is also a prototype. "Nothing can be done" follows from "Nothing can be known," but behind both of these is the prototype: "We've got you by the balls." This is forgotten, or suppressed, because we prefer to think of ourselves as irrelevant rather than enslaved, though it is farther from the truth.
Dick's chart of the royal family reminds me of the charts in Peter Scott's Dallas Conspiracy manuscript. A friend of mine back in the late 60s was planning to make a giant grid of interlocking connections among corporations; I wonder if he ever did it. The same could be done for the assassination(s) by someone so inclined, and with the help of some clever programming I'm sure some enlightening patterns would emerge. We lack the most basic information of this kind. As I've mentioned before, the population seems divided between those who believe wars are made for profit and those who don't, but the simple question of who profits from particular wars is seldom asked, much less answered, though it should be easy to answer.
I did not know that there was evidence that "the Japanese might have been preparing to surrender even before the bomb was used on Hiroshima," as Kai Bird says in the Nation article. Bundy would probably argue that in any case the "demonstration" served as a deterrent that has prevented nuclear war since then, which shows how much he cares about human life--as if we needed any further proof, after Vietnam.
I also enclose a comment on the Korean "crisis" that I sent out on the Internet, and also to LOOT. Every time I do something like this, I am truly amazed at how the press manages to ignore the simplest and most important questions, at how easy it is for us as readers to ignore them too, and then also at how easy it is to expose the incredibly misleading superficiality of the whole process just by paying a little bit more attention. You don't have to be Noam Chomsky or Alexander Cockburn, with all their talents and resources, to be a "radical" (giving them the benefit of the doubt here, for a change); all you have to do is ask stupid questions.
I have finished Scott's Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, and find it as difficult to comment on as it was to read. Yes, the government is corrupt and works with the mob(s). A little like saying your mother is a bit of a whore, isn't it? A bit of a killer, in fact. A bit of a mass-murderer, in fact. A bit of a beast that would slit your throat, too, if circumstances required. Why count the trees in the forest (to mix the metaphor)? Something is missing. Where is the rage?
I have (finally) started Livingstone's Killing the Truth, but will reserve comment until I've finished. I'm grateful for Ralph's review of the other recent literature, most of which I will now not feel compelled to read.
Ralph mentions Roland Barthes' idea of power and evil "inoculating" the public against itself. The spooks call that a "limited hangout," don't they? I read somewhere that applications for the CIA increased substantially after the "purges" of the 70s.
Vince, how do you reconcile being a lawyer with being an anarchist? I must say that my regard for the law has increased somewhat since I've been living in Germany. I'm only here at all because I sued successfully for a permanent contract (on the basis of federal working law). Several colleagues followed my example, and this won me no friends in the professorial and administrative echelons of the university and the state. Another thing I noticed early on is that policemen here are relatively inconspicuous. They wear small guns, for example, not those cannons American policemen strut around with, and if they catch you DWI, they'll drive you home instead of throwing you in the slammer, as they do in the States. The prisons, from what I've seen on TV, are much more humane than in the US.
A couple of weeks ago the Constitutional Court decriminalized possession (and consumption) of small amounts of marijuana (as in Holland, though I doubt you'll be able to buy it in coffee shops here). That is definitely a progressive change, and I'm amazed that it's happened so quietly. Aside from a couple of news items, I haven't even heard people talking about it. Imagine the furor this would cause in the States!
On the other hand, the Court also recently upheld the law that makes it a crime to deny the holocaust, which whatever else it is is certainly an infringement on freedom of speech. I don't thinking forbidding people to speak evil nonsense is the way to keep them from thinking it, and from what (little) I've read it's pretty easy to demonstrate that the deniers are full of crap. I suspect that some of them are agents, with the aim of discrediting--along with themselves--all conspiracy theories, including real and dangerous challenges to Received Opinion such as assassination inquiry. A whole bunch of people already throw us all into the same pot.
One more legal question, Vince. Forgive me if this is naive, but has there ever been, or could there be, a class-action suit (if that's the proper term) against the US government for any one or all of the various crimes involved in the assassination? Surely people have thought of this.
John, I love that comparison of Chomsky with the PBS art instructor! How very true. And where would he be if people realized that they didn't need him to fill in the picture for themselves? I suppose, if he is not an outright agent, he is happy playing this role of the sage intellect instructing us about how the world works. If it's all really quite simple (and knocking off the prez to fight a war is much too simple for Chomsky's taste), the professor is not needed. His date-book will no longer be filled. Who the fuck wants to read or hear his tedious and tortured prose about the latest US-sponsored crime (ok, maybe for the footnotes), when he has, as you say, no viable suggestions for what to do about it and at the same time denies any connection between these things and the public executions of our political leaders--a connection which just happens to be exactly the one (if there is one at all) that would ignite the revolution?
I'm glad to see you take up the Vietnam thread. I still can't understand why every Nam vet in the country isn't screaming bloody murder, especially after the Stone film. I would love to see this--a great big, loud, table-pounding, screaming, crying, long drawn-out (but not otherwise violent) revolt of Viet vets DEMANDING an immediate and complete answer to the question Oliver Stone put on the silver screen: Did the CIA blow away the president so they could fight their war??? The answer to the question is YES, of course, and it will come, but I would like to see it happen sooner rather than later. I was trying to work in that direction on VWAR-L, until the moderator cut me off. Oh well, the entire press establishment cut Stone off (and Garrison, and and and).
I agree with everything you said to DiEugenio, John. How could Newman not be an agent, when an ex-CIA director (Colby) endorses his book? I think the book was part of the Time Warner straw-man scenario (featuring the unwitting but well-intentioned--and well-rewarded--Oliver Stone). Newman furnished the wood shavings for Cockburn and Chomsky's fire. I wouldn't count on Newman changing course when he becomes a civilian. He didn't get where he is just by donning the uniform, and taking it off won't make a damn bit of difference.
Mike suggests we make multi-media presentations to audiences on the assassination. Starting from 1965, for about five years, I spoke to many groups about the JFK assassination. Marty and Ralph Kefalso attended some of those discussions. I found it to be personally rewarding. From the beginning I found the audiences ready to accept that a coup had occurred.
The arranged debates which get media coverage generally produce confusion. I feel that they are designed to thwart clear public thinking on the subject. I firmly believe that those of you who try out the speaking experiment will find that the public knows more about this subject than we give them credit for knowing.
Mike asks, as well hie might, how I can be an anarchist and a lawyer. Well, Mike, I don't try to live the life of a pure anarchist in a governmentally structured world. I don't choose to spend all of my time in our prisons. I adjust to reality.
I distrust law as I distrust all manifestations of power. But I recognize that some law and some power are less damaging than other law and other power. Lawyers as a tribe? I believe that we are an avaricious, parasitic and brutish lot. But some lawyers tend to be better human beings than others, and I always strive to adopt the standards of the better of us.
I do not lie in presenting cases. I will not argue for a case in which I do not believe. I feel that my work in the law has been reasonably constructive insofar as I have in my judgment in my practice done more good than harm.
When I had a private practice, at least half of my work was performed pro bono. When I chargeed, I charged fees that were commensurate with the hourly rate of the earnings of my clients. I held other jobs in order to support myself as a lawyer.
In my view, until we improve ourselves as human beings, some government and some laws are necessary in order that we might not create a society which is even more wantonly chaotic than the present one in which we live. I view every bureaucratic structure, whether it be governmental, private, for profit or no-profit in nature, as requiring careful scrutiny. I believe that every bureaucracy tends to have as its end the perpetuation and expansion of itself. I recognize that power tends to corrupt, but I know that sometimes power is exercised better or worse than other times.
I became a lawyer in major part because my immigrant parents, whom I much loved, expected that I should become a doctor or a lawyer. Since I can't deal with blood, there was truly no alternative for me other than the law. I also secretly hoped that by becoming a lawyer I might someday help the likes of a Sacco or Vanzetti.
A recent development makes me feel a little sheepish, having expressed along with the rest of you certain misgivings concerning the Coalition on Political Assassinations. Gary Aguilar wrote me a nice letter praising my "Bay of Pigs Revisited" article and invited me to speak at the conference in Washington in October (7-10). This is flattering, of course, and it's a chance to meet some people and give my theory (that the CIA sabotaged the invasion themselves) a wider audience, which Michael Parenti and Carl Oglesby have also told me it deserves. So I'll try to go, even though my department has refused to contribute any money for it.
Vince, I gave your letter to my daughter Lara to read, because I'm still trying to get her to go into law, and I wanted to show her that some lawyers are Good Guys. You make the case well. As long as we have laws, and especially since the Bad Guys are all armed to the teeth with them, we need all the Good Guys we can get with the requisite tools to fight them. Enter Vince Salandria, William Kunstler, Ralph Nader, Mark Lane, etc.
You may have read that the Bundeswehr has now been freed by the Constitutional (= Supreme) Court to roam the planet and fight where it sees fit, like any another grown-up country! There has been virtually no discussion at all of this among the mere populace. They'll still need a parliamentary majority to send troops outside the NATO area, but that hasn't been much of a problem in the US and I doubt that it will be in Germany. Japan, the US, Germany--the new Axis.
We had another visitor the other day--Carl Chatsky. I don't know if I've mentioned him before, but he's the guy who called me up a few months ago from Baltimore and said he was coming to Germany and wanted to meet the Segals. I didn't hear from him again until now, when he calls from Moscow, on his way to see the Segals in Berlin, then to Kassel to see me, and then to Essen to see Segal's publisher. He stayed here overnight. He's doing some free-lance computer work in Russia and combining business with pleasure. He's not a biologist but is quite knowledgeable about genetics (his girlfriend is a grad student in biology at Hopkins) and has done quite a bit of research on the AIDS business. He agrees with Segal that HIV is most likely of artificial origin, and says he's talked to prominent biologists who also agree privately but wouldn't dare do so publicly because it would destroy their careers. Chatsky himself strikes me as a rather scatterbrained genius-type (entered Hopkins at 15). He wears a ponytail and plays a mean banjo/mandolin, and I have no reason to suspect he's not exactly what he appears to be, a middle-aged leftist radical (whatever that means, exactly) like me. We've tentatively agreed to work together, but I'm skeptical, not because I distrust him but because I'm not sure what we can do without a lot of help from at least one other scientist in the field (like Segal) who takes the notion of artificial origin seriously.
One more little anecdote. We had a guest speaker here the other day, a Fulbright professor from someplace in the US (Thomas McCormick), who discoursed for an hour or so on "The Origins and Consequences of US Involvement in Vietnam." His thesis was that Japan had actually been the last domino, that in effect we fought the war for them, for the sake of maintaining Japan as the cornerstone of our Asian economic hegemony. I should have asked him if he'd just figured this out or if he knew all along that we were fighting for Japan. I'll bet a few people would have been surprised and a little chagrined to hear we sacrificed 58,000 of our own men and millions of SE Asians for Japan's economy. He didn't say anything either about the $570 billion boost the war gave our own economy.
I don't think this guy is exactly a rebel intellectual, though. The question I did ask, which I had prepared for my students beforehand (3 pages), was about the (possible) connection between the assassination and the policy change. (What else?) His answer was that there were lots of competing "policies" in November 1963; withdrawal was only one "option" being considered. I had quoted all the relevant documents, so I asked him what documents he had that would have the same or higher priority than NSAM 263. There were some, he said. "A friend" has them. I asked him what he thought of the Garrison/Stone (coup d'état) thesis, and he said another friend (or the same one?) had been "personally offended by it." I guess there's not much question whose side this guy is on.
There's a connection here. I look at my students, who take all the information I give them and say, "Well, it sounds logical but it's just so hard to believe that all the hundreds and thousands of scholars who have worked and published on this before are so wrong." The information I give them (NSAMs and McNamara-Taylor reports, etc.) probably sounds as esoteric to them as microbiology does to me. I'm more or less in their position regarding the AIDS origin question. When you are overwhelmed by "expert opinion" on a subject you know little about, it's almost impossible to maintain a contrary position, at least not for very long. They'll wear you down, and common sense is the first thing to go. I don't know what the answer is to that. Pick something and become an expert yourself? I've tried to do that a little bit on this withdrawal policy thing. The result is me and a few other nuts against the rest of the world. I can't do it in biology. I dropped biology at Hopkins. If it was too complicated for me then, what chance would I have now? No, I think there has to be a more general approach. And it can't be this postmodernist "nothing is certain" mentality, because that is simply the mirror image of fascism; it makes us acquiescent slaves. (The acquiescent part being what disturbs me most.)
I hope you all won't think ill of me for accepting this invitation from COPA. I know the place will be crawling with agents. The whole thing might be playing into the hands of those who want to create an illusion of accomplishing something when in fact nothing can be accomplished in this way, any more than some "Coalition to Prove the Illegitimacy of the Rule of Saddam Hussein" could expect to meet at the Baghdad Hilton and expect to accomplish something. I'll have to do some homework and it will cost me, but I know I'll hate myself if I pass up the opportunity. If any of you plan to go too, of course, it would also be an opportunity for us to get together.
The hiatus in our correspondence was due solely to my need to vacation with my great wife in our country home. This aspect of my life runs counter to my philosophy that the world to be fair must be far more egalitarian in the distribution of wealth. So, I plead guilty to accepting this duality in my nature. It is because I understand my weakness in this respect that I would never trust myself near or in power.
Marty is informed that Mr. Alfonso Frag, Chief of Cuban Interests Section, Embassy of Switzerland, would like to be on our mailing list. I feel it is appropriate for me to take sole responsibility for sending this and future material to Mr. Fraga. Here is why. The assassins of JFK Cubanized the patsy, LHO. Later, they suggested that if indeed there was a conspiracy, then the Cuban government orchestrated it to avenge the CIA's efforts to assassinate their leader, Fidel Castro. In a true sense, therefore, the Cuban people were made patsies for the CIA's killing of Kennedy.
So, Mr. Frag, you are most welcome to read exchanges among free-thinking persons of diverse ideologies, all of whom share a commitment to exercise our First Amendment rights. We exercise free speech in the United States, the way it was meant to be used by our founding fathers. We act as if these rights are respected by our secret police. We know they are not.
Should the CIA want to be included on the mailing list, I would ask them to request, as you did, to be included. Although they will not concede this, the Constitution makes them but public servants and no more. To the extent that they are and have acted as more, they are usurpers of democracy which our correspondents treasure greatly.
Mike writes about accepting a speaking engagement with the Coalition on Political Assassinations. Mike, I hope that my skepticism about this group's chances for building political strength to compel our government to reveal the truth about the assassination does not cause you to believe that you will be looked upon with disfavor by us in accepting a speaking engagement offered to you by that group. I would be most pleased to see myself mistaken about the prognosis for this organization. I hope that is is not thoroughly infiltrated by police agents of our government. I hope that it is daring enough to accept as proven that Kennedy was killed by the highest level of U.S. governmental military-intelligence power. I hope that this group will not seek to legitimatize the U.S. government and seek through further debate on this subject to dignify the government as being able to reform itself from with. I hope that it will not bury itself in the quicksand of myriad facts and theories regarding exactly how U.S. intelligence executed Kennedy rather than seeking to educate the U.S. people on the motivation for the assassination. I hope for all of the above, but I expect little. But as for your speaking before this group to advance the thinking of the honest ones among them, such is appropriate even for a purist and pessimist like me.
Re Dick Sprague's The Taking of America, 1,2,3, this early book contains a great amount of solid stuff intermixed with a good deal of nonsense. There is not a single footnote in the book.
Ralph's comments about the media "inoculating" us against any sort of infective and effective dissent, as I've said before, strike me as a theme worth developing, if it hasn't been done already. The idea of the media as propaganda is pretty old hat, but what Ralph is saying is something quite different. In fact, his model subsumes Chomsky's "propaganda model" by including Chomsky (and the rest of us) in it. If you like to develop theories, this would be a good one. It's kind of a jiu-jitsu move by the powers-that-be: they allow us to dig ourselves deeper and deeper into a state of (perceived) disempowerment simply by increasing the flow of information, which as Ralph says becomes totally indiscriminate. So the more and louder we shout, the less we are heard. Chomsky mentioned in a letter that on his speaking tour during the Gulf War he had the impression that he could have said anything at all and the audiences would have been enthusiastic, which indicated to him how close the country is to fascism. The man on the white horse could be a Perot or a Chomsky for that matter--the point is that ideas (and reason) just don't matter.
Marty and John, have either of you considered that the real policy-makers (whoever they may be) didn't care about "winning" or "losing" the war one way or the other? I think the primary purpose of the war was to generate the $570 billion it "cost." That mission was accomplished. Trace the money and you'll know who the "winners" were. All the rest of us are victims (not losers--the game ain't over yet).
I bought Weisberger's Case Open while I was in the States. Good God in heaven! It is absolutely unreadable. I have never in my life seen a published book so badly written and with such obviously non-existent editing. Livingstone's stuff is bad enough (same publisher), but this is really incredible. What are Carroll and Graf up to? I just can't believe they would naively publish such a manuscript, without even correcting the punctuation! Weisberg may have some points to make, but no one is going to try to read this book (reading it through is impossible) and think anything except that Harold Weisberg is an idiot, or at best a functionally illiterate, petty and vindictive old fart. (His character emerges splendidly, despite the writing.)
Now, I do not like Weisberg and think this impression is accurate, but my question is, why did Carroll and Graf publish this monstrosity? If this is the rebuttal by the "Thomas" of assassination researchers to the upstart Posner, the upstart Posner wins, hands down. I can say that without having read a word of Posner, because the Weisberg book is such a travesty. I honestly suspect that Carroll and Graf did this on purpose to discredit the anti-Posner camp. They simply cannot have published the book without knowing how bad it is, and why else would they publish such a book, without even bothering to correct the punctuation, much less the discomJohnulated syntax?
On his way back to Germany, after addressing the conference in Washington D.C., Mike Morrissey called me. He told me how impressed he was with Michael Parenti, who was at the conference. I will add Mr. Parenti to this mailing list. If he has any interest in remaining on the list, I am herewith requesting that he drop me a note to that effect. By electing to be on the mailing list, he makes no commitment to participate in our exchange of ideas. Should his busy schedule permit him to elect to be on the mailing list, to elect to read some or all of the material, and should he wish to offer his ideas, they would be much welcome.
We have talked about the bullet holes in the shirt and jacket, the gymnastics of the Magic Bullet, which had to turn in mid air to do any injury to Connally. Bullets, until spent, do not turn in mid air. Spent bullets do not smash bones.
A government which remains married to the single assassin theory in the face of the above evidence is necessarily a guilty government. A government which permits Connally's clothing to be cleaned and dry-cleaned in the face of the above evidence is a criminal government. A government which permits the presidential limousine to be removed from the jurisdiction of the crime immediately is a gangster government. Thirty years of microanalysis has converted simple, incontrovertible proof of a high-level coup for significant policy reasons into a cloud of mystery. I submit that such "truth hunting" serves the purpose of hiding the truth under a pile of worthless dung. I further submit that this research has been to a great extent government driven and directed by skillful agents.
I enclose a 1972 speech of mine on the promotion of domestic discord, and also the NY Times book reviews which appeared on Oct. 16 on the subject of what is intelligence. If the theses advanced in the three books reviewed have any element of truth, how should a decent society react to the ideas? Should they be discussed? How will our society likely react? Do any of you care to comment on public school reform in this nation? The concept of intelligence?
I'll make this short, since I've enclosed a long-winded letter to John Newman that I felt compelled to write. I'll be curious to see how he (or anybody else) reacts.
I hope Judge et al. take my suggestion to set up an e-mailing list. That would be the most positive concrete outcome of the conference, I think. I enjoyed seeing and meeting everybody, but reading each other's books and articles and chatting a little once a year or so isn't enough. This will be a good test of whether the Internet has really had (or can have) any impact on the political process yet. The potential is there. Imagine large numbers of people engaged in a reasonable exchange of ideas--lots of Vince Salandria Groups. The technology makes that possible now in a way it has never been before. I suppose the question then is whether this will make ideas and words cheaper and less meaningful, or the opposite.
In my opinion, the focus of such a group should be on public education and mobilization. To take the release of documents as the main goal dooms the whole thing before it begins. But it lends the organization and activity a certain (temporary) "legitimacy"--though that could just as well be a disadvantage.
I want to say first, Vince, that I didn't know how thoroughly and coherently you expressed virtually all the ideas--way back in 1971--that have arrived in my own head in just the last few years. I wonder what my reaction would have been if I had read that article in December 1971. I really can't imagine. It seems like a previous life.
I agree with Ralph and Marty that you should have a Festschrift. I would suggest two volumes--one of Salandria's own work, and another of essays dedicated to him, running the gamut of topics but in his spirit emphasizing the macroanalysis. (I will contribute, if invited.) It's not just that you deserve the recognition. It's important that people realize--as I did not--how much insight about the assassination was floating around in the early period, albeit it in small, obscure journals. That is an important part of this history, perhaps the most important part--how the government-controlled mass media have overwhelmed and effectively obscured prescient and courageous voices such as yours.
Re Chomsky, the remarks Ralph quotes shows how far off base he is. I almost feel sorry for him. As Ralph said to me on the phone, he is like an superstar: he has peaked. And the letter from Schaap and Ray show how desperate they are, playing Chomsky for all he's worth, but I think we are among the first on the left to realize that he isn't worth as much as we thought he was. I worked damn hard on him, as a friend, but he just wasn't listening. I hope he has the guts to admit it someday.
There was a guy at the COPA conference who said he made 650 copies of my article in The Fourth Decade ("Rethinking Chomsky") and handed it around at a talk Chomsky gave recently in Cambridge. That pleased me immensely, needless to say! I hope he passes on my Newman letter too.
Vince, thanks for that NYT book review on intelligence. Part of it was reprinted in the International Herald Tribune, but I am glad to have it all. I am using it as my first topic in one of my writing classes. In answer to your question, I tend to resist all attempts to define and measure "intelligence" rather fiercely. Show me the test and I'll show you plenty of reasons why it doesn't test anything important or conclusive enough to represent "intelligence." Actually, I thought that question had been settled, but here it is again in three "explosive" books.
As far as I'm concerned, the opinion poll just before the Gulf War that showed the majority of blacks and females against "intervention," and the slight majority of white males (as in Congress) for it, was as valid an intelligence test as any. When it comes down to it, your McGeorge Bundy types, with all their privileged upbringing and supposedly superior "intelligence," consistently choose the wrong box: war. That makes them much stupider than the ones who choose to avoid war. What good is IQ, however it is measured, if it leads to madness and destruction? A criminal can use his high IQ to kill people. Does that make him "intelligent"? I don't think so. Smart, clever, fast-thinking, manipulating, whatever, but not intelligent. IQ tests basically just measure how fast people can do certain tasks, mostly involving manipulating words or numbers or spatial figures. That is certainly only a small part of intelligence.
I applaud your renewed efforts to gain new members for our group. Hope Parenti joins.
As for me being too hard on Weisberg, Vince, you may be right. I admit that I don't like the man. My point about his book, though, was directed more at Carroll and Graf. I don't think they published his book in good faith. There is a point at which bad editing, or in this case no editing at all, cannot pass as "oversight." Case Closed goes way beyond that point. Have you actually tried to read the book? I would cite some passages but frankly I just don't have the energy to pick up that piece of trash again. It was like trying to read an essay by my worst students. Please don't compare yourself with him. There is no comparison. And please also stop this nonsense about your writing ability. You write very well and clearly, and what you have written is brilliant. Who else was writing such things in 1971? That is what I call intelligence.
Also on the subject of books, in Washington one of the working groups ("International Outreach") was headed by Al Navis, a Canadian bookseller, who knows all about the history of Farewell America. He told us the whole story, and I urged him to write it up. I hope he does. It was written by 2 British and one French intelligence officer on contract from RFK. The day after RFK received their report, he decided to run for president, that being the only way to fight what he now saw as the enemy. I've forgotten the details now of how it got published, but the last remaining 4,000 copies of it intended for distribution in the States ended up at an auction in Toronto. Navis got 2,000 and the CIA the other 2,000. Something like that. I'm sorry I can't remember the details, but the story sounded authentic, and the book has always seemed authentic to me--except for the fact that it doesn't mention the war, but it wouldn't be alone in that failing. It got the essential facts pretty much correct, though, in 1968, and it's simply astounding that it has gotten so little attention. It would be very worthwhile for somebody like you, Vince, who was in the thick of it at the time, to go back over that book in detail and re-evaluate it. It is full of names. Some of the people named would surely have sued if they (or somebody) wasn't afraid of the exposure.
In the middle of writing this I got a call from John Thomas all the way from the States, who said nice things about my letter to Newman. That made my day! John is good medicine. Bless you, John! This guy is full of infectious energy and enthusiasm. He wants to pursue a "Vietnam veterans outreach" angle in conjunction with COPA, which I think is a fabulous idea. That's where our priorities should be, on grassroots education and mobilization. John, I think the vet I talked with at the Wall, Ed Healey, was with Vietnam Vets of America. I would love to see those guys involved. The VVAW address (Ben Chitty) is VVAW, Clarence Fitch Chapter, PO Box 74, Van Brunt Station, Brooklyn, NY 11215, telephone 718-826-1789, email ABCQC@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU (or ABCQC@CUNYVM.BITNET). They put out a newsletter called DMZ.
I bought a great book at the Wall, published by US Veteran News and Report. It cost 5 bucks and consists of 58,166 names. One reason I bought it was so the next time anybody asks me why I'm interested in the JFK assassination I can give them all 58,166 reasons.
Thinking about our conversation, John, I do think all 58,166 (and many more) were assassinated by institutional conspiracy, certainly not by "renegades" in the institutions. I don't understand why you would want to leave the CIA, or any other government institution, an escape hatch. They'll find their own escape hatch. Our job, as I see it, is to find out how those institutional conspiracies really work, so we can learn how to control them. (One way they work is by killing presidents and trying to keep it a secret.) If they can't be controlled (as, for example, the CIA has shown time and time again that it cannot be controlled) they should be destroyed.
This is not revolutionary chutzpah or destruction for destruction's sake; it's what I learned in school about how citizens are supposed to act in a democracy. We have to stop watching this shell game we call a government and letting those who run it steal our money and our lives. Either that or forget all this democracy shit. But in either case I want to at least understand the world I live in. Even the most miserable medieval slave or tenant farmer understood more about his world than we do about ours.
Mike says he would like to see the proliferation of "Vince Salandria" groups. Mike, this is not my group. I am nothing more than the shipping clerk for a magnificent collection of fine people.
If this correspondence shows anything, it demonstrates that good people, thinking fairly, and coming from different ideological directions, can through love of each other, respectfully exchange ideas and reach a solid consensus based on their mutually shared knowledge that the Kennedy assassination was a national security killing planned and executed at the behest of the United States military-intelligence-industrial power structure.
Oct. 21, Ray Marcus praises Dick levy for speaking against Marxists' view of the masses. Although I cannot consider myself a Marxist, mainly because I don't know what that term means precisely. But Marxian politics aside, with respect to the analysis of capitalism, for me Marx represents an analyst who was capable of coming upon and explicasting great flashes of truth. And to the extent that Marxists seek to eliminate great extremes in wealth, I am much inclined to accept as a categorical premise that people should not be as rich as I am and as poor as the woman who sleeps on a grate sixt feet from my home and who has too much pride to accept money from me. To the extent that Marxists wish to expropriate my wealth and redistribute in accordance with need, I am with them.
Ray includes a long excerpt from a letter which he sent to Sylvia Meagher. Ray's letter takes Sylvia to task for her total rejection of Jim Garrison. His letter is representative of his amazing candor and courage. Sylvia jettisoned me as a friend when I offered assistance to Jim. She was quite willing to work with and to assist Jay Edward Epstein, an obvious CIA asset, but cut me off because I felt Jim should be helped. I greatly missed her friendship.
Morrissey addresses the question of intelligence and asks whether Bundy could be considered intelligent since he has been wrong about such crucial matters as the Vietnam war. Mike, he is intelligent. He is never wrong. For his class, he always chooses the right block.
Morrissey hopes Parenti joins. He is joined until he resigns. We need him. I will put him to the trouble of telling me in writing that he doesn't want the material. Barring that, he is stuck with the job of chucking considerable paper.
Re Farewell, America again, I don't trust it. When I was helping Jim Garrison, it appeared in his office. I thought it was unhelpful. My copy has gotten loaned out forever. I, therefore, have not read it in many years. I will try to pick it up again and reevaluate it. But, Mike, I would say that it is probably useless.
Oct. 30, Parenti writes to Morrissey about the hypothesis that Newman may be an agent. Parenti met Newman in Washington and liked him very much. Morrissey on Nov. 5 replied to Parenti. I know something about the business of spy chasing in the critics' circles. Those of you who have known me over the thirty-odd years following the assassination know that I was surrounded by agents. And, as I have said in this letter, I never achieved any importance. Suffice it to say that any successful coup would not allow the analysis of that coup to operate freely without efforts to control and direct the criticism. In my judgment, this control of the criticism was in part made possible by the infiltration of the critical community by brilliant CIA agents. Some of our most respected critics are necessarily CIA agents.
John feels that we should focus on Vietnam. John, I feel that Vietnam is of great importance in the assassination picture. But it is only one piece in a whole series of charges against Kennedy which constituted the bill of particulars that spelled out the cause for his murder and justified it in the minds of the power structure.
Our humble "shipping clerk" asks us what we make of Lane's "association" with Liberty Lobby. I don't make anything of it, Vince, because I don't believe in guilt by association. Same goes for Prouty, whom I consider a friend. His remark about The Spotlight (if he really said it) seems exaggerated to me, but neither that nor having spoken at a Liberty Lobby meeting makes him one of "them," in my opinion. I've never heard or read anything from him that even remotely suggests that he shares the agenda imputed to Liberty Lobby. Until I do, he's innocent as far as I'm concerned.
Vince, I think I can help with the problem of redistributing your wealth. (You did say "millions" a year, didn't you?) As a matter of fact, I've always wanted to meet up with a rich anarchist with a guilty conscience. Please send a bank draft or check for $1 million. Or at least a hot stock tip, or some sure-fire, high-yield investment opportunity that your big bucks give you access to. You'll feel better, I'm sure.
So far Parenti, Thomas, and Prouty are the only ones who have responded to my letter to Newman. (The latter two were positive.) Not a word from Newman or Peter Dale Scott. I thought these guys were scholars. If I got it wrong, you'd think they would be busting their butts to set me straight.
Vince, I cannot disagree more that "Vietnam is only one piece in a whole series of charges against Kennedy" that caused the assassination. What was more important--to the perpetrators--than a $570 billion war? What can be more important to us than 58,000 Americans, plus tens of thousands of others still suffering, plus millions of Asians? What in the world are you thinking of? Of course we should focus on the war. Nothing is as important.
I don't see the importance, however, of the Purcell/Galbraith article. (But thanks for sending it, John.) There is nothing surprising about military strategists calculating the pros and cons of a nuclear first strike. I'm sure they do it all the time. That's their job.
Ray, that was a beautiful letter you sent to Sylvia Meagher. Did you ever get any insight at all into her strange attitude toward Garrison?
At the risk of flattering you, as I did Vince, and again exposing the depths of my obsequiousness, I repeat that the early work, including private exchanges such as yours with Meagher, would make a fine book. A big part of this history, someday, after the truth comes out, is going to be the story of the early critics. How did they (or didn't they) escape the cover-up and mind control? Why those particular individuals? Furthermore, it would be heartening for people who find themselves faced with a similar situation to know that others have been there too, and how they coped. You might consider writing your memoirs.
John, I hope that $1000 you gave to COPA will at least be good for a tax write-off. Based on their response to my letter, I rate them now at 0.00 on a scale of ten, which rounded off comes to Fuck 'em. Nor have they sent me the $100 honorarium they promised me.
Great letter to the Inquirer, John. One question. You say all the video docs have the original Zapruder film. But I wonder if anybody knows where the "original" film is or what's on it. I believe a couple of frames are missing from the copies, and some people think the skin flap is phony (to show Oswald's bullet exiting?). An article in the paper a couple of weeks ago said "the" Zapruder film was just added to the national film registry at the Library of Congress. I wonder if that is the original.
Thanks, John, for going to the trouble of plotting out the various positions on the withdrawal thing. A couple of things in Illustration 1 need to be corrected.
1a. NSAM 263 was 10/11/63. The White House statement (referring to the McNamara-Taylor report of the same date) was 10/2/63. I think 1c belongs here (secret plan to withdraw regardless).
