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I. F. Stone and the Assassination of JFK


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 03:08 PM

Isador Feinstein Stone was probably the best known left-wing journalist at the time of the assassination of JFK. After working for several left-wing journals he established I. F. Stone's Weekly in 1953. Over the next few years Stone led the attack on McCarthyism and racial discrimination in the United States. Stone once stated that: "There was nothing to the left of me but The Daily Worker."

However, Stone was a passionate supporter of the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman who killed President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. In the first issue of I. F. Stone Weekly after the assassination Stone wrote: "It is always dangerous to draw rational inferences from the behavior of a psychopath like Oswald."

On the publication of the The Warren Commission Report Stone led the attack on those people like Bertrand Russell, Thomas G. Buchanan, Joachim Joesten, Mark Lane and Carl Marzani, who had proposed that there had been a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. Stone wrote:

All my adult life as a newspaperman I have been fighting, in defense of the Left and of a sane politics, against conspiracy theories of history, character assassination, guilt by association and demonology. Now I see elements of the Left using these same tactics in the controversy over the Kennedy assassination and the Warren Commission Report. I believe the Commission has done a first-rate job, on a level that does our country proud and is worthy of so tragic an event. I regard the case against Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone killer of the President as conclusive. By the nature of the case, absolute certainty will never be attained, and those still convinced of Oswald's innocence have a right to pursue the search for evidence which might exculpate him. But I want to suggest that this search be carried on in a sober manner and with full awareness of what is involved.

The Joesten book is rubbish, and Carl Marzani - whom I defended against loose charges in the worst days of the witch hunt - ought to have had more sense of public responsibility than to publish it. Thomas G. Buchanan, another victim of witch hunt days, has gone in for similar rubbish in his book, Who Killed Kennedy? You couldn't convict a chicken thief on the flimsy slap-together of surmise, half-fact and whole untruth in either book.


However, as John Kelin has pointed out in his book, Praise from a Future Generation, at the time Stone wrote this article: "the Warren Report had just been published and the twenty-six volumes of supporting evidence and testimony were still not available".

Is it possible that Stone was receiving funding for the I.F. Stone Weekly from the CIA? His defence of the Warren Report definitely helped shape the views of the left concerning the assassination of JFK.

http://www.spartacus.../USAstoneIF.htm

#2 John Simkin

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 05:21 PM

Peter: Did you mean to publish a comment on I. F. Stone?

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 07:26 AM

I. F. Stone used to be one of my heroes. John Kelin's account of his role in the cover-up (Praise from a Future Generation) definitely raises questions about his connections to the CIA. We know that I.F. Stone Weekly was in financial difficulties at the time (it eventually closed down in 1971). Did Stone receive money from the CIA? As Tom Braden pointed out, when he was in charge of distributing money to journalists, a significant proportion went to those who were seen as being on the "left" as the public would be much more likely to believe disinformation when it was coming from people who you trusted.

Stone's articles about the assassination are very puzzling. Normally, one would have expected Stone to have identified the flaws in the official account. He made a career out of this type of questioning. In the articles he wrote about the assassination and the Warren Report, he seems very keen to believe the official account. I don't expect him to necessarily believe that there was a conspiracy to kill JFK, but I would have thought he would have at least asked some of the unanswered questions. The fact that he did not do so, makes me highly suspicious of the agenda he was following.

Most of the early lone-gunman critics were on the left: Bertrand Russell, Thomas G. Buchanan, Joachim Joesten, Mark Lane, Carl Marzani, etc. There view was that JFK had been killed as part of a right-wing conspiracy. As far as the CIA was concerned, Stone was the ideal man to lead the attack on these critics as he was seen as America's leading left-wing journalist at the time.

There is also a very interesting passage in David McKean's book Peddling Influence (2004). While doing his research into Tommy Corcoran he discovered that during the 1930s he was paying Stone to write hostile articles about opponents of FDR. In the 1960s Corcoran was working as a "fixer" for LBJ. Concoran was also closely connected with the CIA and right-wing businessmen who were very hostile to the policies of JFK. Maybe, Concoran was paying Stone via the CIA to write those attacks on conspiracy theorists in 1963-64.

