My response to Evan Burgos for his misleading article today on the JFK assassination at NBC's site
I’m sorry now I wasted nearly an hour of my life talking to you, Evan. The one quote from me you used from me in your article on the Kennedy assassination today (http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/20/21523264-an-inside-job-cia-a-suspect-for-some-in-jfks-killing?lite
) was out of context because you didn’t mention the CIA’s work overthrowing other leftist leaders all over the globe.
More importantly, McAdams and Shenon are completely, factually wrong about RFK and Dulles and RFK’s view of the CIA’s role in the assassinations. As I mentioned after reading this, Robert Kennedy was so done with the Dulles’ that he had the last Dulles still in government, a sister of Allen and John Foster, fired. I could get you the source for that but why bother? I also mentioned that RFK’s belief that the CIA was responsible was his deepest belief, according to a lot of original research by Salon.com founder David Talbot in his book Brothers.
So once again, you prove why the mainstream continues to be irrelevant as a factual source of information on the Kennedy assassination or anything else important.
I don’t blame you for not knowing McAdams and Shenon were full of it. But had you circled back to me, I could have given you the sources that completely refuted their crapaganda.
So in the end, you have just added to the cover-up, whether you meant to or not.
Disappointed but hardly surprised,
My comments on the JFK and the media panel at the Duquesne "Passing the Torch" conference
The following are my prepared remarks for the special program I spoke on last week during the “Passing the Torch” conference on the JFK assassination at the Senator John Heinz Heinz History Center. The other participants included writers Jeff Morley, David Talbot, Russ Baker and Jerry Policoff and our special guest, film director Oliver Stone.
I skipped the paragraph on Max Holland, below, because he was in the front row and I feared he would use that as an excuse to disrupt the event. But I got him the next day, with a shout-out from the stage re winning the CIA’s “Studies in Intelligence” award, “the first person outside the government” to do so, and said I was glad the love went both ways.
My interest in the JFK case was initially sparked, ironically, by the mainstream media. I had been working on Jerry Brown’s presidential campaign and saw up close how the press completely misrepresented things that happened. I thought, if the media could be that wrong about a presidential campaign, what else might they be wrong about?
Early in my research, it became clear that the notion that Oswald acted alone was simply not supported by the evidence. I read Arlen Specter’s questioning of Parkland doctor Malcolm Perry and was shocked to find Specter leading the witness. Perry clearly thought the wound in Kennedy’s neck indicated a shot from the front. Specter clearly didn’t want Perry saying that.
My first thought was that Specter’s agenda was so obvious no serious journalist could have missed it. My second thought was, no serious journalist ever read this.
But the more I learned, ignorance alone could not excuse the shoddy reporting on this case. The media could talk at length about the theories I call collectively, the “anybody but the CIA did it” theory. But the media has never addressed the myriad and strong evidence that high-level people in the CIA planned the assassination of a president they had come to see as a threat to their very existence. Why couldn’t the media go there?
I found the answer in Mark Lane’s book “Plausible Denial.” He talked about Priscilla Johnson McMillan, who had interviewed Oswald before the assassination and written an inaccurate book about him after. Lane made a strong, if circumstantial, case that she worked for the CIA. We’ve since found out she did - her handler wrote that she could be “encouraged to write” pretty much whatever the CIA wanted, and her file listed her as a “witting collaborator,” which begs the question, what is an “unwitting collaborator?”
I then read that now-famous memo the CIA sent its media assets instructing them how to discredit critics of the Warren Report. I found this stunning. Here was the chief suspect, the CIA, having the power to destroy the credibility of anyone who might factually accuse them.
So I formed a theory. If the CIA really had killed Kennedy, anyone devoting a lot of time and energy to tell me that they hadn’t was likely working for the CIA. The value of any theory is its predictive value. This particular theory has proven remarkably accurate over time.
One journalist in particular, James Phelan, author of a famous book about Howard Hughes, had gone out of his way – to the point of bribing a witness – to sabotage New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s case against Clay Shaw back in the 60s. That was WAY beyond the bounds of professional journalism, so naturally, I figured Phelan was likely connected to the CIA. I started digging and it didn’t take me long to find a significant connection.
I was the first to note the relationship between Phelan and Robert Maheu, the man the CIA had tapped to run its Castro assassination plots. During the Garrison investigation, Phelan had met with Garrison in Las Vegas. Garrison trusted Phelan because he had previously written a favorable article about him. But rather than using the nearest copy machine, Phelan had taken Garrison’s documents to Maheu’s office to be photocopied. Given Maheu’s relationship with the CIA, which was ongoing during the entire period he worked for Howard Hughes, I thought that was pretty stunning. Essentially, Phelan was making Garrison’s key files available to the CIA.