1b. Chomsky disagrees with Newman (no secret plan to withdraw).
1c. I agree with Newman that JFK probably knew the war was a lost cause, but I also agree with Chomsky that there is no evidence for this. I don't want to debate the point. This is the false debate.
2a. I'd have to check to see exactly when Newman says JFK turned negative, but I think he sees it earlier than this. The assassination of Diem just made it worse. Newman says JFK was just pretending to believe the optimistic reports.
2b. I don't think Chomsky says JFK ever changed his mind (or his policy). Chomsky does not differentiate JFK's secret thoughts from his stated policy, which was withdrawal on the assumption of military progress--which Chomsky insists on describing as "withdrawal on the condition of victory," which is significantly different, in my opinion. The point is, Chomsky is rebutting Newman's speculation about JFK's secret thoughts. That's the false debate.
2c. I say that--according to Chomsky--the reversal of the assessment and (consequently) the withdrawal began two days after the assassination (of JFK). The source of the reversal was CIA and the other intelligence agencies. Two days after JFK's death, they suddenly began to realize that they had been losing the war, instead of winning it, since July. I say this stinks. This is the point where the real debate should begin.
3a,b. I don't think either one says JFK gave such an order.
3c. Right. Furthermore, I doubt the authenticity of draft 273.
4a,b,c. NSAM 273 was 11/26/63. This is uncontroversial.
5b. No. Just the opposite.
5c. I agree with Newman, but again, this is not the point I want to focus on. The fact is that 263 was reversed at some point after the assassination. It doesn't matter if it was 273 or 288 (at the latest).
6a. Sooner rather than "ultimately."
6b. Not irrelevant, but unlikely.
6c. I don't reject 6a (that JFK would have pulled out by 66 in any case), but of course it is unprovable. My point is that 6a is unnecessary to establish 5c, which is the important point.
The Time Line looks ok except for f), which should be 11/20/63, and h), which should be 11/26/63.
That was heavy exercise.
I am listening to Michael Parent's tapes while I work out on my stationary bike. This one-man movement of the left does fine work.
Dec. 1, Jerry Di Caprio gives the assassination cover-upu an Italian twist. I think he is correct to do so. I recall meeting with my then brother-in-law, Harold Feldman, now deceased, on Saturday, Nov. 23, 1963. We were talking about Oswald. We decided that if he was killed in captivity that weekend, we would have work to do because this would indicate a WASP conspiracy involving the U.S. government. We thought that a Jewish assassin of Oswald would dampen the interests of normally skeptical and left-leaning Jews in ivestigating the assassination. As it turns out, Oswald and Ruby were perfect in pointing to the possible guilt of Communists, Trotskyists, ACLUers, the FBI informatns, Mafiosi, pro-Castroites, low-level anti-Castroites, right-wing Russians nuts (Michael Paine told me the Oswald went to right-wing meetings with Oswald, who took careful notes regarding what was said there), Quakers, etc. The CIA computers sun these two guys out as perfect for dampening the interest of almost any would-be investigators who had any political bases.
The Nov. 23, 1994 article in The Philadelphia Inquirer speaks to the government's release of Milteer material. Isn't this more pointing of fingers in the direction of the right wing and away from the core of U.S. power?
Dr. Michael Morrissey makes reference to "our humble 'shipping clerk.'" I detect that Dr. Morrissey is making light of my genuine modesty. Well, Dr. Morrissey, I am most proud to state that I am unquestionably more modest than you, and even more modest than any other member of this committee, and with considerably less reason for my modest than Professor Brown has for his lack of that attribute. As for a million-dollar bank draft, check or instrument of monetary value of any kind flying from me to you, there is little chance of such an unlikely occurrence since the esteem in which I hold you rises only slightly higher than that in which I hold Professor Brown and is fast falling to that lowest of levels.
I must agree with Marty and Ralph that the assassination of JFK cannot be used for progressive political organizational purposes. To the extent that we seek to use this case as a bridge or catalyst for political action, we will find ourselves being used by the CIA to confuse the truth about the motives behind, the significance of and the present relevancy of the JFK assassination to the current distribution of wealth in our society and in the rest of the world and the present significance of that assassination on the present and future state of democracy.
JFK was shot out of existence and everything went on without an apparent ripple. No one resigned from the government in pretest. The military flexed ist muscles and spewed death in Vietnam. Death squads trained by our intelligence butchered radicals around the world. The peace movement did not take up the Kennedy assassination. The civil rights movement did not take up the Kennedy assassination. The people in the United States did not want to know about the assassination, because it told too much about the underlying terror upon which American power is based. It told too much about the shabby state of American democracy.
The study of the JFK assassination in my judgment is important to build political coalitions but as a beam of light which reveals the depth of our corruption and the extent of depravity in seeking through violence to accomplish our purposes. Marty tells us that the president's murder was handled in a totally institutional and bureaucratic fashion. The people were willing to have it handled that way, because they did not wish to take to the streets and take down their government, which was steeped in murder of its head of state and poised to commit millions of murders in Vietnam and elsewhere. This murder can only be used to examine the corruption of our society. It cannot be used for the building of political coalitions.
This case can only serve to make us feel humble. It can teach us the humility which will cause us to hesitate before we criticize the Cuban government for not being democratic. It can only cause us to look elsewhere in the world for forces which will bring us down from our position of number one militarist of the world, down from our position as the world's number one fashioner of weapons systems, down from our position as the possessor of the world's foremost intelligence network, and down from our preeminent role in the economic exploitation of the world's peoples and resources.
Michael Parenti argues that we can consider ourselves as true patriots over the super-patriots who claim for themselves the high ground of true patriotism. Well, I speak for myself when I say that I do not claim to be a patriot. I am ashamed of being an American. And I am saying that as a citizen, not as an anarchist. For you probably have already detected about this anarchist that I am only an anarchist insofar as I believe, as Jefferson did, that that government is best that governs least. Logically, that leads to the conclusion that that government is best which governs not at all. But I recognize the problems of the human animal, of which I am one. I recognize that we must have some government. So, please don't dismiss what I am saying on the ideological basis that the old shipping clerk is a strange duck. I may be strange, but I do not consider it strange to express my personal shame at being an American.
How would you have felt about me if I had claimed to be patriotic, if I had been a German citizen and considered myself a German patriot during the Hitler period? Well, what we did to those millions of Vietnamese innocents smells of Hitler. What we are doing to Cuba smells of Hitler. What our death squads have done and are doing smells of Gestapo. Sorry, dear friends, you must recognize me for what I am, a non-patriot.
Vince, Your renewed call to redistribute "the wealth of this nation," presumably including your own, leads me to increase my offer to help. Although you kindly rejected my last offer, I will now accept $5 million (or more), preferably via a Swiss bank, since, sharing your anarchist principles, I don't want any fucking governments getting their hands on it. This means that both my wife and I will have to quit our jobs and probably buy a house someplace where the sun shines, but never mind, we'll manage.
Don't think I'm joking. You aren't, are you? If you can't accept my offer, I'd be very interested to know why not. Giving me money is the ideal way to solve your problem, in my opinion--and I won't even charge you for this advice.
Actually, Vince, your being a Rich Guy means nothing at all to me. I'm quite accustomed to corresponding with multimillionaires. Really. You're just plain ole Vince to me, man, the Most Humblest Person in the whole universe. I can't help it if I wor$hip you.
Now on to Marty's question, before I get carried away. (I loves to grovel, makes me feel so secure.)
To continue Vince's analogy of the German "patriot" during the Hitler period, how would you feel about yourself, Marty, if you were a German then and you had said, "It's irrational to try to change things, since we know the chances of success are miniscule or non-existent?" The word that applies to the situation in Nazi Germany is not irrational but dangerous. It applies much less to our situation. We can speak out. We can try to inform, persuade, organize, and mobilize others without risking life and limb. Why should it be any more "irrational" (as opposed to dangerous) to do so now than in Nazi Germany? It may well be a losing battle. So what else is new? I hear this from students all the time all the time: "Even if it's true, there's nothing we can do about it." Marty says, "It is true, and there's nothing we can do about it." This is nothing more than defeatism and a rationale for choosing not to give a shit.
You might say that there is an alternative, a healthy alternative: Work for the Revolution!" But how? The devil is in the details. Does this mean "Wait for the Revolution"? You seem to think, Marty, that it will emanate by some magical and clearly counterhistorical force from South Africa or Cuba. Even if the chances of this were better than nil, which they aren't, what would you have us do, exactly? Subscribe to Granma? Send money to Mumia Abu Jamal's defense fund? To the Cuban embassy? What cause? There are thousands. Contribute how much, to how many, to which ones, and in what way? Which will promote the Revolution more effectively than, say, joining COPA or trying to organize veterans? Whatever you say, it will be an equally small drop in the bucket--and equally "irrational," as you use the word.
In my opinion it is not only irrational but incredibly naive to cultivate this notion of Fidel Castro (God help us) or Nelson Mandela (less scary) riding in to save us on a white horse. Don't you get it? Hasn't Vince gotten through to you what anarchism is all about? ALL LEADERS ARE ASSHOLES! It goes with the job. We don't want leaders. And I don't want to rot in a goddam jail because I dare to disagree with what some fucking LEADER thinks, whether he's a Castro, a Clinton, a Chomsky, or a Chipmunk.
If a Revolution does come, whatever it happens to look like, you can bet it will be a completely staged affair, exactly like the so-called "revolution" in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. This is the kind of revolution that occurs when the Rich Guys get together and decide the other 99% of the global population has to be fucked and fooled in a different way, but fucked and fooled just the same.
I have no illusions about COPA. I enclose a copy of the talk I gave in Washington (slightly longer than what I actually said, since I stupidly stuck with the 15-minute time limit--nobody else did). Please note the last sentence. I also said in my letter to Newman that I have no faith at all in the paper chase. That does not mean, however, that I want to curl up and die, or give up and wait for the Revolution, or give up trying to expose the truth on JFK.
Your perception of the "macroanalysis" of this case is simply wrong. The connection between the assassination and the war, and thus the detailed discussion of the withdrawal plan reversal, is very much a part of the macroanalysis--a great big part. My challenge to Newman concerns this discussion as well as another big part of the macroanalysis, namely the question of how the current stage of the cover-up is being managed.
Your definition of the larger problem as "how do WE escape becoming unwitting agents of the CIA" is more than irrational. It makes no sense at all. Think about it. How can we escape becoming something ("unwitting agents") we would not recognize having become, after we become it?
I am rather disappointed that none of you, except John, seems to be interested in more than the most superficial aspect of what I wrote to Newman, namely that my questions might lead to mutual accusations and internecine warfare within this sacred brotherhood of conspiracy researchers. Gimme a fucking break! I did not accuse him of anything. I gave him a opportunity to respond to perfectly justified questions, and if he was honest he would take the opportunity.
Newman is not just anybody. Do you think he just woke one morning at NSA and decided to become an assassination buff? This CRIES OUT for explanation, and his silence speaks volumes. He is an ex-spook leading the fight against the spooks. He says we'll never nail them as an institution, i.e., not really, but may get a few renegades. He writes a book about Vietnam from which the CIA emerges smelling like a rose, whereupon top spook William Colby praises the book as "brilliant" and "meticulously researched." At the same time, the book's extremely speculative thesis provides a perfect crash test dummy for Noam Chomsky, whose intervention effectively kills the whole issue of the assassination and the war for a crucial element of the population, namely "radical leftist dissidents" (many, anyway), who would otherwise be among the most likely to mobilize around such an issue.
Yet Marty, Ralph, and Michael Parenti all agree that I was a bad boy because this might start a "Who's the spook?" game. And our newest member, Robert Cocco, calls me "irresponsible" for "trashing" Chomsky (that is, for disagreeing with him), while Parenti scolds me for "salvaging" that same Great Mind by agreeing with him on some things.
Ok, guys, let's formulate the rules of this little game, shall we?
1. Do not challenge LEADERS, lest they challenge you (re Newman).
2. Do not disagree with LEADERS on one issue, if you agree with them on others (re Chomsky, Cocco).
3. Do not agree with LEADERS on one issue, if you disagree with them on others (re Chomsky, Parenti).
4. Should any of the above rules be broken, one may discuss the propriety of breaking the rules, but not, under any circumstances, the substance of the issues raised.
Go ahead and play if you like, but count me out.
Brown asks me about Joachim Joesten. I knew him by his occasional phone calls from Europe. I did not know that he wrote a book on the Shaw trial. Joesten impressed me as a man who sought the truth. I think I have essentially all his books.
Frankly, guys, I know that you are split on Newman, but I have a need to know why an intelligence guy, while still in intelligence, is permitted to write about affairs of state of the importance as the killing of Kennedy? Even the American intelligence community cannot appear to be that democratic and retain the necessary element of state terror which is required to make it the effective agency it would have to have been and would have to be to accomplish what we know it has accomplished, and what we know it is doing now to prevent the truth from outing on the JFK and other CIA assassinations. What is going to explain the CIA's tolerance of Newman, if he in fact is what he appears to be? What explains Newman's departure from service to the state as an intelligence officer? What happened to him to change him? Doesn't he have to explain how and why he changed his allegiance? If he doesn't explain, doesn't that in itself provide volumes of explanation?
I consider Morrissey a person of substantial courage to have said no to Vietnam. Turning one's back on the herd is a terrifying act, and to risk having it trample over you is an act of great courage. I still cringe at the thought of doing it. Come on, Mike, you have every reason to be proud of opting out that butcher shop.
Feb. 27, Brown debunks the application of "newer scientific methodology" to the study of the JFK killing. I, on this score, agree with Marty that the holes in the garments are enough. Ralph, Kennedy's shirt certainly couldn't have creased and folded upward, even if you argue that the coat could have done so. And how could the holes have been precisely where they were and conforming exactly to where Seibert and O'Neil, Clint Hill, etc. said that they were? And let us say all of the above witnesses, and the holes, and the pristine condition of CE 399, and the reports of the witnesses other than secret service agents who reported more than three shots, and shots from areas other than the TBD, and the primitive nature of the Carcan rifle and its defects, and the Zapruder film's recording of the president's body having been propelled by impact forces leftward and backward, were not clnclusive of a conspiracy when analyzed later. But, on the evening of Nov. 22, 1993, an innocent government would have signaled to the whole world that there was a conspiracy based on the holes alone, let alone all the other evidence, arguendo all of which was mistakenly pointing to conspiracy, and would be proven to be mistaken later. But the patterns of evidence pouring in at that time, flush up against the assassination, HAD TO SIGNAL CONSPIRACY.
Finally, I address Dr. Morrissey's plan for beginning the equal and equitable redistribution of the wealth of our nation by transferring to him five million dollars plus fifty-five per cent gift tax from my wife's funds. Of course, Dr. Morrissey, before I write the check, I will have to consult with Betsy. Betsy will no doubt inquire "Why him?" I intend to explain to Betsy that Dr. Morrissey promises to give up his work and promises to add himself to the class of the idle rich. I intend to tell her how that switch will help to produce better balance in reducing by one Michael Parenti's working persons' column and by adding Dr. Morrissey's disquieting presence to Parenti's enemy camp, the much smaller camp of those who live off the labor of others.
To you, Dr. Morrissey, I direct the question, what mean spirit causes you to launch your attack on the bonafides of my modesty which transcends my considerable talents. What cruel streak in you causes you to attack your old shipping clerk, who is the 67th year of his life teeters uncertainly at the very lip of his grave? Is an attack on this old clerk not only a display of your contempt for the aged but also a testament to your hatred of the proletarian class which your clerk exemplifies. Dr. Morrissey, at some future time, I will impart to you Betsy's response to your modest proposal to this modest clerk. In the interim, may this old shadow of a man presume on your good nature and offer you some advice? If I were so lucky as to be you, I would not just yet sell my home and give up my academic tenure.
Your reference to my attack on that aged Italian peasant teetering on the lip of his grave was withering, and I can see I am going to have to handle this differently. Enclosed is a letter from Scrounge, an alter ego of mine that unfortunately I cannot get rid of.
March 13, 1995
Most Highly Esteemed and Gracious Majestic Prince:
Your (almost) humblest and unworthy servant is unspeakably honored and grateful from his heart's bottom for your magnamammonous offer to convey in even more majestic quarters his lowly and miniscule tiny nothingness of a desire to assist you in your desire to divest you of them heavy bucks that plagues you, a burden that your specklike minion me will gladly accept, as a grain of sand accepts that tiny particle of the sacred sea that whacks upon the shore. (Better make it 10 million if Uncle Sam's gonna get half.)
You hath asked of course fully righteously why him. I dont really have no answer to that but I'll do my bestest because as HM Nixon used to say when the going gets tough the tough get going and as I told Ira my Boy scout leader or was it Cub scouts I'll do my best to do my duty to God and my country which I also done nigh-on ever day by prayin and pledgin to that flak what is the cymbal of our cuntry, inderisible and underground wit libertidinus and just tea for all, as are forefadders showed the bastards in Boston way back.
Well one thing I can say is that I asked for it. Mr. Black whom was my boss for a couple days when I was trying to sell advertising for the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce said and he was a real wise guy that some guys are so stupid that they talk and talk and talk and talk and then forget to ask for the fucking order, scuse me. He also said never buy a silk suit because it gets so crumply which I never done and if he lived here (there) he'd fuck himself to death because of all the beach life. He was a real man from Texas and I never did sell nuthin but nor did I forgit his good advise which you can see.
Nother thang is, I'll do anythang you want, long as it's within my habilities acourse. Don't know if I'd kill anybody cause I hain't done it before but the Class has other people for that and I wit my high edjucation I could be one of them intillexuals what advises people and all, you know an opinion maker. Like in are group which is prolly more importent than its size would indicate I could keep some of them in line by chastigating them fer attacking the Agency and good ossifers like Major Newman who like me only done what his ma told him and pleged a legiance to are beaudiful flak what still flies lord be praised over are rapacious skies and ample raves of gain. scuse me fer gettin motional but when I think of all them young boys what died fer people like that, I mean traitors and ingrates that don't know or do nuthin but write letters I git sick, really sick. The Class oughter jes wipe em out but that ain't democratic so we'll tollerate em but keep em contained like in these little pen pal groups, right?
See I unnerstan these thangs cause blieve it or not I'm sorta in the Class too leastwise a little since I was in Delta Phi at Hopkins which is a Class frat. stupidly I quit when I got sucked into going to those sDs meets wit my roomate steve who had cerebral palsy which shows you what kind do that, but I magine I could reactivate my memership. see they had two types a members, Class guys and literati and I made it on the latter cause I wrote a couple poms my freshman year an Arnie Lehman liked me. He got a Karman Ghia one Ralphtmas from his parents which surprised him cause he thought they'd never buy anything from krauts and he's now director of the Balto Musée Dart. Haven't been in touch wit him since then but maybe he'd recommend me again. I can say dat while I wuz wit dem I did feel part of dem, above it all and all dat, which is wat keeps art and the Class together as it always has been, right, all the way back to Bach and Michael Angelo and them guys.
Well I don't wanna talk yer ear off, Your Highness, but if there's anythang else you wanna no before you send that check, jes say so, an by the way about that gift tax since when does the fucking scuse me goverment tell the Class what to do.
Your ever obedient and faithful servant,
I'd like to say a word about my relationship with Fletch Prouty. I've only met him twice, once last October at the COPA conference and once in February 1990 when I visited him at his home in Alexandria, but I've carried on a fairly extensive correspondence with him since September 1989. I was very impressed with his appearance in the Turner film, and I got his address from Sue Winter, Turner's assistant. Vera and I spent a nice evening with them over an Indian meal in London during the Easter vacation in 1989. I didn't learn an awful lot from them, but it was my first contact with people who shared my suspicions of the truth about the assassination, and these were of course the two who were most responsible for the birth of those suspicions.
I wrote a review of the film that April (never published), which I enclose, not because there's anything new in it but because for me at least it's kind of a museum piece, written by somebody whose total knowledge of the subject was what was in the film and David Scheim's Contract on America (in Britain titled The Mafia Killed President Kennedy, for some reason).
I still think the suppression of this film in the US for three years, and its final appearance on A&E cable in September 1991, after it had been shown in 50 other countries and just three months before Stone's JFK was released, is one of the best proofs of media complicity in the cover-up and in the orchestration of the damage-control scenario which surrounded the Stone film. The purpose and effect of this timing was to bury the Turner film under the wave of controversy engendered by the Stone film.
The media were prepared to handle JFK, which they could accuse--wrongly but effectively--of "dancing with facts," but this strategy wouldn't have worked as well with the Turner film. I've shown both of these films to people who hadn't seen either one, and the Turner film definitely is more disturbing. And since I know what effect it had on me (I think this comes through in the review), I feel certain it would have had a comparable impact on other Americans. I've read occasionally of similar reactions to the Stone film, but frankly I haven't experienced them personally.
If the German reaction is indicative of anything, JFK has had virtually no impact. Most of the students I talk to who have seen it didn't even get the main point--that JFK was killed because of Vietnam. Of course this is less a failure of the film itself than a result of the media campaign to suppress the message. There were no headlines in any of the reviews I read, either in English or in German, that said "Film Claims JFK Murdered Because of Vietnam Withdrawal Plan" or the like. In fact, all references to Vietnam, if there were any at all, were carefully placed in the middle of the articles so as to attract as little attention as possible.
After I saw JFK here in Kassel, in January 1992, I said to Vera afterwards: "If this doesn't do it, nothing will." I meant that it should bring people out on the streets. She agreed. "But you know what the other side of that is," I said. "I'm not the only one who's saying this. What's going to be the result if nothing does happen? Total resignation, that's what. It'll either be revolution, or the opposite." I'm afraid I was right. There was no revolution, and the general resignation, cynicism and feeling of powerlessness I think has increased.
This is only logical. If a movie like this can't stir things up, at least not enough to make any difference, what can? Who wants to write articles or books or make films or even talk about it any more, after Stone has flashed the message across the silver screen as loudly, and presumably as effectively, as it could possibly be done? I think Time Warner and the mind control smarties at Langley had this under control from the beginning.
Stone was used. We've talked about this before. I think he was sincere, but as Marty said some time ago, he made the mistake afterwards of falling into the "fight for full disclosure" trap, which has resulted in nothing but this phony COPA effort led by Major John Newman, who is going to absolve the US government and those institutions and individuals really responsible by blaming everything on "renegades" within the military and intelligence establishment. They want "full disclosure" from the government which they know is responsible for crimes they cannot possibly admit to, and yet are apparently offended and shocked into silence by a mere letter from me, a COPA member, asking for "full disclosure" from Major Newman himself. Peter Scott, who has made much of the Vietnam connection that my questions are vitally concerned with, cannot or will not respond either. Oliver Stone does not respond. No one responds. Except Prouty. He says I hit the nail right on the head and if they don't answer, that should tell me something.
So this is a guy I'm supposed to be suspicious of because he is quoted occasionally in The Spotlight and talks on Tom Valentine's radio show, or because he is retired military, or because Noam Chomsky says he is a "raving fascist" and a "fraud" but refuses to explain why he thinks so?
I've told Prouty more than once that his "association" with The Spotlight and Liberty Lobby, however loose, does him no good, but his attitude is people are going to think of him what they want to think, regardless. He is not a great scholar, and much of what he says is based on personal experience, which impresses some people (like me) but can be easily dismissed as "anecdotal" by people who won't believe anything that isn't footnoted, i.e. hasn't been said by a bunch of people before, as if that made it any more credible.
I read in a biography of Lansdale (forget by whom) that Lansdale, who knew Prouty and worked with him, considered Prouty a kook (after Prouty started voicing his theories, of course) and remarked: "I sure can pick 'em, can't I?" That's a pretty good recommendation for Prouty, I would say. As for the Spotlight connection, I think Prouty is a guy who likes attention (and deserves it), and since they have given it to him, he has acquiesced. A forum with them is better than none at all, I think he figures. I no longer subscribe to The Spotlight, because it does have anti-Semitic, racist, and nationalistic tendencies, and despite the fact that it also publishes interesting and gutsy stuff, it's not very usable. Their documentation is poor, and you can't quote them or even refer to them without being stamped as a "raving fascist" yourself. But I'll be damned if I'm going to let my opinion of someone be determined by the color of the newspaper his picture or an interview with him appears in. I'll go by what the man says and writes, and having read a good bit of what Prouty has said and written, I can say that none of it strikes me as even remotely anti-Semitic, racist, or nationalistic. His world view, in my opinion, is very close to Chomsky's--and my own: the Rich Guys rule. He chooses to call it the High Cabal, and Chomsky calls it corporate interests, etc., but it is the same thing as far as I can see.
Before I managed to get Prouty's address, I got Oliver Stone's address from Who's Who and wrote to him, including my review of the Turner film and suggesting he look into it because the whole thing, I thought, had a "hell of a lot to do with Vietnam." He wrote back, amazingly enough (July 14, 1989): "Thank you for your letter. I will look for the film you mention, but I am fully occupied now with three films and cannot pursue."
By July of the following year (1990), however, he had contacted Prouty, as I learned from Prouty, since we were corresponding by then. Since Prouty figures prominently in my review as well as in the film itself, and since Stone obviously didn't know about either at that point (unless he was being disingenuous with me), I suspect that I might have had something to do with getting him and Prouty together. I wrote to Stone a couple of times after that, most recently when I sent him a copy of my Newman letter, but he has never written again. Maybe he figures I would try to get a piece of his pie or something. I'll have to set Scrounge on him.
Vince, if you feel so inclined, I think Prouty would be a positive addition to our group. He's about 80 and I haven't written to him a lot recently, but I think he would actively participate, which is more than I can say for some of the members who prefer to "lurk" while just a few of us hang our guts out on the line. At least this would provide anyone who harbors suspicions of him to voice them openly and get a response. I don't think he will mind if I give you his address: Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, 4201 Peachtree Place, Alexandria, VA 22304, tel. 703-751-9080.
My instincts and experience are that Fletch is ok and belongs with us--not only ok but deserving of the encomium that Stone gave him. I haven't changed my opinion of him since I first saw him in the Turner film. Chomsky, by contrast, as you know, has been a great disappointment, and this is not my imagination. I have a stack of letters from Prouty and a stack of letters from Chomsky over more or less the same time period, and if I were at liberty to disclose them, I think anyone would see clearly that Chomsky comes up very short by comparison. "You will know them by the kind of letters they write to nobodies like me"--somebody should have said that somewhere--"and also by the letters they don't write to nobodies like me," I would add.
March 13, Scrounge, a split from Mike's personality, writes to me about the redistribution of wealth. This Scrounge can handle the language and knows how to make a pitch. He seems to have the qualities of a Mark Twain. I have fallen in love with his charm. I am going to get around to talking to Betsy and putting the question to my good wife, "Why not him? Why not Scrounge?"
Ralph Brown enclosed some pages from Joachim Joesten's The Trial of Clay Shaw. I heard from Joesten early in the case. He called me a couple of times. There is no question as to his being a bone fide hunter after the truth of the JFK assassination. His criticism of Jim Garrison's case? After Jim showed me what he had in the way of evidence, I did not think he had a prayer of convicting Shaw. I was also absolutely certain that Jim had the right man in Clay Shaw as having had a minor role in the assassination. It is just that the courtroom is no place to do winning battle with the national security state apparatus that killed Kennedy and controlled the reporting, discussion and writing on the assassination. I know a psychiatrist who treated a patient who reported in his therapy sessions that he had sex with Clay Shaw and Oswald together. The psychiatrist knew Shaw and Garrison quite well. He was no fan of Garrison. Joesten apparently did not come to understand that courtrooms are the last places where you can arrive at truth and justice when the head of state was killed by a covert executive arm of the national security state.
Ralph recommends JFK: The Second Plot by Matthew Smith. I bought it on Ralph's recommendation, but I would respectfully disagree with Ralph on its value.
Mike encloses his recent exchanges with Chomsky (Feb. 9, Feb. 21, March 13). I enclose Ray Marcus' letter of April 14 [18?], 1969, which locks Professor Chomsky into another position on the assassination. I also enclose the Nov. 22, 1963 memo from J. B. Donahoe to Delmont regarding Deputy Attorney General de Katzenbach's efforts to zero in on Oswald as the assassin. I also enclose de Katzenbach's memo to Moyers of November 25, 1963 to close in on Oswald as the lone assassin. Please note the Dec. 9, 1963 memo from de Katzenbach to Warren in which he treats Warren as someone of no account who is being told what he is to find in the JFK killing, i.e. that Oswald did it and did it alone.
What would Professor Chomsky in his search for verification of historical records demonstrating a conspiracy have to say about this shameful treatment of the Chief Justice by the person who was supposed to be working for the brother of the assassinated head of state? I also enclose a batch of letters seeking to obtain the tape of the radio communications to Air Force One and to the Cabinet plane from the Situation Room of the White House as the aircraft made its way from Dallas and over the Pacific on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963. What would Prof. Chomsky have to say about how the Pentagon lies about that tape? Are these governmental officials closing all options other than the Oswald single assassin concept to cover for some right-wing or left-wing nuts? A spin-off from an intelligence agency? Castro. The Soviets? The Mafia? A disgruntled husband or husbands? Any candidate other than the very dark heart of the national security state?
In accordance with the request of Mike Morrissey I am sending this material to Fletcher Prouty. Mr. Prouty, please drop me a note to indicate whether or not you wish to receive future mailings.
Ralph mentions I.F. Stone and his lecturing to Bertrand Russell on the assassination. I visited my father-in-law, Morris Rodman, in Washington D.C. He has all the volumes of the I.F. Stone newsletter. They are bound and each volume is inscribed by Stone with an acknowledgement and fawning thanks to Gertrude and Morris Rodman for their financing of his newsletter. Yet in the biographies which I read, Izzy complains about visiting rich men and getting next to nothing for his newsletter. There was no public acknowledgement of Roddy's support. I also came across Betsy's diary when she was turning 15. There are references to Izzy and his wife visiting with the Rodman family. Betsy remembers him as a "not very warm person." M.S. Rnoni, the publisher of "The Minority of One" described Stone to me as "a fine reporter who served as the journalist for the left wing of the establishment. Fine on reporting, not so great on analysis."
April 29, 1995, Brown speaks of Norman Mailer and his new book about the "mystery" of Oswald in the Soviet Union. Since I have taken to shameless name-dropping in this letter, permit me to share with you Oswald's second wife Adele's feelings about him. Adele was the one with whom he had three children. She was stabbed by him, the knife coming to rest a fraction of an inch from her heart. Betsy and I have become friends of hers. When I asked her what she could say about "Norman's integrity," Adele replied, "He has none."
Finally, some angry words with Parenti. In one of your tapes you speak about coming from Southern Italian parents. I challenge you. I come from two immigrant parents both from the tiny Calabrian town of Rocca Imperiale. Can you beat that in terms of Southern Italian? I am willing to bet you a quarter that we were poorer than you family. I just don't appreciate one of the correspondents seeking to outdo me in terms of modest origins.
Thanks for giving Prouty a chance to join us. I hope he does.
Enclosed is Chomsky's reply (4/3/95) to my last letter. Note that:
1. My rather harsh remarks seem to have rolled off him like water off a duck's back.
2. The only point he responds to (re Prouty) is the one least relevant to the main issue (when the assessment changed).
3. His reference to the book explains nothing, since his comments there about Prouty are very mild and no comparison to what he said in his letters.
4. Nevertheless, he implies that I am too stupid to have noticed the relevant section of his book, and too stupid to know that the book has an index. If the man had real arguments, would he have to stoop to this?
5. The comment that I have no respect for "fact" is intriguing, since the facts I asked him to confirm were things he wrote himself.
It's astonishing to see Ray making much the same arguments to Chomsky way back in 1969 that I have made to him. Chomsky's aversion to "conspiracy theory" (and common sense) is obviously of long standing, as is his aversion to rational discussion--despite what he preaches in his books. His idea of discussion is to ignore his opponent's arguments and repeat his own. If you persist, he writes you off. This is what he has done to me. Not once has he responded reasonably to any of my arguments, and bear in mind that what we are both primarily interested in is establishing "the facts." Obviously, he thinks "facts" are something given--to him. I wouldn't have been surprised at this behavior had it come from anybody but Noam Chomsky.