#4 Paul Rigby

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 11:07 PM

There is also a very interesting passage in David McKean's book Peddling Influence (2004). While doing his research into Tommy Corcoran he discovered that during the 1930s he was paying Stone to write hostile articles about opponents of FDR. In the 1960s Corcoran was working as a "fixer" for LBJ. Concoran was also closely connected with the CIA and right-wing businessmen who were very hostile to the policies of JFK. Maybe, Concoran was paying Stone via the CIA to write those attacks on conspiracy theorists in 1963-64.


Fascinating. Some more detail, please, from McKean's Peddling Influence!

#5 Pat Speer

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 09:01 PM

Isador Feinstein Stone was probably the best known left-wing journalist at the time of the assassination of JFK. After working for several left-wing journals he established I. F. Stone's Weekly in 1953. Over the next few years Stone led the attack on McCarthyism and racial discrimination in the United States. Stone once stated that: "There was nothing to the left of me but The Daily Worker."

However, Stone was a passionate supporter of the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman who killed President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. In the first issue of I. F. Stone Weekly after the assassination Stone wrote: "It is always dangerous to draw rational inferences from the behavior of a psychopath like Oswald."

On the publication of the The Warren Commission Report Stone led the attack on those people like Bertrand Russell, Thomas G. Buchanan, Joachim Joesten, Mark Lane and Carl Marzani, who had proposed that there had been a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. Stone wrote:

All my adult life as a newspaperman I have been fighting, in defense of the Left and of a sane politics, against conspiracy theories of history, character assassination, guilt by association and demonology. Now I see elements of the Left using these same tactics in the controversy over the Kennedy assassination and the Warren Commission Report. I believe the Commission has done a first-rate job, on a level that does our country proud and is worthy of so tragic an event. I regard the case against Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone killer of the President as conclusive. By the nature of the case, absolute certainty will never be attained, and those still convinced of Oswald's innocence have a right to pursue the search for evidence which might exculpate him. But I want to suggest that this search be carried on in a sober manner and with full awareness of what is involved.

The Joesten book is rubbish, and Carl Marzani - whom I defendd against loose charges in the worst days of the witch hunt - ought to have had more sense of public responsibility than to publish it. Thomas G. Buchanan, another victim of witch hunt days, has gone in for similar rubbish in his book, Who Killed Kennedy? You couldn't convict a chicken thief on the flimsy slap-together of surmise, half-fact and whole untruth in either book.


However, as John Kelin has pointed out in his book, Praise from a Future Generation, at the time Stone wrote this article: "the Warren Report had just been published and the twenty-six volumes of supporting evidence and testimony were still not available".

Is it possible that Stone was receiving funding for the I.F. Stone Weekly from the CIA? His defence of the Warren Report definitely helped shape the views of the left concerning the assassination of JFK.

http://www.spartacus.../USAstoneIF.htm


John, I just glimpsed through a book I have called I.F. Stone's Weekly Reader. It has a few of Stone's columns from Dec. 1963. I believe you can rest easy in that there is no way the writer of these columns was working for the CIA. In one, We All had a Finger on the Trigger, he blames society as a whole for the killing and mentions that most assume the CIA is in the assassination business but look the other way because they assume people like Castro oughta be killed. (I don't think there's any way he'd have written this if he were on their payroll.) He also mentions that "Whether it was done by a crackpot leftist on his own, or as the tool of some rightist plot, Van Der Lubbe style, the fact is that there are hundreds of thousands in the South who had murder in their hearts for the Kennedys, the President and his brother the Attorney General, because they sought in some degree to help the Negro." By the time of this column, the FBI report claiming Oswald acted alone had already been leaked and all the mainstream press was belching it out as gospel. I'd bet big bucks Stone was attacked for even hinting that the case was not as yet closed, and that right-wingers may have been behind it. As a follow-up column pointed out that LBJ was a poor replacement for Kennedy, and that "money and power have been the motivating passions of his life," Stone comes across as one of the harder sells of his time.

