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Robin Ramsay

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  1. LBJ and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

    Do we? I know we have Morales reported as saying - implying - that he was involved; and Martino is said to have known something. But beyond that? Are any of these people reliably reported as being on Dealey Plaza? It may be that as Howard Hunt is reported to have said to his son just before he died that there were several plots, one by CIA people. It still seems more likely to me that the Mac Wallace story is true; that LBJ's little criminal gang did it; that their little gang was seen by Roger Craig in the immediate aftermath. The idea that the Mac Wallace print was planted is implausible to me. If you are going to implicate him, why not do it with something more substantial? In any case the planted idea sounds like the classic move we all make to avoid having our theories falsified. Mac Wallace had already got away with murdering Marshall - why would they not think they could do it again in LBJ's backyard?
  2. TFX Scandal and the JFK assassination

    Do we? I know we have Morales reported as saying - implying - that he was involved; and Martino is said to have known something. But beyond that? Are any of these people reliably reported as being on Dealey Plaza? It may be that as Howard Hunt is reported to have said to his son just before he died that there were several plots, one by CIA people. It still seems more likely to me that the Mac Wallace story is true; that LBJ's little criminal gang did it; that their little gang was seen by Roger Craig in the immediate aftermath. The idea that the Mac Wallace print was planted is implausible to me. If you are going to implicate him, why not do it with something more substantial? In any case the planted idea sounds like the classic move we all make to avoid having our theories falsified. Mac Wallace had already got away with murdering Marshall - why would they not think they could do it again in LBJ's backyard?
  3. Politics & Paranoia

    Do we? I know we have Morales reported as saying - implying - that he was involved; and Martino is said to have known something. But beyond that? Are any of these people reliably reported as being on Dealey Plaza? It may be that as Howard Hunt is reported to have said to his son just before he died that there were several plots, one by CIA people. It still seems more likely to me that the Mac Wallace story is true; that LBJ's little criminal gang did it; that their little gang was seen by Roger Craig in the immediate aftermath. The idea that the Mac Wallace print was planted is implausible to me. If you are going to implicate him, why not do it with something more substantial? In any case the planted idea sounds like the classic move we all make to avoid having our theories falsified. Mac Wallace had already got away with murdering Marshall - why would they not think they could do it again in LBJ's backyard?
  4. LBJ and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

    I mean that having got interested in the assassination literature - in my case circa 1976 - I found myself following other trails which led off from the assassination: the cold war; Cuba; the CIA; Cointelpro etc. Without the interest in Dallas I might never have gone down these roads. Also I mean that stumbling into what became known as parapolitics – exemplified by Peter Dale Scott – influenced the way I then looked at American and British politics and, eventually, history. Whoever one choses as the assassination group on Dealey Plaza, that event was the climax of a great many elements within American cold war history and specifically Democratic Party politics. And the subsequent failure of the political-media system to do a half-decent investigation of the event said a great deal about the nature of political power in America. A lot of research has indeed been carried out since 1994 and in a sense the publication of that talk is embarrassing. On the other hand it is quite a good general intro to the story and that is what I thought then; the fact that we change our minds with experience and further reading should embarrass no-one. My current view is that expressed in my Who Shot JFK? The killing was done on behalf of LBJ to keep Johnson's political career alive. Fascinating though all the research into the CIA, anti-Castro Cubans, mafia and the entire Oswald-intelligence milieu is, all the trails peter out as we approach Dealey Plaza. JFK was bushwacked in Johnson's backyard; and Johnson was about to go down the pan through various corruption inquiries. The evidence supporting this is persuasive but not conclusive.
  5. Politics & Paranoia