I know Michael Parenti agrees with Chomsky on many things. So do I. I was exaggerating, of course, when I formulated those "rules of the game" in my letter of 12/23/94. I was reacting to to Parenti's implication that I was somehow "salvaging" Chomsky's research, when he said:
One could play that game with you: What would serve the CIA more than to enlist someone as sharp as Morrissey to take out Newman, who is hated by his former military intelligence colleagues as a turncoat critic. It is odd that Morrissey--under what better guise than purporting to be totally critical of the CIA and the intelligence community--salvages Chomsky's research, and creates divisive feelings and suspicions by casting doubt not only on Newman's argument but his integrity and motives, etc. etc. (10/30/94, my emphasis).
Now that I have quoted this passage, I'd like to ask Michael how he knows that Newman "is hated by his former military intelligence colleagues as a turncoat critic." And, Michael, if you think it's true, why do you think it is significant, when it is obvious, isn't it, that agents posing as critics would get flak from the Agency (or NSA or whatever) as part of the charade?
Thanks for the complement, but I am obviously not sharp enough to "take out" Newman. In fact, I'm not even sharp enough to get an answer from him, or from Scott or Judge or DiEugenio or Aguilar or Bill Davis or Al Navis or anybody else on the COPA governing or advisory board I sent the letter to, except you.
I don't think it is any wiser to ignore our mutual suspicions than it is to exaggerate them, especially when it comes to individuals in key positions. Perhaps you should ask Vince if it would have been good to know that the CIA had agents on Garrison's staff. Or ask Gaeton Fonzi if he would like to have known from the beginning that Blakey was going to thwart the House investigation (and why would he do that unless he was an agent?).
Given the obvious interest of the government in obstructing this investigation, I see no reason to leave unchallenged a man who has already announced--with no justification--that the end result of the investigation will probably be that there was and is no institutional conspiracy but perhaps a conspiracy of rogues. If this is true, of course, we can just get rid of the bad eggs (or wait till they die) and everything will be fine. We might even have to get rid of the CIA entirely to give the rest of the intelligence community (e.g., NSA, Newman's ex-employer) a clean bill of health. This is the only way the power structure as a whole can remain intact.
I did not attack Newman's integrity or motives. Why is asking a retired intelligence officer if he is still bound by secrecy oaths an attack on his integrity? Don't you think a man purporting to lead a campaign against government secrecy should be honest enough to say whether he is still bound by secrecy oaths that we know very well he has made to that very government? If Newman is honest, none of my questions should have been difficult or embarrassing for him to answer. He should have jumped at the chance to enhance his credibility.
My questions about the withdrawal issue remain unanswered. Newman has ignored them. Chomsky has ignored them (in effect). Peter Scott has ignored them. You have ignored them. At the time, you hadn't even read Newman's book, but you felt justified in admonishing me for expressing my "ad hominem" suspicions, which is both inaccurate and unfair. You did not answer my reply (11/5/94) to your letter. So yes, I was being provocative. Does it surprise you?
Vince, concerning your attempt to track down that tape of communications between the White House and the Cabinet plane on Nov. 22, did you ever write back to White and prod him for more details? Not that it would do any good. I wrote to Schlesinger about the phone calls he describes in A Thousand Days that resulted in the cancellation of the Bay of Pigs air strikes. He described them narratively, as if he'd been there, and this was one of the questions I asked him, but he apparently couldn't remember. "I am too busy to refresh my memories of Bay of Pigs details," he replied. Doesn't it make you wonder what he would have to do to "refresh" his memory?
The Joesten material Ralph sent is very interesting. Did Garrison ever reply to these criticisms? Why, indeed, would Garrison claim that Oswald met Perry Russo at Ferrie's apartment if Garrison knew that this "Oswald" was an imposter? Why in the world did he claim that Oswald took a rifle with him to the Depository, when even the Warren Commission couldn't establish that? Why did he decide not to call the Connallys as witnesses? Why did he accept the government's refusal to release the autopsy materials? Why did he rest his case prematurely? Why didn't he call those other dozen witnesses?
It is clear that, as Vince says, Garrison bit off more than he could chew, but why would he chew less vigorously than he could have? I'd like to hear Ralph's thoughts on this. Ralph, you say it was a "common allegation of the day that Garrison sabotaged his own case to aid the CIA and discredit other researchers." I haven't heard this before. Who said this? Joeston doesn't go quite that far, but he does suggest Garrison might have made a deal. Why would he have done so? Was that also Sylvia Meagher's quarrel with Garrison?
I suppose Marty and Vince, as subscribers to Granma, have seen their Feb. 25 interview with Ramsey Clark. I ran across it on the Internet. He decries the use of sanctions as a weapon, and concludes:
The need we all have for the years ahead is to find ways to share the truth and work together to prohibit the United States government from any use of its military technology against any people anywhere, and to reverse its economic policy, which is designed to enrich the plutocracy, the rich in the US. Otherwise we will see a growing gap between the rich and the poor, which has been growing steadily within both the US and other rich countries against their own poor and against the poor people of all poor countries, and completely reverse that US policy to seek to greatly increase the share available to impoverished peoples. Otherwise we are heading for a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. The United States is not a 'democracy'. It is a plutocracy. It is government by wealth [my emphasis--and my sentiments, exactly!]. You can't understand the US unless you understand this. The plutocracy controls the military and the media and that has to be changed. We have to liberate the United States from the control of the plutocracy. We have an enormous number of poor who must be cared for with a fairer wealth distribution. US plutocrats must be prevented from devising means like GATT and NAFTA, which ensure a massive future catastrophe.
This guy has obviously gone through some changes since he was Attorney General. I'd like to know his current views on the assassination. [See Jim Bishop.] On the other hand, what does it matter? When a guy like that says the US is a plutocracy, what else needs to be said? The catalogue of the plutocracy's crimes is large enough.
I hope nobody misinterprets this, but I suspect this is exactly the way the Oklahoma City bombers feel, and the way millions of Americans (not to mention the rest of the planet) feel. The disaffection with government, especially the US government, is deep-seated and widespread, much more so than the mass media will admit. I think we all know this. It is no wonder that these feelings of powerlessness result in violence.
On the other hand, Oklahoma City may have been the work of the CIA. Notice how quick the media were to put our "civil liberties" up for grabs as a result of this event. How many Oklahoma Cities would be necessary to justify the imposition of martial law and an overt police state? Not many. They can do this literally anytime they wish. Just imagine. One more Oklahoma City, or to clinch it, two more, simultaneously in two places. An obvious terrorist conspiracy. Think of the lengths the government could go to to counter this "terrorism," and without much protest from either the media or the population at large.
Ralph: If you get involved with the document review process you may get a chance to see at closer hand how the charade is managed. As for John Judge, I am not impressed. He never did cough up that $100 that Gary Aguilar promised me as an honorarium, and he did not respond at all to my letters--either to the Newman letter or the separate one to him suggesting an electronic mailing list. He hasn't even provided a complete list of COPA participants with addresses. How much trouble would that have been--to collect and distribute our addresses (especially e-mail)? This man is concerned about "grass roots"?
I finally got hold of the Posner book, and haven't read it yet, but what he says on p. xv rings true: "Not only am I familiar with the content of many [of the government files] already released, but I have spoken to individuals who are familiar with the still-classified documents. None of the government documents to be released alters the judgment reached in Case Closed." Of course, this may be a lie, but common sense tells me it is true. This paper chase cannot be anything but an extension of the cover-up. The only hope is that someone directly involved might find an opportunity to demonstrate the fact.
Mike encloses Prof. Chomsky's latest letter, which is completely devoid of civility and reason. He questions Newman's work. I saw his new book in a book store. Bad! Mike, I make judgments about whether members of the critical community are agents. More important, however, is to determine whether a critic, whether an actual agent or not, does work which serves the interest of American intelligence. That question I pose about everyone who does nay work and most specifically, pose to myself about any work I have done.
On Garrison, he did not sabotage his own case. Garrison was a giant of a man, but he had great weaknesses. One of his weaknesses was not that he would have deliberately lost the Shaw case. The Shaw case was unwinnable. No matter how well he and his staff prepared it, the power behind the assassination would never have permitted Shaw to be prosecuted successfully. I knew the case could not be won by the prosecution. I strongly suspected that Garrison also knew. Given the rules of evidence, given the limitations of funds, given the infiltration of the staff, given the ability of the government to bribe, threaten, cajole or to kill potential witnesses, jurors, staff members, the judge, what had to have been done would have been done to defeat Garrison. I think Jim knew that. Jim fatalistically went in and took his beating. I was with him after we received the verdict. He said simply, "Now, everyone will know who I am." He consciously or unconsciously identified with LHO. Jim was a patsy who took the government's punishment for me, and for all of us.
Re Ramsey Clark, Clark said while he was Attorney General that he might have to arrest Garrison. I have an idea that his turn around is in part due to guilt that he feels about that public statement.
John Thomas mentions L.W. Alvarez and Paul Hoch. Paul Hoch and I go back to 1965. I place no trust in Hoch whatever. His newsletter is ridiculous. How can a person pretend to be objective about the assassination who finds every item of evidence equivocal? He is clearly not stupid. Then why does he allow himself to be placed in positions where he invariably demonstrates that he chooses to embrace a stupid position?
April 5, 1995, Marty speaks out on what the assassination means to him. This commentary of Marty I consider to be marvelous in terms of the light it casts on the assassination of Kennedy and its current importance to our society. In short, Marty believes that Kennedy's efforts to live with a command economy such as that of Cuba and have the market-oligopolistic-postindustrial capitalistic giant compete with this alternative economic form in a peaceful manner caused him to be assassinated.
I recall that earlier in this correspondence that a discussion of command versus market economies was irrelevant to a discussion of the killing of Kennedy. I believe I was wrong.
I am reminded that in summer of 1965 I went to Dallas. I went with Shirley Martin, an early assassination critic. I met her in Hominy, Oklahoma, where she lived. We started to drive and were stopped by the local police, who asked: "Mrs. Martin, we see you are on your way on a trip. Drive carefully."
We got to Dealey Plaza at 6:30 A.M. A stout man of about 55 years of age, wearing sandals on bare feet, approached me.
"How is Mark Lane?" he asked. "Do you know what this is?"
"Dealey Plaza," I dumbly replied.
"No, do you know what it is?" he repeated.
"I guess I don't," I said.
"Well, this is a WPA project. A socialist project where a socialist president was killed. Next time you write articles, mention that."
Then he began to educate me on the holocaust. "You know, the killing of the Jews was a historical accident. They just happened to be living in ghettos and by accident were killed because they were so densely occupying those areas."
He then walked away.
We proceeded to visit with Michael and Ruth Paine. It was supposed to be a surprise. Shirely knew the Paines, but they were not supposed to have known that I was coming or to have known who I was. But Michael greeted me with "Why don't you continue your work in civil liberties and civil rights. Why bother with the assassination?"
We then visited with Marguerite Oswald. Her financial circumstances seemed to have improved over the prior summer when we visited with her. Shirley talked with her privately and told me that she had been given money by persons who were interested in her welfare.
On the way back, Shirley began to attack me for the first time. She said that she would give up the work on the assassination, if she were provided with enough money so that she could raise horses. On the way back to Hominy, just as we were getting home, very tired and driving slowly, a police car signaled us to pull over.
"Mrs. Martin, you were speeding," the policeman said. We got a ticket for speeding when we were barely crawling.
Money, socialism, capitalism are all very relevant.
Well heh heh I must say I yam flattered heh heh to have such "winning ways" heh heh. I guess I can speck a check chop chop then, huh? Never mine no burden is too great. Rilly though you oughtter go ahead an ax her cause who nose how long I'll be here. An then where will yer Highness be? Up a tree. Nobody to give dat dough to but all them sickiefants. Plus the wife (mine) is hot to move to Arizona.
Is there words to describe it? Dat scum you write to. Why do you do it, Grace? You was meant for better things. One of em don't even live in America! Nother one hands out speeches by Fidel Castro. They pass around letters written by young boys, still in high school! Cheezus. Dont git drug down by such as that, Prince. Git away!
Marsey is the worst, you couldn be righter, Munificence. This is real low trash. Lord hep me should I git my hands around his neck. I haint at liberty to say everthang I could about him cause unfortunely he's got the upper han at the moment but I'm workin on it. He'll be sorry he ever let me talk!
I jes whipped this followin up, yer Grace. Hope you lack it:
You called, Thine Exhaltation,
for help. I answered.
You was in trouble.
I held out my hand.
Its steel there, waiting, to help.
Well that's about all I got fer now. Dont forget to send that check hairmail, and have you looked into offshore banks. I hyar they'll do anythang.
From the deepest darkest dankest dimmest dungeon of worthlessness, I remain, your fateful an obedient servant,
Ralph mentions Tom Bethel. I was convinced that Bethel was an agent. I told Jim this. But Jim could see himslef that thoroughly infiltrated. I told him that Bill Turner had to be involved in Boxley's efforts to destroy Jim. But Jim loved Turner too much to accept my opinion. Ralph, you have a good bead on Garrison. He was a great but flawed man. My emphasis has to be on his greatness.
Ralph pounces on Battling Wall Street without having read it. Maybe you are showing undue haste. I was approached by the Larouche people, Ralph. They were a strange and rotten bunch. But I would bet after having twice spoken to Don Gibson briefly on the phone that he is of another and much finer breed than the Larouche robots.
Please allow me as your clerk to comment on this correspondence. As an onlooker who has read most of the literature on the JFK assassination, it seems to me that you have written the very best thinking on the subject. I consider it a great privilege to be able to read your material, which educates me with respect to what happened and why it happened, before, on and after Nov. 22, 1963.
Your differences strike me as more apparent than real. Some of you attribute the killing and the cover-upu to Vietnam. Others attribute it to intragovernmental, internecine bureaucratic struggle in the national security state apparatus. Others see a civilian power elite controlling the events. Others see a supranational power group as manipulating the events. Others view the American intelligence services as dictating the flow of the history surrounding the death of Kennedy. Others see personal animosities, such as the hatred of Allen Dulles and the people around him, as the cause. Still others see Cuba as the irritant which triggered the events. Others see the Cold War struggle between command and market societies as the mechanism which dictated the assassination. Others see the military industrial complex's insatiable need for profit as the basis. Others view American business' need to dispose of Kennedy as the catalyst.
In my view, all of your thinking is compatible. But we struggle with one another's thinking, because we tend to adopt voluntarily as a committee of correspondence the same division of labor concept which was forced on the hapless opportunistic lawyers who represented the Warren Commission. Therefore, we sometimes neglect to see the overall picture of the truth in the killing of Kennedy.
Why? Why do we naturally and voluntarily thrust at one aspect of the picture rather than step back and see it all? I, as your anarchistic clerk, have some difficulty doing it because to do so causes me to dismiss any trust in our governmental institutions, in the national security apparatus, in our business elite, in our political democracy, in our constitution, in our national security state, in our left, moderate and right political intellectuals, in our political party structure, in Wall Street, in our intelligence services, in our military, in our legal and medical profession, in the Kennedy family, in our press, in our Congress, in our court system, in capitalism, in the Soviet Union which never blew the whistle on American intelligence's killing of Kennedy, and in the American Presidency and in the American people.
To know the truth in the Kennedy assassination and to speak out on it is to become an outlaw. President Fidel Castro was the only world leader who, having been directly target by the assassination, nonetheless had the courage to tell the truth about it. He continues to be an outlaw. Jim Garrison was our only United States political figure who knew the truth and tried to operate on it. He was treated as an outlaw. This committee, which I serve in ministerial functions, has in common an outlaw status.
But, as a band of outlaws, let us honor one another, for no one outside the committee will honor us for your work. Treat one another with respect. Truth seekers are rare, and we should therefore treasure each of our correspondents. As a band of outlaws, we ought not to deal with the truth as a mechanism with which to render sadistic cuts in the enemies of truth. Rather, we should understand that what we get from our exchanges permits us to think and feel free.
Those who are not willing to understand and speak out on the truth behind the killing of Kennedy are not outlaws. But in a sense they are worse off than outlaws and therefore deserve our understanding and sympathy. Because to be a player and to count in the discourse over the Kennedy assassination compels you to accept that you are imprisoned in a vast and smothering blanket of lies. By not counting, we become outlaws. But by not counting we are not imprisoned and suffocated by the lies which envelope those who refuse to think about the truth of the Kennedy assassination and ist implications for our society. This is our reward, freedom. It is a considerable one.
Here is an example of how one player, John J. McCloy, had to struggle with himself and how he must be viewed as a prisoner of the lies which he must swallow to be considered a player. He admitted on national television in 1967: "I think there's one thing I would do over again. I would insist on those photographs and the x-rays having been produced before us [i.e., the Warren Commission]" (Kay Bird, The Chairman, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1992, p. 559).
[This a letter I wrote to Don Gibson, included here because Vince said he agreed with my conclusions (cf. VS 10/18/95).]
I don't think we differ at all on the nature of the power structure. What you are calling the Establishment I call the Rich Guys, but both terms are a little too broad for what we are talking about. The power elite or ruling class, or simply upper class, would probably be more accurate. Ramsey Clark calls them plutocrats. I have no doubt that they run things, including the military-industrial-intelligence-media complex. The question is how they do it and what we can do about it, if anything.
Please read my letter to Fletch Prouty, which should be in the next packet from Vince. I have the same trouble with your "Establishment" that I have with his "High Cabal."
But I want to get back to Vietnam. I find your attitude perplexing. You say "I cannot prove that money made from defense contracts played no role in the decision to kill JFK." Why the hell would you want to prove this? I asked you to name one other policy that the assassination reversed that generated anything comparable to $570 billion over the next ten years. You could not. Can we put this in the record, please? But then you tried to argue, nevertheless, and are still trying to argue, that $570 billion wasn't really that much money anyway, and that to kill a president just for that (not to mention several million other people) would amount to a "street crime" committed for what you say is chicken feed. I believe I answered those arguments in my last letter, and you have not responded. It is obvious that $570 billion is not chicken feed, and you cannot name anything else with a comparable price tag that you can tie to the JFK's death, yet you insist on repeating your assumption. We won't get anywhere like this. I think the burden is on you to show how "insignificant" $570 billion is, if that is what you believe.
You say I am "arbitrarily reducing this to the simplest of motives" and that I "dismiss the issues of neo-colonialism, aid and trade policy, government spending (amounts and purposes), money and credit, the role of government in the economy, and even other specific foreign policy issues (Brazil, Dominican Republic, etc.) as irrelevant (or beyond our understanding) in favor of measuring the pile of money made in one ten-year period."
Nothing of the sort. I do not dismiss any of these things. You are dismissing the importance of the war in favor of a complex web of issues which leads--where? To the notion that America is run by a ruling class? That is old news. To the notion that JFK was a proletarian savior who would have brought about a revolution and a complete restructuring of the US government if he had not been eliminated? This is absurd. Obviously, I don't get it, so perhaps you can make it clear where you are headed.
Why are you so reluctant to accept the "simplest of motives," namely greed, especially when it coincides with all the other things you mention anyway? There is no conflict between greed and neo-colonial interests.
There is something else you are overlooking. How many people give a shit about Brazil, the Dominican Republic, trade policies, neo-colonialism or the Morgan-Rockefeller oil cartel? Now ask yourself how many people still give a shit about Vietnam? The answers to these two questions in themselves should tell you that you have your priorities wrong.
Vietnam is the one issue that could raise the dead--I mean get us out in the streets. Let's assume for a moment that Vietnam was only reason No. 47 for the assassination. Do you think it would matter to the millions of people who suffered from the war, and are still suffering, whether it was No. 1 or No. 47? Vietnam is the one connection that really counts--not Cuba or McCloy-Zorin or Rockefeller or anything else--for the simple reason that people still care about it. In other words, even if you are right (and I think you are wrong), even if the war was only Reason No. 47 for the perpetrators, it was and remains unquestionably Reason No. 1 for the victims.
The Power Elite knows this. It is what Oliver Stone told millions of people in the film. Of course, the propaganda machine handled that all right, but what puzzles me is why you and so many others (even within our group) who should know better are fighting so hard not to know it.
Perhaps you will take another deep breath and try to convince me again why $570 billion is not enough money to kill a president and fight a war for. Your argument that the wealthy increased their wealth more from 1973 to 1985 than from 1963 to 1973 is not even relevant. Just because somebody finds other ways to make money afterwards doesn't mean he didn't rob the bank before.
In the meantime I will stick with my simplistic conclusion, which I think is also that of Jim Garrison, Oliver Stone, and a large percentage of the population, that the CIA killed JFK on behalf of the warmongers (i.e., the Establishment, if you prefer). Perhaps the simplicity of this conclusion is unsatisfying to you and others because it seems to be the end of the trail. It explains quite adequately, at least better than any other theory, all the mysteries, and leaves us with the uncomfortable realization that we are stuck here. There is no mystery. We know what happened. Now what?
Welcome to the Group.
Aug. 7, Dr. Cyril H. Wecht on behalf of the Coalition on Political Assassinations asks for a donation. I can only give a token contribution. I can't see the value of begging the murderers, the military-intelligence-industrial National Security State of the U.S. governmental structure, for me data about a case which has long since been explicated to anyone who wants to know by the immense data already provided to the public by the US. Government. It appears to this clerk that we have too much rather than too little information. The mountain of data that we have in this matter permits the murderers to aver that the simple and clear items of evidence, e.g. the holes in the JFK shirt and jacket, Commission Exhibit 399, the leftward and backward impact snap of the whole body of JFK after one of the head hits, etc., are of no more value than any of the other pieces of evidence. To add to that mountain of already existing information buries even deeper and renders even more obscure the true diamonds of evidence which demonstrate beyond doubt the obviousness of a high-level conspiracy and its patent U.S. National Security State authors.
Morrissey worries about the sharing of some of Don Gibson's views by groups which Morrissey, and most of us, would consider to be pernicious. My sense is that some great truths are deposited in and emerge from the printed journals of basically bad groups so as to inoculate the public against accepting those truths. If the John Birch society is for helping to cure AIDS, I am not going to line up against the allocation of resources towards the cure of this horror.
Aug. 11, Zola [Ray Marcus] suggests I write a book. Zola, I, unlike you, can't write and have nothing to tell. And if I could write and had something to relate, my beautiful wife, Betsy, would not allow me to do so. I am terrified of going against the wishes of my extraordinarily good wife. Zola, I, unlike you, have done nothing of significance except to serve as a clerk for you guys, all of whom can write well and have important things to say. Now, Zola, you say that my contributions are more important than yours. Upon finishing reading that preposterous statement, I reflexively reached for the jacket pin which I proudly wore on the left lapel of my suit coat that read "#2". I had that pin made in gold immediately after Fonzi deposed me from the pedestal which I had so proudly mounted as the most modest person in the group. With that reflexive action I ripped that pin off my lapel with such force as to take a swatch of clothing with it, thereby ruining my jacket. I have put in an order to have another pin made, this bearing "#3". Any challengers?
Aug. 21, a great letter from enchanting Scrounge. I am lost in admiration for Scrounge. But for Morrissey's threat to terminate you, the ten million dollars probably would already have been sent to you. But I became alarmed about his threat to eradicate you. So naturally, our of concern for your well being, I could not bring myself to ask Betsy to transmit the modest stipend which you had respectfully requested. I concluded from that letter that if Betsy had forwarded the funds, Morrissey, out of envy and hatred for you, would have carried out his threat to kill. There must be some way to get this money to you without putting you in danger of liquidation by Morrissey. We must find a way.
Aug. 22, Morrissey writes to Don Gibson that only the intelligence agencies of the U.S. government had the ability to pull off and cover the assassination. I agree with the first part of the statement. I also agree that the intelligence agencies undertook immediately to cover up the assassination from the general public, but certainly not from anyone who was paying attention to the evidence that was being shoveled at us by the press and the U.S. government. The American press also jumped in immediately to cover. It was joined in the cover-up by the American bar, the medical profession, academe, and the whole power structure of the society.
Aug. 23, Morrissey to Zola Marcus with very kind words that he much deserves. Morrissey's placing me in the same category as Zola is an indirect way of making me look ridiculous to this group, since you all know the stature of Zola whose accomplishments dwarf my poorly rendered clerical functions. Morrissey reduces Chomsky to a CIA asset. I will say that I find him completely dishonest on the Kennedy assassination. I am not sure whether this dishonesty stems from his need to maintain his player status or whether he has a closer attachment to the establishment than just the need to be able to utilize and accept the acclaim of the establishment's media. Morrissey wants to get Marcus to spell out how he got involved in the assassination work. Again, I don't know whether there is any substantial interest in the early critics. I can speak for myself when I tell you that I can't see anything of interest in my personal involvement.
Aug. 27, Gibson to Morrissey over the issue of whether the CIA or the establishment killed Kennedy. My view is that there is such a power structure as is described by Don. I have read C.W. Mills, some of Quigley, and Domhoff's Higher Circles. I agree that they are extremely powerful. But the killing of Kennedy I see as an intelligence killing having to do with many aspects of the Cold War. I view it as largely internal to the national security state. Of course, the national security state had powerful civilian allies who joined immediately to accept and cover for the killers. But the killers I view as the CIA and the other intelligence agencies of the national security state which operated autonomously outside of the constitutional structure as a consequence of the rot that had long set into American "democracy." I agree with Morrissey.
Aug. 31, Brown writes to Gibson. Brown defends Chomsky on the JFK matter. Ralph, I am not convinced by your defense. There is something very rotten in Chomsky's embrace of an obvious CIA agent as Jay Edward Epstein.
Don, I do feel that RFK was central to the cover-up of the assassination. I also feel that he got suckered into playing with CIA anti-Castro brutes whom he thought were serious about getting rid of President Castro. In fact, they were setting up John Kennedy for a situation where those killers were being instructed on how to kill President Kennedy. Of course, all of this was orchestrated from above, and did not constitute some spin-off or rump group. I also feel that John Kennedy cooperated in covering up the assassination in the belief that he could structure a political future for himself by playing the game.
Sept. 10, Mike's letter to Don about who killed Kennedy and why. Mike's simplistic conclusions are mine.
Sept. 26, Don Gibson writes me and explains why he does not feel that the CIA's role was important in the cover-up, but that the execution was "farmed out to a group with no formal or immediate connection to the CIA as an organization." Of course, all intelligence assassinations are overlyid with cover stories. But under the doctrine of respondeat superior, the principal is responsible for the work of ist agents performed within the scope of their emplkoyment. Therefore, I view the CIA and ist interlocking connections with the other U.S. intelligence agencies as the murderers. I see the American taxpayers' money directly paying for the operation, albeit on an off-the-shelf basis. Gaeton's book proves that the CIA was central in the execution and in the cover-up.
Because there had to be a chain of command and control exercised by the highest levels of the agency, an operation of this size had to be known to, and financed, controlled, and directed by the leaders of the highest levels of all aspects of our intelligence community. Just because they employed standard operating techniques of discretely distancing themselves from obvious discovery as the executioners of the president does not in any way mean that they were not the principals. Only American intelligence could have authored and covered up such an assassination. And the center of power in the intelligence community had to be privy to and responsible for the operation.
Nov. 1, Ralph writes about his concern over COPA honoring Tink Thompson. Ralph, who always overrates me by light years, wants me to be honored by COPA. Ralph, I do not want to be honored by COPA nor by any other group. It is honor enough to be placed by Thompson with Ray Marcus in designating Tink as an agent. It is far more honor than I deserved to have the privilege of clerking for this illustrious group of correspondents. I say this in all seriousness.
From Z magazine, Nov. 1995, Chomsky talks about himself. The reference to the Nazi generals' plot to kill Hitler he got from me. When he asked whether I could report any conspiracy wherein so many people kept quiet as in the Kennedy killing, I offered Shirer's data from The Rise and Fall... wherein Shirer states that slightly under 5,000 persons were executed for the aborted attempt on Hitler's death. No one of the military spilled the beans, and the Gestapo, in one of the most authoritarian countries in history, did not report on the planned assassination. I still have not heard of any paper trail that was laid out for Hitler's assassination. Chomsky requires such a trail as proof of a conspiracy. I feel that such a trail would not constitute evidence of a serious conspiracy, but merely solid evidence of serious dementia.
Don Gibson proposes a debate between Arlen Specter and me. Donald, a peace group in Delaware Valley is trying to arrange such a debate. I offered $1,000 to Specter's choice of a charity as an inducement. He once agreed to debate me. Then he withdrew after the announcements went out to the public. I t will never happen. But, of course, I would be willing to debate him. I have never had a public debate on the assassination with anyone. I truly don't think the matter is debatable. The Warren Commission issued patent bullshit, and anyone who is serious about exposing the true nature of the Warren Report, and does not have a vegetable for a head, can demonstrate it. I enclose my Nov. 20 letter to the Peace Action Delaware Valley group agreeing to a Specter debate but acknowledging that it will never happen.
I have just finished Garrison's A Heritage of Stone, a great book. He got it 100% right, in 1970.
Since Garrison makes clear his debt to you, Vince, I must confess that I am coming dangerously close to making a hero of you, too. Please do something to cure me of this temptation.
Question: How many people, in your estimation, shared Garrison's view in 1970? What other documents (articles or books) expressed this view (that the CIA did it for the warmongers, specifically for Vietnam) at that time? I think it's clear that we can end the bibliography in this case in 1970, at the latest.
Fletch: We can go from Garrison 1970 to Prouty 1973 saying the CIA is also "In Control of the United States and the World," but I'll be damned if we can go from that to "the CIA didn't do it" in 1995. Jesus H. Ralpht. Was the SS innocent because they took orders from Hitler, or from some High Cabal behind him?
I am also still waiting for Fletch's answer to the questions I raised in my Bay of Pigs talk. Do you really think, Fletch, that Richard Bissell was so stupid and incompetent that he actually thought the invasion could succeed as planned? I know of no evidence whatsoever to support your statement that the OAS was prepared or expected to join the invasion if the Brigade lasted three days or so, and there is no other way they could have survived without US intervention. Bissell's purpose in making all the incredible "blunders" that he made (including having his ex-student McGeorge Bundy call off the air strikes), which as I've tried to describe were not only incredibly stupid and negligent and totally out of character but also systematic, was to make sure the invasion failed as quickly as possible, so that Kennedy could be pressured into sending in the Marines. You think they were all just being stupid, but you know as well as I do that they were not stupid. Then you say the CIA didn't kill Kennedy, either! What's going on here?
Don Gibson: You obviously didn't read my letter to Newman. If you had you might have thought twice about saying the CIA is not guilty "as an institution" just because they have or had a few bad apples. It is clear why ex-intelligence officer Newman would wish to exonerate his former (we hope) employers, but what's your story?
Ok, Prouty (incredibly enough) and Gibson want us to exonerate the CIA, and presumably the SS as well, since that would follow from the same logic. Newman is also scrambling to exonerate the CIA (as an institution, of course), and Michael Parenti doesn't find this objectionable. After all, he actually met Newman and liked him. How does he know Newman's fellow agents are mad at him? Well, no, we don't want to answer such a personal question, do we? Better to jump on Morrissey for daring to criticize Newman, and leave it at that, right? And by all means, do NOT bother to actually read the books concerned or understand the issues that I raised. Just zap me, and hope the others at COPA will follow suit--which they did, except for John Thomas. Where is Parenti's answer to John Thomas? I am not worthy of an answer from you, and neither is John. His time is too valuable to waste on troublemakers like us.
And then along comes Marty Schotz, who tells us we are irrational and schizoid and unwitting agents of the CIA if we even dare to discuss these issues, since they are all trivial compared to the McCloy-Zorin agreements and whatever Fidel Castro does or says--presumably including putting HIV-positives in concentration camps.
And Don Gibson, waving his long bibliography, assuring us that the Rich Guys would never kill a president and fight a war for a mere $570 billion, and that the CIA as an institution is innocent.
Ralph, as far as I can tell, is not convinced that the withdrawal policy was reversed after JFK's murder. Ralph, tell me that I'm wrong, or tell me you disagree with Garrison. In the latter case, read my letter to Newman again. If you have any arguments after that, let's hear them.
I am not going to put up with this shit. This is not a game. Garrison was right. Vince is right. I am right.
I would like to make a request. Since I have only a vague idea who gets these mailings, I would like to suggest that each recipient state clearly whether or not he/she thinks Garrison was right or wrong. I would like to know who I am writing to.
No one is going to defend the CIA or the SS (which follows from the same logic) and get away with it, as long as I'm in this discussion.