His eventual endorsement of the Warren Report was, of course, an exception.

#6 John Simkin

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 08:09 AM

I. F. Stone's son Jeremy has asked me to tell you about this new website on his father:

http://www.ifstone.org/

#7 Nathaniel Heidenheimer

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 07:22 PM

I first learned of I.F. Stone in some of the articles written by Alexander Cockburn written for The Nation magazine. Cockburn, like Stone, is considered left but also creates a strong (though unexamined) dichotomy between structural analysis, and something referred to --always with an implicit sneer-- as "conspiracy theory" Whether god created one of these on the sixth day and the other on the seventh is an alchemy never much explored by Sir Alex of Humbodt County.
Maybe hes' to busy running over "Wingnuts" who believe in the crazy conspiracy theory called global warming in his beloved muscle cars of the Kennedy administration. A close Encounter of the Langely kind would not be unprecedented for his niche market, left-liberal-borderline sort of publications.

I also noted on the IF Stone Page that they chose to "legitimate" him as a journalist through connections to The McNeil Lehrer Newshour and NBC. I know that his magazine was quite well known, but can one imagine a left of center magazine that was pro-conspiracy being so legitimated by the Corporate media?

#8 Paul Rigby

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 09:27 PM

On the publication of the The Warren Commission Report Stone led the attack on those people like Bertrand Russell, Thomas G. Buchanan, Joachim Joesten, Mark Lane and Carl Marzani, who had proposed that there had been a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. Stone wrote...


To which M.S. Arnoni, publisher and editor of The Minority of One, and then a reader of TMO, replied:

M.S. Arnoni, “A Commentator Fights a Reporter,” The Minority of One, November 1964 (Vol. VI, 11 [60]), p.5:

I.F. Stone, who puts out I.F. Stones’s Weekly, is Washington’s most honest reporter. But I.F. Stone, the reporter, is often at odds with I.F. Stone, the commentator, the latter possessing a distinct dislike of the former. The source of the conflict is the fact that the reporter keeps embarrassing the commentator, frequently digging up facts which no one but leftist dissenters want to hear anything about. That’s why the commentator about once a year comes up with something spectacular to restore the reporter’s good political graces with a few remaining lunch-time friends in various government offices.

Last year, an opportunity was provided by a New York rally of students who had just returned from a trip to Cuba, unauthorized by the State Department. Mr. Stone promised to address the rally, but when next its organizers heard from him it was the good offices of the daily press to which he sent a cancellation of engagement plus a renunciation of his would-be hosts as “out-of-this-world-leftists.”

It is obviously time to place this year’s sacrificial lamb on Stone’s personal altar of an imaginary shred of respectability. The sacrifice-bearer ostentatiously announces the high cost of this choicest of lambs: Let it be known that I pay my gods dearly, that I put at their feet not just anybody, but “my dear and revered friend, Bertrand Russell.” And to impress the anti-Russell veterans who might not think too much of this-Johnny-come-lately act, the penitent Mr. Stone offers oozing and cloying derision of the American left, which, in a new application of the Equal Guilt Doctrine, is equated with the HUAC, the Eastland Committee and the late Joe from Wisconsin.

Since Stone too sets a limit on thoughts which may be considered about America, anyone who, unlike himself, does not accept the Warren Commission’s Report “as conclusive” need not be debated; that man’s facts, charges, thoughts, suspicions, considerations are “dishonourable” and he is himself “either unscrupulous or sick.” Indeed, the very Mr. Stone who spends half of his professional life on perfectly legitimate conjecture, speculation and deduction, believes any and all conjecture pertaining to The Assassination to be a virtual crime.