When I posted about Phelan’s relationship with the CIA online, Phelan called me up at home and tried to threaten me with a lawsuit. But I knew I had only told facts, so he’d have no case. I also figured he wouldn’t dare enter into a process where I could legally learn even more about his life. I was right. I never heard from him again.
When Gerald Posner wrote his factually inaccurate “Oswald did it” book “Case Closed” that got a lot of attention on the fortieth anniversary, I figured he probably had connections to the CIA. I found his previous nonfiction books had all been written with help from the intelligence community, and his sole fiction work at that point was a novel about the CIA that lauded the old guard covert operators over the new guard bureaucrats. Indeed, Posner even said he’d been promised CIA cooperation for Case Closed by his editor Bob Loomis (who, by the way, had been James Phelan’s editor).
Edward Epstein, who attacked Garrison and later tried to pin the assassination on the Soviets, turned out to be a protégé of the man who held the most secret files on Oswald – CIA counterintelligence legend James Angleton, one of the top suspects for a direct CIA conspirator!
My theory’s holding up pretty well, isn’t it? Funny what you can find when you ask the right question.
What’s scary is how naïve the press is. They never seem to consider that members in their own ranks could be deliberately misleading them. For example, reporter Hugh Aynesworth holds sway over the JFK case in Dallas, despite the fact that Aynesworth has openly bragged about how he lied to a reporter about a key item regarding Oswald. Why would you take seriously someone who brags he misled other journalists?
Would it surprise you to learn that Aynesworth applied to work for the CIA a month before the assassination? We have his application. Of course, on the record, the CIA rejected him. But as anyone who knows the CIA understands, that’s also standard operating procedure. As Gordon Novel once put it, “no one ever works for the CIA,” even when they do.
Does Max Holland work for the CIA? All I know is that he writes for them. When he couldn’t get an anti-Garrison article published by his former employer, The Nation magazine, he found a ready publisher at CIA in their “Studies in Intelligence” newsletter. He even won their award, claiming to be “the first person outside the US government to do so.” Curiously, his vita shows a lot of fellowships from foundations, which have often been conduits for CIA funding. Maybe he was just an “unwitting collaborator.”
But it’s not just individual journalists who work hand in hand with the CIA. It’s entire media organizations. The president of CBS for decades worked with the CIA directly. The New York Times was the CIA’s most powerful asset. The Washington Post under Katherine Graham and later Ben Bradlee kept the CIA’s secrets. ABC, NBC other major media sources have documented relationships with the CIA.
When the Church and Pike Committees started investigating the CIA’s media operations, that was the one thing the CIA refused to give up. Congress could not pry that information from the Agency.
By 1991, the CIA had become so all-powerful in the media that pretense was no longer necessary. In December of 1991, less than a year before the 40th anniversary of the JFK assassination, CIA Director Robert Gates laid out, in a memo titled “Greater CIA Openness,” that its Public Affairs Office:
“has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and television network in the nation. This has helped us turn some intelligence failure stories into intelligence success stories, and it has contributed to the accuracy of countless others. In many instances, we have persuaded reporters to postpone, change, hold, or even scrap stories that could have adversely affected national security interests or jeopardized sources and methods.”
It should be clear that any organization that brags about its ability to change “intelligence failures” into “intelligence success stories” is, at its heart, an anti-democratic organization. The public simply cannot make intelligent choices about politics when failures are misrepresented as successes. No business could survive such misrepresentation for long. But intelligence agencies get away with it.
We have to know the truth about our past and present in order to plan adequately for our future. And it’s hard. Sorting good information from bad in this case isn’t easy. It took me years to understand just how solid the scientific evidence is that Oswald never fired a rifle on November 22. And I was actively interested in the case. I can see why journalists would shy away from that. It takes a Herculean effort.
And that’s the unfairness of ridiculing “conspiracy theorists.” Some of them are the ones who have done the heavy lifting, the historical mining that the mainstream media has failed to do. To group the nuttiest with the most informed is labelism at its worst. Imagine reading this in the New York Times: “these Jews should be ridiculed, even shunned. It’s time we marginalized Jews the way we’ve marginalized smokers … make [them] stand in the rain with the other outcasts.” That’s what Bryan Burrough in the New York Times wrote about conspiracy theorists, not Jews. But we hear the problem more clearly when we substitute a different group of people. It’s intolerable. It’s actually hate speech.
Conspiracies happen. I was a juror on a conspiracy trial. Pretending they don’t is not only ahistorical, it’s irresponsible.