According to that curious rag, The Spotlight, Michael Collins Piper has a book out saying the Mossad killed JFK, and that one of the backers of the Stone film was an Israeli arms manufacturer. I will read the book when I get hold of it, but this sounds to me like more disinformation. On the other hand, that rag is the only one I know that says Garrison was right. There is no contradiction, since I'm sure the Mossad and the CIA work hand in hand, but anyone who thinks the Mossad is the superior organization is off his rocker.
Garrison was right, in 1970, and nothing has changed in 25 years, except that we have a lot more Nazi sympathizers, agents, and plain dumb assholes who want desperately to think he was wrong. And people shake their heads and wonder how such a thing could happen in Germany! We are worse than the Germans. They watched the Jews disappearing and wearing yellow stars, and we watch a coup d'état, watch them kill us in Vietnam for the next ten years, watch them release AIDS on us to fight National Security Threat No. 2 (after nuclear war), overpopulation in the Third World, and on and on, till we have what we have, and we are what we are, in 1995.
But the Germans had a real terror regime. They had no Garrisons, Salandrias, and Oliver Stones. Ok, the CIA has improved considerably on the SS by mastering the art of deception, but this is a much weaker excuse than the Germans had. They at least had to be forced. We have let ourselves be seduced. Our own weakness is what has allowed it to continue, and get worse. It's like the difference between being knocked down on the street and date rape. If we have to blame the victims, we are all more guilty than Hitler's Germans.
Look at us. Even in our little group, which is already very, very eccentric and isolated, we are full of shit. I move that we chuck out the shit. Do you agree with Garrison or not? Those of you who don't, who want to defend the CIA, go ahead, but show your goddam colors. Then you will have a fight with me.
Jacob Segal, the Jim Garrison of AIDS, died recently. The newest and last book, which probably will not make it into English either, is AIDS Ist Besiegbar, Neuer Weg, Kaninenberghöhe 2, 45136 Essen, 1995. If any of you know an English-language publisher who would take it on, write to Neuer Weg. I would do the translation, but there is no point in that unless there is a publisher, and they usually like to do their own.
I guess that's enough vitriol for today.
Dec. 24, an impassioned letter from Mike which I think requires response. He asks how many people in 1970 shared Garrison's view. Well, Marty and Chris Kefalos did. Harold Feldman, who was the my brother-in-law did. Several of my friends did. I suspect that more than 100,000 in this country knew, but kept quiet. What was so difficult to figure out? Oswald reeked of U.S. intelligence. The Warren Commission held secret hearings. The evidence of Dealey Plaza screamed out that this was the work of a not-so-covert paramilitary operation. The Warren Commission Report was patent horse shit. Lots oa people knew. Anybody who read with a critical eye, even in a cursory fashion, the Warren Report, had to know how high up the conspiracy went. Anyone who observed the reaction of the Kennedy family had to know.
Mike, I am not close, not far, not anything like a hero. Although I was apparently the first to attack the Warren Report in print systematically, I was weak enough to be sorry that someone else wasn't expressing the obvious about it, i.e. that it was a cover-up of a high-level U.S. governmental conspiracy.
As for heroes, Jim Garrison was certainly one. He would have easily risen to be governor of Louisiana and/or a US senator. When we first met, he was only clear that there was a conspiracy of a high level. He did not have his mind centered on the CIA. But Jim's mental capacity dwarfed my own. He learned quickly. He quickly surpassed my understanding.
We met about six times. We spoke on the phone perhaps fifteen times. We corresponded briefly. He owed almost nothing to me. I served some clerical functions in the monumental task that he was undertaking to be the only public figure in the whole world to attack the Kennedy killers on a sustained basis.
He never uttered a cross word to me. He never was anything other than gracious and charming while I sharply criticized his thinking, "friends," understanding of the assassination, writing and conclusions. In return for my captious hammering at him, he credited me first in his Heritage of Stone. This allegedly flamboyant self-seeking, egotistical paranoid character rewarded my carping at him in his signed copy that he sent to me in April of 1972 by writing "For Vince Salandria, my old friend and mentor." In his gift to me of On the Trail of the Assassins, he wrote: "December, 1988--For my great friend, Vincent Salandria, still the undefeated champion and leading intellectual of all the critics, to whom I remain indebted for his encouragement and help."
Needless to say, you well know that I am none of the things which Jim said I was. And needless to say, he was much, much more of a person than I and a far, far better person than the lackey American press made him out to be. But for my small contributions he was willing to credit me with being his mentor.
Mike, if you are looking for a hero in this case, look no further than Jim Garrison. Knowing him was one of the best aspects of my full, satisfying and long life.
I know you are a reluctant hero, Vince, but I submit that you, being one of the first denizens of what I call Ground Zero, and the very first person in the universe to systematically attack the Warren Report in print, are indeed, without question and with emphasis, a hero.
"Not only for that, though. This correspondence is your child, yours alone. How many of us would do it, even if we too were multimillionaires, or maybe I should say especially if we were? How many of us would so kindly and indulgently respond, with never a harsh word for anyone, except in jest, and sign our letters 'love,' and mean it?
"Why is our correspondence--over a foot high sitting on my desk now, and growing more or less bi-monthly--so important? It is the first literature of Ground Zero. This is the new age, I suspect the first significant change of consciousness in post-mortem America (which began on 11/22/63). You and the 100,000 others you say also knew were the first to occupy this landscape, and you were the first to explore it. It's quite fitting, then, that you are now the father--mother if you prefer--but in any case the creator and sustainer of the first coherent body of literature dealing with what you call the Macroanalysis.
I prefer "Ground Zero" because for me the word 'analysis' sounds too scientific--not that I think we are unscientific but for me, science, and scholarship of any kind, are not enough to deal with the situation we are in.
Ralph, I have never contended that the war was the only reason for the assassination. I say it was the most important one, certainly for the victims, and probably also for the perpetrators. I've been through this with Don Gibson, who agrees with you on this, whatever else you have been squabbling about. I challenged Don to adduce a single other policy that was reversed after the assassination that had a comparable price tag on it: $570 billion, in 1991 dollars, the so-called "cost" of the war. He answered in a way I found unconvincing, and I tried to explain why I found it so. Did you miss this exchange? If you agree with Don on this, I wish you would tell me which of the arguments he offered that you find convincing.
If you can't do this, I don't think you (or Marty) are justified in reducing the war to one of several reasons for the assassination. Balking at a war that cost (and could have been predicted then to cost on the order of) $570 billion and millions of lives is simply not comparable to the test ban treaty, the rapprochement with Cuba, the McCloy-Zorin agreements, or whatever other 'relatively progressive' policies you want to attribute to JFK.
To use a somewhat exaggerated analogy, this strikes me the same way as if I were to say that the robbers killed the guard because he was preventing access to the bank, and you said, 'Oh no, that was only one of the reasons. The guard also refused to let them park in front of the building, objected to their wearing masks, failed to open the door for them,' and so on. All of that was no doubt part of it, but the main thing was the money--in the bank and in the war.
Frankly, Ralph, this seems so obvious to me that I fail to understand why you, Don, and Marty insist that it cannot be true. The importance of the test ban and McCloy-Zorin and Cuba etc. is not self-evident. The importance of $570 billion and several million lives is. You are saying all of these things are equal in importance, as far as the assassination is concerned, and I say this defies common sense.
The war was the main motive not only for the JFK assassination but for the others, too. This, again, seems obvious, considering that both King and RFK were killed shortly after (finally) coming out against the war. Do you also have a long list of possible reasons for those murders? What is so hard to grasp? Three politicians got in the way of the war machine and it ate them, just as it ate 58,000 other Americans and millions of southeast Asians. You can tack as many other reasons onto this as you want to, but this was the main one, and I believe it is important to see this clearly and to say so.
I think Garrison said it clearly in A Heritage of Stone, and Vince may have said it very early, too, or earlier--I'd have to dig out his articles to make sure, or maybe he can tell us himself. Oliver Stone also said it clearly in JFK, despite the obvious, massive press campaign to disguise it. I've made this point before, too. How many reviews of the film did you see that read "Movie Says Warmongers Killed JFK" or the like? If Vietnam was mentioned at all it was buried somewhere in the middle of the article.
The result of the propaganda is that very few people who have seen the film can tell you what the main point of it was--that JFK got in the way of the Vietnam War. I have faulted Stone for this, in part, because of course he could have hit people over the head a lot harder. But maybe Time Warner wouldn't have done the film in that case; maybe they would not have felt so confident that they could handle the resulting firestorm if he had. Or maybe Stone thought he said it as clearly as he could, and didn't think such a clear, and what should have been shocking, truth required special effects. I'd like to ask him these questions, but I suspect his answer would be the latter--which is ok by me.
I haven't talked to a lot of vets about the film. When I tried to, on VWAR-L, a moderated newsgroup, the first thing I was told was that no one was allowed to discuss that film or any other "conspiracy theories." I tend to think they would and did react differently to the film than others, but in the end I suppose the same miasma has befallen them that has befallen everyone else: the "meaning" and significance of the film has become what the media have said it is. And this meaning, obviously, does not involve answering the question that must be answered before we can talk reasonably about a possible connection between the war and the assassination.
This question is the one I asked you, and Chomsky: Did LBJ reverse the withdrawal policy? If you say "No," as Chomsky does, you can forget about a connection with the assassination because there is nothing to connect. If you are unsure, or find some way not to say "Yes," you can still avoid the further question, because it is hypothetical, and none of us are too interested in hypothetical questions: "Well, IF Johnson reversed the policy, COULD THERE HAVE BEEN a connection with the assassination?" Compare that with: "Johnson reversed the policy; WAS there a connection?"
In the latter case, because it is a real and not a hypothetical question, you can actually get to the further question of connection with the assassination. Then you can talk about the things I tried to talk about with Chomsky and Newman. Once you grant the FACT that the policy was reversed, you must also grant the FACT that the reversal took place immediately after the assassination (proved by Chomsky's own documentation). At that point, you have either a hell of a coincidence, or a very strong causal explanation for the murder of the president, his brother, and Martin Luther King.
Instead of this, we have what I call the false debate between Chomsky et al. and Newman et al., about what JFK was secretly thinking before he died and about what he WOULD HAVE DONE IF he had not died. This can go on forever, and is such an obvious distraction from the real questions that I suspect the debate is not sincere. The fact that Chomsky answered me in such an asinine--as he would say, "hysterical" way--and the fact that Newman could not bring himself to answer at all is further evidence of their insincerity.
Your remark about "hagiography," I'm afraid, also reminds me of Chomsky. Perhaps you are confusing me with Don Gibson. I have never uttered a word about JFK that could be construed as hagiographical. I have never even referred to him, I don't think, as "relatively progressive," as you have. As I keep reminding people, Reagan's withdrawal from Lebanon and Bush's early withdrawal from the Gulf War are never construed as dovish or saintly. Why should the decision of JFK to withdraw from Vietnam by the end of 1965, on the basis of the McNamara-Taylor report claiming satisfactory progress, be understood any differently?
Of course JFK believed in counterinsurgency. Of course he believed in it in Vietnam and sent 16,000 "advisory" troops there. Of course he was not a dove. Of course he was not a saint. But none of this--I repeat, none of this--contradicts the fact that he did not want to send draftees there, as he told Kenneth O'Donnell, and that he had decided to withdraw the "volunteers" as well. This decision does not make him a dove or a saint. It means he made a sane decision that was contrary to what the warmongers wanted. That's all.
The documentary record shows (for everyone but Chomsky et al.) that the withdrawal decision was based on the assumption (not condition, as Chomsky insists on saying) of continuing military success. If you like Newman's speculations, you can imagine that JFK was playing a game, only pretending to think we were winning so he would have an excuse to pull out, because he secretly knew we were losing. But you do not have to agree or disagree with Newman in order to establish the simple (one would think) fact that FOR EITHER ONE REASON OR THE OTHER (i.e., forget the false debate), JFK had decided to withdraw.
That is the point that must be settled before we can talk about "Vietnam as a consequence of the assassination." I'm sorry if I seem over-zealous in pursuing it, but having been through the wringer with Chomsky, who simply refused to concede the point, I cannot accept anything but a yes or no answer to my question.
Fletch, you say again that it is Lansdale in the tramps photo, with his back to the camera. I don't think I could recognize my own wife with certainty from behind, even in real life. Just what is it that you recognize about Lansdale in this black-and-white photo? The ears? The hair? The clothes? The posture?
Of the books you discuss, I would certainly like to read Trance Formation of America. (Why do I think of Noam Chomsky?) Where in the world do you come across these books? I mean, a 14th century work (The Muqaddimah) by Ibn Khaldun is not exactly the kind of thing that would be reviewed in the Washington Post.
Now, I'm going to light into you a little, but don't get me wrong. I am still your friend and will remain so. I think you are being inconsistent, but I don't think you are being dishonest. If I thought that, I wouldn't go to all this trouble. It's a lot of work.
I also have some questions. You say Trance Formation is 'really hot' and that certain publications have already started to set 'backfires.' What do you mean?
You have a way, Fletch, of telling anecdotes that is fascinating, but frustrating because you don't name names. Who was the 'old CIA insider' that ducked behind his desk when you came into the HSCA area?
I think you are right to dissociate yourself from Liberty Lobby. You don't need Tom Valentine or The Spotlight as a forum. I subscribe to Spotlight because I read stuff there that I don't read in The Nation, Covert Action Quarterly, or the International Herald Tribune, like the Bilderberger business, and they are the only one of these rags that says the CIA killed JFK, which is pretty credible--and gutsy--in my book. The fact that they also spew out a lot of nonsense certainly doesn't help their credibility, but it doesn't mean they're wrong about everything, either. Still, I wouldn't want them to publish me, because I would not like to be in your position of having to deny all the accusations of 'association.' I read something recently that turned me way off. I thought I had read somewhere that they were opposed to the Vietnam War, but then I saw this reference to antiwar vets 'raising their ugly heads.' Talk about ugly.
Re the Bay of Pigs, we're not getting anywhere. You say Bundy 'pulled a boner' but a few lines later that he 'sabotaged' the plan. That's a contradiction, if I understand the word sabotage correctly.
You've got the Cabell/Bissell visit with Thomas Rusk after the Bundy call confused. Both men were there. Bissell, too, would have had time to make the phone call to get the Brigade planes off the ground.
You say the plan was militarily sound. But I think you are forgetting that Bissell & Co.'s lies about the 'probability' of an uprising were just that. Those 1500 men on the beach would remain 1500 men on the beach, against an entire army. Even without an air force, Castro's army would have overrun them very quickly. In other words, their ONLY hope was massive US intervention. You still haven't cited your evidence for saying the OAS was poised to intervene, and they would certainly not have intervened when they saw that it was nothing like a counterrevolution but just 1500 men on a beach. So what was militarily sound about the plan, even assuming all of Castro's planes were knocked out?
You point out that John Newman was/is with NSA, not CIA. For me they are all the same. I see no point in trying to keep one secret agency separate from another. It is impossible. When I say CIA, I mean the 'intelligence community.' Whether it actually works the way it's set up to work, namely with the DCI at the top, is another unanswerable question. As far as I'm concerned, they are the enemy, because 1) they are powerful, 2) they are secret, and 3) (although I don't really think a third reason is necessary) we have ample evidence of their misdeeds.
It is not at all clear now where you are trying to place the blame for 'make-war tactics.' I have always understood that you place it with the CIA, but now you seem to have a fuzzier position. Your analogy of the CIA, or CIA assets, and the hangman in the JFK case backfires on you, because that would have been the hangman hanging his boss. In that case we certainly would be interested in the hangman! It is only when the hangman is hanging somebody else and we know who his boss is that the hangman is relatively uninteresting.
I'm sorry you didn't respond to my analogy--of the CIA and the SS. Would you say the CIA didn't kill JFK any more than the SS killed the Jews, because both organizations were acting under orders?
But you go further than this. You say: 'The biggest role the CIA may have been assigned is that of the creator and manager, even today, of the ever-blooming "Cover Story."' So now they are not even the hangmen, much less the SS!
You seem to agree that the CIA is more powerful than the Mossad but you point at 'London' as the source of the real power. What in the hell are you talking about? This sounds like LaRouche, although I don't know what he's talking about, either. You'd better be careful or you'll end up being 'associated' with both Liberty Lobby and LaRouche.
I would ever so humbly opine that given one relatively tangible enemy, an institution of our so-called democratic government that is paid for with our (your) taxes, it is foolish to speculate about some vague greater power behind this enemy, whatever you want to call it--the High Cabal, the System, the Power Elite, the military-industrial complex, the London international Banking Plot, etc. The CIA--by which I mean the 'intelligence community'--is enemy enough.
Fletch, you have contributed an enormous amount to the public discussion, and you have been very generous with your time with me and given me many ideas and stimuli that I don't think would have come my way otherwise. You have earned the right to a few inconsistencies. I have to articulate them to keep things straight in my own mind, but I am not trying to nail you to the wall. We will remain friends as long as we are honest with each other. I stopped writing to Chomsky not because I disagreed with him, but because I felt that he was being dishonest. He avoided my questions and tried to make me feel stupid while doing so. It didn't work.
Speaking of the Bay of Pigs, I recently read in a book about Wallace Stevens by Peter Brazean (Parts of a World) that there was a Richard Bissell, president of the Hartford Fire Insurace Co. and Stevens' boss. The Evan Thomas article that John Thomas sent along says the CIA Bissell was also from Hartford, so there is a surprising possible connection--father and son, perhaps?
John, you talk about 'rationing our anger,' and of course you are right. I am concerned about your health, and I appreciate your concern about mine. On the other hand, perhaps a measured release of anger can relieve stress instead of creating it. I did a bad job of it in my last letter, for which I apologize--but if it brought you back to the keyboard perhaps it wasn't all that bad.
I want to try to explain why I have focused my anger on the CIA--'CIA,' as I've said, as a cover term for the entire 'intelligence community' or 'national security state' or (as Bill Moyers called it) the 'secret government.' I have compared 'them' with the SS because they constitute an institutional conspiracy within our supposedly democratic government, with a history of ruthlessness and total disregard for democratic principles. If the CIA did not kill JFK, if they did not reverse their assessment of the war two days after the assassination, if they did not kill MLK and RFK, they should have told us who did a long time ago. If they can't do that, what good are they?
I can't accept your analogy with the LAPD. They are not a secret organization with unlimited funds, unlimited power, and no effective external controls. If they were, there would be no question--of course they should be eliminated. 'But then,' you say, 'politics would demand some new super-secret entity to monitor nuclear terrorism and keep track of those dangerous damn commie peasant priests and nuns in Latin America. The pea would be moved to another shell.'
True enough, but it would be up to us to keep that from happening. That's why I would go after them on principle, rather than just purging and punishing individuals, which as you say just means that six months later everything will be back as it was, or even worse, since we'll all have relaxed and think things are ok. That's exactly what happened after the 'purges' of the 70's, after which, I read somewhere, employment applications at the CIA increased substantially.
The principle I would attack is secrecy--what Daniel Brandt referred to in the Internet posting that Ralph sent along as 'cryptocracy,' i.e. secret government. We should abolish it. Tear it down and chuck it out, and keep it out.
How many secrets have to be kept? Where the missiles are, the security codes, stuff like that, granted. But these are all things that could be openly and clearly and specifically justified, one by one. Why is there no discussion of this? Because secrecy is the antithesis of democracy and the worm that has destroyed our government. It is Richard Helms and people like him sitting on our faces.
You are right to say debate is a reflection of friendship and trust, and we cannot have debate with secrecy. It destroys everything, and to the extent that they convince us that we need it, for our 'own good,' we destroy ourselves. Secrecy is the enemy of freedom, trust, communication, understanding, curiosity, and love. In accepting it, we diminish our humanity. In fighting it, we are fighting for our humanity.
In a sense, even the most abject medieval peasant was freer and more enlightened than we are, because at least he knew who he was, and who the princes were, and how they related to each other. Can we say as much? I don't think so. We are essentially trying to figure out who is calling the shots, who is running the world, and we all have our own ideas about it. This is not the kind of curiosity I referred to above, which is the curiosity of science and art, man reflecting on and trying to come to terms with his existential condition. What we are left with is a much less noble curiosity--about other people and their secret machinations, their intrigues--and it is short-lived because we just get tired of it. We get tired of the shell game, as you put it. It is quintessentially boring to try to follow all the different ways the thugs and con men are screwing us, and it's their game. We can't win. We have to refuse to play.
That is the great contribution that our group can make. We can show others, first by showing ourselves, how it is possible to live and fight for our humanity at what I call Ground Zero, you call the other side of the looking glass (that is, reality), and Vince calls the level of the Macroanalysis. It's not easy. We can't just walk away from it as we would a shell game on the street. We are fully caught up in it, and are part of it, because this web of lies and manipulation is what our world has become. It is no longer a simple and transparent matter of the princes telling the peasants what to do. They have got us thinking we are little princes too, and to some extent I guess we are. The important thing is that we see our predicament as clearly as possible and fight against it. We do that every time we write to each other. It is not "mental masturbation"--or if it is, so what? We can't all fuck the princess, but if we can imagine doing so, what's wrong with that?"
Some recent news items:
Margot Williams says " electronic communications can live forever. Even clicks on Web pages can be logged and analyzed."
Although the volume of postings limits live access on local servers, the full feeds have long been put into archives in various places--perhaps as far back as 1979, when Usenet started. As a result, any words anyone has posted might be available somewhere for retrieval and have probably been used by direct marketers and other researchers for some time. This applies only to Usenet and those electronic-mail discussion groups that are posted to Usenet; private electronic mail and messages are not available via Usenet, although they might be archived in other locations("Internet Keeps Tabs On Cyberspace Visitors," IHT 3/18/96:11).
That's an encouraging prospect. Suppose snail mail disappears altogether, along with stage coaches and the pony express? It is foreseeable. Imagine Big Brother having instant access to every word you have ever written, and to increasingly sophisticated software for analyzing this corpus--your virtual self. It would also be manipulable, since it would be their archive, not yours."
Who killed Rabin?
In closing arguments that wrapped up the two-month trial, Yigal Amir's lawyer said contradictions in the evidence had led him to believe his client shot blanks at Mr. Rabin without knowing it, while someone else killed him ("Rabin Trial Closes On a New Theory," IHT 3/18/96:5).
The Brits are wondering now if their gun laws are strict enough ("U.K. Takes Anguished Look at Its Gun Laws," IHT 3/18/96:5), but, the US gun lobby will use the murder of the Scottish schoolchildren to show that even strict gun laws couldn't prevent it. They won't mention the other murders that the laws do prevent.
In a review of Spymaster: The Real-Life Karla, His Moles, and the East German Secret Police by Leslie Colitt (IHT 3/18/96:4), Marc Fisher says:
The overwhelming mass of what Wolf and the Stasi collected was meaningless nonsense, and the overwhelming majority of those who did the collecting were, as Colitt says, "slavishly obedient and disoriented" citizens who, like their leaders, "had been morally crippled beyond recognition, first by Nazism and then by Stalinism.
Fischer seems ready to believe that Marcus Wolf, the former head of the East German secret police, a German Jew who trained Palestinian terrorists, knows nothing. He describes the mentality of the East German mole somewhat differently than Colitt in the quotation above: "Many East German moles worked for Wolf without pay, either in gratitude for the education their country had given them or out of some sense of obligation to communism"? He describes Wolf himself as "a remarkable figure, a rousing success," an "outsider" and an "intellectual in a petrified bureaucracy," whose personal warmth and concern for his agents elicited unshakable loyalty"? A good guy, in other words, trapped in an evil society.
Who can swallow this--the simultaneous trivialization and glorification of a state security apparatus that, before its demise, Fischer and everyone else would have vehemently described as an evil second only to that of the Gestapo and the SS.
Feb. 29, Steve Jones writes and asks about Igor Vaganov. I enclose an excerpt from an early article written by Tom Katen, Gary Schoerner and me. We discuss Vaganov briefly in the article. Since Josiah Thompson was lmost interested in Vaganov, I lost interest in him. In my judgment, he may have had some backup role in the assassination which never got played out. He seems to have been a right-winger. Therefore, if he had a role, then it was to point to the right wing as a possible condidate for having planned the assassination. Certainly, the U.S. intelligence services have many such persons stashed away in our society ready to be used for future intelligence ventures. He may have just been sent to Dallas to be used as a red herring to be discovered and chased after by the likes of me.
Ralph asks why the official apologists always include Oswald in the conspiracy. If the U.S. Government chose Oswald as the fall guy, and chose him before any other agency fingered Oswald, and Oswald was innocent, then the center of the U.S. governmental power, institutionally speaking, had to have been the only logical candidate for the genesis of the conspiracy. If he were a guilty member of the group, then the U.S. government, in fingering him, and seizing upon him as an assassin, was on the path of truth, but was merely guilty of having overlooked his accomplices. Given the time pressures, the cleverness of the conspirators, the political need for arriving at an explanation that would not cause disunity in the nation, the U.S. government, the Warren Commission and its staff, the media, all innocently combined to protect the society against the irresponsibility of nuts such as us.
April 30, Ray sends us Lionel Trilling's introduction to Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. Orwell is the writer who has most influenced my political thinking.
I read recently that Allen Ginsberg predicted JFK's assassination. He wrote in his journal, on Oct. 31, 1959):
...sat & read Look mag at Dr's office, 14 St. accompanying my brother to his checkup--all about 1960 presidential races, Kennedy's politicianings & shiftiness--He has a hole in his back. Thru which Death will enter (Journals: Early Fifties Early Sixties, ed. Gordon Ball, Grove Press, p. 111).
I enclose a translation and commentary on a review of Posner's Case Closed by Rudolf Augstein, the long-time, supposedly left-leaning editor of Der Spiegel, a highly respected weekly, often accused of being anti-American. Augstein now believes there was no conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination. I don't wonder about people like Posner, who is an obvious agent, but when people like Augstein--who is not an American, put their reputation and integrity on the line and endorse this garbage, then I do wonder. Why are they lying? It can't be blind patriotism, since Augstein isn't even an American.
Ray Marcus says Chomsky is one of those who "regardless of the facts of the case (and in most instances, believing there was a conspiracy), nevertheless decided that to pursue it would be a useless diversion from the struggle against the ruling class, capitalism, etc..."--a position which Ray denounces as "false, irresponsible, and shameful."
Ditto for I. F. Stone, although Stone's purpose, says Ray, "was to close ranks with the establishment--fearing serious consequences, if the evidence pointed to conspiracy, for what he saw as the peace and stability of society."
But this doesn't make them agents, Ray says.
I cannot believe that Chomsky would sacrifice his integrity for some vague Marxist agenda. Nor that I. F. Stone would sacrifice his for fear of the public's inability to handle the truth. The motive for lying, in the case of such men, who are anything but naive or stupid, has to be of a higher order. It must lie at the very heart of the matter. The force that is able to corrupt them must be at least as powerful as that behind the guns of Dallas and Vietnam.
The time has come, I keep telling myself, to say goodbye to the likes of Chomsky and Mailer and Rudolf Augstein, to pluck them from my consciousness forever, along with Howard Hunt, Richard Helms, Marcus Wolf, George Bush, and the rest of them. I am only making these scum seem more important by thinking about them so much. They're never going to confess. They're never going to say uncle. Have I not proved that with Chomsky? I keep butting my head against these stone walls. Do I enjoy it, or what?
We apparently have had our say on the assassination for at least a while. How else do we explain the hiatus? I feel that a reduction in the volume of correspondence is healthy insofar as it demonstrates that some of us at least are not white heat fanatics and know when to say enough already.
There will be future interest in the JFK assassination. The criminal actions of the U.S. Government in killing Kennedy and then covering it up with the help of our media have cut deep and running wounds in our society which will not easily heal and cannot be forgotten.
Marty's book is at the printer. You will all be receiving copies within weeks. I think that it is special, so special that it will be thoroughly and almost completely ignored in this country except for some few extraordinary readers such as the members of this group. But Marty is prepared for the extremely limited interest which the book will elicit. He feels that he owes its publication to the minute aspects of our citizenry and those of other nations who might want to explore the nature of the assassination and why the American public did not see fit to come to know the truth and to act on it.
You will find attached to this mailing a number of newspaper articles. Most of them deal with the TWA 800 crash. The articles are from the New York Times, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Boston Globe. In intend them as a Rorschach test for the group members. After you see them, what do you believe happened? Do you know anything is happening or happened? Do you believe or know that the news is being managed? Do you believe or know that the evidence is not being weighed in an objective and disinterested fashion? I would very much like to hear from you on this matter. I would very much like to hear from Prof. Chomsky, who can be truly great on media analysis but for the JFK assassination media coverage.
Dialogue at my sanity hearing (fiction):
"So, Mr. Morrissey," says the judge, "you agree with everything else Professor Chomsky says, everything he has written?"
"Well, not everything," I say, "because I haven't read everything, but virtually everything."
"Except this one thing."
"Yes, your honor."
"And because of this one thing," the judge continues, "despite all the other things you agree about, you believe he is lying--about this one thing--and that therefore he is an agent of the CIA, or Big Brother, as you call it."
"That is correct, your honor."
"Even though you yourself say you were completely oblivious to what you now say is the truth about the assassination until December 1988."
"You even admit that you cannot be sure that you would have had this change of heart and mind earlier, even if you had seen the Turner film or been otherwise informed about the case? In other words, you admit that there are psychological or other, perhaps even inexplicable, metaphysical, factors that can prevent a person from seeing the truth, that is, the truth as you now see it?
"Yes, your honor."
"Then why can't you allow for the possibility that another human being, like Chomsky, can be subject to these same factors, and that he can be honest as you are about what he feels is the truth, even if it is different from your view?
"Well, your honor, it's not that I don't allow for the possibility. I do, in most cases. I just don't think it's likely in Chomsky's case. He's different from me, now, and also from from the way I was before December 1988. He is informed, sir. I was not. He is reknowned scholar, and when he says he has reviewed the assassination literature, as he said to me, I believe him. I know from friends like Ray Marcus and Vince Salandria that he has been informed for a long time, at least since the late 60s. He knows about the evidence for conspiracy, for high-level conspiracy, for a coup d'état, and for the connection between the assassination and the war. He knows about it and denies it, or denies its significance. I did not know about it until December 1988. He has lived with this knowledge, without making any public comment on it, as far as I know, until the Stone film came out in 1991. That's almost thirty years. Thirty years that he packed this knowledge away in cold storage in his brain. Mature years, too, not from 20 to 50--I was 42 when I finally woke up--but 40 to his present age, 68. He has been a radical all this time, writing books attacking the US government as capitalist imperialists and warmongers. This is a man who has thoroughly demonstrated his political sophistication and mistrust of government, and of the US government in particular.
"This was not true of myself, sir," I continue, "before December 1988. I always thought that somewhere down the line, we were all Americans, and that the government was on our side. Chomsky never had that faith, or never seemed to, until I heard him say in a film that this is the freest country in the world, a judgement that goes far beyond what I would say myself, now. But until December 1988, the closest I ever got to being a radical was during the Vietnam War. I was against it, against Nixon and Kissinger and the rest of the despicable lot, but it never occurred to me that they were the enemy. Actually, I think it would have dawned on me, if I had been confronted, or allowed myself to be confronted, with the information about the assassination, but since that is not what happened, I can't be sure.
"The point is, I was not Chomsky. I was not a radical. He was. I want to be fair, but I simply cannot imagine that he is as blind now, or ever has been as blind, as I was then. He even writes about 'manufacturing consent,' about how journalists and other scholars (excluding himself, of course) allow themselves to become propagandized, how they are forced, by indirect pressure, to except the 'terms of the debate,' as he puts it. There is just no way that I can explain his blindness by assuming that he is living in the same kind of dreamworld that I lived in until 1988. It's not that I don't want to accept this explanation. I can't accept it. It doesn't wash. So, my choice being that he is either his own best example of a propagandized intellectual, or a liar, I have to believe the latter."
"All right," says the judge, "assuming for a moment that you are right, that he is lying on this one issue, why does that make him a CIA agent, in your mind?"
"I know there are those, like Ray Marcus, who agree that Chomsky is lying, but attempt to rationalize it in some way that stops short of calling him an agent. I don't find this speculation of any interest at all. This whole thing is about lying. The government lies, journalists lie, politicians lie (as everyone knows), scholars lie, scientists lie. We have to live with that, but basically that is what we are up against. Now we have to live with people like Chomsky lying, too? No. I don't care what his motives are for lying. No matter who or what he thinks he is serving, by lying he betrays us all, and serves our enemy, because lying is the enemy. It doesn't matter whether he is on anybody's payroll. The damage is the same--even worse, in fact, if he is not. No one is bothered much to know that Richard Helms is a liar. But Alexander Cockburn? Norman Mailer? I. F. Stone? Rudolf Augstein? Noam Chomsky? That hurts. That's a killer. It sits deep, and doesn't go away. If these guys are not agents, they are worse than agents, as my friend Vince once said.
