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Dr. Gregg Wager

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About Dr. Gregg Wager

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  • Birthday 09/16/1958

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    http://www.angelfire.com/music2/greggwager
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    California
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    I am a guest professor of music composition at the Korean National University of the Arts in Seoul. I am also a composer, author, and critic.

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  1. You will find it in Mark Lane's Plausible Denial: Was the CIA Involved in the Assassination of JFK (1991) pages 335-360. Thanks. Actually, for the record, I did read Plausible Denial years ago, about the E. Howard Hunt libel case that Lane litigated. I must have skimmed over the Brief too quickly. Also, glad to see Jim DiEugenio participating here.
  2. A superb start to an incredibly massive but important explanation behind the second half of the 20th-century. Never forget that Mark Lane was hired by Oswald's mother to be his posthumous attorney. The "Brief" Lane finally published would probably have been the court document officially submitted as Oswald's defense attorney (although I admit I haven't read it--I'll be looking for it now). Lane was allowed to "testify" for the Warren Commission and audit the proceedings, but his request to cross-examine witnesses was denied. The references to Frances Stoner Saunders are also extremely important, as this book has certainly opened up a brand new category in my field--musicology. The de-Nazification of West Germany included very successful efforts (especially by the Rockefellers) to make New York City the art center of the world. Nelson Rockefeller's hold on South America (where the OSS was not allowed to go during World War II) helped with recruiting many of America's first classical music stars. Also never forget that Tom Braden represented the "left" in an American television show during the 1980s called "Crossfire," which was a completely manipulative reframing of the political issues during those days. The "right" was represented by usually Robert Novak or Pat Buchanan. Talk about managing the NCL! I'd also like to add that I recently read David Harris's memoir "Dreams Die Hard," mostly for the information there on Allard Lowenstein, who was the 1960s version of an NCL. I even got Harris (a famous 1960s campus radical and the former husband of Joan Baez) to answer an email regarding the way Lowenstein (who used to publically debate William F. Buckley in a left-v.-right format) used to kibbitz Vietnam protesters and those college students participating in the Mississippi vote drives and civil rights programs in the South. Lowenstein was constantly recruiting suitable youngsters for a CIA-run organization called the National Student Association and eventually was by and large responsible for getting rid of Lyndon Johnson by promoting primarily Eugene McCarthy for President in 1968, but also Robert Kennedy. Interesting to think of these efforts in 1968 as a way to divide the Democratic Party, instead of simply to end the Vietnam War. Harris did not believe that Lowenstein could have been knowingly working for the CIA as a sort of manager for the left, even though he famously gave speeches during the Mississippi gatherings denouncing Communism. Lowenstein was confronted many times about his possible involvement with the CIA, but he always denied it. Nonetheless, Lowenstein was also assassinated in 1980 by a lone crazed schizophrenic who had been a former protege, Dennis Sweeney (who is still alive, I believe).
  3. I hope that anyone investigating Churchill will consider carefully this anecdote by Fletcher Prouty: http://www.prouty.org/coment11.html Keep in mind, Prouty is simply relating what Stalin (who was probably not reliable) told Roosevelt's son. Prouty has been unfairly maligned. He is a careful scholar and an important eyewitness to many of these events. Good luck with investigating airplane crashes. I hope insight into the recent crashes in America of Mel Carnahan (in 2000) and Paul Wellstone (in 2002) will be of relevance. Best, Dr. Gregg Wager http://www.angelfire.com/music2/greggwager
  4. Dr. Gregg Wager