And conspiracy theories serve a useful purpose. They ask, essentially, what if we’re being lied to, and that’s a question that, as history has shown, journalists should be asking far more often than they do. WMD, anyone?
If the press had looked seriously into the Kennedy assassination, they would found a conspiracy. Had the press then reported the conspiracy, there could have been prosecutions. Had there been prosecutions, we might not have lost Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. NOT challenging the official story was the same as giving future conspirators a blank check, which was taken and cashed, several times over.
The media has been an accessory to these crimes and more through silence, ignorance and misrepresentation. My hope is that journalists get more diligent and less naïve. My other hope is that the public gets savvier, and treats the news as the stage-managed affair it all too often is. After fifty years, it’s time we grew up.
My testimony to the UN commission on Dag Hammarskjold's plane crash is mentioned in their report
I was one of three Americans to testify to a new commission that has been reinvestigating the death of Dag Hammarskjold for the last year. I'm named in the report that is now out. Please see my summary of the report over at Consortium News here: http://consortiumnews.com/2013/09/16/the-mysterious-death-of-a-un-hero/
There are two worlds - one in which covert operations are well known, and one in which they are barely known at all. Which do you live in? You really can't understand what's going on in the world if you don't have a good grounding in covert operations. You will remain forever one of the "sheeple" the intelligence agenices laugh about and take advantage of. Don't be that person. We need informed citizens, not sheeple, if we want to improve our lot in life and in the lives of others.
The government's case for an attack in Syria is REALLY thin
"Most people are rightly incensed over what appears to have been gruesome chemical weapons attacks in Syria. No one questions that the current regime’s crackdown on dissidents has been obscenely violent. No one questions the brutality of the Syrian ruling family over multiple generations. But the evidence is far from conclusive that the recent chemical weapon attacks were ordered by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad."
Read the rest of my article summarizing many of the reasons to doubt the government's case re attacking Syria over at Consortium News here: http://consortiumnews.com/2013/09/04/the-still-sketchy-intel-on-syria/
While you're there, check out the slew of articles about Syria there. I tried to summarize some of the best pieces of information that have come out in the last week re the latest attack, and who was, or wasn't, behind it.
Updates as we approach the 50th anniversary of the JFK case
Long time no see! I've been busy with other projects, but wanted to give you all a heads up on some developments in advance of next year's 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination.
Jefferson Morley, former Washington Post journalist and the author of several books, has started a blog at www.jfkfacts.org
, where he discusses and debunks garbage information about Kennedy and links to factual sources of information about Kennedy in life and death and about Oswald, and what agencies of the government knew about him in advance of the assassination. Well worth watching. If you see anything that could help others get over some disinfo - send the data to them. It won't be worth much if only a few of us see this work.
On the RFK case, I wanted to give people on the East Coast a heads up. James Douglass and Paul Schrade will be speaking together at a three-day event at the Rowe Conference Center in Western Massachusetts, a beautiful area I got to visit in my earlier incarnation as a harp student at Tanglewood. Both Douglass and Schrade are not only great speakers, they are wonderful, interesting people. If you feel inclined to dive in in depth, get the details here
David McCullough, whom readers love but other historians don't respect, is headlining the near invitation-only event
in Dealey Plaza next year. It's not quite that bad, but the city of Dallas, along with the
Sixth Floor Museum, is preparing a celebration expressly designed, or so it would seem, to prevent those with information about the conspiracy that killed Kennedy to speak. Seriously, looks like you will have to get some sort of ticket to attend, so plan ahead now. I plan to be there, and I hope to see many of you there as well.
Jim DiEugenio's new book is out
. Don't be fooled by the fact that it has the same title as his old one. It's about 80% new, based on information that came out after his original book Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba and the Garrison Case.
It basically shows, step by step, document by document, how the CIA sabotaged Garrison's case against Clay Shaw for what Garrison had good reason to believe was Shaw's peripheral involvement in the JFK assassination. I wrote a blurb that the editor liked so much, he asked me to make it a preface. I start by saying as adults, we have to learn to decouple the words "conspiracy" and "theory," as not all conspiracies ARE theories. Some are fact. Like this case. Provably.
On a slightly different note - did you hear about the four American soldiers arrested (and on trial in Georgia) for plotting to assassinate Obama and take over the government? Never heard that on your local news, did you? Why are we spending billions to fight terrorists abroad when we have some at home? http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/08/prosecutors-us-soldiers-plotted-kill-president-obama/56238/
I post more frequently, albeit shorter tidbits, on my Facebook page
and on Twitter
(/lisapease). Caution: If there is a Portland Trail Blazers game on, my tweets will be predominantly about the game. I do love that team!