"Think, your honor, of those unfortunate citizens of the ex-GDR who woke up one morning to find their wives or husbands had been spying on them for the Stasi all these years. That's the level of betrayal I'm talking about, or almost. I mean, I don't have conjugal feelings towards Noam Chomsky or Alexander Cockburn, but feelings of intellectual solidarity are feelings, too, and they are important to some of us. They are important to me. What difference does it make why they lied? If they did, they betrayed us, pure and simple."
"I'm sure," says the judge, "that Professor Chomsky would be grieved to hear you say that, Mr. Morrissey. I'm sure he would not like being the cause of such profound disillusionment."
"I'm not sure of that at all," I say. "In any case, I've invested too much emotional and intellectual energy in him already. Look at this conversation we're having. Don't you think I know that I'm going round and round, repeating myself ad nauseam? I've got to get beyond this guy. He's important, but not all-important. He demonstrates how deeply the Big Lie has penetrated our culture, in particular our intellectual culture--what I used to think was the best we had. If that is gone, what's left? If they are lying, who is left to tell the truth? If the 'wild men in the wings' are nothing more than stage hands, where does that leave us? In a sea of faces, where we always were, watching an opera buffa. And I'm beginning to lose interest. It's not funny. Does that mean I'm insane, your honor?"
"Fortunately for you, Mr. Morrissey," the judge replies solemnly, "this is not a sanity hearing. I just am a figment of your imagination."
"You mean I can tell you to go fuck yourself, and Noam Chomsky, too?"
"Well, as long as you do it in a fictional way, I suppose so."
I now have Emerging Viruses, by Leonard Horowitz, and two books by Alan Cantwell, AIDS and the Doctors of Death and Queer Blood. They support the theory of artificial origin with genocidal intent, thus going beyond Segal and corroborating my worst suspicions.
Have you heard of another new book by Edward T. Haslam called Mary, Ferrie & the Monkey Virus. Is there be a link between the AIDS plot and the assassination?
Horowitz tells the story of Robert Strecker's brother Ted, an attorney, who was probably murdered after working to publicize his brother's theories linking the DOD to AIDS. Ted was also apparently the person who first called attention to the damning 1969 MacArthur testimony (although it was in the Congressional Record). He was found dead in Springfield, Missouri, on Aug. 11, 1988, with his 22-caliber rifle lying next to him--an apparent suicide, though Robert had talked with him the night before and found him in good spirits, and there was no suicide note.
A few weeks later, on Sept. 22, Illinois State Representative Douglas Huff, who was also very active in disseminating Dr. Strecker's theory, which is very close to Segal's, was also found dead, supposedly of a drug overdose, though he was only an occasional "recreational" user, according to The Strecker Group (whatever that is).
These murders should not be taken lightly. They are reminders that anyone can come between the cross-hairs, anytime. I saw a film on TV the other night called Twilight's Last Gleaming (1976), starring Burt Lancaster, Paul Winfield, Richard Widmark, and Paul Durning, directed by Robert Aldrich. Lancaster is an ex-general who threatens to unlease nuclear missiles unless the president makes public a certain document which will tell the American people "the real reason why we are in Vietnam." The document is "NSC Report 9795" in the film, but could just as well have been NSAM 263. At end of the film, the president is shot by military sharpshooters along with Lancaster and Winfield, thus demonstrating that it is more important to the powers-that-be to keep the document secret than to save the president's life. The most poignant moment of the film is when Lancaster realizes that this is the inevitable outcome of his idealistic undertaking. "What do I do now?" Lancaster says. What, indeed.
Marty, your book arrived three days ago, for which I thank you very much. It is a great contribution. Of course I have read most of it before, but having it in book form makes a big difference. Now the truth is more than just a stack of correspondence on my desk. It has an ISBN number and, hopefully, before too long, a call number in our library, so I can refer people to it.
Being taken from the most important dialogue taking place in the world today, namely our correspondence, it is automatically an important book. As far as I know, it is the first one ever to go beyond the question of conspiracy and deal with it as a fact, and in a way that is reasonable, without letting that fact, upsetting though it is, lead to denial (à la Chomsky et al.) or to the opposite extreme, to equally irrational imaginings of the enemy's identity and structure (e.g., extra-terrestrials).
It is thus the first book of the new age, the new era of consciousness, the new reality that I call Ground Zero, which is emerging from the correspondence.
I admire your innovative spirit in putting it together as you did, with 90% appendices. You have been very honest in balancing what you have to say with what others have said that has influenced your opinion, and demonstrate this honesty by printing the original contributions by Vince, Ray, and the others, which I dare say most ego-bound writers would dispense with, since they are, technically speaking, available elsewhere--though not easily, which is the point.
Thanks for mentioning my name, and even my "book," a couple of times. I'm not sure what I'll do if anyone actually writes for a copy, since I don't have any more, but maybe I'll reprint it, which would give me a chance to correct the errors.
My reaction in a nutshell: Bravo! The book is an inspiration. It encourages me, at least, a great deal. The truth is depressing, but talking about it, and then getting it, or at least a great deal of it, between hard covers to use as the basis for further talk is the best antidote to depression. Talk, save us, James Joyce said somewhere.
I agree, as you know, that the closest we can come to the face of the enemy is the CIA--meaning, as you say, the "intelligence community," which includes many agencies and individuals, inside and outside of government. The most logical place to suspect the center, at least the operational center, of the enemy is at places like Langley, because that is the way the government is set up! This should be obvious to those who willing to see it, but denial is rampant here, too. Why look for a High Cabal or some equally ill-defined secret power structure, when we already have a quite well-defined secret power structure, with a long history of outrageous crimes, in our "intelligence" agencies?
This is the best example, it occurs to me, of denial analogous to your case of the parents who find their teenaged son's behavior "intolerable," but tolerate it anyway. Everyone blabbers about the intolerability (not to mention unconstitutionality and immorality) of secrecy in democratic government, but at the same time everybody in fact tolerates it. The very existence of the CIA is continuing and blatant testimony that Americans--and people in other countries--are in a deep pathological state of denial and Crimestop. We may have to amend the psychiatric textbooks with a little Orwell.
I suppose there is a ton of technical psychiatric literature on denial, and that you could get more deeply into it, differentiating among different types and degrees, and comparing what we see today with other cases of mass neurosis (or is it psychosis?), such as that which enthralled the Germans under the Nazis. I think this clinical approach, which you are eminently suited for, is promising and might be worth pursuing.
I am not convinced that Chomsky et al. are merely sick, as opposed to lying. This is the subject that interests me most, now. It is obvious, I think, what a difference it makes. If they are merely sick, that is, lying to themselves, our--my, at least--view of the world is quite different than it is if they are lying, just as I would see and handle any sick person differently than I would a liar.
I have not misunderstood you. I understand that you mean they are both sick and liars, because they are lying to themselves. But the person in denial, lying to himself, is not lying to us. Once he successfully lies to himself, he only has to tell the truth, as he sees it. That is denial, as I understand your discussion of it. You put Chomsky et al. in that category, but I cannot agree with you. I believe they know better, that they are trying to mislead us. That is lying in the usual sense.
As further evidence that Chomsky and Cockburn et al. are not sick, but lying, I read the other night in the current issue of The Nation (Nov. 25, 1996)--your historical coverage of their role in the cover-up is brilliant, and much needed--that another member of this elevated intellectual clique is none other than the one researcher that all of us are convinced is a CIA asset, and the only researcher Chomsky ever mentioned in his correspondence with me: Edward J. Epstein.
This makes a neat triangle: Chomsky, Cockburn, and Epstein. Cockburn tells us his "old friend" Epstein is a "boon companion" of Teddy Goldsmith, the brother of Sir James, the "financier of right-wing parties in England and France." Of course, Cockburn can say he is at two removes from Evil, since he is only the friend of a friend of the brother, just as he was at one remove when he was living with Katharine Graham's daughter. But let us not miss the obvious: You and I do not mix in these circles, at whatever remove. Maybe Vince does, I don't know. It would be interesting to know. It is clear, at any rate, that there is an intellectual elite of the left just as there is of the right, and they are tied to wealth on both sides, which puts them out of almost all of our orbits.
Cockburn is a talented writer, but this part of the article makes strange reading. I had to actually diagram the sequence of events before I could understand what he is saying. He is saying that he, Cockburn, was probably responsible for Sir James making "millions" by getting out of the stock market just before the great crash on "Black Monday," Oct. 17, 1987. Cockburn heard the rumors in Key West, called Epstein, and Epstein passed the word along to the Goldsmiths. (Now, re-reading the article, I realize that it is not clear which Goldsmith Epstein was a boon companion of, but it doesn't matter.)
How did Cockburn hear the rumors about AIDS being carried by mosquitoes in Key West? If he, as he says, had "not heard of any authoritative conclusion either way," why did he call anybody at all about it, and why did he call Epstein, in particular? He presumably tells this story in the expectation that his faithful readers will see a humorous irony in Cockburn's having unwittingly (or wittingly?) made millions for a capitalist pig, but on the other hand he makes no effort to make it seem ironic. Maybe it is one of those subconcious confessions (cf. the Augstein article), and not intended to be ironic at all but truthful. Cockburn is, after all, telling us who he is, and who Epstein is, and who Chomsky is. I'd be surprised if Chomsky and Epstein were not friends.
And who are they? The left hand of Big Brother, I'm afraid. This is a harder truth to face, I think, than the others--the truth about the coup, the media, AIDS, or what have you. The longer it stays with me, the more important I think it is. When you have been disabused of all the lies but this one, you've been marginalized but you still have a niche, the same one that Chomsky et al. occupy. Take that away and what have you got? Ground Zero.
I missed Vince's transparency theory in the book. That's important, because it is basically the same question I've been discussing re Chomsky et al. There is a big difference between conceiving of the enemy as a bungling but powerful oaf, and conceiving of a more clever and calculating power who purposefully made the conspiracy transparent.
I think Vince is probably right, and not only because I came to the same conclusion independently a couple of decades after he did. I called it the "let's-show'em-we've-got'em-by-the-balls" theory. It is not paranoid. The prima facie case is strong. The CIA had the means to kill Castro with undetectable poisons, so they had the means to dispatch JFK the same way. They chose to execute him publicly, create an outlandish fairy tale, and stuff it down our throats. They're still stuffing.
Why would they choose to do this, if they could have made him die quietly in his sleep, like Pope John Paul I? To make sure they scare the shit out of the few people who do see the truth. People like us.
You know that I disagree with you about the importance of the war. Frankly, I don't think your point of view is reasonable, especially when you add that the war was not only relatively unimportant as a motive for the assassination, but now even serves as a diversion. You call this the false debate. But what exactly do you mean? Why is it false to discuss the war as a cause of the assassination? Why is it less false to discuss JFK's rapprochement with Cuba and the Soviet Union as causes of the assassination? Why do you think they are separate issues?
I used the expression "false debate" quite differently in my letter to Newman and in our subsequent discussions. Not that I dispute your right to use the words the way you choose, but I don't think what you're saying makes much sense. Which do you think would have greater political impact--the confirmation that (a) JFK was killed by the warmongers, or that (b) he was killed because he was soft on communism, particularly on Russia and Cuba? I know that you think (b) is much more important, but what do you think most Americans would say? Which is more likely to get people out on the streets, (a) or (b)?
I am saying (a) is more important because of its potential political impact, and also more important because I don't think the assassination would have happened if JFK had gone along with the warmongers. You are saying not only that (b) is more important, but that (a) is a diversion. But are you not in fact saying that (a) is unimportant because it is a diversion, a diversion of course being a straying from the important? Looks like a textbook example of begging the question to me.
The falsity of the Vietnam debate, as I tried to make clear, is the way Chomsky and Newman have framed it--as a question of what JFK would have done if he had lived. This is a hypothetical and unanswerable question that can be debated ad infinitum and is indeed useless and diversionary. The real debate is the question of what JFK did do. Did he plan to withdraw all personnel by 1966? Did the CIA reverse their assessment of the war, retrospectively, beginning two days after the assassination? Did Johnson begin having doubts about the withdrawal policy within days of the assassination? Did he reverse it, officially, within the next four months?
The answer to all of these questions is yes, but Noam Chomsky disagrees. That is, or was, the real debate, and I guess it should not be too surprising that I won, since the facts are clear until Chomsky messes with them. It's Chomsky vs. me, not Newman. I may be having delusions of grandeur, but that's the way I see it. I also see that I won the debate, but nobody knows about it. Meanwhile, Chomsky conducted the phony debate with Newman, which he can safely be said to have won by now. Rethinking Camelot is the book everyone will refer you to as the "rebuttal" to Newman, Stone, and the "war conspiracy" thesis generally. But do you know of anyone else, besides me, who has rebutted the rebuttal? No. It's over, as far as the public and the aftermath of the Stone film is concerned. Thanks to Chomsky, the Vietnam connection has been blurred and deflected.
That is the diversion. The diversion leads away from asking about the connection between the assassination and the war, just the opposite of your thesis. The power elite do not want us to make the connection with the war. It is still too explosive. The real debate, between Chomsky and me, deals with that connection directly, because it concerns the facts. The false debate, between Chomsky and Newman, concerns speculation about what JFK might have done or secretly thought. The facts of what he did do are simple and clear, but for that very reason, inadmissible. They must be obscured. That is Chomsky's role, and he has performed it faithfully. Since he cannot allow the fact of a policy reversal to stand, he questions whether the policy existed in the first place. He determines that it did not, and therefore the question of its reversal, and connection to the assassination, disappears. It's a disappearing act, a magic show.
I don't think you were correct or fair to include Prouty as one of the players in what you call the Vietnam "diversion." You might as well have included me (and John Thomas), since you seem to mean anyone who connects the assassination and the war. But the diversion is not discussion of the war per se; it is Chomsky and Newman's discussion of the war. That's why I got into it. It's quite wrong to make people think the war connection is unimportant. Why do you think a big gun like Chomsky would be employed for such a job--defusing this explosive issue? It is very important. You say it is not important, and I say that you, truly unwittingly, are in effect doing the same thing Chomsky-Newman are doing--deflecting attention away from the war. Since I think the war is the most important issue, and you say it is a diversion, must I not conclude that you are the one who is unwittingly acting in the interests of Big Brother? I think it would be best if we forgot this idea of "unwitting agents" altogether, because it can pretty easily be made to fit anyone.
I have a couple of problems with Prouty myself, as I indicated a couple of letters ago, but all he has said, it seems to me, is that the CIA likes to make war, which makes sense to me. He has not speculated, as far as I can recall, about what JFK would have done if he had lived, or about what JFK secretly thought. This is the territory of the false debate. I am in it, you might say, as a third party, a would-be whistleblower, but I don't see Prouty in it.
These quibbles aside, you have produced a very valuable and unique tome. Many heartfelt thanks, both for sending it and for writing it. It is a big contribution to sanity.
My good friend Ray calls Marty a Marxist Leninist. Is Marty a Marxist Leninist? He will not see any need to reply to that since he thinks of the book as explaining himself.
If I ask myself whether I am a Marxist Leninist, I cannot see as other than imperfect any society which is organized without both considerable political and economic democracy. I, unlike my good friend Ray, cannot approve of our society's economic organization, which permits me to sit on mounds of money and allows others to suffer destructive economic deprivation. Why should I not be critical of a society which has Ray, who is far superior to me in intellect, work habits and integrity, not enjoy more economic success and I less?
In my view, wherever a form of political democracy exists along with great concentrations of wealth in the hands of a few, the affluent few tend to control the democratic processes with their money. Therefore, the democratic processes will tend to serve the interests of the rich and will not produce the greatest good for the greatest number. Such d a democracy, to me, appears to be no democracy at all, or at best pseudo-democracy.
I don't see the market nor the command system as necessarily leading to political democracy. Nor do I feel that a collective mode of production necessarily leads to economic democracy. I can see in a society with collectivized production new classes emerging which produce millionaire engineers, technocrats, and commissars. I strongly hope that the emergence of new propertied classes or power elites is not a necessary outgrowth of a collective organization of production.
But the dangers of bureaucratic growth and centralized power group control in a command society disturb me. Personally I don't see how you can produce goods and distribute them given the complexity of our technology without some bureaucratic apparatus. Is there such a thing as human nature which will require the persons in the planning apparatus to seek to perpetuate and to expand their power and privileges? I see this as one of the potentially basic problems in socialist organization of society.
I favor considerable leveling of the disparity of income. I think that this is a test of political democracy. If there is true political democracy with an educated citizenry, I feel that the people will inevitably opt through their votes for a more equal and equitable distribution of wealth. This appears to be fairer than tolerating fat cats like Salandria and even fatter cats whose dollars can commandeer more goods and service than they can consume while others go hungry.
If all of the above makes me a Marxist Leninist, then I plead guilty to being a Marxist Leninist.
Mike asks me what I mean by the TWA Flight 800 press clippings being a Rorschach. I mean that if we, after the fashion of Castro's examination of the press clippings following JFK's murder, scrutinize those clippings I mailed you, we can come to only one rational and lucid conclusion. Our armed forces shot Flight 800 down with a missile. The evidence for this explanation far outweighs the absence of evidence in support of the three alternative explanations.
The fourth explanation, which is the only one the media have ruled out, is the friendly fire thesis. As Marty says, the ruling out of friendly fire causation has to be based solely on asking the Pentagon whether their forces did it and accepting the Pentagon's denial and verity. Marty wonders why no reporter asks how friendly fire was ruled out as a possible cause when no other scenario, such as a bomb, a terrorist missile or mechanical failure has been dismissed.
Asking the Pentagon whether one of ist units shot the plane down is equivalent to asking Dulles whether the CIA was involved in the killing of Kennedy. His and the Pentagon's denials are self-serving and therefore worthless. Marty points out that no reporter dares to ask what process was employed in ruling out friendly fire as the cause. Marty says that this demonstrates proof of the total lap-dog mentality of our media when it comes to the national security state's perceived needs.
But our news media have picked up cues that they are to ignore the evidence of a "friendly" fire shoot down. They have been cued to treat the matter as if there is probably a mechanical failure explanation which has not yet been but will be nailed down. In fact there is no evidence favoring any of the three theories. There is only evidence, eyewitness evidence, and plenty of it, to support the friendly fire thesis.
The media have been cued to deal with the three explanations other than friendly fire as all having equal validity. We are free to believe any of the three theories. But we are not permitted to know what happened and to ascribe it to friendly fire without being slandered or Salingerized, which is the celebrity form being Salandriaized.
Nov. 17, Fletcher sends us the mailing list of Bud Fensterwald. It is terribly interesting. Thank you, Fletcher. But I just don't want to be responsible for disseminating it to the whole group. I have always been convinced that Bud Fensterwald was a highly placed U.S. intelligence agent. His list includes agents and good people. Therefore, I don't feel that we should be sifting through the list naming who is who. We have better things to do.
Nov. 25, in The Nation, Cockburn identifies Epstein as "my old friend." Epstein, whom I have known, is 100% sleaze. No one can mistake him for a friend of anyone but U.S. intelligence. Cockburn has to know that Epstein is an intelligence asset. Epstein never bothered to deny it when I knew him and so accused him.
Ray includes excerpts from John Newman's Oswald and the CIA. I think the most interesting and I think indefensible part of this excerpt is found on page 430 when Newman defends the CIA from institutional involvement and invites us to believe in the "renegade faction" hypothesis. I have no tolerance for such a spin-off concept and write off Newman out of hand for these utterances.
Peter Grose's Gentleman Spy does away forever with the notion of Professor Chomsky that JFK was a cold warrior who could not be distinguished from the rest of the warfare state. Grose proves that the Dulles wing of the national security apparatus sought to betray Kennedy on the Bay of Pigs. They actually left a paper trail of this betrayal effort. Also, we learn from this book, Gaeton, that the U.S. spy Mary Bancroft, who just died, was the lover of Allen Dulles and Henry Luce. Is that the intelligence connection you need to understand why Claire Booth Loose went after you so rabidly?
Following are some excerpts from Noam Chomsky's Class Warfare and Peter Grose's Gentleman Spy, and some angry thoughts I have on the former.
Professor Chomsky, Whose Side Are You On?
Professor Noam Chomsky has contended that he is not convinced that the killing of President Kennedy was a conspiracy. He has consistently adhered to his contention in the face of enormous evidence which demonstrates that the U.S. national security state killed the President and has been involved with its civilian allies in its cover-up.
Furthermore Professor Chomsky has maintained that if the assassination was a result of a conspiracy, it had no historical significance. And finally he has maintained that President Kennedy was a cold warrior whose foreign policy was indistinguishable from the military-intelligence structure which drove the foreign policy of the United States. Why has he adhered to these views in the face of overwhelming internal and external U.S. governmentally supplied evidence pointing plainly to the contrary?
In his book Class Warfare, Professor Chomsky helps us to understand at least some of the reasons why he has failed in this instance to respect the sanctity of obvious truth. In Class Warfare he speaks of his friendship with John Deutch, a former MIT provost who became director of the CIA:
We were actually friends and got along fine, although we disagreed on about as many things as two human beings can disagree about. I liked him. We got along very well together. He's very honest, very direct. You know where you stand with him. We talked to each other. When we had disagreements, they were open, sharp, clear, honestly dealt with. I found it fine. I had no problem with him. I was one of the very few people on the faculty, I'm told, who was supporting his candidacy for the President of MIT.
Professor Chomsky of course has a right to choose his friends. He has a right to choose one who was the director of an agency which has been directly responsible for carrying out as a matter of policy assassinations throughout the globe. But he does his readers a disservice by [enduring] such a person with honesty and expecting his readers to join him in considering such a person "very honest." He had "no problem with him," but I as a reader who know the murderous role of the CIA and knowing that Mr. Deutch was acceptable as the CIA's director should be forgiven by Professor Chomsky, if I should view such a friendship as a problem.
Professor Chomsky supported Mr. Deutch's candidacy for the Presidency of MIT. But Professor Chomsky should understand my concern as a reader about an easy path from academia to the CIA. Such a path serves to erode into non existence any concept of an academe independent of governmental influence and control. By accepting John Deutch as a "friend" and as a person whom he liked and whom he considered very honest he reduces politics to a debating game having little human content and consequence. This is a friendship which permits a leftist such as Professor Chomsky to be viewed as an acceptable and responsible player in the deadly war games which it plays covertly and overtly in maintaining its status as a super war power.
But let us put Professor Chomsky's choice of a person with whom he got along fine aside. Rather, let us now cut to the revelations in his book which because of a conflict of interest render him incapable of making fair judgments on certain subjects. These subjects are whether the U.S. Military-intelligence power killed JFK and whether such a killing has any political significance. For this purpose the following remarks of Professor Chomsky deserve our attention:
David Barsamian: That research you were doing in the1950s and 1960s, was any of it federally funded?
Professor Chomsky: Oh, yeah. Not only was it federally funded, it was militarily funded. In fact, whether anything is militarily-funded or not is pretty much a bookkeeping exercise. MIT runs primarily on soft money, not on endowments, not on tuition. How the soft money is distributed is a very mysterious matter which they don't even understand in the bookkeeping department, as I know, having once been on a committee that tried to look into it years later. In a certain sense, everything is militarily-funded, even the music department. The sense in which that's true is that if they didn't have military funding for, say, the electrical engineering department and had to go to other funds for that; that would cut off the departments like the music department. So it is primarily a bookkeeping matter. But if you look at books of mine that were written in the early 1960s, you'll notice a formal statement on the front page saying "This was funded with the support of," and then it has the three services. The reason is that the laboratory itself is funded by the three services, or was, maybe still is, for all I know.
Consider what Professor Chomsky has told us. His work was and still is funded by the Pentagon. MIT runs primarily on the Pentagon's soft money and "in a certain sense, everything is militarily-funded." "Everything" includes not only Professor Chomsky's works published through MIT, but his professional perquisites and salary received from that repository of Pentagon lucre. In short, Professor Chomsky has been and continues to be in the pay of the Pentagon.
Given the above, what weight should be given in the court of public opinion to Professor Chomsky's assessment that there is no convincing evidence that the CIA and the Pentagon killed President Kennedy? What weight should be given Professor Chomsky's oft-repeated assertion that the killing of JFK is of no historic interest nor significance?
It would appear to me that in light of Professor Chomsky's admitted economic dependence upon the Pentagon, he has no standing to dismiss as feckless the search for truth in the killing of President Kennedy. By so doing he has severely damaged his reputation. But more importantly, his failure to have the decency to remain at least silent on this subject, he has armed the assassins with the opinion of an internationally renowned truth hunter. He has contributed to their perpetuation of their on-going abusive power and done important work for the Pentagon to which he is monetarily beholden.
Howard Zinn's letter to Marty, included in the last packet, makes it pretty clear that I have not been making too much of the Chomsky correspondence. I hope everyone has noticed how much Zinn relies on Chomsky's argument that there was no policy reversal in Vietnam to conclude that the assassination is a non-issue--"a diversion from more important tasks." In fact, Zinn's opinion is an exact replica of Chomsky's.
Are we dealing here with intellectual clones? No, we are dealing with intellectual leadership. Chomsky is not called the "leading" intellectual dissident for nothing. Zinn is another one who counts, but he is willing to rest on Chomsky's argument on the withdrawal question, which is obviously crucial to his own opinion.
Marty says he doesn't think Chomsky is a "paid, conscious agent." On the other hand, he says he is being dishonest, that he is lying. How can you lie, and not be aware of it? If you lie, you are saying something that you know isn't true. How can that be "unconscious"? In other words, how can you be lying and not be a "conscious agent"?
If, on the other hand, Chomsky is his own best example (if he realized it) of a propagandized intellectual, i.e., an "unconscious agent," he has no reason to lie. Once the consent has been manufactured in the victim's brain, he merely has to say what he honestly thinks. This is the message of Chomsky's own book, Manufacturing Consent, it was my point to Chomsky about Schlesinger, and it was also my first conclusion about Chomsky himself, as expressed in my last letter to the great man. Since then I have come to a different conclusion, and it all turns on this question of lying or not, dishonest or not. Lying is not manufactured consent. It is conscious, willful complicity.
As for "paid" or "unpaid," it is clear that there are many ways to reward people other than with a paycheck. People like money, but they also like to feel important and powerful, and righteous. They will lie like rugs if they think they are doing "the right thing."
What is Chomsky's motivation? I still respect the man too much to believe he would lie without a damned good reason. This leads to an uncomfortable paradox: If the reason is good enough for Chomsky et al., it would probably be good enough for me. This means that if I knew the reason they were lying, I would have to lie, too. My search for the truth would end in a lie. I would become part of the Big Lie. Is this is what I want? Why am I racing down this dead-end street?
When you have the government and the "radical leftist dissidents" saying exactly the same thing about an issue as important as this, you have an all-out propaganda campaign.
Thus we in this group are at the cutting edge. We are close to the very face of Big Brother. How does BB get to Chomsky's ilk? None of the explanations I have heard or proposed myself, from physical threats to Martians in the White House, is convincing.
John Thomas says Vince suspected that Roosevelt knew about Pearl Harbor beforehand--in the 8th grade! I would like to hear more about that.
It occurs to me that Chomsky's and Parenti's responses to my letter to Newman were identical. They supposedly disagree about the assassination (and the withdrawal policy reversal?), but something in my challenge to Newman stirred both Chomsky and Parenti to do two things:
1) ignore the substantive issues
2) leap to counterattack with the poor argument that my suspicions of Newman were no more justified than the same suspicions one might have of me
Was I a career military intelligence officer who woke up one day and decided to lead the fight against the government to disclose the truth about the JFK assassination? What have I ever done, said or written that would justify questions similar to those I asked Newman? But if asked, I would answer--and that's a big difference.
Thus Chomsky and Parenti are both ready to fling a totally unjustified counteraccusation at me, although my questions to Newman, though challenging, were not accusatory. They were as reasonably and respectfully formulated as I could make them. Reading Chomsky and Parenti, one would think I had thrown an equally baseless and unsupported accusation at Newman, but I had done nothing of the kind. This will be apparent to anyone who reads the letters.
Why did Chomsky and Parenti both act as if I had kicked Newman in the balls when he wasn't looking? Why hasn't Parenti taken advantage of the opportunity to participate in the correspondence, since Vince has been sending him the packets? Doesn't he recognize that he is among friends? Doesn't he like us? Maybe that's what it boils down to: who you like. Parenti "met Newman in Washington and liked him very much." Chomsky "liked" John Deutch.
I like the Calabrian's style. Who the fuck's side are you on, anyway, Chomsky? The question is perfectly appropriate. We are angry with Chomsky, and we have a right to be. We want to make him talk, and show his colors, one way or the other. This is the most honorable way to behave when you suspect betrayal. You confront the person directly, openly, with your suspicions, and ask for an explanation. That is what I did with Newman, but I didn't quite get to that point with Chomsky. Vince is taking the next step.
Vince wrote on Oct. 8, 1996 to Canadian reporter Joe Martines:
The weekend of the assassination, I discussed the matter with my then brother-in-law, Harold Feldman. We thought that Lee Harvey Oswald had the appearance of a United States government agent. We decided to keep our minds open about whether he was a patsy or one of more assassins. However, we agreed that if that weekend, a Jew came on the scene and killed Oswald, then we would have to look to a high level government Anglo-Saxon government conspiracy of a military-intelligence nature.
When on Sunday, November 25, 1963, Jack Ruby appeared on my television screen and shot Oswald, I remember muttering 'There's the Jew.'
Now, why a Jew? Well, at that time there was a substantial contingent of intelligent, radical, honest Jewish intellectuals who could be expected to be highly critical of a military-intelligence killing of the President. The choice of Oswald's assassin as a Jew demonstrated to me a need to intimdate the left wing of American politics.
Of course, when a clever and dishonest lawyer was needed by the government to weave three bullets into many wounds of three men, President Kennedy, Governor Connolly and a bystander, James T. Tague, the U.S. government chose another Jew, Arlen Specter, to accomplish that impossible task. This choice again demonstrated the government's need to intimidate the same independent thinkers into staying clear of the assassination inquiry. I could have no doubts after his unbelievable conclusions that the assassination of President Kennedy was the work of the highest elements of the U.S. military-intelligence power...
The assassination of President Kennedy was a message from the national-security state by the action of its executive arm, the military-intelligence forces, to the civilian part of the American governmental structure, to the American people and to the peoples of the earth that U.S. military power was autonomous, no longer constitutionally constrained and knew no limitations in its killing of those who sought to restrain it.
The only hint of a "Jewish" factor in the assassination I have heard of before this came from a source I don't trust. One of The Spotlight's reporters, Michael Piper, wrote a book called The Last Judgment, in which he fingers the Mossad, in cahoots with the CIA, the motive being JFK's unsympathetic policies towards Israel and specifically towards their secret atomic bomb program.
I do not take this theory very seriously, since I am convinced that every intelligence agency on the face of the earth is in cahoots with the CIA. But surely it is the CIA that is running the show, not the Mossad.
You are going in the opposite direction, Vince, but the argument is not clear. Why would the involvement of Jews and Italians in the assassination and cover-up intimidate other Jews and Italians? Did the fact that Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky (a key figure in Piper's theory) were Jews cause other Jews to ignore, trivialize, or lying about the Jewish Mafia? If Chomsky and Mailer and I. F. Stone are so intimidated by the complicity of Jews like Ruby and Specter, how does this explain the identical ostrichlike positions of Cockburn and Augstein, who are not Jews?
Re TWA 800 and the friendly fire theory, I tend to believe it. There is the eyewitness testimony Vince mentioned, and when do they otherwise disregard eyewitness testimony, except in the shooting of presidents? Then there is the common sense that with the technology available today, they could not recover 95% of the aircraft without being able to say whether it was hit by a missile. They must know.
But Pierre Salinger is not the right man to lead this battle. How can he be trusted, when his message to the world about the assassination was:
In the United States, most Americans at first believed the Warren commission's finding that President Kennedy had been killed by a madman, Lee Harvey Oswald, working alone. But over the years, and with the plot mentality that grew out of the Watergate affair and the congressional investigations of the CIA in the 1970s, some Americans moved to the European view--yes, there was a conspiracy [review of Turner film, IHT, Nov. 2, 1988].