    I mean that having got interested in the assassination literature - in my case circa 1976 - I found myself following other trails which led off from the assassination: the cold war; Cuba; the CIA; Cointelpro etc. Without the interest in Dallas I might never have gone down these roads. Also I mean that stumbling into what became known as parapolitics – exemplified by Peter Dale Scott – influenced the way I then looked at American and British politics and, eventually, history. Whoever one choses as the assassination group on Dealey Plaza, that event was the climax of a great many elements within American cold war history and specifically Democratic Party politics. And the subsequent failure of the political-media system to do a half-decent investigation of the event said a great deal about the nature of political power in America. A lot of research has indeed been carried out since 1994 and in a sense the publication of that talk is embarrassing. On the other hand it is quite a good general intro to the story and that is what I thought then; the fact that we change our minds with experience and further reading should embarrass no-one. My current view is that expressed in my Who Shot JFK? The killing was done on behalf of LBJ to keep Johnson's political career alive. Fascinating though all the research into the CIA, anti-Castro Cubans, mafia and the entire Oswald-intelligence milieu is, all the trails peter out as we approach Dealey Plaza. JFK was bushwacked in Johnson's backyard; and Johnson was about to go down the pan through various corruption inquiries. The evidence supporting this is persuasive but not conclusive.
  6. As for the story about Blair being recruited to spy on CND - I have never understood what 'spying on CND' would entail. It was a public body, its offices were open to all. You could just walk in. What was there to spy on? Blair joined CND because, as a careerist he did whatever would make him acceptable to the powers-that-be. At the time the anti-nuclear thing in the Labour Party had the support of a majority of the party. Blair, as far as I can tell, never believed anything much and, according to one of his former law colleagues, would have joined the Tory Party had he not perceived that it took a long time to reach the top of that party. He correctly perceived that in Labour a good-looking young barrister would go far and quickly. He just wanted to be a big-I-am, something he has achieved in spades. I seem to recall that the Blair-MI5 story came from David Shayler. It might be true that Blair talked to one of the MI5 officers who sniffed round the Labour Party. I imagine that at the time, with the left-right conflict at full bore, lots of right-wing Labour MPs talked to MI5 officers, or to people who talked to MI5 officers (such as journalists). Blair's foreign policy doesn't need explaining. He did what Uncle Sam wanted (with God's support, apparently) and he persuaded himself that he was doing good. So-called 'liberal interventionism', which Blair tried to practice, is merely the latest in a long line of cover stories, rationalisations for American imperialism (with Uncle Sam's little chum, the UK, tagging along). What else needs explaining?
  7. Politics & Paranoia

    As for the story about Blair being recruited to spy on CND - I have never understood what 'spying on CND' would entail. It was a public body, its offices were open to all. You could just walk in. What was there to spy on? Blair joined CND because, as a careerist he did whatever would make him acceptable to the powers-that-be. At the time the anti-nuclear thing in the Labour Party had the support of a majority of the party. Blair, as far as I can tell, never believed anything much and, according to one of his former law colleagues, would have joined the Tory Party had he not perceived that it took a long time to reach the top of that party. He correctly perceived that in Labour a good-looking young barrister would go far and quickly. He just wanted to be a big-I-am, something he has achieved in spades. I seem to recall that the Blair-MI5 story came from David Shayler. It might be true that Blair talked to one of the MI5 officers who sniffed round the Labour Party. I imagine that at the time, with the left-right conflict at full bore, lots of right-wing Labour MPs talked to MI5 officers, or to people who talked to MI5 officers (such as journalists). Blair's foreign policy doesn't need explaining. He did what Uncle Sam wanted (with God's support, apparently) and he persuaded himself that he was doing good. So-called 'liberal interventionism', which Blair tried to practice, is merely the latest in a long line of cover stories, rationalisations for American imperialism (with Uncle Sam's little chum, the UK, tagging along). What else needs explaining?
  8. Politics & Paranoia

    I met Harlan in 1989. He came to visit me after ringing me up. (I describe the encounter in more detail in the book.) His story seemed bizarre but having read about MKUltra et al, not THAT bizarre. I didn't decide then whether or not I believed him or whether or no he was personally paranoid/deluded because he left me enough printed material for me to see that what he was describing was possible. If he wasn't a victim of this technology, given the the American state's track record of doing tests on unwitting suspects, some other people would be victims. In other words, what was important was the subject matter not Harlan's claims and their status. Subsequently I have accumulated a lot of material on this subject but have never managed to synthesise it - partly because of my lack of scientific knowledge. Harlan's claims raise a panoply of intellectual difficulties. Is he (and the other 'wavies') being 'beamed'? If he is being 'beamed', who is doing it? He says it is CIA but he has no way of knowing. Even if he is being 'beamed' and is told by those doing the 'beaming' that they are CIA, he has no means of knowing if they are telling the truth of not; and they would have every reason to lie. That nothing has appeared via FOIA requests to support his story is neither surprising nor significant. Nothing WOULD appear, would it? Almost 20 years after I first met Harlan and began collecting material in this field all I can say for sure is what I have said already many times in different forums: since the technology to do what he claims is being developed (and probably has long been developed) it is impossible to simply dismiss him and others like him as paranoid and deluded.
  9. Harlan Girard: A Case of Mind Control?

    I met Harlan in 1989. He came to visit me after ringing me up. (I describe the encounter in more detail in the book.) His story seemed bizarre but having read about MKUltra et al, not THAT bizarre. I didn't decide then whether or not I believed him or whether or no he was personally paranoid/deluded because he left me enough printed material for me to see that what he was describing was possible. If he wasn't a victim of this technology, given the the American state's track record of doing tests on unwitting suspects, some other people would be victims. In other words, what was important was the subject matter not Harlan's claims and their status. Subsequently I have accumulated a lot of material on this subject but have never managed to synthesise it - partly because of my lack of scientific knowledge. Harlan's claims raise a panoply of intellectual difficulties. Is he (and the other 'wavies') being 'beamed'? If he is being 'beamed', who is doing it? He says it is CIA but he has no way of knowing. Even if he is being 'beamed' and is told by those doing the 'beaming' that they are CIA, he has no means of knowing if they are telling the truth of not; and they would have every reason to lie. That nothing has appeared via FOIA requests to support his story is neither surprising nor significant. Nothing WOULD appear, would it? Almost 20 years after I first met Harlan and began collecting material in this field all I can say for sure is what I have said already many times in different forums: since the technology to do what he claims is being developed (and probably has long been developed) it is impossible to simply dismiss him and others like him as paranoid and deluded.
  10. Politics & Paranoia