What's new in your world? I've missed talking to and hearing from so many of you! And if you have anything of note about upcoming JFK-related events, please note them here.
P.S. I hear Tom Hanks abandoned his fiction-in-the-guise-of-documentary project (based on Bugliosi's book) and has opted for propaganda-in-the-guise-of-fiction instead. More on that another time....!
Hope you all are enjoying the long weekend. Talk to you later.
Silencing the whistleblowers in Dealey Plaza on the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination
The following is a note from John Judge re his efforts to try to get a permit to hold the usual moment of silence to honor John F. Kennedy. For years, a few hundred people have gathered on the Grassy Knoll on November 22, the anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination, to hold a moment of silence and renew our efforts to find the truth. The research community has, in essence, been whistleblowers to the crimes of many in government who provably sought to cover up ties between Oswald and the CIA. If there was nothing to hide, why is so much still being hidden?
But I digress. Here is John Judge's message. I hope to see many of you in Dealey Plaza next year.
- - - - -
the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy, November 22, 2013, at the Grassy
Knoll passing without a word in the press about his assassination and who was
behind it, only a celebration of his life. That is what Dallas authorities are
year, as you know, we hold a Moment of Silence on the Grassy Knoll at 12:30 pm
on November 22 to commemorate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy
and to keep alive the knowledge and outrage about the injustice of his
intentionally unsolved political murder. After our event, which continues a
tradition started in 1964 by researcher and journalist Penn Jones, Jr., we
speak truth to power.
invite the best researchers to our annual meetings to present the best new
evidence in the major political assassinations of the last five decades, and we
encourage them to speak briefly on the Grassy Knoll. Our event is not a circus
or carnival atmosphere, it is not even “conspiracy theory,” as the press
commentators try to dismiss it. It is an event lest we forget.
will be there again this year, this time on Thanksgiving Day. We invite you to
join us for the conference and for the event in Dallas, from November 22-25th.
We will be staying and meeting at the Hotel Lawrence this year, as in the past.
on the 50th anniversary, when the attention of the national and international
press, the crowds who come to Dallas and Dealey Plaza and the world that will
be watching, that there would be no Moment of Silence. We have been applying
for the permit for the last three years in anticipation of a major conference
and huge crowds, and have been told repeatedly that none could be issued more
than a year in advance. To our surprise a permit was then issued for the whole
area of Dealey Plaza for next year for a full week in November to the Sixth
Floor Museum, without an event yet planned. This permit is also exclusive of
other events at the site, which ours never was.
director of the Sixth Floor Museum said she got the permit to be “proactive” on
behalf of the Mayor’s office in Dallas, which then appointed a committee to
plan “dignified” events to “celebrate the life of John F. Kennedy” that week.
We have attempted to coordinate with the Sixth Floor Museum only to be told
that we should “move the national and international press attention to [JFK’s] death
to another moment.” That would be a trick, but we all know that it will be gone
at any other moment. We are also trying to coordinate with the Mayor’s
commission to exercise our right of free speech in a public park that belongs
to history and the American people. We want to be there to be seen and heard,
to be silent and loud. We don’t want to be in a “free speech zone” a mile away
where no one will hear our message.
Director of the Sixth Floor Museum, which gives a very imbalanced view of the
evidence and the history of the assassination of JFK to millions of tourists
each year, told the Dallas Morning News that they had no event planned but they
might do a “moment of silence”. I would suggest that if they do such an event
to the exclusion of ours, it would stretch into an eternity of silence
regarding this assassination.
Jones wrote four volumes on the evidence and strange witness deaths in the
Kennedy assassination called Forgive My Grief. Forgive ours, but some things
are not forgivable and should not be forgettable. We will be there on November
22, 2013 in any case. Hope you will be with us.
PAST IS PROLOGUE
also fight to release all classified records on these murders, now decades
past. Our support for the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act and the
Review Board it created has led to the release of over 6.5 million pages of
classified records buried since 1964, but not all of them. We have joined the
call by the Committee for an Open Archives and the Assassination Archives and Research
Center to expedite the release of all related files on JFK’s assassination by
the 50th anniversary next year, and not in 2017 or even later. All efforts to
use FOIA, Mandatory Declassification Review or even Obama’s Executive Order
calling for release of files classified for over 25 years to be implemented
without review have failed so far. The new agencies, created by his
administration to facilitate transparency and release, have decided that the
JFK records are outside their mandate. An online petition to demand release can
be found at http://www.change.org/petitions/office-of-information-policy-and-regulatory-affairs-release-the-secret-jfk-assassination-records
continue to push for introduction of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Records
Act to release hundreds of thousands of pages of the House Select Committee on
Assassinations investigation into his death, locked up since 1978 until 2028.