Salinger must know that polls have consistently shown that most Americans believe it was a conspiracy.
No one can argue that the Warren report left many questions unanswered. But the British documentary went further, saying that Lee Harvey Oswald had nothing to do with the Kennedy assassination, though the young man's role was reconfirmed by the findings of an in-depth congressional investigation in the 1970s.
If he saw the film, he knows it does not say Oswald had "nothing to do with the assassination." It says he was what he said he was: a patsy. Salinger must also have known that the "in-depth congressional investigation" was simply an extension of the cover-up, even before Gaeton Fonzi's book.
That there might have been a killer on the grassy knoll...remains open to question, as the congressional committee indicated in the 70s. This has not, however, been proven, and it certainly is not proven by the shadowy [Moorman] Polaroid.
The only thing this opens to question is Salinger himself. As if the Moorman photo was the only evidence.
We now know that two of them [the suspected Corsican assassins] were nowhere near the scene of the crime. One was aboard a French minesweeper in the harbor of Toulon (as verified by the Defense Ministry in Paris). The second was in prison in Marseille (as the Justice Ministry confirmed). The third man, a French newspaper has established, was on sick leave from his job in Marseille as a docker, having lost an eye. Is it possible to believe that such a man was recruited to kill the American president?
Can Salinger have such a naive faith in government agencies and newspaper reporters, in a case where the government itself stands accused?
Salinger has "no doubt that 100 years from now investigators will still be trying to determine who killed John Kennedy." Why does he have no doubt? This is unsettling--in the same way that it was unsettling when Ted Kennedy said after the Stone film, "I think you'll find, in the end, that the Warren Commission was the most responsible party." What did he mean by "responsible"? He didn't say, "This is what I think..." He said, "This is what I think you will find out." In other words, he knows something, or is convinced he does. What makes them so certain?
In a recent issue of the Covert Action Quarterly (formerly Covert Action Information Bulletin), a magazine that up to now I have thought very highly of, David Gilbert, a prison inmate, attempts to debunk various conspiracy theories of AIDS. This is so badly done that it has shaken my faith in the integrity of the magazine.
It was Noam Chomsky, in his first letter to me, who introduced me to this magazine.
Leonard Horowitz's well-researched book Emerging Viruses is not mentioned at all by Gilbert, but in the next issue, a letter to the editor refers to Horowitz in passing as a "possibly LaRouche-affiliated dentist." Is this argumentation?
Another letter-writer, Nathaniel Lederer, reminds readers that he "demolished the Segal hypothesis of a synthetically created AIDS virus" in that very same magazine (CAIB) in 1987. He did nothing of the kind.
CAQ/CAIB has always steered clear of the assassinations, and now it seems they are determined to treat conspiracy theories of AIDS as a non-issue, too.
Is this Chomsky's influence?
Ellen Ray and Bill Schaap, the publishers, are tight with Chomsky. But where are the Ellen Ray and Bill Schaap who published Garrison and took the Stone film seriously (in the now defunct Lies of Our Times), for which Alexander Cockburn viciously and unfairly attacked them in The Nation?
I wrote to Chomsky first about AIDS, not JFK. What was his reaction? At first, he said the "new and surprising" information I had sent him on the Segal theory, and the MacArthur testimony of 1969, "sends a chill up the spine." It was all new to him, apparently. Then he dropped the whole thing like a hot potato, from one letter to the next. Then it was just "No opinion," "Not my field," over and out. What happened?
In hindsight, the parallels with the JFK act are clear. Chomsky was interested in the information that Ray Marcus brought him in 1969. Then he dropped it, just as abruptly as he did the AIDS thing. How does one lose interest in something so important, so quickly and completely? How can some "new and surprising" information send "a chill up the spine" one minute, and be dismissed as "out of one's field" the next?
"Well, now," Prof. Zinn might say, "he's protecting the Movement."
"But Prof. Zinn," a recalcitrant student, Unsinn, might protest, "there is no Movement."
"No reason to distract the few activists that are left from more important issues," says Zinn.
"Like what?" queries Unsinn rudely. "What could be more important than understanding the nature of the state we live in? Either it was a coup d'état or it wasn't. You don't think that question is important?"
There is no reply. Prof. Zinn has no more time to waste on Unsinn. He has lectures to prepare and articles and books to write. He is a busy man.
Some more notes on the CAQ-Chomsky crowd: Michael Piper says that Ray and Schaap, Garrison's publishers, have among their financial backers the Stern Family Fund, a "foundation established by Clay Shaw's friends." Piper sees a connection between Stern, the Mossad, and Shaw through Permindex. What is one to make of this?
A couple of years ago I spent a couple of evenings with Phillip Agee, who founded the predecessor of CAIB/CAQ, and his wife Giselle in Hamburg, where they live. Agee agrees Dallas was a plot, perhaps of renegade CIA operatives, but he does not see a larger conspiracy. He is a big fan of Chomsky.
Bill Vornberger, a former editor at CAIB, wrote to me on Oct. 25, 1989, saying much the same thing:
Thank you for your letter of September 23 and for your review of "The Men Who Killed Kennedy." Like you, we are very much aware of the fact that Kennedy was killed by members of a conspiracy. In fact, it is our opinion that these men were current or former employees of the CIA.
This is Stage 3 of the cover-up (rogue elephant/renegade agents), and puts the editors of CAIB/CAQ squarely in the camp of John Newman. This does not look good.
Chomsky, Cockburn, Mailer, Augstein, etc. are still at Stage 1 (Oswald did it)--that is, in terms of their publicly expressed positions. Stage 2 (the Mafia did it) never seems to have gotten off the ground, despite the efforts of Robert Blakey, David Scheim, etc. Stage 3 is the last stage before the truth (coup d'état), so the strategy is naturally to hold on as long as possible.
Perhaps the fact that this is merely a holding (stonewalling) operation explains why Chomsky (and Zinn) find it so uninteresting and unimportant. This also fits with Vince's theory that Chomsky was assigned to hold the line on the crucial issue of Vietnam withdrawal (but not only with me). My overall impression of the letters is that they show someone honing his own position, or practicing, as with a sparring partner, rather than someone who wants to exchange ideas, to understand his interlocutor and help his interlocutor understand him. No wonder he was bored.
My pro bono efforts for the dying School District of Philadelphia have kept me horribly busy. I sense that the District's work is important as a rear guard action to delay slightly the power structure's dismantling of the public educational systems in the large urban areas. We apparently have no need for the public school city students in the cybernetic world, and these children of poverty are not going to be armed as I was with a solid public school education.
Feb. 13, I thank Morrissey for his Chomsky letters. I don't think that there can be much doubt that in this exchange Morrissey triumphed over Chomsky. The brilliant Professor Chomsky would never stoop to the lowly and simple but crushingly definitive tasks of: examining holes in Kennedy's garments, determining why autopsy notes are burned, a brain disappears, a hit from the rear causes a body to be ripped leftward and backward, ascertaining why our government before it has any evidence rushes to foreclose any option other than LHO as the lone assassin, determining why the Zapruder film was not immediately shown to the whole world, taking note of how the government ignores the many eyewitnesses who report shots from other than the rear, explaining why x-rays are kept from the "investigating" commission, determining why governmental autopsy exhibits clash with one another and with the holes in the garments, figuring out why Connally's clothing is dry-cleaned and pressed, fathoming why CE 399 is essentially undiminished in weight and shape and bears no evidence of tissue, blood or fabric weave, giving meaning to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court being treated worse than the lowliest shyster and is instructed to conclude prior to the investigation that he is to conclude that one man killed the President, etc. etc. Professor Chomsky's fine mind is above undertaking such pedestrian no-brainer tasks.
John Cocco and Ralph Brown send us Internet material on the TWA shoot down. Is there any member of our group that does not now know that our navy shot down that plane?
Returning to the question of the state of the Rechtsstaat in America, I did not follow the O.J. trial closely, but I agree that it looks like he did it. The problem I have is how this circus of a trial has been treated by the media. We know that the (mainstream) media and the government are for all intents and purposes the same thing, and we have to ask ourselves why it happened, that is, was allowed to happen. Why was this circus not only tolerated but jammed down our throats? It is obviously not in the interest of a healthy, honest government to allow its legal system to be exposed as corrupt and unworkable, and certainly this could have been prevented. Is Judge Ito more powerful than the US government? It was clearly in the interest of Big Brother to let it happen, just as it must in his interest to allow Jay Leno (etc.) to tell tens of millions of people every night that all lawyers are shysters, that O.J. is guilty, and that our legal system is shot to hell. Why this message, consistently, and not any number of other "funnier" ones? It is inconceivable that NBC et al. would put out a message as consistent and obvious as this without a reason.
The reason, as I see it, is to prepare the American people for the coming top-down "revolution": it's a mess anyway, so we won't be losing anything when the changes come and hopefully won't protest too much. It is mind conditioning for the New World Order, the final form of which we haven't seen yet by a long shot.
This should not sound paranoid to anyone who has witnessed the events of the last decade. Who would have predicted the fall of communism and the Soviet Union? The United States has already fallen. It fell on Nov. 22, 1963 at the latest, and probably before that, as your analogy of the Warren Commission with the Roberts Commission shows.
You have known this for a long time, Vince. You have been a "nut" since the eighth grade. That is amazing. I didn't become a nut until I was 42. I am already showing signs of burning out, but you've been in the ring (the nuts vs. the rest of the world) for more than 50 years, and still going strong. And you call me your leader? Maybe we all lead each other, to some extent, but you are nuttier than any of the rest of us and have been for a long time, so there can be no question who the real leader is.
Herewith Lawrence Durrell on yoga, but to me it describes "leadership" in the best sense:
Then meditation, like crossing the dark garden of consciousness shielding a lighted candle which the least puff of wind might extinguish. You protect this small precarious flame, treasuring it in the palm of the hand. So very gradually your meditation affirms and strengthens the flame and you can cross the dark garden with it triumphantly erect... (Quince, p. 19)
I like this image. The "leader" as candle-holder. For example, I repeat here what you have written about the cover-up strategy because it is cutting edge.
In short, Oswald represented a possible connection to any aspect of the U.S. political spectrum. So this sheep-dipping (Garrison's phrase) connection with all aspects of the U.S. political scene served to make the subject of investigating the assassination a quicksand for any political group. The intelligence community was in a position to provide data which would implicate any political group in the killing.
At the time of the killing of JFK the left in the U.S. was heavily Jewish. The killing of JFK was a foreign-policy killing. The killing was designed to allow the Cold War to continue unabated. It was necessary to paralyze the left into inaction. The picking of Oswald as the assassin with connections leading ostensibly to the left helped to serve this function. Choosing Ruby and Specter for their roles was a way of pointing away from the WASP perpetrators of the killing and giving the assassination an ethnic twist. Later this would be reinforced by throwing in the Mafia as possible candidates for the killing. Ruby and Specter were the Jewish markers of the cover up which would tend to discourage Jewish leftists from delving into the assassination which through Ruby and Specter had its Jewish connection.
Complete political paralysis was also reinforced when the Warren Commission gave the left the carrot of no conspiracy and therefore no pogrom of the left. At the same time the Warren Commission shoveled tons of data indicating conspiracy. So you have Orwellian paralysis being offered to the public of believing two opposite propositions to be true and to be believed. The government concluded one person killed JFK, and that there was no conspiracy. The government concluded this sole-assassin proposition in the face of a vast pile of conspiracy evidence. This is a prime example of classical Orwellian doublethink.
The left got the idea immediately. Either buy the Oswald myth or a pogrom against the left would follow. Either accept this political untruth or accept political doom. Was it not better, more politically responsible, not to know the truth and to be able to continue to be politically effective? After all, history will record that the nuts who pursued the truth got nowhere.
The nuts who knew that Pearl Harbor was a set-up and who would have sought to pursue this truth during World War II would have been imprisoned and would have hindered the American war effort in a good war. They would have aided Hitler. If the Japanese relocation camps during World War II were called what they were, the first racial concentration camps in this country, the people calling them such would have been imprisoned for hindering the war effort.
So too, the nuts who announced in the heat of the Cold War that the center of American power was behind the Kennedy assassination were striking a blow against open societies and were inviting our military-intelligence network to suspend the Constitution. If these nuts had their way, they would have been instrumental not only in the destruction of the American left, but they would have shredded the Constitution. If these nuts had their way, Castro's Cuba would have been invaded. If these nuts had their way the Soviets might have reacted to the invasion of Cuba with a hydrogen bomb response, and the very existence of the planet as viable living space would have been jeopardized.
As far as I'm concerned, this is a state-of-the-art description of the political reality we are all trying to get a bead on. What else could possibly be going on in the heads of Chomsky et al. They are not stupid, they are not ignorant, they are not naive. They must think they are serving a higher purpose. Either that or someone has slipped a million dollars into their bank accounts, or threatened to break their kneecaps--neither of which I think are likely. But a higher purpose, yes. A purpose higher than the right of the individual to understand the world he lives in (although I thought this was one of the things Chomsky believed in), the purpose of avoiding chaos and disaster, yes, that is conceivable. We have to dress it up a bit to fit the Chomsky paradigm, but it boils down to the same old refrain: National Security.
It's still hard to swallow the notion that Chomsky is one of the enemy, but recently I have begun to think of my problem with him in analogy with the way I once felt about McGeorge Bundy. In both cases, the question was, "How can he be so stupid?"--in Bundy's case, as to think the Vietnam War was necessary, and in Chomsky's case, as to think the assassination had no significance and that there was no withdrawal policy reversal. The answer, in both cases, was that he cannot be. The result, also in both cases, was an on-going conundrum.
The solution to the conundrum is not rational but emotional. It is a matter of deciding whether someone is your friend or your enemy. What decides that? I don't know. At some point it happens, after you get to know people a while. Chomsky likes John Deutch. Parenti likes Newman. I did not like McGeorge Bundy, but I respected him, because everybody else seemed to respect him, and more importantly, I considered him to be on "our side." As soon as that illusion broke, there was no more conundrum. He wasn't stupid. He was lying. That was the end of my problem with Bundy. I know longer cared what made him tick, no matter how brilliant he was or people said he was, any more than I cared what made Goebbels tick.
I confess that I am not quite there yet with Chomsky. I guess what holds me back is all that stuff he wrote that I agree with. It is hard to see him as a liar, as the last bastion of the National Security State which he otherwise pretends to join us in condemning. But what is the alternative? It is the same as it was with Bundy. We are convinced that he is lying. You and the others have confirmed this, so at least I know I wasn't imagining things. We have seen a Noam Chomsky that one does not see in his published writings. That's why he screamed bloody murder when I "published" one of his letters, and would scream even louder if he knew I had shown them all to you. What else can the lying mean? I keep asking myself that question, and there is only one answer that makes sense. He is the enemy, just as McGeorge Bundy was the enemy, and for the same reason.
It's all quite dizzying. The circle keeps getting smaller. First, Bundy et al., our own government, become the enemy, and then Chomsky et al., who are supposedly Bundy's enemies and thus our friends. Are they the same enemy? Who are our friends now?
I am not as sure as you are that there is no mole among us. It is in Big Brother's interest to keep track of us, precisely because we are cutting edge. We are the candles in the garden, and there are damned few. Either we are all really nuts, or Big Brother is a reality. Dallas tells us Big Brother is real. Chomsky says Dallas tells us nothing--and that is how we know he is lying. Given that BB is real, then, it is only logical that he would like to see where our thinking leads us. Of course he must make sure none of our little candles become beacons. But it also behooves him to keep track of us us in order to learn what to expect from others, later, when others hit Ground Zero. How can the people down here be best controlled?
Thus, I hope, BB is disinclined to shoot us or otherwise shut us up. We are not dangerous. John Thomas's and my idea of reaching out to the Vietnam vets through COPA is probably as close to dangerous as we have become.
If we have a mole amongst our 20 correspondents, I suspect it is a quiet one who just passes our stuff on to higher-ups. I wouldn't be surprised if Chomsky gets his copy of your mailings the day after the rest of us do. There's nothing we can do about that, if it is true, and I agree with you that we shouldn't let it bother us. Let them listen. Maybe they'll learn something. Maybe we can plant a seed of doubt this way in the ranks of the True Believers.
On the other hand, maybe we'll only help them refine the cover-up to such a degree of sophistication that even we, or people like us (there being a few nuts in every generation), will fall for it, there will be no more candles in the garden, and the National Security State will be complete. We will be able to build pyramids again!
I don't want that to happen, but the only way I know to prevent it is to continue doing what we're doing. I'm not going to get paranoid about moles. But we cannot live here, at Ground Zero, and not know they are around, and that they can turn up in the most unpredictable places. The only thing we can do is talk. We cannot look behind each other's backs and see who has his fingers crossed. Talk is all we've got. A certain amount of mutual suspicion is bound to come up, and I fully agree that we should deal with it forthrightly whenever it does, and try to fight like gentlemen. When we stop doing that, it's war.
Now I want to address Fletch Prouty.
I'll get right to the point. My enthusiasm for Marty's book has been considerably dampened by the realization that he has done you a serious injustice. I have told him so, and explained why. There was no reason at all to pick you to represent the "warmongers did it" theory (although that in itself would be a honor, not slander). He could just as well have picked Garrison or Stone--or me, for that matter. But of course it was much worse to choose Newman for the honor, and then pair you with him as suspected spooks.
You have been hurt, unfairly, and I think Marty owes you either an explanation or an apology, or both. I hope he corrects the situation in a second edition. He got everything about Vietnam wrong. He misunderstood what I was saying about the "false debate" between Newman and Chomsky (nothing to do with you) and then, for reasons known only (or not) to himself, chose Newman and you as protagonists in his own theory of the "false debate," which is in fact the opposite of mine and not only wrong but just what the enemy wants to hear. Marty, who talks about "unconscious agents," has played right into their hands: Sure, discussion of the relation of the war and the assassination is just a "distraction"; let's forget it. The CIA will be very pleased with this help from Marty. Chomsky will be glad too, since that is also his message: Forget about any connection between Vietnam and the assassination. That is exactly what Marty is saying, when he says all discussion of that connection is nothing but a "distraction."
Marty's antipathy may be based simply on the fact that you used to wear a uniform, like Newman. This is like a racial stereotype. He reacts with fear and loathing not to what you say but to the color of your skin--that is, your uniform. He refuses to see that your opus, though not condemnatory of the military, condemns the intelligence apparatus that controls the military (and the US and the world, as the subtitle of your first book says) in the strongest terms.
Newman does the opposite. He blames the military (in the Vietnam book). In his Oswald book--though I have not been able to force myself to read much of it--he blames CIA "renegades," not the CIA as an institution. That is exactly what he said he was going to do at that first COPA conference. He predicted, with no justification or explanation at all, that the institution was clean but that certain individuals within it may be guilty. How could he predict that? How could he have any idea?
So we have, on the one hand, a military man blaming intelligence, and on the other hand, a clearly military intelligence man from NSA blaming the military. One of you has it ass-backwards.
There is another significant difference between you and Newman. You are talking to us. Even to Marty. Newman isn't talking, at least not to us. I am surprised that Marty, as a psychiatrist, fails to appreciate this difference.
I support and encourage you in fighting Marty's accusations. I feel somewhat responsible, since I got you into the group, but I am not the only friend you have here. In fact, I think everybody (that we have heard from, anyway) except Marty considers you a friend. You have defended yourself admirably, and if I may return the compliment, in a truly gentlemanly manner. The shoe is now on Marty's foot. Let's see what he does with it. It is very wise and generous of you to see that this kind of confrontation, as long as people remain civil, as Vince wisely implores us to do, can be healthy and a stimulus for growth.
Marty is not incapable of admitting he is wrong. He demonstrated this to me when he admitted not understanding my quarrel with Chomsky until he read my letter (about the book). I'm still not sure if he understands or agrees with me about the "false debate," but he is not immovable. He can change his mind--which is more than you can say of most people.
Another thing he should change in a second edition is the reference to me as living in Germany "since the Vietnam War." This makes me sound almost heroic, but the truth is that I came here for the job. It had nothing to do with the war.
I still think the book is on the whole a valuable contribution, but seeing how you have been misrepresented and hurt by it, plus the fact that he screwed up the whole Vietnam and "false debate" thing, I hope a revision is not long in coming.
I hope you don't let this rift with Marty drive you away. Looking at the broad range of scandals, outrages, and history-twisting conspiracies in the issue of Prevailing Winds you sent, I am impressed again with the uniqueness of the Salandria correspondence. We are having the conversation that people will have after they have read and reacted to and digested all those books and no longer need to be convinced how bad things are. I mean, how many outrages do you need to roil around in before you realize they are endless? I don't want to make a career of following them. I don't want to spend my time trying to keep track of the shenanigans of sundry thugs and liars. I'm glad some people do, since otherwise we wouldn't know anything at all, but I am interested in the next step, whatever that may be.
That is what we are about, I feel. Vince calls it the macroanalysis; I call it Ground Zero. Where it may lead I don't know. That's part of it. In any case, I don't know of any other place, even on the Internet, where such a conversation is taking place. I think it is important to continue this conversation, and I like having you in it, so please stay with us.
You say there are a couple of things that you and I have disagreed on. That's true. You did not respond to some questions I put to you a few letters back, and I dropped it because I did not want to badger a man who has just had his 80th birthday, and whom I consider a friend, even though what you seemed to be saying then contradicted everything else you had previously said and written.
I am referring to your statement that "the CIA didn't do it," that they were (are) just the "hangmen." I reminded you of the subtitle of your first book, and you said that was the publisher's suggestion. I was and remain astonished that a man who has said so much to condemn the CIA now seems to be exonerating them, or at least diverting attention away from them and into the much more nebulous direction of the "High Cabal."
If all you meant was that the "High Cabal" gives the orders, you don't have to say it at all, because it is in the name itself: the CIA is obviously the agent of the secret powers-that-be, and since it is equally obviously their job to maintain the complete anonymity of their masters, we will never know who or what the High Cabal is until we get rid of the CIA--"and it's allies," as you put it. But by shifting the emphasis from the tangible, identifiable enemy to a totally unknown and unknowable "higher" enemy, you invite suspicion.
The article about Richard Nuccio in the current Nation (5/19/97), amazingly enough when you stop to think about it, confirms almost routinely the central truth that the CIA controls the government. They control the president, the State Department, and the congressional "oversight" committees.
The CIA did do it. They shot JFK because he was standing in the way of the war they had undertaken to suck him (and us) into for the financial benefit of the people they work for, who are obviously not the president. You say they didn't do it because they were only following orders, but you must know as well as I do that no one will ever know or have any proof of who gave the orders as long as the CIA exists. Your point about the High Cabal is totally vacuous. It leads nowhere, and is easily misunderstood.
As several people have said, we have plenty of evidence of conspiracy at Dealey Plaza, but the shirt and jacket evidence suffices to prove it. There is also plenty of evidence that the CIA was centrally involved in all phases of the operation--planning, execution, and cover-up. But one piece of evidence may suffice here, too.
Who could have given the order to stand down to the military unit that was supposed to protect the president in Dallas? I have never gotten an answer to that question, but I am beginning to think it's because the answer is too obvious. What's this big thing sticking out of the middle of my face?
You should be able to answer this question, and I don't understand why you haven't. I am not an expert, but it is clear to me that this order could only have come from the president himself or the CIA. Not the Secret Service, not the FBI, or any other military or civilian unit outside the chain of command. The CIA has responsibility for national security, and that is the only thing that can override the chain of command. Could this order have come down the chain of command? I don't think so. You should know. If it was a military order it would be traceable. Now, who does a military officer obey, outside the chain of command? Politicans? No. Business moguls? No. The FBI? No. The Secret Service? No. Other military units (outside their own chain of command)? Certainly not.
You should have had experience with this as a military man involved in intelligence work. What could have caused you to obey an order that did not come from your commanding officer? Who would have had this power over you? And of course over your commanding officer, since his duty would then have been to remain passive in the face of the overriding power. The president would have this power (theoretically), and the CIA (realistically). Nobody else. It would have to be a certain level of the CIA, too, and you would have to be 100% convinced that it was the Agency as an institution, functioning normally, and not some freak operation by "renegades."
As fate sometimes has it, right in the middle of writing this I happened to read two articles on the same page in the Herald Tribune (5/14/97, p. 3), both originally from the Washington Post), that are apropos. One of them tells us how the executive editor of the San Jose Mercury News, which published the articles accusing the CIA of indirectly selling crack cocaine in Los Angeles via its agents, the Nicaraguan contras, now says the articles were "oversimplified." This is another clear demonstration of who is in charge. Who would have the power to pressure this guy into making such an obviously forced about-face? The only agency I know of that has this kind of absolute power is the CIA. There is no point whatever in saying they are only following orders. They have the power.
The second article reports on Rep. Skaggs' attempts to get information from the CIA, and the anonymous Post author volunteers:
In the federal government, there is perhaps nothing so wonderfully Byzantine as a secret. You literally don't know what you don't know. And if you did know what you don't know, you still couldn't know it. That's called the need to know, and unless you have it, you may never know.
This tells us a second important truth--that our chances of penetrating this Byzantine shield and seeing what's behind it are very slim, as long as it exists. That is why it exists. It is a shield. If we want to see the face of the High Cabal, the shield must go. There is no point in speculating about what is behind the shield as long as the shield is in place.
So much for the High Cabal. I feel the same way about Don Gibson's efforts to discover who was "behind" the Warren Commission. Johnson appointed them, and they did the damage. There's that nose on our face again. Who controlled LBJ? After Dallas, no intelligent person should have any doubt about that.
The CIA is like a man that walks up to you and kicks you in the balls. You wonder why. You wonder if someone ordered him to, and if so, who and why. Wonder, wonder, wonder. This is all well and good, except that this big guy is still there, kicking away. What the kickee should be thinking most about is how to kick back, and kick the shit out of this fellow, because that is the only way to stop the kicking, and the only way to stop the wondering. The kicker will never let us find out who or what makes him kick, unless we beat him. That is the law of the jungle. I may be an academic but I am not too stupid to understand that.
Another thing I asked you about was your source for claiming that the OAS was ready to send troops to defend the invading Cubans at the Bay of Pigs. You also believe, I think, that the invasion would have succeeded if all Castro's planes had been destroyed, that is, if Bundy hadn't cancelled the air strikes.
I think you are absolutely wrong about this, and again it sounds--incredibly, coming from you--like a defense of the CIA. First of all, Bundy was CIA. Do you have any doubt about that? Secondly, there is no way those men could have held out against Castro's million-man army, even if all ten of Castro's planes had been destroyed. Even if the Brigade planes had dominated the skies, it wouldn't have worked. There was no significant opposition to Castro within the country. The CIA simply lied through their teeth about that. The Cuban people would have stood virtually 100% behind Castro in his expulsion of the CIA invaders. And do you think other countries would have stood by and watched passively while CIA aircraft dropped bombs on the Cuban troops defending their own country? I suspect that if the OAS were likely to intervene at all, it would have been in that case--on Castro's behalf, not the CIA's.
I said I wouldn't badger you, but I would still appreciate a response. Your position on these matters is no longer clear to me.
Congratulations, belatedly, on your 80th.
I keep thinking of your vision of "Chumpsky" up there on the roof about to push a car off the ledge onto your singing head. This is the hatred of those who cannot or will not sing for those who can and do. It's unfortunate that he doesn't try to get out a few notes himself. But then he would be "singing" on his friends. The poor chump.
Steve includes an appendix to McNamara's In Retrospect by James Galbraith which would serve, as Steve says, as a fitting appendix to my correspondence with Chomsky as well. It confirms that JFK had decided to withdraw from Vietnam. Galbraith does not address, however, Newman's attempt to exonerate the CIA and scapegoat the military.
Of the Chomsky correspondence, Steve writes (4/11/97):
After reading that I've totally lost any respect I had left for Chomsky. He never directly addressed any of Mike's points, repeating himself time after time. He couldn't even bring himself to acknowledge the simple fact that there was a policy change after the assassination. His insistence that Kennedy kept pressing the war against the wishes of the Pentagon would be absolutely laughable if it were not so incredibly dishonest. To see the supposedly leading leftist intellectual of this country stoop to fabrication of evidence and finally sarcasm and personal ridicule is indeed astonishing. He'll go to any lengths to avoid taking the assassination seriously and is worthy, in my opinion, of our utmost contempt. If he had any integrity at all he could simply say, "Yes, it is obvious that the assassination was a high level CIA conspiracy, but I have chosen to focus my energy on fighting the CIA on other issues."
Ray Marcus writes (3/26/97):
...there is no symmetry to your [M and Chomsky's] respective positions. This is certainly not a case of honest intellectual differences between colleagues; you are clearly seeking to find and disseminate truth, and he is clearly trying to avoid and deny it. I found Chomsky's performing intellectual contortions ironically amusing--the leading intellectual of the western world has mastered the technique of protective stupidity.
I think Marty is correct in his assessment that Chomsky decided what course he was going to take on this soon after my contacts with him in 1969.
We all know the story of Ray's attempts to enlighten and engage Chomsky as well as other leading leftist intellectuals in the assassination, in the hope that they would see it as it should be seen, as part and parcel of the anti-war struggle, from Marty's book, as well as in Ray's own self-published Addendum B.
Vince writes (2/13/97):
I cannot believe that he [Chomsky] could have permitted himself to be so soundly beaten unless he was on an assignment to take you [M] on and instructed to stand and not to retreat from the assigned position.
Marty disagrees. He writes (2/14/97) that "Chomsky was not honestly discussing the issues but rather defending his ideologically driven position," which "is all determined by Chomsky's institutional alliances":
Bottom line for all these academics is to protect the integrity of the institutions which are feeding them. And since these institutions have no integrity in regard to a momentous political crime, these guys must lie about it. It is as simple as that, and you will never ever get anywhere with them.
But Marty pulls his punch:
Incidentally, I don't not accept Vince's idea that Chomsky is a paid conscious CIA agent, because I think it is unnecessary to the explanation of his actions and makes what Chomsky is doing less significant by separating it from academia's response in general. Chomsky is no different from any of them. He is just a little more out in the open on this issue, because he prides himself in being the radical opponent of the liberals and has taken it upon himself to tackle the so-called JFK "hagiographers."
For Marty, in short, Chomsky is a liar, but no different from other academics in ignoring the significance of the assassination. They are not lying to protect the CIA, but to protect their institutions.
Whoa. Just a minute here. Couple of things.
First of all, Chomsky is obviously not like most other academics, and he most certainly would not lie to protect MIT, academia in general (which he constantly attacks himself), or whatever it is Marty thinks is at stake here.
Secondly, there IS nothing at stake. Marty says that since their "institutions have no integrity in regard to a momentous political crime, these guys must lie about it." This is not logical. Educational institutions are not supposed to take political positions, and don't, even when they should. But that doesn't mean the people who work in the institution "must lie about it." About what?
Marty's reason for claiming Chomsky's lying is "typical," and thus not significant, is that "institutions have no integrity." This is not a reason. It makes no sense. Why is Marty trying so hard not to attach any special significance to Chomsky's lying? For me, this is as important as the assassination itself--or even more so, in terms of how it has affected my view of the world.
First Marty says that discussion of the war is insignificant, as far as the assassination is concerned (his "false debate"), and now he says that Chomsky's lying about precisely this issue is also insignificant. Chomsky says the war had nothing to do with the assassination. Schotz says the war was only one of many factors in the assassination, and talking about it is counterproductive--a "diversion." Correct?
They are saying the same thing. Marty and Chomsky (and Gibson) are saying the same thing: "Forget the war--that is, forget the connection between the assassination and the war."
I have a hard time swallowing this. My main point of disagreement with Marty is also the main (and only) point of disagreement with Chomsky. This point Marty describes as a "diversion," but everyone so far who has read the Chomsky-Morrissey correspondence agrees that the leading intellectual dissident in the country and perhaps in the Western world, a highly respected scholar and acknowledged genius, is a liar. This point is the main message of the Stone film, unquestionably the most important message for anybody who lived through the Vietnam trauma, and the one issue that could still get people out on the streets if the truth were known? The (to me) astonishing discovery of Chomsky's dishonesty--an unprecedented and discovery unless Chomsky has been shown to have lied about other things--occurred in the course of a discussion of this particular issue.