    An interview with Joseph Trento

    A lot of JFK researchers might know Joseph Trento’s name from Mark Lane’s PLAUSIBLE DENIAL. I am very glad that I recently decided to sit down and read Trento’s THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE CIA from cover to cover. Perhaps Trento is great example of how to expose secrets while writing history since he has painstakingly put what might otherwise be insignificant, albeit strange, facts into focus, even though I strongly disagree with at least one of his conclusions. Trento discusses at length his interviews with the mysterious historical figure James Jesus Angleton, perhaps even getting too close to this beguiling and sneaky head of CIA counterintelligence. Trento gives us in depth and intelligent insights into the lives of certain important spies, whose lives and influence had been by and large invisible to the general public: there’s Soviet spy Igor Orlov (whose real name was Alexandr Kopatzky) who ran a art framing shop outside Washington DC; Yakterina Fursetseva, who Trento believes “handled” Lee Harvey Oswald for the KGB; the morbid imprisonment and torture on American soil of Yuri Nosenko; and finally CIA man George Weisz, whose mysterious murder in 1980s remains unsolved. Accounts of these bizarre lives are must-reading for any student of Cold War spying. The great flaw I believe Trento made in the book was getting too close to Angleton, and taking undo stock into Angleton’s version of the JFK assassination: that Oswald was a KGB agent. In Trento’s epilogue, he writes that Angleton’s onetime close friend, Soviet spy Kim Philby, was responsible for spreading rumors on behalf of the KGB that the CIA killed JFK. On page 477, Trento writes: “Angleton was convinced that Philby was behind the propaganda campaign, now confirmed in the Mitrokhin materials, in which the KGB leaked stories that the CIA was behind the [John F.] Kennedy murder.” The “Mitrokhin materials” Trento refers to are papers former KGB employee Vasili Mitrokhin claims are copies of top secret files, which he turned over to British intelligence agents and were published as THE SWORD AND THE SHIELD (Basic Books, 1999). The trouble is, there is no mention in this book whatsoever of such false rumors by Philby, let alone a “confirmation,” let alone anything, that would link the KGB to the JFK assassination. It appears as if Angleton, ever the clever spook, fooled Trento into turning suspicions about the JFK assassination away from the CIA (where such suspicions belong). Perhaps Trento’s otherwise excellent research proves one thing: we all must familiarize ourselves with history and make our own versions and conclusions. He is an important writer.
  5. Dr. Gregg Wager

    An Interview with Jim Marrs

    I have read both Jim Marrs’s CROSSFIRE and RULE BY SECRECY. In fact, I finished the latter recently and even remember sending Marrs a message about it. Marrs is an extraordinary writer and his books have a grassroots quality to them, which are stylistically a wonderful change of pace from typical journalistic or history books. I sometimes find his mind is more open than mine about certain things, especially in his RULE BY SECRECY book. I wrote my doctoral dissertation about composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, a topic which required that I study and evaluate UFO theories and the theories of Erich van Däniken. No one can deny the mysteries presented by such things, but it is quite a leap to say that either camps of thinking are proof of extraterrestrial visitations. Marrs’s study of the Priory of Sion is especially worthwhile, not to mention timely now that his movie THE DA VINCI CODE is out. Whether you believe the Priory of Sion theories or not, it is one of the worst atrocities a historian can commit to omit such things from history, even if they are untrue. I personally believe that the Priory of Sion was a viscous hoax by right-wing minded Europeans trying to restore the French monarchy by proving the Merovingian Dynasty was directly descended from Jesus Christ. That may discredit its historical validity per se, but not the historical validity of how such a hoax changed people’s minds and influenced their politics. There is a danger that mixing UFO and Erich van Däniken theories with the theories of JFK’s assassination contaminates that which has been proven scientifically or are downright immutable facts (such as coroner Cyril Wecht’s conclusions about the “pristine bullet”; or even the entire premise of this forum, as stated eloquently by John Simkin, that the HSCA investigation revealed that there probably was a conspiracy in the JFK assassination, which should have trumped once and for all the conclusions of the Warren Commission, and which continues to be ignored by the mainstream press). Nonetheless, it is important to take note of people’s suspicions and how they motivate certain things in history.
  6. Dr. Gregg Wager