All their files on JFK are already released. The Clerk of the House was
approached to use her authority to release these records, but their office has
declined saying it needs Congressional legislation. We have a new sponsor who
seems ready to drop the bill and details will follow to get support.
website features speakers from past conferences as well as regular news updates
about political assassinations, new evidence and witnesses, legal developments,
threats on the President and Secret Service response, and in-depth articles
from leading researchers and academics.
year we gather in Dallas, and some years in Memphis, Los Angeles and New York,
to present and discuss the best new evidence in the murders of Malcolm X, the
Kennedy Brothers, Dr. King and others. We invite renowned legal, medical,
forensic and ballistics experts, academics and noted authors, and citizen
researchers whose work over the years has shed light on these crimes and
rewritten our history. We make many of the presentations available by
livestream on our website, but being at the event, networking, getting the
latest books and resources and meeting those seeking the truth is an experience
not to be missed.
is a critical time because these assassinations are fading into history for
later generations. The approaching 5th decade mark may consign active concern
about the assassinations of the 60s to past history and indifference, despite
widespread acceptance in the public that a conspiracy of some sort was
involved, not the actions of a lone, crazed gunman. We are the ones who are
left to make sure that this history is not lost and its impact on the present
is made clear. November 22, 1963 marked a turning point in America and the rise
of the Military Intelligence Industrial Complex that President Eisenhower
warned of and Kennedy opposed has defined our history since. The political
assassinations that day and others that followed were instrumental in
destroying hope for a different future and movements for social change. All
those killed had challenged militarism, war, racism and poverty, the
"pillars of oppression" defined by Dr. King that still plague us
YEARS IS ENOUGH!
instead a major conference in Dallas that we have titled "50 Years is
Enough!" – with
all the key researchers, authors, legal and medical/forensic experts who have
broken the cases open in the past decades there to speak the truth about them,
to those present and on the internet to the rest of the world. Imagine a crowd
of thousands in Dealey Plaza, along with the world press, seeing our banners
calling for release of records and hearing our speakers calling for justice and
an independent investigation of these unsolved homicides that would hold those
responsible to account and take the sordid history since to task. Imagine a
future where the assassination of fairly elected leaders and purveyors of hope
for social change would never again be tolerated and would demand full
investigations and exposure of the forces behind them. We cannot celebrate the
life of John F. Kennedy while we forget his death.
Dallas meeting this year will be held from November 22-25 at the Hotel
Lawrence, just off Dealey Plaza. We will announce hotel reservation information
and rates soon. Information on speakers and other details are being posted at
our website as well. Next year we plan to hold a national conference in Dallas,
and we may be doing meetings in Memphis and Los Angeles as well if there is
can't do all this without you. Since 1994, we have worked to present serious
research, new evidence, force release of records, support legal challenges and
forensic testing, and to keep these cases alive to the public and a new
generation. We do all this with the help of a very few donors and on a tiny
budget. No foundations sponsor us, and certainly no corporation or government
funds. We are volunteers, no paid staff.
year, anticipating the need to have a major conference on the 50th anniversary,
two donors have put up a challenge grant, which will match all donations made
before that up to $2,000. This means a donation of any size will double for us
right now and make it possible for us to be visible next year and to bring the
of $50 or more will get you a copy of a DVD set of our jam-packed 2011
conference in Dallas. $100 or more will also automatically register you for
this year's conference events, a real bargain. Donations are not tax deductible.
Checks can be made to COPA at P.O. Box 772, Washington, DC 20044 or credit card
donations can be made to our Paypal account from the website (www.politicalassassinations.com
need you. Will you join us now with your support? Will you come to Dallas this
year and next? Will you stand with us on the Grassy Knoll to speak out and be
visible and help get out our call for an Occupy the Grassy Knoll in 2013 (see www.occupythegrassyknoll.com
has been a leader in this work for nearly two decades and our work is not
finished yet. I hope you will contribute now to both the hope of the future and
the continued visibility of the past.
on Political Assassinations
Stories that disturb me
I'm busy working on my RFK book, so I haven't spent much time posting. When I do post - it's usually something short on Twitter (https://twitter.com/lisapease
) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisa-Pease-writer/113393978975
). But I continue to be concerned by what I see all around me and wanted to share a few links with you.
I saw NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake interviewed on RT today (yet more proof how censored the American press is -- you won't see him on the Today show, or even Sixty Minutes). He said our every communication is being tracked in ways that violate our constitutional protections. "Our security has become the state religion," he said, and those who speak truth to power find that the response is to "attack the messenger" rather than dealing with the message. Those are powerful sentiments that should be a wake-up call to the rest of us.