Having duly delivered his sacrifice and having also thrown in a few smaller lambs to boot, it is now time to bow to the priests of the temple. Thus, pious Mr. Stone comes to the defense of Senator Russell of Georgia and Congressman Boggs of Louisiana as “highly respected” men, whose racist views have nothing “to do with their probity.” Of the other members of the Warren Commission, John J. McCloy is purified through the reliable process of having been Stone’s acquaintance, and Allen W. Dulles emerges as a man so remote from the faintest suggestion of intrigue that it is inconceivable that he would ever conspire against anyone and anything, particularly “with the secret service.” The crescendo of his hymn is reached when Mr. Stone laughs off any suggestion that such organizations as the FBI, the CIA and the Secret Service would ever conspire to keep something secret. (Does Congress pay them for much else?)

Like many sacrificial rituals, Mr. Stone’s too has certain unmentionables. Therefore his quotes from Lord Russell’s “16 Questions on the Assassination” (Sept. TMO) are orphaned as far as source is concerned. Which is understandable, if one considers that Mr. Stone’s October 5th newsletter was his annual petition for political respectability.

No doubt, about one year from now commentator Stone will again try to exculpate reporter Stone by carrying another sacrifice to the gates of Washington’s official residences. It is all because commentator Stone is terribly afraid of reporter Stone; he is also very inferior t him in intelligence, integrity and perceptiveness.


Harry E. Beller, M.D., “From Readers’ Letters: Stone’s Days of Atonement,” The Minority of One, December 1964, (Vol. VI, 12 [61]), p.43:

Your shrewd dissection of I.F. Stones, the reporter, and I.F. Stone, the commentator, in the November 1964 issue deserves commendation and confirmation.

I have regularly subscribed to Stone’s weekly, but just as ritualistically as Mr. Stone exhibits his “Al Chait Shechatanu [‘For the sins we have committed…,’a prayer on the Jewish High Holidays – Ed.] at least once a year, I have written him about his Day of Atonement.

I also subscribe to The Nation and have read and studied Professor Herbert L. Packer’s article on “The Warren Report” in the November 2nd issue. Both Stone and Packer, with their egos showing, use a discrediting technique. In effect they say, “We have studied this report, it is objective and reasonable. This who do not accept this gestational effort are personally or politically myopic.” Such predetermined conclusion dares one to read the report, for it is a covert threat challenging one to arrive at a dissenting opinion. With such disdain – book burning is not needed!

I shall continue to read Stone’s lucid, frequently revelatory Washington tidbits shunned by the daily press, and The Nation’s cleverly calmative analyses. For courage, decision, action I must pay homage to the likes and heirs of such as the Freedom Marchers.



#9 John Simkin

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 06:23 PM

Email that members might be interested in reading.

Dear Mr. Simkin, I am an admirer of your website and in the spirit of I.F. Stone, far be it for me to censor anything in it. However, I do take exception with the comment that was attached to the reproduced column by I.F. Stone concerning the Warren Commission. You are very correct that Stone was criticized for his support of the "lone gunman" Warren finding. However, the last comment in the Spartacus website on this is specious--hinting that Izzy might have been paid by the CIA which is why he wrote what he did!

In my biography of I.F. Stone, "All Governments Lie" I repeatedly emphasize Stone's life long attacks on such institutions as the FBI, CIA, NSA; he stated eloquently and often that such secret information gathering organizations were a dangerous force in a democracy. That he would have aligned himself in any way is ludicrous on its face.

I can't add much to your citation but on page 390 in my book, I had a small reference to the fact that, as far as anyone knew, Stone never wavered in his view that the commission was correct in its findings. I found nothing additional in his writings than the column you cite. In fact, I included this anecdote: when a conspiracy buff called Stone with some "important evidence" in 1966 Stone hung up on him, totally uninterested, according to the Website of the man who made the call. [Incidentally, I noted that on the 40th anniversary of the assassination, conspiracy arguments continued to abound in articles and on tv shows but that "despite new methods of examination, the Warren Report was still not disproved. In 2006, interested groups were still tryng to wrestle secrets on Kenedy's murder from a balking CIA." So the issue still continues, as you know.]

All the very best, Myra MacPherson


#10 Paul Rigby

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 10:04 PM

Email that members might be interested in reading.