    As for the behaviour of the Guardian, I would say: (1) which bit of the various semi-independent fiefdoms are we talking about? and then (2) which particular story? It is, of course, possible that the Guardian has been steered by the CIA for the last 50 years (much of the liberal-left has been). Certainly the recent editors have all been knee-jerk pro NATO, pro American. But that isn't likely. To me the Guardian looks like pretty typical 'right-on' herd behaviour. If the peer group of the various journos decrees that - say - multiculturalism is a Good Thing then other voices don't get in and counter-factual evidence is ignored. Equally, Bad Things - eg nationalism - don't get a look in. But this is where the fiefdom thing arises because the Guardian economics editor, Larry Elliot, though he wouldn't use the term, is de facto an economic nationalist. But this is guesswork on my part. I've only been in the Guardian office twice and no current Guardian journalists subscribes to the magazine.
  11. Journalists and the Assassination of JFK

    As for the behaviour of the Guardian, I would say: (1) which bit of the various semi-independent fiefdoms are we talking about? and then (2) which particular story? It is, of course, possible that the Guardian has been steered by the CIA for the last 50 years (much of the liberal-left has been). Certainly the recent editors have all been knee-jerk pro NATO, pro American. But that isn't likely. To me the Guardian looks like pretty typical 'right-on' herd behaviour. If the peer group of the various journos decrees that - say - multiculturalism is a Good Thing then other voices don't get in and counter-factual evidence is ignored. Equally, Bad Things - eg nationalism - don't get a look in. But this is where the fiefdom thing arises because the Guardian economics editor, Larry Elliot, though he wouldn't use the term, is de facto an economic nationalist. But this is guesswork on my part. I've only been in the Guardian office twice and no current Guardian journalists subscribes to the magazine.
  12. Journalists and the Assassination of JFK

    Interesting question, John. The 'language problem' arises because if one talks of conspiracy except in the context of a criminal conspiracy, willy-nilly one evokes conspiracy theories, which, in turn evokes David Icke, lizards, the X-Files et al. (Fifty years ago it evoked the John Birch Society, or the various fringe neo-nazi groups still clinging to the Jewish conspiracy theory.) Anthony Summers made the essential distinction years ago saying that he wasn't interested in conspiracy theories but was interested in theories about conspiracies. A goodly part of my book of public talks, Politics and Paranoia (Picnic Publishing, 2008), is various attempts to make and elaborate this distinction, to try and persuade various audiences that they should resist the automatic association between conspiracy and conspiracy theories. This language problem is particularly acute when one is dealing with academics and the higher media. For virtually all of them the association of conspiracy with all manner of idiocies is automatic and armour-plated. This seems to serve as a defence mechanism for both groups who use it bat away information and views which conflict with what they were taught at university in the academic study of politics and history. Having experienced this reaction many times in the last quarter of a century, I have acquired a profound respect for the human brain's inability to change its belief systems in any major way, even among - perhaps especially among - those who are professionally employed to evaluate political and historical data. If I was in charge of the world pharmacological research effort I would set it to producing something which enables people to overcome that initial defence mechanism which irrationally sorts data into the 'This can't be true/this can be true' categories. As to what we do about this - who knows? To my knowledge no-one has come up with a form or words which conveys conspiracy without evoking the dreaded conspiracy theorist label. I guess we just have to keep grinding away doing what our academic and media betters are supposed to be doing: trying to understand the nature of historical reality. But here is the same problem looked at from another angle. Are the higher media and academics actually engaged in trying to understand reality? All too often they are doing other things. Twenty years ago or so, when I first encountered members of the higher media, having assumed they were engaged, like me, in what we might naively call the pursuit of truth, I discovered that this simply wasn't true. They were engaged in: pursuing careers, getting a story before their rivals, fiddling expenses, paying their mortgages, planning their holidays, paying off scores - and mostly simply doing a job, which was to produce something their editors would approve of for publication or broadcast and which didn't cost too much. The 'pursuit of the truth' had nothing to do with it. As I say on one of the talks in my book, journalists are intensely suspicious of people they perceive as 'having an agenda' - especially when that agenda is 'the pursuit of the truth'. Since they are rarely engaged in this they are suspicious of people of who present themselves as so doing, presuming that, like them, they are engaged in other, secondary activities and are thus hypocrites or self-deluded in talking about 'the truth'. As far as I can tell this situation has only got a lot worse in the last twenty years (not that I have much contact with the higher media any more.)
  13. Politics & Paranoia