Here's more about Drake and other whistleblowers: http://news.antiwar.com/2012/07/14/nsa-whistleblower-spy-agency-gathering-info-on-virtually-every-us-citizen/
Here's a story that should also make you think about where all this is headed, an article from the NYT titled "That's no phone. That's my tracker." http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/sunday-review/thats-not-my-phone-its-my-tracker.html
I'm deeply concerned about the growing prosecution of whistleblowers. Look - I don't care if their motives aren't pure if the information is important. Exposing war crimes should be done and should be protected, even if someone is "just a disgruntled employee" - so what? Maybe those are the only people who find the guts to speak up. And of course, most whistleblowers are NOT disgruntled employees. They're concerned citizens who see our rights violated and try to do something to protect that. But absolute power corrupts absolutely, and those who live by secret power will go to enormous lengths to protect it.
My review of Peter Janney's book "Mary's Mosaic"
Jim DiEugenio asked me to review Janney's book. I didn't have high hopes, having had some communication with Janney in the past. But honestly, the book was much worse than I thought it would be. Here's a preview. Read the rest at the CTKA site
Peter Janney wrote a book entitled Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and their Vision for World Peace. From the subtitle, researchers can be forgiven for thinking that Janney’s book is a serious contribution to our side, as many of us believe that the CIA killed John Kennedy in part because he was trying to end the Cold War and rein in covert operations. But Janney’s book is such a frustrating mix of fact, fiction, speculation and unverifiable data that I cannot recommend this book. Indeed, I’d rather it came with a warning label attached.
Most people don’t read books the way I do. Most people assume the data presented is true unless proven false, and they give the author the benefit of the doubt. On any topic of controversy, especially the JFK assassination, which has become so imbued with disinformation that it’s hard to know whom to believe, I take the opposite approach. I pretty much dare the author to prove his case to me, and I check every fact I don’t already know from elsewhere against the author’s sources to determine whether or not I find his “facts,” and therefore his thesis, credible.
When I first picked the book up in the store, I turned to the footnotes. You can tell a lot about an author by the sources he cites. From that moment, I knew the book would not be worth reading. As I flipped through the pages, I saw Janney attempt to resurrect long-discredited information as fact. Frankly, I wouldn’t have wasted the time reading it at all had I not been asked to review it.
I cannot, in a book review, take on the task of refuting every factual error and pointing out every unsubstantiated rumor-presented-as-fact in this book, because there seemed to be at least a few per page, and it’s just too big a task. So I’ll focus on challenging some specifics regarding the three key points of Janney’s overall thesis, which are: 1) that Mary Meyer was not killed by Ray Crump, the man arrested and tried but not convicted of her murder; 2) that Meyer had an ongoing, serious sexual relationship with a President Kennedy that involved drug use; and 3) that Meyer’s investigation into the CIA’s role in the JFK assassination got her killed.
Janney believes these three conclusions to be true. After reading his presentation, and doing a little additional research of my own, I’m convinced that none of these are true.
Let’s start with Mary Meyer’s murder. If Crump was truly framed for a crime he didn’t commit, the CIA theory is at least possible, if not exactly probable. But if Crump actually committed the crime, then Janney’s thesis, and indeed, the thrust of his whole story, goes out the window. So let’s examine that issue first, based on the evidence Janney presents.
Janney opens his chapter on Mary’s murder with witness Henry Wiggins, Jr. While on the road above the tow path where Mary was killed, Wiggins heard “a whole lot of hollerin,” followed by a shot. He ran to the edge of the embankment, heard a second shot, looked down toward the canal, and saw an African American man standing over Mary Meyer’s body. Wiggins described the “Negro male” as having a “medium build, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches, 185 pounds.” Wiggins said the man was wearing a beige zippered jacket, dark trousers, dark shoes, and a dark plaid cap. What was Crump wearing that day? According to his neighbor, who remembered Crump passing that morning, Crump had been wearing, quoting Janney, “a yellow sweat shirt, a half-zipped beige jacket, dark trousers, and dark shoes.” Quoting the neighbor, via Janney, “he had on a kind of plaid cap with a bill over it.” That’s a pretty exact match.