[color="#8B0000"]Dear Mr. Simkin, I am an admirer of your website and in the spirit of I.F. Stone, far be it for me to censor anything in it. However, I do take exception with the comment that was attached to the reproduced column by I.F. Stone concerning the Warren Commission. You are very correct that Stone was criticized for his support of the "lone gunman" Warren finding. However, the last comment in the Spartacus website on this is specious--hinting that Izzy might have been paid by the CIA which is why he wrote what he did!

In my biography of I.F. Stone, "All Governments Lie" I repeatedly emphasize Stone's life long attacks on such institutions as the FBI, CIA, NSA; he stated eloquently and often that such secret information gathering organizations were a dangerous force in a democracy. That he would have aligned himself in any way is ludicrous on its face.


Guilt-by-association, Stone-style, Nov 1960 v. guilt-by-association-is-shameful, Stone-style, October 1964.

CIA finance or bribery of Stone, Myra, is a perfectly plausible explanation for his extraordinary change of heart - actually, rank hypocrisy - on the subject of Dulles. Is there really a better explanation?

“Why Should the Heads of FBI and CIA Automatically Be Reappointed?,” I.F. Stone’s Weekly, November 21, 1960, p.3:

“There are even stronger reasons for regarding the head of the CIA as a political post to be changed by a new Administration. The head of the CIA plays a key role in many policy decisions. The presentation of intelligence findings is strongly colored by a man’s political outlook. Mr Dulles is a conservative Republican who spent most of his life as a top Wall Street corporation lawyer. There is as much reason for changing the head of the CIA as for changing the Secretary of State.”


“The Left and the Warren Commission Report,” I.F. Stone’s Weekly, October 5, 1964, p.2:

“I have criticised Allen W. Dulles constantly over the years. But I would not impute to him or any other member of the Commission conduct so evil as to conspire with the secret services to protect the killers of a President…This is what I call demonology…It implies that Allen Dulles would be a party to killing Kennedy and hushing up the truth because he lost his job after the Bay of Pigs. Such charges are as sloppy was they are wild, are dishonorable and dissolve the fabric of society. They seek to destroy a man’s reputation on the basis of evil surmise and guilt by association.”


Paul

#11 Paul Rigby

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 10:04 PM

Guilt-by-association, Stone-style, Nov 1960 v. guilt-by-association-is-shameful, Stone-style, October 1964.


Patsies and scapegoats in Greece, 1953, but not in 1963 America?

I.F. Stone’s Weekly, 25 April 1953, (Vol. 1, No. 15), p.3:

Ghost Walks in Greece

Readers of the Daily Compass may recall a series of columns I wrote last summer attacking as whitewash the belated report turned in on the George Polk murder by the newspaperman’s committee of which Walter Lippmann was chairman and for which Major General William Donovan of the OSS was chief investigator. That report took at face value the “confession” of the Greek newspaperman, Gregory Staktopolous, who said the CBS correspondent was killed by Communists on his way to interview the rebel leader, Markos. Why Communists should have killed a reporter sympathetic to their own cause and critical of the Greek government was never explained.

It would be more logical for supporters of the Greek government to kill Polk. This is the logic the government avoided by the “confession” of Staktopolous. That the government made a deal for that confession is indicated by new revelations from Greece. The Athens newspaper Apoyevmatini last week disclosed that Staktopolous, sentenced to life imprisonment for complicity in the Polk murder, is not in jail but held in the headquarters of the Salonika security police, given special treatments and even allowed to walk about the streets.

Two days later the Associated Press man in Athens filed a despatch beginning, “Athens, April 15 – Gregory Staktopolous stepped into jail last night for the first time since he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1949 as an accomplice in the slaying of George Polk…” Few papers ran the dispatch. None queried Athens for more details. What’s a little murder and a frame-up among friends?