Vietnam is the common denominator here. Maybe Marty is just making a stupid mistake, which coincidentally turns out to be the same stupid mistake that Chomsky made, namely, failing to see the importance of the war to the assassination (and vice versa). It is just plain stupid to try to downplay the importance of an issue that directly involves the death and suffering of millions of people. It is just plain stupid to say that Noam Chomsky is a liar, and then say it doesn't matter because all academics lie.
Herewith an imagined dialogue:
"The warmongers did it," say Thomas, Prouty, Garrison, Stone (and Salandria?), and I.
"No, they didn't," says Chomsky.
"Well, they might have had something to do with it," says Gibson, but that wasn't the only or most important reason. No reason to get particularly excited about it."
"Absolutely right," agrees Schotz. "And furthermore, anybody who talks about Vietnam in relation to the assassination is actually participating in a false debate, in order to divert our attention away from the real significance of the assassination."
"What might that be?" I ask. "What is more significant than a ten-year war that cost (that is, earned for the warmongers) $570 billion and killed at least two million people?"
"Think about Cuba," says Schotz. "Think about McCloy-Zorin. Think about the Cold War."
"No," says Gibson, "think about how wonderful all of JFK's policies were, and what a wonderful world they would have created."
"But Vietnam is important for Chomsky," I protest. "His first book about the assassination is also about the war. That shows how important the connection of these two subjects is."
"No, it shows just the opposite," replies Schotz. "It's part of the diversion. Chomsky's part of it, Newman's part of it, Prouty's part of it, and you'll be part of it, too, if you keep talking about it. It's what they want us to think is important, but it isn't."
"But what about the fact that Chomsky lied?" I say. "As far as I know that's the first time ever. Why on this issue? Isn't that significant?"
"No," says Schotz. "All academics lie, in order to protect their institutional alliances."
"You think Chomsky would lie to protect MIT?" I ask. "From what? I think the fact that Chomsky is lying on this particular subject is very significant. He is not at all like most academics, and most academics are not liars. If the correspondence proves he is a liar, as you say it does, who else can you say this about? How many other scholars of his reputation can be exposed as liars? Can you show me any set of documents comparable to these letters that warrant a similar conclusion about anyone of Chomsky's stature and importance? I don't think so. Yet you say his lying is not significant because all academics do it. This is bullshit, Marty.
"Or is it even worse? Are you a spook? Have you (and Gibson) been assigned to the Salandria group as an arrière-arrière-arrière garde to stave off that final explosive connection? What? The warmongers did it? Murdered the president and took over the government like a banana republic? Killed, maimed and poisoned our own boys in a war for their own profit and nothing more? What would be left of the country if such a notion really took hold? Is that the bottom line for you, Marty, the way it apparently is for Chomsky? Is that why you don't want us to get too excited about Vietnam and the assassination, or about Chomsky's lying about Vietnam and the assassination? Is that why you developed a theory that anybody who does get excited about Vietnam and the assassination is distracting people from more important issues, like Cuba?"
"Not just Cuba," says Marty.
"Yes, I know," says M. "Think about McCloy-Zorin. Think about the Cold War."
"You got it," says Marty.
"And a bunch of other stuff!" says Don Gibson.
"Nah," says Prof. Chumpsky. "Don't think about any of it. The assassination has no political significance. Ahem. I mean, no proven political significance. If there was a policy reversal in Vietnam, then it would be legitimate to wonder about the assassination. Then the assassination would have political significance. I mean possible political significance. But there was no policy reversal. I prove this in my book beyond the shadow of a doubt. Morrissey accuses me of citing evidence to the contrary, namely that the CIA started to reverse their assessment of the war (from positive to negative) two days after the assassination, but he is an ignoramus who doesn't understand the meaning of words. He doesn't understand the difference between a tactical adjustment, which is what happened after the assassination, and a policy change, which never occurred at all. How long did this guy say he has been living in Germany?"
Marty's not going to like this. He's going to think I am being over-zealous in defending Prouty, which is suspicious in itself. By challenging Marty, I invite a counterattack of the sort Michael Parenti fired off in response to his letter to Newman. I will become the suspected spook. That's ok. If anybody has any reasonable arguments, I will listen to them and try to answer them. Parenti never wrote back. Newman never wrote back. Chomsky degenerated into sarcasm. That's the real obstacle, where the dialogue stops, or never begins. Where there is no dialectic, there can be no growth.
Is this not the point of conversation? It is better this way, with everyone's doubts and suspicions on the table. The only way to have an open discussion is openly. The two issues I feel most strongly about are the connection between the war and the assassination, and Chomsky's lying in order to keep precisely that connection under cover. Marty opposes me on precisely these two issues.
Steve Jones tells in his letter of the antagonism he faces whenever he tries to talk sense to the vets, about the "wealthy elite power structure" and so on. I know exactly what you mean, Steve. I faced the same thing on an Internet mailing list I joined for a while called VWAR-L. I was honest, and most people were tolerant, and a few even supported me, but a larger minority (including the list owner) were rabidly hostile and drove me out after a few months. I imagine that's about the same constellation you would get anywhere. Unfortunately, the ones that support you will be reluctant to show it, because that will endanger their standing with the other vets, which is more important to them than their standing with you, even though they may agree with you.
On the whole I was quite discouraged by that experience, and it did a lot to disabuse me of a--there is no other word--romantic image of Viet vets as being all like Oliver Stone or John Thomas or Ron Kovics, underneath it all. I thought I could "save" them (and us) if I opened their eyes politically. I saw them all as the way I was, before November 25, 1988. But I was a bit naive, and much too optimistic concerning my ability to take the abuse that I opened myself up to. Jeez, what a fool! Joins a list of Vietnam veterans and takes the nickname (Draft) Dodger! If it had been a bar I'd be lucky to have gotten out alive.
I admire your courage, Steve, in walking into that hornet's nest. Maybe it's different when you can meet them face to face. In any case I'm sure it takes more guts. All I know is it didn't work in cyberspace, and I won't do it again. I'm afraid my conclusion is that any Nam vet who is still a True Believer is most likely going to remain one for the rest of his life, and maybe it is better that way. I at least do not want to be the one to take away his last illusion. Nor do I want to open myself up again to the abuse that some are always too ready to dish out to people like us, though they would never dare to raise their voices against their lord and master, the US government. (Some defended the CIA, specifically.)
Something is wrong. I keep saying Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, and other people keep saying, Forget it. Chomsky says it (I'm irrational), Marty says it (I'm "distracted"), and Don says it (I'm simplistic). What do you think? Do I belong in one of those hospitals myself? Or is it still the war, after 30 years? I think so. I should not be fighting with Marty over this. I should not have had to fight Chomsky over this. But that is what we are fighting about. It is the epicenter. First with McGeorge Bundy, then with Chomsky, and now with Marty.
Is it me, or is the war still raging? I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this, from the perspective of someone who has direct contact with many of the victims. I mean, it's not as if they were the victims of a flood, or an earthquake, is it?
April 24, Reverend Steve Jones sends us Fred H. Leeman's admission to having framed Jim Garrison for NBC. Steve also forwards a may 12, 1968 speech by Jim at George Washington University. Jim, like Fletcher, states here that he doubts that the entire CIA was involved in the assassination. Well, to the extent that this suggests a spin-off of responsibility and a designation of some power or powers lesser than the national security state and below the military industrial complex and its civilian allies as responsible for the assassination, I would respectfully but emphatically disagree with my dear departed friend Jim Garrison and my present friend, Fletcher Prouty. Now, I am not saying that a spin-off, lower-level conspiracy is the conception of Fletcher. If it is not, Fletcher, let us hear form you on this score. But I am open to accepting the work of our Professor Don Gibson to the effect that the decision to kill Kennedy emanated from a power greater than the CIA, such as the Eastern Establishment Cold War elements. Although I am open to proof that powers higher than the CIA were involved in the decision to kill Kennedy, my mind is closed to any suggestion that Kennedy's assassination involved only rogue, spin-off or aberrant elements of the U.S. power structure. I am utterly convinced that the killing of Kennedy and its cover-up were the work of the true decision-makers, governmental and civilian, of the U.S. national security state apparatus.
Steve is going to try to tackle Ruth Paine. Steve, that is a tough job. When I met with her and Michael Paine back in 1965, I strongly sensed two persons who were under tight control of the intelligence community. Michael Paine left me no doubt that he knew about me. He suggested that I should continue to work in the civil rights and civil liberties area and not waste my time on the JFK assassination. On that visit which I made with Shirley martin, Ruth apparently got to Shirley Martin, who was an early and courageous critic. Shirley turned on me as we left the Paines and showed contempt for the whole critical effort. You can depend on the fact that the U:S. National Security State chose these two critical pieces in the assassination effort with the greatest of care. If you, Steve, have any success with Ruth, it will amaze me. I do think that she is important enough, if there is an yindication of her revealing her true role, to have her killed. Because if you attach Ruth to the intelligence community then all of the Mafia and other false candidates are driven out of existence. The organization that controlled the Paines orchestrated the assassination. The Oswalds could not have gotten to the Dallas area in time for the killing of JFK without Ruth. Lee and Marina could not have been separated off during the crucial time prior to the killing of JFK without Ruth. Patsy Oswald could naver have been positioned in the Texas Book Depository in time for the killing of JFK without Ruth. The "assassin's rifle" could not have been "stored" where it could have been attributed to Lee without Ruth and her garage being handy. Oswald would never have been without a lawyer while he was in custody except for Ruth fumbling after Communist Party U.S.A. John Abt and not getting a local civil liberties lawyer to represent him. No conspiracy with Oswald as the patsy would have been possible without the employment and control of Ruth Paine by the assassins. Therefore, to identify Ruth's bosses is to identify the assassins. Steve, the government chose the Paines very wisely. I am nmost pessimistic about your likelihood of success. But the best of luck to you, Reverend Jones.
From Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent, by Robert F. Barsky, p. 114, we learned what Prof. Chomsky thinks of us:
Chomsky employs this appeal to reason in probing two important issues; the relevance of the irrational and the role of the intellectual in society. To the irrational he consigns "fundamentalist religion; JFK conspiracy cults...
Also of interest to me are pages 140 and 141, which tell us about Chomsky's position regarding his vigorous defense of Walt Rostow returning from governmental service as the quintessential hawk to be a professor at MIT. With an enemy such as Prof. Chomsky, Walt Rostow needs no friends.
Let me speak to my feelings about the reference to Fletcher Prouty which Mary made in his book and which ahs caused so much consternation in our committee.
In my judgment, Fletcher is not an intelligence agent. I make this judgment based on the amount of good he has done in the assassination work. His emphasis on the invasion and military escalation of Vietnam by the U.S. as the major cause of the killing of Kennedy is in my judgment a defensible position and not one which the national security state is about to concede to us, Marty notwithstanding.
Marty agrees that U.S. policy re Vietnam under Kennedy just prior to the assassination was to withdraw. Marty agrees that this upset the U.S. military-intelligence community. Marty agrees that the Kennedy policy was changed immediately after the assassination. But Marty feels that it is senseless and counter-productive to be diverted from the plain fact that the evidence of the killing of Kennedy by the military-intelligence complex for Kennedy's efforts to mollify the Cold War is overwhelming.
Marty feels that no one could have predicted at the time of the Kennedy assassination what would have happened in Vietnam. I take issue with Marty on this. For two years prior to and up to the Kennedy assassination while I was teaching high school in a working-class neighborhood of Philadelphia I told the students to stay clear of the military because they were likely to die in Vietnam. I did not know, but I did believe from early on that that we were going to lose that war. I also recall, after the assassination, expecting the military escalation.
But, irrespective of my differences with Marty on this detail regarding Vietnam as the motive or one of the motives for the assassination, I feel very strongly that he has a right to raise the issue of the pseudo-debate over Vietnam. The issue of whether I, Fletcher, or any of us are agents is one that should be examinable. This issue should not consume lmuch of our time, because it could distract us from the time we spend on our shared task. But I don't feel that apologies are owed if such a mistaken allegation is made against any of you or me. We should calmly speak to the issue and address it seriously. I see our common task as refining knowledge of the truth of the JFK assassination and determining what the truth has to instruct us about the history, if any, which resutled from that event. Further, our task is to employ our knowledge to inform us, where relevant, as to the nature of our present national-security state andhow it employs ist immense power. I see us as undertaking through the exercise of free speech the task of seeking out the truth of the subjects of our inquiry irrespective of the political consequences to the state and irrespective of the consequences to us as individuals.
What Morrissey does is direct us back to our task when he inquires of Fletcher that he explain his statement that "the CIA didn't do it." This is Michael pointing us in the direction of good work through good questions. This he does after defending Fletcher against Marty's implication. What better model for our behavior can we have than that?
I had a 15-minute phone conversation with Pierre Salinger on Oct 26. He recommended to me a book by Ron Lewis entitled Flashback: The Untold Story of Lee Harvey Oswald. He advised that in this book Ron Lewis points up CIA connections of Oswald. I explained that I had spent time with Oswald's mother in her home. She was convinced much before the killing of Kennedy that her son was a U.S. intelligence agent. Although I did not mention this to Mr. Salinger, Marguerite Oswald told me at that time (summer of 1964) that after Oswald "defected" to the Soviet Union, she visited the State Department to inquire about her son. She was given red-carpet treatment and was reassured that she need not worry about her son. She concluded that Lee was on an intelligence assignment in the Soviet Union for the U.S. government.
I was my usual strident and overly zealous self with Mr. Salinger. I poured out at some length to this patient man why I thought that any explanation other than a National Security State assassination of President Kennedy to alter his course in seeking to mollify the Cold War was part of the pseudo-debate designed to mystify the killing and thereby prevent the recognition of the simple truth. I told him that the same CIA which had killed the President was now explaining to the American people that it had satellite photographs showing the TWA Flight 800 at the moment when it was breaking up. I told him that the CIA was reporting that the plane spewed burning gasoline earthward which was uniformly interpreted by some 200 independent eye witnesses as a missile rising to hit the plane. I stated that these CIA lies were similar to those which were being utilized to generate a phony debate over which of several false candidates had killed JFK. I stated that the CIA in its explanation of the TWA shoot-down was concealing the National Security State's guilt in having brought down the TWA Flight 800 with one of its errant missiles. He said that he agreed with me 100 per cent on that point.
Mr. Salinger is a gracious truth-seeking man who is fully entitled to my deference. He sought to help me very early in providing a tape of the Situation Room tape on Nov. 22, 1963 to the Cabinet plane. He will not ever receive from me in the future anything other than the utmost respect and all the good manners I can muster and to which he is clearly entitled. He has been targeted by the mainstream American press for his efforts at bearing witness to the truth in the TWA tragedy. He deserves and will receive in the future all the courtesy of which this peasant is capable of expressing.
I have viewed a tape of William Pepper, the author of Orders to Kill and the attorney for James Earl Ray. This is unquestionably a fine man. But I worry about his approach to the truth, which leaves him vulnerable to being trapped into swallowing misinformation. We might be able to help him avoid some pitfalls. If Jim Douglass knows him, as I suspect he does, could you, Jim, bring him in as a recipient of the mailings? I feel that he might benefit from our approach. Even as fine a lawyer as Jim Garrison was made to swallow misinformation. These swallows leave us defenseless when we spit them up in public before the mainstream media, which are all too eager to publicize our ingestion and expectoration of misinformation. Pepper is too decent and valuable a person to be used up by the clever tactics of feeding lies to be accepted as truth to would-be truth tellers, and thereby discrediting them. Can we be of use to Pepper?
Oct. 20, Steve Jones sends us a piece on Curtis LeMay and JFK in the Cuban missile crisis. LeMay acts as if he is the Commander-in-Chief and President Kennedy is some stupid, cowardly underling. Is that the way the founding fathers fashioned the Constitution, or is that an example of how the Constitution got rewritten during the course of the Cold War and how the growth of the National Security State rendered the military-intelligence arm as the true governmental mechanism of the American empire?
I offer some excerpts from One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-1964, by Fursenko and Naftali (NY: W.W. Norton, 1997). The Kennedy family clearly knew that the killing of JFK was a foreign policy assassination designed to continue the Cold War unabated by JFK's concern about the continuation of our fragile planet as habitable for humankind.
Nov. 9, the New York Times promotes Seymour M. Hersh's The Dark Side of Camelot. The importance of the JFK role in seeking to mollify the Cold War thereby necessitating his killing by the CIA is born out by the sustained effort to trash his memory through a series of national-security-state-sponsored media releases. Hersh's effort is but one of many. These persistent efforts convince me that if anything I have underrated JFK's significance in history.
Dec. 9, the NY Times tells us that the national security state is going to get tough with independent investigators of Flight 800. We are lucky that the warfare state didn't decide to go after us with criminal processes on the JFK matter. With me they tried tax audits, a threat to kill, efforts to bribe, and loosening nuts on auto wheels. All kind stuff.
Many thanks for the latest packet and Ray Marcus's #5 Man. I'll go further than Jim DiEugenio: I think this image (which I had not seen either until I saw it in Addendum B) is the most powerful evidence of all, simply because it has a human face in it. That makes it much more powerful, psychologically, than any of the other evidence. This would explain why Ray hasn't found a commercial publisher.
Ray deserves our heartfelt thanks for providing us with the documentary record of his struggle. This will be of great value, once the truth is accepted, in demonstrating how one man (with the help of a few others, like you) fights not only officialdom, but an entire cultural mindset (of denial), over the course of three decades.
As you see, I'm an optimist. I do think the truth will out someday, even if not our lifetime. What the world will be like at that point I don't know. Maybe not very different at all. That's a frightening thought!
I'm sorry neither Marty nor Fletch felt inspired to answer my last letter. I would still like to know what they think.
I need to (very belatedly) thank both Ray and Fletch for sending me copies of a review of Chomsky's latest. But consider: nastiness is not dishonesty. If he's nasty (rude, inconsiderate, vulgar, snide, even cruel), so what? No one is greatly interested in his character per se. But if he is dishonest, it raises the question of why. That is the important question, not his character as such. That is why I consider your various independent judgments about my correspondence with him as so important: if Chomsky was being dishonest with me, as you all agree, why? I think this is the very heart of the matter. How do the bastards get people like Chomsky on their side? Or are they are not bastards at all, but good guys, as we used to think Chomsky was? Are they benevolent leaders, lying to us for our own good?
On the other hand, if he is not lying about the importance of the assassination (and the withdrawal issue), and is simply delusional, then it is still the heart of the matter, because the question then would still be why. How could such a smart guy be so stupid? (Same question I asked myself about McGeorge Bundy, until I saw the Turner film in Nov. 1988.) If we can understand how to make somebody like Noam Chomsky so stupid on one particular issue, we would be greatly enlightened indeed.
Bromberger's comment to Ray in 1969 that if "they" did what we think they did, they are "too powerful to confront directly" is worth some heavy cogitation.
Dec. 23, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that new U.S. governmental releases demonstrate how JFK directed the Pentagon that "all planning will be directed towards preparing RVN (South Vietnamese) forces for the withdrawal of all U.S. special assistance units and personnel by the end of calendar year 1965" (an Oct. 4, 1963 memo from Maxwell Taylor, Chairman of the JCS). Other documents show that within a month after Kennedy's assassination, Johnnson told the Pentagon to plan for "increased activity" against North Vietnam. Still another document directed the military to consider in these activities the "plausibility of denial." This is an invitation to the Gulf of Tonkin fraud.
Dr. Michael Morrissey, would you write to Prof. Chomsky and ask him where he now stands on the position of JFK as indistinguishable from the other cold warriors who ran our government and whether there were any foreign policy changes that followed his killing? If he does not reverse course now, he must be fairly viewed as a witting agent of the national security state which has supplied his salary at M.I.T. Of course, Michael, if you so confront him, you are free to provide for Prof. Chomsky any of the comments I have made about him in our correspondence.
Dec. 29, Rev. Steve Jones sends us a batch of valuable material. Theodore C. Sorensen's excerpts from The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis, which appeared in the Washington Month, Nov. 1997, is beautifully done. Almost without editorial comment he selects items from the tapes and shows the contempt in which the U.S. military held its Command-in-Chief and his concern for the preservation of the planet. Fullbright's favoring of the invasion of Cuba during the missile crisis speaks to the almost total isolation of that brave man, JFK. Aside from RFK, Salinger, Sorensen, and Schlesinger, JFK stood alone against the greatest power in the history of the earth.
I have been reading the so-called "Torbitt document" and wonder what you think of it.
I suppose the Internet is abuzz with interpretations of Hillary Clinton's reference to the "vast conspiracy" out to get her husband. I haven't been following it, but just according to what I've read in the International Herald Tribune and CNN, I would speculate that the Netan-Yahoos, using the CIA (of course), were clubbing Clinton for being too friendly with Arafat. This Linda Tripp woman is clearly an intelligence agent. These same Yahoos probably killed Rabin for the same reason.
The saber-rattling with Saddam is probably connected, too. I wouldn't be surprised if both are simply diversions from what would otherwise be the obvious rift between Clinton and Yahoo, and the latter's clearly unreasonable policies. The IHT reported not a word of this possibility, but buried in one article was a reference to discussion taking place in the liberal Israeli press. Our press hardly ever tells us what reasonable Israelis are saying, which in turn tells us that the biggest Yahoos are in the US, not Israel.
As for Saddam, I am wondering how much discussion there has been in the US about this. There has been none here. No one asks what the strikes are supposed to accomplish, or why the US wants to drop more bombs on (possible) biochemical munitions factories, which is likely to release another wave of Gulf War Syndrome, now afflicting more than 10 thousand American veterans, as well as their spouses and children (since GWS appears to be contagious as well as inheritable). Not to mention the Iraqi victims, of course.
I think constantly, I am almost ashamed to say, about what sort of higher powers are driving these events, and part of that same thought is the knowledge, becoming more certain every day, that I will never know any more about it than I do right now. Then I keep thinking of that book The End of History, which I haven't read and don't intend to, but the title can be taken to mean something different than the author probably intended. I guess he was referring to the fall of the Soviet Union, but since I think that was a plot, too, my notion of the end of history is that the accumulation of lies has become so great that it (history) no longer exists, unless we redefine it as fiction.
I am fascinated by your story of rubbing elbows with someone related to Mafiosi who said JFK's "own people" did it. I would also like to know what rich people say about it, in private. You will resent being called rich, but you can't deny that you talk with a lot of people that I will never be able to talk to, at least not in a confidential way, simply because of the class difference ("class" meaning "net worth" in American English).
Does our predicament parallel anything in history? I can't think of anything. I think unnamable forces (beyond the CIA) orchestrated all of the 60s assassinations, all of the wars since 1945 (to some extent no doubt the World Wars, too), control the mass media, control the radical fringes, including the left, including Noam Chomsky, Norman Mailer, Alex Cockburn, Rudolf Augstein, etc., and control the conduct of science where political issues are involved. I can add to this that the same forces created AIDS, killed Rabin, and brought out Monica Lewinsky the day after Clinton showed a halfway reasonable face to Yassir Arafat, but enough is enough.
This view of reality does not accord in a single instance, much less in all of them, with the views of any respected politician, government official, scientist, historian, journalist, scholar, intellectual, religious leader, or even artist that I know of, contemporary or historical. Somebody here is off his rocker. That's what it boils down to: us or them.
I'm glad I can say "us," and mean by it doctors and lawyers and professors and businessmen and such, because if I just meant a bunch of people on an Internet discussion group, it wouldn't mean anything. Then "we" would be crazy. We might as well be saying things are run from Mars. Even as it is, I suspect that a large percentage of psychiatrists and psychoanalysts, reading our correspondence, would pronounce us all seriously mentally ill.
Ray, thanks for that 1967 Garrison speech. I can't get over the fact that he was saying so much so early.
Jan. 26, a considerable batch of material comes form Barbara LaMonica. Barbara, I don't feel that Kennedy was killed because he was too progressive on domestic matters. I recall that he proposed and got effectuated a regressive reduction of the progressive income tax at the upper level from the 90% rate to 72% and the lower rate from 20% to 14%. That meant that people like me took home 28 dollars instead of 10 for every $100 of adjusted income, almost a 300% increase in take-home pay. The poor guy like my father took home an extra six dollars for every $100 of adjusted income. That kind of 2progressive" activity will not tend to get you killed by rich guys like me.
I enclose a speech I gave on June 9, 1968 in Central Park, NYC, which still represents my view of the motivation behind the assassination. You and I are in essential agreement but for a difference in focus. My conviction regarding the motivation for the public and gory firing of Kennedy has always been a Cold War, foreign policy one. The CIA, in my judgment, was the designated assassination agency which the National Security State would and did naturally avail itself of for the disposal problem. A disposal method was employed which would signal to those who were not in a state of denial that the killers were so highly placed that a political correction of the deed was not feasible.
But the 1934 aborted coup of FDR was different from the JFK killing. In 1934 we did not have an autonomous military-industrial-intelligence complex which was feeding off of trillions of dollars of taxpayer money. In 1934 rich bastards like me would have to enlist and buy our killers. But in the assassination of JFK the CIA computers were able to tap their data bases and spin off the perfect killers and the perfect patsy. The CIA used taxpayer money to do its work of selecting the operatives and paying for the Dealey Plaza show. In 1934 we did not have a Cold War complex that was unhappy with Roosevelt because of his accommodations with the Soviets.
Roosevelt was slightly shifting the distribution of wealth downward and charging the rich for some of the social welfare measures. That earned him the enmity of those less enlightened of the upper classes who could not recognize him as the savior of a capitalist system that was in its apparent death agonies. But in the killing of JFK, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Robert Kennedy, in my judgment the motivation for the killers was not an argument over the distribution of wealth.
Rather, in the killing of these four the central issue was that of peace or war and whether the military-industrial complex would be able to continue to use the Cold War as its reason for endlessly feeding on and expropriating the nation's wealth, to the detriment of our cities and our poor. That is what I believed when I finished reading the Warren Report and saw the violence that the U.S. government had done to its own evidence when it seized upon the U.S. intelligence patsy, Oswald, as the sole assassin. Only the CIA could have had the knowledge of and power over Oswald which permitted him to be framed and to have the killers protected by the U.S. power structure, which would involve itself in the criminal activity of being accessories after the fact.
Barbara sends me her video tape "Welfare Warriors." It is a great job, and Prof. Chomsky does good work in his commentary. But the issue of the emasculation of welfare does not go to the question of the legitimacy of the state. It deals with the cruelty and class interests of the state which maintains at enormous cost war-readiness in the absence of a credible enemy. Prof. Chomsky is willing to speak out on such an issue but not on the destruction of the Republic.
Jan. 30, Joan Mellen writes to Ralph Brown about Jim Garrison's gravestone, which bears the words "Let Justice be Done Though the Heavens Fall." I owe Jim Garrison a great deal. It was because he existed as the only public figure in the world willing to take on the CIA over its killing of JFK that he became the target of the falling heavens. Private truth-seeking citizens like me were largely ignored by the killers. I lost nothing in my pursuit of the truth. For his courageous efforts, Jim suffered greatly.
Mike, the "Torbitt Document" is in my view disinformation. Why should we look to make out our case from a document without sources? Why should we depart from the evidence provided for us by the U.S. government in the Warren Report and its Hearing Transcripts and Exhibits? Why should we depart from the hard evidence of the holes in the shirt and suit jacket of JFK? Why should we turn from the evidence of CE 399, the magic bullet? Why should we retreat from the impact phenomenon of JFK's body being propelled leftward and backward by the force of a shot being delivered from his right front? Why should we not speak of the significance of Life magazine's three separate changes of a single issue in order to try to get the right caption to try to explain away from right front gunman? Why should we step back from the Warren Report and the choice of the National Security State to ignore the evidence in that report of a conspiracy? The Torbittt Document is another disinformation effort to make a mystery out of and cause us to rely on irresponsible sources rather than the government's own evidence of a clear-cut removal of our titular head of state by the real government, our National Security State.
I think that the Clinton business is another example of what Barbara LaMonica describes as the right against the middle in American politics. But American politics in my view is terribly circumscribed. The real issues confronting our world, militarism, terrible disparity of incomes between the rich and the poor, the ecological crimes and the depression of wages by globalization of industry, racism, imperialism, hunger, the cybernetic revolution and its cheapening of the value of human labor, the market systems creation of economic crises, etc.--all of these issues are not considered proper subjects for serious consideration in U.S. politics.
Clinton is a liar. But I don't feel that the American public has any right to inquire about his sexual addiction just so long as it does not impair his performance as the titular head of state. Tripp is a horrible Yahoo. But I don't feel that the CIA is paying her to do the dirty work which she has done. The Yahoos want Clinton out because he is not shoveling government revenues for the welfare of the rich at a fast enough pace. I don't think the National Security State has a serious beef with Clinton. He will allow the Pentagon to have its military hardware advertised to the world when it bombs the people of Iraq.
The End of History addresses the market as the defining accomplishment of humankind.
Mike, although I have married into a very wealthy family, none of our friends is rich. I have talked with very wealthy people. They have no interest whatever in the killing of JFK, Martin, Malcolm or Robert. They are in a state of denial. They don't want to feel that the wealth they have accumulated in any manner connected with the militarization of the U.S. They tend to believe that the American military serves a useful and even humane purpose. They tend to believe that American foreign policy is aimed at spreading democracy and human rights. They support financially the American one-two party system and take an active interest in narrow issues with which the American politicians ply their trade. They refuse to look closely at the crimes committed by >U.S. intelligence.
I don't think Monica Lewinsky was sent into Clinton by cynical forces. Clinton appears to be out of control sexually. Monica has not been his only target. But I do not feel that this is any of my business.
Thanks for allaying my suspicions that the rich know more than we do. I guess the equation Money = Power = Knowledge (at least of how power works) is too simplistic. I don't have a lot experience in this area.
I suspect that our political beliefs put us well outside what psychiatry and psychoanalysis can handle, just as a witch doctor would be hard put to judge the sanity of someone from a different tribe and culture. The point I was trying to make was that we are either right or wrong, that if we are wrong we are crazy, that if we are right we are healthy, and that if we are healthy, everybody else (who doesn't agree with us) is insane.
I'll give you a good example of denial. My wife and I were ascending an escalator in the lobby of the Peachtree Towers in Atlanta some years ago, and about halfway up to the next level I looked down and saw a black man, about 60, dressed in a tan suit, sitting on a sofa, sleeping, his mouth open, his fly open, and his penis standing straight up through it. (Unzipping your fly in your sleep seems like a pretty good trick, but obviously it can be done.) The strange thing was that sitting opposite him on another sofa, not more than a couple of yards away, was a white woman about the same age, also dressed quite properly, as you would expect in a fancy hotel lobby. She sat there calmly, with her hands folded in her lap, looking around--probably for her husband--and somehow managing not to see that black penis waving in her face. I kept waiting for her to see it, because I couldn't believe she would just sit there like that if she did. But she didn't. She just kept scanning right past it. (Yes, she was wearing glasses.)
That is denial. Or you could call it sleep (in which case who was more deeply asleep, the woman or the man?). I would say the woman was insane. Just as insane as she would have been if she had seen the penis and it wasn't there.
We are black penises waving in the air, Vince. Or as Ralph Ellison called it, invisible.
I am relieved to see that you agree with me, Vince, that Rabin was executed by the Mossad. I had not actually heard anyone else but myself utter that thought. It's not hard to imagine that the same forces threw Monica Lewinsky at Clinton the day after he stood up to Mr. Yahoo. I did not get this from The Spotlight, by the way, or anybody else. It's only logical. (By the way, I have long since let my Spotlight subscription lapse, and am about to do the same with The Nation. The only journals I get now are CAQ and the daily IHT.)
The timing was the giveaway. It was quite transparent, really--like JFK. And Agent Tripp, of course, who has a tattoo on her left buttock saying "The truth shall set you free" in memory of the most ecstatic day of her life, when she was invited to Langley to suck the dick of the Deputy Director of Plans. I know because I have a tape recording of the whole thing. This woman is an agent as surely as Gerald Posner is.
I'm glad Barbara LaMonica made the parallel with Antonioni's Blow Up re Ray's No. 5 Man, because I thought the same thing. What could be more inherently cinematic? In the hands of a good director (not Oliver Stone!), something might be done--lots of zooming in and out and that sort of thing.