Crump would eventually get off because his very astute lawyer, Dovey Roundtree, harped on the height discrepancy. Her client was much shorter than 5'10". His driver’s license, says Janney, said he was 5'3½" and 130 pounds. But Janney doesn’t tell us when Crump got his license. Lots of kids sprout another inch or two (or more) after getting their driver’s license. Your height isn’t verified when you renew your license. In addition, Janney tells us the police measured Crump upon his arrest and recorded his height as 5'5½". Janney says “it’s not clear” whether Crump was measured with the 2" heels he was wearing that day. Even my doctor makes me take my shoes off to weigh me and to check my height. I have trouble believing the police would do less, especially in a murder investigation, and especially when the person was not in flat-soled shoes. So I believe, from Janney’s own evidence, that Ray was likely 5'5½", wearing 2" heels, putting his overall height at 5'7½", close enough to Wiggins’ lower end of 5'8". Janney also quotes Crump’s emotionally invested lawyer Roundtree as saying Crump was shorter than her. But if she were wearing heels, and if Crump were wearing prison flats, that could explain her perspective. (At one point Janney is naïve enough to say Roundtree would never have represented a guilty man. Clearly, the woman believed Crump was innocent. But that doesn’t mean her faith in him was justified.)
In addition, Janney shows, in a picture, that Crump was a fairly normal-sized man, not skinny, not heavy. A “medium build,” just like Wiggins described. And Crump weighed in at 145 pounds, which was fifteen pounds more than the weight on his driver’s license. Does Janney want us to believe Crump had 15-pound shoes on? Or was it simply that time had clearly passed between the time the young man got his driver’s license and the time of his arrest? And if the young man had gained weight, couldn’t the young man have grown a couple of inches, too? (I knew someone who was short until he went to college, where he suddenly grew by several inches.) If Crump was only 5'3", 145 pounds would have made Crump look downright stocky. That many pounds on a 5'5½" frame, however, would look simply healthy, matching what we see in the picture Janney provides of Crump on the day of his arrest.
I asked a police officer just before finishing this review if people were measured with shoes on. “Sometimes,” the officer replied. “What if the person had 2" heels on?” “It happens,” the officer said a bit sheepishly, to my surprise. So let’s assume for a second that the police did measure Crump with his shoes on, and that Crump really was just 5'3½" tall. That still doesn’t discount Wiggins’ identification. Wiggins was looking down on him from above, and that foreshortened perspective could easily have affected Wiggins’ height estimate.
In addition, Crump lied to the officer who arrested him several times, immediately. The officer asked Crump if he had worn a jacket and cap. Crump said no, but a beige-zip up jacket was found nearby that fit him perfectly, as did a plaid hunting cap that was also found nearby. (Nina Burleigh, A Very Private Woman, p. 234). In response to the question of why he was dripping wet, Crump claimed he had been fishing and fallen in the water. But he had no fishing tackle on him, and his fishing equipment was still in his garage at home. Asked why his hand was bleeding, Crump claimed he had cut it on a fishhook (Burleigh, p.265). His pants were unzipped and when the officer asked why, Crump said because the officer had roughed him up. Crump sounded more like a pathological liar than an innocent man.
The officer concluded Crump was a likely suspect and that he had jumped in the river to attempt to swim away. Janney tells us that was impossible because Crump couldn’t swim. But plenty of people would choose water over arrest if they thought that was their only chance of escape. Anyone can dog paddle. You don’t need to know how to swim to attempt to do so. Janney explained the wetness by saying Crump had fallen asleep drunk after a tryst with a girlfriend, after which he woke and stumbled into the river. Nina Burleigh discounted this because Crump only came up with this after his fishing rod was found at his home. In other words, this wasn’t an explanation; it was just another excuse.
Janney trots out the suggestion that Crump’s arrest and prosecution were racially motivated. Yet Wiggins, the original witness, was himself a black man. Three-quarters of the jury was black. Dovey Roundtree was black. If anyone ever got a fair shake, it was Crump. Crump would later be arrested 22 more times(!) for crimes that included raping a 17-year-old daughter of a friend, dousing his second wife’s home with gasoline and setting fire to it while she and her children were inside, and threatening his second wife with a gun to the point where she jumped out a window to escape him, breaking her ankle and fracturing her collarbone in the process.
Janney tries to argue that a sweet young man was turned to a life of crime after having been jailed for a crime he didn’t commit. That is provably untrue, and Janney should have known that. Janney quotes from Nina Burleigh’s book A Very Private Woman, a biography of Meyer in which Burleigh discusses her murder in depth. But Burleigh pointed out that Crump had a criminal record before the Mary Meyer murder. Did Janney just miss that crucial bit of information? Or did Janney choose not to share that information with his readers because it would not further his argument?
And so, we get to the crux of the problem with Janney’s book. He discounts evidence that discredits his thesis, no matter how credible, and props up information that supports it, no matter how insubstantial. I find that disturbing. If it only happened a couple of times, that’s understandable. We all make mistakes. But when it becomes a pattern, there are only two possible conclusions: either Janney really doesn’t understand the evidence, or he hopes we don’t.