#12 Nathaniel Heidenheimer

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 06:53 PM

See this article on I.F. Stone from the Left liberal site Common Dreams. Then also see my link to this site, and another posters comment about this site. This could be a chance to educate many on the nature of "left-gatekeeping"



http://www.commondre...008/06/16/9646/

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer, 17 June 2008 - 06:54 PM.


#13 Paul Rigby

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 07:05 PM

See this article on I.F. Stone from the Left liberal site Common Dreams. Then also see my link to this site, and another posters comment about this site. This could be a chance to educate many on the nature of "left-gatekeeping"



http://www.commondre...008/06/16/9646/


Nat,

You're the educator, deploy as you think appropriate:

I.F. Stone, “Donovan Shut His Eyes To Farcical Greek Trial,” The Compass, Sunday, 10 August 1952, pp.5 & 24:

The white wash report issued by the Lippmann committee on the murder of CBS correspondent George Polk gives the impression that the American correspondents on the scene agreed with Gen. William J. Donovan that the trial with which the Greek government closed the case was “efficiently and honestly conducted.”

One needs only turn to the CBS broadcast on the trial, reprinted as an appendix to the report, to see that this was not true. CBS sent its Rome correspondent, Winston Burdett, and its Middle East correspondent, Alexander Kendrick, to cover the trial of the Greek newspaperman, Stakhtopolous, who had at last confessed what the Greek government wanted the world to believe.

The Greek government’s “thesis,” as Burdett said in that broadcast, was that Polk – though critical of the Greek government and friendly to the Communist rebels – was killed by the Communists for the purpose of “discrediting the Government, and thus halting American aid.”

“Often,” Burdett said of the trial, “the judges seemed more concerned to prove this thesis than to determine the exact degree of guilt of the accused man.”

Burdett described “their anxiety to impress the world with the innocence of the Greek government.” He said this was “reflected in their leading questions.” Witnesses were asked, “Who had the most to gain from killing him and then advertising the murder? What’s your personal opinion?” Burdett added, “Invariably, witnesses answered that the Communists must have done it.”

Donovan was supposed to be investigating the murder of Polk on behalf of a committee of distinguished American newspapermen headed by Walter Lippmann. Yet he managed to overlook the most important aspect of the trial from the standpoint of American foreign correspondents. Let us turn again to that CBS broadcast on the trial. This time it is Alexander Kendrick speaking.

Kendrick said that a great deal of the testimony “revolved about personalities, thoughts, methods and writings of foreign correspondents in Greece – especially American correspondents.” The trial ended, Kendrick told the radio audience that day, with a series of vitriolic attacks by the Greek rightist press against foreign correspondents, “calling them spies, Communist dupes, fellow-travelers, drunkards, liars, bar-flies.”

The CBS correspondent said: “It was sometimes hard to figure out whether this was a trial for the murder of Polk, or a trial of Polk and other foreign correspondents who have tried to report the Greek story objectively to American listeners and readers.” Kendrick declared that what shock him most “about some of the trail testimony was the undercurrent of feeling that the United States has nothing to complain about, because only one American correspondent was murdered whereas several others might have been, and indeed, perhaps should have been.”

Like Donovan, the American Consul General in Salonika, Raleigh Gibson, also managed not to see this aspect of the trial. Gibson told the press the trial was “conducted in a way that the Greek judiciary should be proud of.” And Donovan, as we have seen, informed Lippmann that Gibson was the kind of a Consul General Americans should be proud of. Let us check again with the broadcasts by the CBS men at the trial.

Burdett told the radio audience when the trial ended: “The most startling thing for Western observers was the fact that under Greek law there are no rules of evidence at all.” Burdett said: “Everything from vague hearsay to personal opinion is tossed in together.” The judges displayed their partisanship openly. Burdett described the scene: “From the bench came a shower of leading questions that would have made an American lawyer in an American court demand a mistrial then and there.”

Donovan is an experienced and able trial lawyer. It is extraordinary how much he managed not to see in that courtroom. “The story of the murder itself,” Dr. E. M. Morgan had warned Walter Lippmann in that analysis of the Stakhtopolous confession withheld until now, “is fantastic.” The fantasy was lost on Donovan. But Burdett noted: “For the story of the actual murder, we have only the word of one man,” Stakhtopolous.