I enclose my deceased father-in-law's subpoena to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee. We have taken the original--which is truthfully in pink--and framed it for our library. It speaks to a period of his life when, although a very wealthy man who benefited much from the market society, he saw socialism as more fair than capitalism. At his 90th birthday party, before about 100 guests, he said that he wanted to continue to live in hopes of seeing a society where people contributed according to their ability and received according to their needs. For this belief he was deemed to be potentially un-American. With respect to the National Security State, I declare myself un-American. I resent the sparseness of my FBI and CIA files. My hope is that there are more weighty files secreted somewhere in the government's archives attesting to my earnest albeit ineffectual opposition to the National Security State. I am not modest enough to accept what appears to be a plain fact, i.e. unlike the attention it paid to my father-in-law, the U.S. government never viewed me as important enough to notice.
The recently released CIA Inspector General's report on the Bay of Pigs seeks to explain the failure on the concept that the CIA made monumental and myriad blunders in effectuating the invasion. In The Confessions of Allen Dulles, we learn that Dulles knew that the invaders would probably get hung up on the beaches, knew that the invasion, per se, without the help of a U.S. military intervention, had no chance for success, and consciously chose to entrap Kennedy into a position wherein he would have had to approve of a U.S. military operation against Cuba. I don't happen to believe Allen Dulles was stupid. I do happen to know that he was treasonous and did seek to withhold information from JFK which if it had been revealed might well have aborted the operation. I know that he withheld this information in order to have the anti-Castro brigade trapped on the beach so that the U.S. military would have to invade to save it. I view the newest release as being designed to sidestep the treasonous behavior of our military and intelligence betrayal of Kennedy in laying a Bay of Pigs trap for him into which he bravely chose not to step. I would hope that the future will produce a society that views an Allen Dulles an un-American.
Mike, you are also the only person I ever heard other than myself state that the Mossad executed Rabin. How much evidence do we have? I only know that the assassin had intelligence training and experience; had a security agency card on him at the time of the killing so that he was able to mingle with (other) security agents "protecting" Rabin, and a security guard of Rabin rather than shouting alarm at the time of the shooting chose to declare the shots "Blanks, blanks." I only know what effect this killing had on the Israeli election which produced a right-wing government. I only know what happened to the peace process after Rabin's death. I am rather familiar with the lone-assassin scenario. I know what occurs in societies which become militarized. I know about black holes. I know enough! Mike, you and I are possibly the only ones publicly fingering the Mossad for this assassination. We may feel somewhat naked and alone. But just maybe the emperor wears no clothes.
Re Linda Tripp, I feel my suspicions confirmed when I read in Newsweek:
She was introduced to covert operations through a secretarial job at the U.S. Army Intelligence Command at Fort Meade, Md., in the mid-'80s. Following her husband, who would become a colonel, to Fort Bragg, N.C., she got a job with the top-secret commando unit, Delta Force, so secret she couldn't describe it on paper (3/21/98, p. 33).
"I've worked on the covert side of the Department of Defense for 15 years," she says. Then she says she's afraid for her physical safety, and that of her children. Do you think she's trying to tell us something? They had this woman primed and waiting to go, and the day after Clinton stood up to Yahoo, they send her in. We haven't heard a thing about the "peace process" since.
What is even more suspicious and disgusting is the behavior of the media. I've seen exactly one reference to a possible connection between Monica Lewinsky and the deadlock with Netan-Yahoo, buried deep in a Herald Tribune article, and that was merely to mention that this was being discussed in the Israeli press. But there hasn't been a single word about it in our press, German or American, that I've seen. Can it be that such an obvious question has not occurred to any of the hundreds of journalists feeding, and feeding on, this story? No, it cannot be. Ergo, a media conspiracy to avoid the question.
Then we have the former Secret Service agent testifying about the president's private life. I don't know what sort of oaths and security checks they have to go through, but I have no doubt that they would preclude this behavior if they were enforced. The same goes for Tripp. Ergo, they are not enforced. Ergo, the power to enforce them does not come from the president. Ergo, that power lies elsewhere. We have two "former" intelligence agents betraying the head of state in the most conspicuous and vulgar way. How is it possible for such low-level players in the national security apparatus to flout the ostensible head of it? Only if he (Clinton) is not the head of it.
I think we have some more transparency here, Vince. I think we have, again, the hand of the bully saying "Ok, smart ass, take this!" Part of the transparency has to be that they want us to see them as they really are, just like the bully in the playground. They are not ashamed. They are tough as shit, and proud of it, and we better believe it--especially us smart ass
college types. I think we recognize this mentality, don't we? One has a tendency to imagine that great power is somehow synonymous with intelligence (not in the CIA sense), but I think the actual events show that the great powers are much more concerned about convincing us of their brutishness than of their intelligence. I mean, do evil geniuses shoot people and make sex scandals? Perhaps, but we are wrong to imagine that because they are powerful enough to do these things that they are also geniuses, or in fact intelligent at all. If I may use the term Mafia in a general (non-Italian) sense, the dons don't have to be smart. They can buy all the smarts they need. And what I'm saying is, I think these people are constantly tempted to reveal themselves, just to show us! Hence the transparency. That bully, you know, who not only wants to be in control but wants to rub our insufficiently obeisant faces in it.
March 31, Dr. Gary Aguilar offers me an invitation to speak and to be honored at the 35th anniversary conference of the Coalition on Political Assassinations in Dallas. I am not a member of the group. I debate long and hard about accepting any honor. I am most certainly entitled to none. Do I accept it in order to get substantial billing to articulate our viewpoint? Marty is invited to speak. So, I asked Dr. Aguilar in a phone conversation whether he would accept as a complete package, Jim Douglass as a speaker with Marty and me. He immediately agreed. I told Dr. Aguilar that if I should accept the invitation to speak, I would be speaking about the lack of mystery in the assassination. He said the content of my speech was up to me. I asked him how much time I had to make up my mind. He said had as much time as I wanted. A more gracious invitation to a non-entity such as I is difficult to imagine.
April 9, Rev. Steve Jones sends a chapter from Jim Garrison's Heritage of Stone entitled "Power." Dr. Anita Schmuckler and Chris Kefalos of our group will remember working with me in doing clerical work on Jim's manuscript. When I was delivering the final galley proofs of the book to New York, driven in an automobile from Garrison's office by one of his staff members, we were treated to a little gamesmanship. On the New Jersey Turnpike we heard a recurring thumping coming from a wheel. We pulled over to find that all the lugs on one wheel had been loosened. Big Brother was just letting us know that he was watching us.
I'm not sure if congratulations are in order or not on your invitation from COPA. I guess so. Even though you know that half of them are agents, and the other half are conspiracy theorists--that is, people who believe there is something left to prove. What do you feel you can tell them? All of the energy they have invested is based on the assumption that you are wrong--that there is a real reason for their work. That's why they are in that organization, and it is why that organization exists. If they believe you, they will all pack their bags and go home.
The leadership is suspect. Is there any question in your mind that John Newman is a government agent? Do you think that someone who is to all appearances as wildly radical as John Judge could become the head of such an organization, if he really were what he appears to be? Do you think Newman would be on the board if he were not exactly what he appears to be?
And I'll go one further: Do you think Michael Parenti could be who he appears to be and leap so stupidly to the defense of John Newman, as he did in his response to me, and then trip over himself trying to avoid any sort of dialogue afterwards with me or any other member of our group?
Do you really want to be honored by these people? This is like Jesus, if you'll pardon the comparison, getting an award from the Romans for his "significant early contribution" to Ralphtianity.
Re the Bay of Pigs, frankly, I believe I settled the whole issue with my little article in The Third Decade and the COPA paper.
Vince, why don't you take Ray Marcus with you to COPA? That one picture, and the continuing story of the campaign to ignore it would be the perfect demonstration of whatever you are going to say. Ray's photo is something new, for most of us, I think.
I appreciate all the secondary material everybody sends along, Vince, but I wish more of the correspondents would say something about themselves and maybe even occasionally express an opinion or two, if that is not too radical and extravagant a suggestion. Isn't that the main purpose of this effort? You are the only person in the group who makes an consistent effort to respond to everyone. Everybody else just tunes in and out as they wish, and it's mostly out. This is wrong.
Unlike you, I have no objection to your accepting any honors. On the contrary. What I object to is that COPA, or many of the people running that show, don't deserve to do the honoring. I was disappointed and pissed off by the way they collectively, using Parenti, sloughed off my challenge to Newman, which I happen to think was important. (I sent copies of my letter to Newman to all the members of the governing board.) Furthermore, although I was told by several people that my talk was the best one they heard at that first COPA conference, it was never published (I don't know if any of the others were). All the talks were videotaped and I believe can still be ordered, but I doubt that many are.
Still, I agree with everything you say. How could I not? Of course it is a forum, and thus an opportunity to disseminate truth, even if every other person in the place is an agent. I would certainly have made the same decision you have.
May 1, Rev. Steve Jones sends material from the JFK Deep Politics Quarterly on the identification of a TSBD shooter. Steve, this kind of article bores me. I think the group is beyond wanting to know what the mechanics might have been who fired the shots or were present in the "sniper's nest." The same goes for Bloody Treason. I bought the book, and felt the money could be better spent. Its purpose in my view is to narrow the responsibility for the assassination so as to spare from guilt the center of U.S. power. It offers us a consolation prize of a few more bad apples in order to spare from responsibility the whole of the U.S. military-intelligence and its civilian media and corporate allies.
Aug. 19, Ralph writes to Ray Marcus and mentions the Clinton/Lewinsky matter. My sense is that none of this was our business because the affair was not a matter of state. I feel that Clinton's privacy rights were violated. His lawyers, in my judgment, erred egregiously in their tactics of having him agree to participate in this process, and to lie and seek to get out of his lying with legal trickery. I feel that we and other peoples are now further exposed to falling victim to Pentagon-generated incidents designed to expand their share of the national budget. I feel that the right wing in this country will seek to avail itself of a weakened president to shovel more tax-cut money at the rich of which I am one. In my judgment this character assassination of Clinton will serve to weaken further the prospects of any future presidents demonstrating the independence and integrity which JFK showed and for which he was assassinated.
The important point about "conspiracy theory" is that people reject the notion when it is applied to the government. The king has never had a problem ferreting out conspiracies, existent or non-existent, amongst his subjects. This is standard practice for getting rid of troublemakers.
When we try to talk about conspiracies by the king and his henchmen against his subjects, though, or by the government against the people, we are talking about the perfectly normal behavior of all governments. Every government is a conspiracy. Every government involves people planning, at least occasionally, to do bad or illegal things, so they are all guilty of conspiracy. Often.
On Monica and Bill, two things strike me. First, nobody seems to have noticed that this whole affair is parenthesized by the Arafat-Yahoo meetings. The day after the last one (in January), when Bill got tough with Yahoo, the Lewinsky thing broke. Now they're meeting again, with apparently more propitious prospects of success. Does the whipping Cinton has been taking have anything to do with the change of direction?
The most shocking thing about Clinton's grand jury testimony was his accusation that the prosecutor had used ILLEGAL MEANS (deliberate leaks) in a POLITICALLY MOTIVATED and KNOWINGLY BOGUS case, FUNDED BY UNNAMED PRIVATE SOURCES, in order to damage him politically. This is the president of the United States making this accusation, under oath! Not an offhand remark during an election campaign. Why is there no outcry from the press, demanding a full investigation? All this fuss over whether or not Bill understood fellatio as sexual relations, yet not a word, not a peep, not a snicker, not a single joke from Jay Leno, not even the briefest acknowledgement, anywhere, of what is in fact an explosive accusation.
What we are really seeing here is another assassination. Murder and pornography are standard weapons for the CIA , though this time non-lethal. , if he were to pause for half a second to think about it. Which is more important, the meaning of the words "sexual relations," or the fact, at least the fact as stated by our head of state, that a political witch hunt is taking place, in fact a kind of assassination.
Look for an important policy change in the coming weeks--like the reversal of the withdrawal policy in Vietnam after Dallas. In fact it's about withdrawal here, too (from the West Bank). Maybe there's something about withdrawal per se, a sexually rooted thing, that brings out the low blows.
What kind of enemy are we looking at here? Are we looking at an Evander Holyfield or a Mike Tyson? They don't like you, dey blow yer head off, or rip your clothes off and expose your sexual sins. Whose modus operandi is this? The Mafia? Sure. And what government agency uses the same methods? Remember Sukarno. What government agency has in fact worked with the Mafia on a number of occasions, and with similar criminal elements all over the globe? We are not dealing with gentlemen.
I predict a major concession to Mr. Yahoo, maybe next week, like coming down from the pre-Lewinsky figure of 13% land concession to the Palestinians.
Nerve gas in Vietnam: This is another astounding and classic case of media corruption. I've read the articles and also read the "independent" counselor's report, and the true situation is NOT that the report was wrong, but that the case is less than 100% convincing. In other words, it is (still) most likely TRUE. What the media have managed to do is distract us from that fact, that the story is probably true, by making a tremendous issue of the fact that it is not as absolutely certainly true as the initial report may have implied. This is how you move people from thinking "X (a very bad thing) happened" or even "X may have happened," both of which might rouse people to action, to "It is not 100% sure that X happened," which has a paralyzing effect.
Oct. 10, NY Times full-page ad asking for an end to the cover-up regarding the shoot-down of TWA flight 800. Be informed that Commander William S. Donaldson, USN (Ret.), who did the work, has publicly committed himself to an international terrorist missile attack as the cause of the crash. The fact that the military are so predominant in this group causes me to question whether a fallback position is not being prepared to protect the U.S. military, whose careless missile-firing caused the crash.
Enclosed is a draft of my speech to be given in Dallas. If you want to help, your negative criticisms will be much appreciated.
The speech (received today) is great. I mean truly great, a historical landmark. You will be speaking for me, and I am proud to be mentioned in the speech as a friend.
I would like to ask you to consider adding the following paragraphs on p. 24, just before the one beginning "We now...":
President Kennedy was killed because he had decided to withdraw from Vietnam, a decision that was reversed within days after his death. This fact has been obscured, and continues to be obscured, or disguised, by a false debate about what Kennedy would or would not have done in Vietnam had he lived.
This debate is false because regardless of what he would or would not have done, the fact is that what he did do was order the beginning of a withdrawal of all US personnel that would be completed in two years. Instead of that, in two days, two days after he was killed, the CIA produced "radically revised assessments of the military situation, which canceled the assumptions on which the withdrawal plans had been conditioned."
I am quoting from Rethinking Camelot, by Noam Chomsky. Chomsky is a participant in the false debate, arguing with people like John Newman about what JFK really knew and thought before he was killed and what he would have done if he hadn't been killed.
But we know for a fact that the withdrawal policy was reversed, went from withdrawal to escalation, beginning just two days after the assassination.
Chomsky is well aware of this fact. I have just quoted his own words confirming this fact. Why does a man like Noam Chomsky, so astute in other matters, ignore the significance of this fact? Why does he then argue, in the most convoluted manner, that the real facts are that there was no withdrawal policy at all, and that therefore there could have been no reversal of it, and that therefore there was no radical policy change at all after the assassination, and therefore no connection between the guns in Dallas and the guns in Vietnam?
At this point you can refer to my homepage if you like: www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/6346. You can refer to me as someone who carried on an extensive correspondence with Chomsky on this point, and that the letters speak for themselves. Suffice it to say that at the end of this correspondence I was not rethinking Camelot but was certainly rethinking Chomsky.
I'm wondering why you left out this important point on Vietnam. Was it perchance Marty Schotz's influence? Marty got the whole idea of the false debate wrong, and it is important. It is not false or misleading or distracting to talk about Vietnam as a factor in the assassination. The false debate is speculating about unknowable things Kennedy might have thought or done. That is what Newman and Chomsky were bickering about.
The real debate is the debate I tried to have with Chomsky. This debate most certainly was, and is, about Vietnam, and most certainly is important.
I wish you resounding success at the COPA conference, and if you will, please picture me standing with your other friends at the end applauding.
Please omit the reference to me on page 25. I have no plans for any "future writings" on Vietnam and JFK. Nor do I want the CIA laboring under that suspicion.
The additions you made in the speech are good, but I'm surprised at your use of the word "agnostic" in relation to Chomsky. I'm also surprised that you omitted reference to the 58,000 American dead, in addition to the millions of Vietnamese.
Enclosed please find the final version of my speech and Mart's which were delivered in Dallas. The talks were well received except for a discordant comment from Tink Thompson to the effect that Marty "is nuts." To which comment I pleaded guilty to being nuts. We went over on Nov. 21 to the dinner of the Lancer people where Gaeton Fonzi was the keynote speaker. Marty and I were scheduled to speak after Gaeton. After hearing Gaeton we determined that there was nothing more to say. There wasn't. So I advised the audience accordingly. Gaeton was remarkably eloquent. It would take even bigger fools than Marty and me to follow that Gaeton guy.
Congratulations on your success in Dallas, Vince, and if you feel honored, I think you deserve it.
I would be very surprised, though, if "our ideas," that is, what you said in the speech, "are now the predominant if not the exclusive model of explanation of the assassination," even among the non-agent researchers. I will be looking for signs of this. I heard a lot of praise, too, after my COPA speech, and not a word of criticism. That may mean people approve of you, but not necessarily that they agree with you.
This segues into your question about disbanding the group. I would hate to see that happen. Didn't Steve Jones offer to take over as clerk? But I think the best thing would be to take it on line. All we need to do is exchange email addresses. It's a relatively simple matter to set your mail program to send out multiple copies of your letter, and you can hear from others the same way. This is much cheaper and faster than by snail mail, and now you can even send scanned material, so we could continue to exchange documents, too. Nobody has to be clerk.
Perhaps you could suggest this in your next packet, and then the next time distribute the collected addresses, for those who want to continue.
The quality of the correspondence will decrease if this happens, but it's better than disbanding completely. I think we are important as a group. Where else can you go to discuss "our ideas" without creating a stampede of people trying to get out of hearing distance? Now that we have found each other--and you get the credit for that--I think we should stick together.
Why? Because what this is all about, now, for me, has little to do with "solving" the assassination. Like you, I think I've solved it. But the solution is "closure" only in the sense of a brick wall that we now feel our heads against. To use the language of my own transparency theory, we know they've got us by the balls. The question is, What now? Isn't that what our group is all about--a bunch of people asking themselves and each other that question? Isn't that the reason you started it in the first place?
What interests me now, having solved the assassination, is the psychology of it all, including that of people like us, in fact especially that of people like us. Why am I interested in this? Curiosity, I would say. The idea of actually doing anything to affect real life is an ever-dwindling source of inspiration. But the curiosity is still there. I have always been a curious person, and I guess that's just an inborn trait.
So that is my case for keeping up the group--if not through you then by email. But if we are going to break up I wish you would pass on a last request--that everyone, including those who have never contributed, make some sort of statement about "our ideas" (as expressed in your speech or elsewhere). I am not even sure--not at all sure, in fact--to what extent we share these ideas within our little group, much less within the larger group of "non-agent researchers." It would be a shame if not even this can be established.
It's ok with me to keep this back channel. Back channel is better than no channel. And since we're already using the terminology, we might as well go online. I vote for that.
Feb. 5, I decide to bother Prof. Noam Chomsky. His letter of Dec. 7, 1998 is not enclosed, because he asks me not to circulate his correspondence. Shall we make a pool on when I will receive an answer from him? Marty Schotz's guess is sometime after eternity. I do not envy him for the corner into which he has painted himself on he subject of JFK and his assassination.
Jan. 31, Marty Schotz sends us Fidel Castro's thoughts on globalization, with which I totally agree. I consider Castro a great educator and humanitarian. That should certainly anger the majority of you. But I am constrained to offer the simple truth on my feelings about Castro. With respect to globalization I feel that it is the most important development of our century. In my opinion, unless transnational democratic forces evolve to control this development that humankind will as a consequence of it experience a grim period of ever-increasing misery followed by economic collapse. I feel that the collapse will result from the inability of lower-paid workers to buy a cybernetically produced ever-increasing supply of commodities.
Feb. 16, Prof. Noam Chomsky comments on my COPA talk. He is, of course, not convinced by it. However, he calls it a "lucid presentation." As the world's leading linguist, aside perhaps from our Mike Morrissey, he knows that "lucid" is defined by Webster's Deluxe Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition, as "1. Shining; bright; resplendent, 2. Clear, transparent, 3. Sane, mentally sound, 4. (a) clear; distinct; presenting a clear view, easily understood..."
But, notwithstanding that for him the talk was clear and distinct and easily understood, he held to his views, which are contrary to ours. The basis for his disagreeing with our viewpoint he has never bothered to set forth in any detail. I am leaving this man to his own needs on this matter. He is doing excellent work in other areas, e.g. globalization. This correspondence began, as some of you will remember, in an effort to turn him around on the JFK killing. Prof. Chomsky will not be turned. We failed. But at least he will not in the future be readily inclined to characterize our position as irrational. I was tempted to send him, but of course resisted doing so, Reverend Sidney Smith's comment to Lord John Russell:
You say you are not convinced by my pamphlet. I am afraid that I am a very arrogant person, but I do assure you that in the fondest moments of self-conceit, the idea of convincing a Russell that he was wrong never came across my mind. Euclid would have had a bad chance with you if you had happened to have formed an opinion that the interior angles of a triangle were not equal to two right angles. The more poor Euclid demonstrated, the more you would not have been convinced.
Instead of sending the above to him, on 2/23/99 I obsequiously write to Prof. Noam Chomsky and bid him goodbye, making an effort to have this sage in the future express himself not at all or with less hostility to our point of view.
Feb. 20, The Philadelphia Inquirer, A3: "DNA Tests Considered in Search for Answers in JFK Killing." If and when the U.S. government wants to explore a limited hangout of its killing of JFK, it will perhaps use DNA as the means of explaining to the public why it came to reverse its original findings of a single assassin. It will perhaps explain that it learned the truth of a multiple assassin killing by employing technology which was not available to it at the time of the assassination.
Of course, this effort to characterize our government as merely mistaken in the Warren Report, and not deliberately concealing a state crime, is nonsense. The holes in JFK's garments were proof positive that the U.S. government was the killer. To arrive at that truth on the day of the assassination, nothing more had to be known other than the location of the holes in Kennedy's jacket and coat. When the government which had that evidence immediately turned away from the multiple assassin conclusion to which it was necessarily driven by the location of those holes, without keeping its options open, it was identifying itself, for any disinterested analyst of the data, as the only plausible killer.
Re the discussion of the King probe in the March/April Probe, in my judgment the key to the killers of Martin Luther King lies in the false passports which he possessed. This speaks clearly to U.S. intelligence connections.
April 16, Rev. Steve Jones will be the clerk during July and August while I enjoy my privileged vacation. I propose that any of you who would like to assume the responsibility of serving as clerk for this correspondence on a rotating or more permanent basis, please write to inform me of your proposals. How feasible would be converting this exchange to E-mail? Needless to say, I will happily assume all costs of this correspondence as my personal obligation.
April 21, I write to Dawn Meredith, mentioning Fletcher Prouty's view of the CIA and its role in our society. I know that I have already explained, Fletcher, that I vigorously disagree with you on this subject. As an enforcement arm of our military intelligence complex, I feel that the CIA has played a major role in setting policy for the American empire which included the dispatching of President Kennedy. Fletcher, I would say that this disagreement is most certainly the major point of difference which I, and I fell the rest of the correspondents, have with you. Have you reconsidered your view?
Fletcher, allow me to have you consider this quote from Willie Morris's New York Days (Little, Brown and Co.), excerpts from which are attached. The author talks about a series of interviews of Allen Dulles:
In one such talk in the lordly vicinity around Dumbarton Oaks he (Allen Dulles) stunned me with an abrupt comment. "That little Kennedy," he said, "...he thought he was a god." Even now these words leap out at me, the only strident ones I would hear from my unlikely collaborator.
Mary Schotz, say what you will about him, is a fine psychiatrist. When I read that to him he said:
That's important. All of what we say about someone else is ultimately a projection of how we feel about a side of ourselves. So, Dulles felt he was a little god and that Kennedy fired God.
Let's not accept psychiatric evidence. Let's deal with a small portion of the legal evidence. Some of it follows:
Dulles had betrayed JFK in the Bay of Pigs by wrongly advising him about the nature of the invasion point and its unsuitability for guerrilla fighting in the event of the failure of the enterprise. He betrayed Kennedy in advising that there was a probability for success of the enterprise when the CIA knew that the invading brigade could not succeed, and in fact the ultimate invasion by U.S. forces was contemplated by the CIA without apprising Kennedy of this aspect of the plan.
Kennedy fired Dulles for his betrayal.
Dulles hated Kennedy.
Dulles retained many friends in the CIA who would perforce have shared his view of the titular president.
The patsy in the JFK killing was CIA.
Only the CIA could have manipulated its own person to serve the patsy role.
Since the CIA was the leading killing force of governmental leaders around the world, it would have to be considered a prime suspect in the killing.
Dulles, who had a hatred of Kennedy, and who had love for the CIA, did not see a conflict of interest inhis joining the Warren Commission.
Inhis service as a Warren Commissioner he suborned Marina Oswald to perjury.
Need I go on? Fletcher, will you reconsider?
For me Colorado and Kosovo are tragic but mere small pieces in our culture of violence. Our society is permeated with and is driven by violence. It has a violent foreign policy, a violent war machine, a violent criminal justice system capped by capital punishment, a passion for violent sports, entertainment media which steep themselves in selling violence, and a commitment to promote and to extend globally a violent market system.
How many families has globalization destroyed? It strips away living-wage jobs and replaces them with starvation wages. It employs child laborers in industrially underdeveloped countries who work away their youths through long hours of labor in sweat shops which destroy them and their environments?
I for one distrust any solutions to the horrors of ethnic cleansing which rely on military threats and military action. I do not trust a UN military force, because the U.S. currently has a terrible grip on the UN. I do not trust any military action, because the U.S., as the single super-power in international affairs, commands most of the military might.
The solutions to nationalistic efforts to cleanse high schools, nation states and our world I believe must evolve out of non-violent action. Strategies of non-violent action must be developed which should have as their aim the freeing of all of humanity from the brutality produced by patriotic zeal. Only by freeing ourselves from the patriotic commitment to have our nation and our people excel in power and wealth over other nations and other peoples can we hope to end the wars which are facilitated by primary allegiance to nation states.
To achieve a peaceful world I believe that we must free ourselves as individuals and as citizens of the United States of our sense of entitlement to the profits derived from the brutality of global profit-driven markets. For a peaceful world I believe we must turn to the task of meeting the desperate needs of all of humankind with the same determination that we employ as we struggle to meet the needs of our immediate families.
I believe that we cannot expect our immediate families to be free of domestic and international terror directed against us until we warm to the task of meeting our responsibilities to the human family. I believe that non-violent action strategies must be adopted and acted upon which have as their purpose the ultimate elimination of economic exploitation, which impoverishes most of humankind while making some of us obscenely rich and privileged. We must become willing to free ourselves from our sense of entitlement to the privileges of economic empire. I believe that this empire which causes us to be privileged causes others to be poor. Until we address the needs of humanity, I believe we will be the targets of the terror which our refusal to accept responsibility for the impoverished human condition invites.
You will no doubt ask, is this at all probable in our lifetime? My answer is of course not! You will ask, is this not against the very nature of man? I answer that I very strongly doubt it. I feel deeply that humans were made to live in peace with human kind, and that in order to survive we must live in peace with one another. For those of you who believe that humanity's nature compels us towards war, I urge you that notwithstanding your belief, we must all join together and start working towards these healing goals. Because, given the nature of our weapons systems, should we continue on our violent course, sour planet will probably become uninhabitable for our species. Because, by starting in small ways to opt against violence and to opt for non-violence, we will take tiny steps on a path towards a peaceful planet more likely to be passed on intact and able to sustain our children.
Again, for those of us who posit that human nature impels us towards war, I urge that we all must explore the possibility that despite our genetic programming, as thinking and feeling beings, we can transcend our natural bent and learn new paths towards peace which will save us from our predisposition to war and to the consequent self-destruction of our human family. Still again, to those who are convinced that violence against our fellow humans is an essential aspect of our nature, I would urge that even if it were the case, in the interests of our children and of the human family we must all join together to conduct a noble experiment. This experiment is to determine whether through love, compassion and though we can teach one another to control that dark side of human nature which threatens to destroy us all and threatens to lay waste to our lovely planet. My conviction is that if we undertake this odyssey we well discover in our journey the beauty of our true nature, our decency, our peacefulness, our rationality and our enormous capacity to love one another.
May 18, Ray sends me our Jim DiEugenio's May 26, 1996 interview with Robert K. Tanenbaum. Page 14 of the interview tells us that Tanenbaum is full of it. You will see there, inter alia, that Senator Schweiker told him the "he thought the CIA was responsible for the assassination... I was very, I was stunned... I was stunned, I means, I myself, even after investigating this case, am not going to say that the CIA did it. He was coming out definitively saying it. What the evidence suggested when we were in Washington was that there were certain rogue elements who were involved with Bishop and others, the Plumber types in the Nixon White House, who were involved with Oswald, who were substantially involved with anti-Castro Cubans. Who, that is, that the evidence suggests, were involved in the assassination..."
The evidence suggests, in fact conclusively requires, the finding that Tanenbaum is doing the work of the killers. He is telling us that the evidence tends to demonstrate that the killing of JFK had and has no historical significance, and does not speak to the corruption and malevolence of the U.S. warfare state and ist civilian allies.
June 4, The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 4, 1999 prints an Associated Press article reporting that Senator Arlen Specter has been talking with Castro about "the Warren Commission's investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy." That is ominous. Here again, no doubt, we have the Tanenbaum rogue element scenario being tried out on Fidel Castro. I am sure that tempting sweeteners for relations with Cuba go along with the discussion.
The Assassination Records Review Board offerings speak to the House Select Committee's preliminary interviews with Rankin and Katzenback. Rankin was, and Katzenbach continues to be, a criminal. They obstructed and Katzenbach continues today to obstruct justice of a murder which has no statute of limitations. For details see my Dallas speech.
June 8, I wrote to Professor Noam Chomsky and compliment him on a fine article.
It all boils down to trust, I think. Trust and perceived or suspected betrayal. Is Chomsky a friend or an enemy? Is it possible for someone like him to be somewhere in between?
The line has been held. We've had the Stone film vs. the media and Chomsky. If it had been the Stone film and Chomsky against the media, that might have been a real breakthrough. As it is, Stone and the rest of us have been marginalized, even demonized, and the Brave New World Order continues evolving apace. The "wild men in the wings" (Chomsky et al.) are still in the wings. Not in the streets. That's what our rulers dread--millions pouring into the streets. As it is, all they've got to deal with is a few pockets of crazies by the side of the road ranting about various conspiracies by various evil forces. That's nothing.
Re Chomsky's comment on the speech, "lucid" is better than "irrational," which was his adjective of choice in referring to me, but it just means clear. He thinks you are clearly wrong. Clear, but wrong. There is no contradiction.
I'm sure that his writings on globalization are informative, but I don't feel inclined to read them.
After extensive inner struggle, I have decided that my clerking days are over. I cannot see how I can continue to pay for the mailings without being responsible at law as the principal and therefore responsible for what goes out in our committee of correspondence. I worry about libel cases. The ones I chose to invite, I am willing to accept. But for those that may be generated against me, without my having control over them, I have no stomach.
All of my expectations in clerking for you have been exceeded. Several years ago I asked a number of my friends to provide some rationale that could be offered to Professor Noam Chomsky to persuade him that his public view that the thesis that the killing of JFK was a high-level U.S. National Security State crime was irrational was wrong. I expected the correspondence to be brief.
Professor Chomsky dismissed us very early by stating that he was unconvinced by our writings. But the correspondence continued nonetheless. As a consequence of the exchange of ideas, I soon recognized that this group was made up of highly sophisticated thinkers in the area of our concern. I learned much from your reasoning, research and proffered reading material. Because of our exchanges my thinking on the subject of our joint interest improved. For your help in sharpening my thinking, I am most indebted to all of you.
John Kelin is putting together a very limited edition of all of my articles and speeches on the Kennedy assassination. It will be out later this fall. John, please, at my expense, send a copy to each of our committee members. Each of you will be able to see from this compilation that all I have done in this area is to enumerate self-evident facts and extracted therefrom what I view as simple and necessary inferences. I have exercised no brain power in developing my understanding of the meaning of the killing of President Kennedy. I am not entitled to any credit for this work. Please ignore the remarks made by my dear friend, Ralph Brown, in his introduction to this compilation.