    Interesting question, John. The 'language problem' arises because if one talks of conspiracy except in the context of a criminal conspiracy, willy-nilly one evokes conspiracy theories, which, in turn evokes David Icke, lizards, the X-Files et al. (Fifty years ago it evoked the John Birch Society, or the various fringe neo-nazi groups still clinging to the Jewish conspiracy theory.) Anthony Summers made the essential distinction years ago saying that he wasn't interested in conspiracy theories but was interested in theories about conspiracies. A goodly part of my book of public talks, Politics and Paranoia (Picnic Publishing, 2008), is various attempts to make and elaborate this distinction, to try and persuade various audiences that they should resist the automatic association between conspiracy and conspiracy theories. This language problem is particularly acute when one is dealing with academics and the higher media. For virtually all of them the association of conspiracy with all manner of idiocies is automatic and armour-plated. This seems to serve as a defence mechanism for both groups who use it bat away information and views which conflict with what they were taught at university in the academic study of politics and history. Having experienced this reaction many times in the last quarter of a century, I have acquired a profound respect for the human brain's inability to change its belief systems in any major way, even among - perhaps especially among - those who are professionally employed to evaluate political and historical data. If I was in charge of the world pharmacological research effort I would set it to producing something which enables people to overcome that initial defence mechanism which irrationally sorts data into the 'This can't be true/this can be true' categories. As to what we do about this - who knows? To my knowledge no-one has come up with a form or words which conveys conspiracy without evoking the dreaded conspiracy theorist label. I guess we just have to keep grinding away doing what our academic and media betters are supposed to be doing: trying to understand the nature of historical reality. But here is the same problem looked at from another angle. Are the higher media and academics actually engaged in trying to understand reality? All too often they are doing other things. Twenty years ago or so, when I first encountered members of the higher media, having assumed they were engaged, like me, in what we might naively call the pursuit of truth, I discovered that this simply wasn't true. They were engaged in: pursuing careers, getting a story before their rivals, fiddling expenses, paying their mortgages, planning their holidays, paying off scores - and mostly simply doing a job, which was to produce something their editors would approve of for publication or broadcast and which didn't cost too much. The 'pursuit of the truth' had nothing to do with it. As I say on one of the talks in my book, journalists are intensely suspicious of people they perceive as 'having an agenda' - especially when that agenda is 'the pursuit of the truth'. Since they are rarely engaged in this they are suspicious of people of who present themselves as so doing, presuming that, like them, they are engaged in other, secondary activities and are thus hypocrites or self-deluded in talking about 'the truth'. As far as I can tell this situation has only got a lot worse in the last twenty years (not that I have much contact with the higher media any more.)
  14. An interview with Robin Ramsay

    It isn't quite true that 'conspiracy theory' was non-existent in 1963. It was, for example, at the heart of the Birchers' view of the world - indeed, of much of the far right on both sides of the Atlantic. What is true is that before the Internet, information was hard to get and mostly was acquired through newspapers and television. Thus the control of what we knew - and could find out - was more complete. The Internet has given us more information than we now what to do with - if we have the knowledge and patience to weed out the xxxx from the shinola. Cronkite was more important then than he would be today because there were fewer TV networks and thus prominent individuals became more significant. But there was considerable opposition to the war in Vietnam with the US political-media system: eg in State, CIA and even bits of the Pentagon, as well as the liberal media. It wasn't just Cronkite. Most people, then and now, are not interested in national or international news but only local news. Today's 'indy media' is in the same position vis-a-vis the mass of the population as someone standing on Times Square trying to sell the Daily Worker in 1963. Mostly no-one gives a f***. In these times etc have been going a long time and have not greatly inctreased their circulation - nor would they ever do so, even if they were given wall-to-wall free publicity on prime time. There is no mass interest in news per se. Only in times of emergency - depression, war - are the masses persuaded to take an interest in matters beyond the edge of their town/county. I don't know anything about the Fairness in Media Act but no such act which tries to make the corporate media report the world in ways not to their commercial advantage will get through Congress now or in the forseeable future.
  15. Most historians - by which I mean academic historians - do not trust subject matter which is recent (some more so than others, of course). I internalised and accepted academic standards of evidence and inference while an undergraduate. Thus I try to write in an academic way: assertions need evidence. Deciding which sources to believe is a mixture of things. (1) Do they themselves have sources? (2) Is what is being claimed consistent with what is already known? If not, how good is the evidence? Peer pressure, mostly. Being labelled a 'conspiracy theorist' is a career-damaging description; and most journalists and academics are interested in their careers first (and last).
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