Professor Morgan, on analyzing the confession at the request of the Lippmann committee a month before the trial, said “the whole performance cries out for cross-examination.” Burdett indicated some of the discrepancies at the trial which called for sharp questioning.

Stakhtopolous claimed to have taken Polk in a taxi to the harbour where the CBS man met his death. “No Salonika taximan remembers them,” Burdett reported.

Stakhtopolous claimed to have dined that night with Polk at the Luxembourg Café. “The café proprietor,” Burdett pointed out, “does not remember seeing them that night.”

The autopsy showed that Polk had dined on lobster. “The proprietor,” Burdett went on, “also says that he did not serve lobster that night.”

Though these discrepancies were pointed out to the prosecutor, he never summoned the local taximan nor the proprietor as a witness.

Stakhtopolous testified that when he was put ashore that night “Polk’s unconscious bleeding body still lay in the rowboat.” Only later did his murderers throw the body into the bay. Burdett asked: “Why? What is the object of a bound man in a boat if you return to shore with his body aboard?” Burdett added: “The Greeks are poor cross-examiners and nobody thought of asking Stakhtopolous about that.”

The truth is that the trial was a subtle piece of flim-flam. It was a trial in which there was no one anxious to cross-examine because both the prosecution and the defense were on the same side. Stakhtopolous had confessed the theory the Greek government had advanced from the beginning.

Another American newspaperman who covered the trial put his finger on the crucial point. Tender-hearted Constantine Poulos, a newspaperman of integrity, an American of Greek origin who knew the language and the country well, attended the trial for the Newsmen’s Commission of Investigation (not to be confused with the Lippmann committee).

Poulos summed up his impressions in an article for the May 28, 1949, issue of The Nation. He began by reporting that just before the jury retired, the prosecutor said: “Legally, I am required to be on this side of the court. Actually, my position is beside the defense. We are on the same side. We agree as to the perpetrators of the crime. The only difference between us is whether or not Gregory Stakhtopolous knew that Polk was to be murdered.” Who was to cross-examine when the prosecutor and the defense agreed on the theory of this crime?

As Polous wrote in The Nation: “From the moment Polk’s body was found in the Bay of Salonika the Greek authorities have insisted that he was murdered by the Communists. This trial, conducted by the same authorities, was designed to prove they were right.”

Lippmann and his colleagues were not born yesterday. They knew what was happening. But to stand up for justice would have been to clash with the powers that be, to risk one’s own liaison with that nice warm intimate world of State Department contacts, to invite suspicion upon oneself. To suggest that maybe there was one crime which was not committed by the Communists had its dangers. And they went along.

Now three years later, in the midst of the summer doldrums, with the murder almost forgotten, they drop their final report into the hopper, as if deliberately to attract as little attention as possible, like shamefaced men walking rapidly away from a crime they should have averted. Between the lines, from under the unctuous phrases, from amid the smugly self-serving declarations, one may still reconstruct the way that they and General Donovan and the State Department helped the Greek government hush up pertinent facts on the murder of newspaper colleague, a decent and fine young man, an honourable reporter.

The committee says ingenuously that it “hopes this case will not be forgotten.” Some day perhaps the truth will be known, and these men will blush for their role in its unfolding. It would take the bitter pen of a Juvenal adequately to sum up this typical example of a spectacle familiar in every age and society – the readiness of the respectables to gloss over the worst crimes rather than risk their own standing in the circles of wealth and power.



#14 Nathaniel Heidenheimer

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 03:46 AM

Interesting gulf between this description and his reaction to the WC. From this gulf I see Harry Reid rising with like a pheonix with a sandwedge ready to christen a new Sands in Iraq.

Without Stone Wedges like this Reid Himself Would be Impossible.

#15 Paul Rigby

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 01:11 PM

Interesting gulf between this description and his reaction to the WC.


Understatement: I so admire it.

Paul




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