RFK assassination witness tells CNN there were two shooters in the pantry
There's a big new story at CNN from a pantry witness who wants to see the cover-up stop:
I'm told video may be added to that link at some point tomorrow, so check back if you don't see any. Right now, it's just an article. But I hear more media is coming.
The marginalization of "free speech"
It started back at one of the Republican Conventions a few years ago. Remember how protesters were limited to designated "Free Speech Zones"? Those who stepped outside the zone were arrested.
What the heck? That's not what our forefathers envisioned for us. Jefferson and others argued the need for an informed electorate and honest debate. As I look around, I see little of either. "Debates" still occur between competing members of the 1% or those most eager to serve them. What about the rest of us?
Today, I nearly missed a protest downtown. It wasn't the first time, or even the fifth time. Building security prevents building tenants from entering or exiting the building on the side where the protestors are marching. The result is that tenants often don't even know about protests happening right under their noses.
And thus, slowly, our free speech is taken away, not through laws, but through the incremental marginalization of protest. Don't let it happen.
That said, sometimes protestors simply self-marginalize. They are too loud, too dirty, too obnoxious. Or they don't play the game well. For example, I recently and quite accidentally encountered a ghoulish group protesting healthcare - I think they were the ghosts of healthcare past or something. It was a creative protest, but it was downtown, which is nearly unpopulated on a weekend. Who were they hoping would stumble upon this?
I wish activists could get smarter. Really strategize. Who is the audience you wish to reach? Don't bother to hold a protest until you have at least some idea of your media strategy. What is the bumper sticker for your protest? What is the result you want? Don't just be "against" something - figure out what you are for. You're against bad healthcare, but what does good healthcare look like?
There is so much worth fighting for. But life seems so short. There is so much that needs to improve. It's important to prioritize and not just complain, but fight smart. Make the case for what you want, not what you DON'T want. It narrows the options and makes your agenda crystal clear so people can decide whether they support that or not.
Blah blah blah. It's so easy to criticize from the sidelines, and I'm as guilty of that as the rest. I do applaud the passion of the people out in the streets. Even an ineffectual protest is better than none at all, and we all learn by doing, so whatever you are doing, keep at it. I just implore you to try to focus and hone your messages a tad. A beam of light will reach much further when focused. Ditto your message. The more tightly focused, the futher its reach.
I also feel compelled to talk about infiltrators. In every movement there are four types of people: people who naturally lead, people who naturally follow, people who wish to deliberately mislead (and often succeed), and those who have their hearts in the right place but their ego is in the way. If you lead for the adoration, the money, or the fame, you're doing it for the wrong reason. You may accomplish some good, so more power to you. But you may also keep others who are more competent from letting their light shine. Know when to get out of the way.
And above all, if you have the money, donate to the people who are putting their bodies, hearts and minds on the line in ways you can't, or won't. All our rights have been won through the blood, sweat and courage of protestors. Do what you can to help them out.
And don't forget writers. Those of us who research and share our learning with the rest of you deserve some special consideration as well. I've given up a lot in traditional terms in order to find more truths to share. It's been a signficantly costly journey. Personally, I wouldn't trade it. But with more money, I could tell so much more. I'd love to tell you who really killed Dag Hammarskjold, or how the battle for newly "discovered" oil led directly to WWI and the Bretton Woods agreement hammered out in its aftermath. I'd love to tell you what Watergate was really about and why Nixon had to go. It's not what you normally read on the subject. But I can't. I don't have the time because I don't have the money. I, too, am a wage slave, trying to break free so I can share more of what I know. It's a constant battle. I've given up a lot to pursue the truth. But while the truth may set you free, the truth doesn't come cheap. It takes an enormous investment of time and energy.
I haven't been posting much of late because I just can't afford to blog for free anymore. I write for places that pay me. In my "free" time, I'm working on an amazing book about the RFK case, full of stuff you've never read elsewhere. I've got some serious data to share. But I lack the time to do it justice because I have bills to pay.
I'm not asking for a personal donation. I'd love you to donate to www.consortiumnews.com
, or www.ctka.net
. Those are the only two sites truly devoted to giving you important information, all the time. If you have even $10 to spare, please consider making a donation. If you have a couple of thousand, please. don't waste it on a political candidate. Give it to someone who can amplify the message so the candidate must follow the will of the people, instead of ignoring it. The media is the medium by which the next revolution will or will not happen. Help it along.
Thanks, as always, for listening, for participating, for caring. It's what makes readers of Real History very special. "They" may be marginalizing free speech. But all of us have the power to support it.