    Best Democratic System

    America now has the oldest democratic system in the world, although the case could be made that this system broke down long ago, especially if you believe that John F. Kennedy may have been killed in a coup d'etat. If you mean by "best" a system where democracy is in its truest form, that becomes a very subjective question. I lived in Germany for five years and believe that their democracy has a much truer representation of the various types of people there than American democracy, which tends to be more cosmetic and corrupt. The German press is also much more intelligent and proves that literacy and the ability to analyze complex situations becomes an important factor on how useful the average citizen's vote becomes. On the other hand, I found the justice system in Germany to be very lethargic and backwards, compared to the still remarkable accomplishment of the justice system in America. My wife is Korean and I have visited South Korea several times and learned more about its history. It is interesting to note that although America has recognized South Korea as one of its closest allies since World War II, it was run by a dictator up until the 1970s. Then again, the economic boom that South Korea went through in the 1980s brought with it great political and social reforms up to the present day. Americans used to brag that you could awe a Russian citizen by just taking them to an American super market. I was equally awed by visiting a South Korean super market, the likes of which simply don't exist in America, with fork lifts driving down the aisles, numerous employees at large display cases giving out free samples of food, or just the general bustle of the place. In the midst of our lingering Cold War zeal, one should never forget that Communism was intended as a democratic system of government that would be truer than all other types of democracies in Europe and the Americas. In practice, small things can create great tyrannies. In America, there has been an effort since the Reagan years to blame government for taking away personal freedoms. The problem with this perception is that in principle America has a democratic government and the more power you take from it, the more you might allow tyranny and undemocratic power to reign. In the end, I am unable to answer the question. If you are indeed looking for the truest form of democracy practiced in today's world, I would need more resources to make an accurate study, and, I suspect, the answer might even be a tiny country like Costa Rica or Iceland. I certainly wouldn't want to turn your question into a cheap form of patriotism by naming America, my country, the greatest democracy ever. Keep in mind that Hitler's Germany sprang from a democracy. The people can always vote to take away their right to vote, putting a dictator into power. That makes judging how a democracy functions a very difficult task.
  7. Dr. Gregg Wager

    Proportional Representation

    I would be hard pressed to imagine a democratic system without proportional representation. I suppose its possible, but I would most likely answer your question, yes, it is an important ingredient.
  8. Dr. Gregg Wager

    Iraq and Vietnam

    In terms of the body count, which admittedly ought not to be the standard, there were 58,000 American lives and 2 million Asian lives lost in the Vietnam conflict. We should be reverent to the Vietnam loss and tragedy, although your question asks if Iraq could become another costly conflict like this. That is one way to criticize what is going on in Iraq today, although it might be more helpful to weigh the similarities and differences. For example, Lyndon Johnson was highly criticized for getting $1 billion to his Texan friends, Brown and Root, to dredge the Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam. Today, Brown and Root is owned by Halliburton, the company that Vice-President Dick Cheney served as Chairman and CEO of between 1995 and 2000 and which is largely responsible for obtaining tens of billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq. There is also the perception that the Vietnam conflict really began in 1945, when America started arming Ho Chi Minh's Army, the political leader which we would eventually call our enemy. Likewise in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was our ally throughout the 1980s and the infamous "weapons of mass destruction" that we are supposed to be looking for today were, at least in the form of nerve gas, supplied to Saddam by the United States. On the other hand, the Vietcong were receiving support from the Soviet Union, while the so-called "insurgents" in Iraq do not have such support from a superpower. Also different is the official status of the conflicts: Vietnam was a "police action" without a declaration of war, while the "Iraq War" is the first time America has ever openly called such a conflict a "war" since World War II. There is also the erroneous view that the events of 9/11 led to the Iraq War. There were always ways to explain American presence in Vietnam from the Cold War and the Domino Principle, not to mention the trumped-up Gulf of Tonkin incident, but never anything quite as dramatic or wrongly exploited as an attack on American soil.
  9. Dr. Gregg Wager

    Removing Dictators From Power

    War should always be the last resort. Unfortunately, we have not arrived at a moment in history where we can do away with the option of war. Keep in mind that there is also the option of removing an "unpleasant political leader" without the use of military action, which in America has resulted in the CIA stepping in covertly to even kill a political leader. Certainly the standard for such things should be higher than merely "unpleasant." If a political leader is responsible for acts of genocide, breaking international law, or using his or her own military action to these ends, then the type of war that involves occupying another country and removing its leader is appropriate. Then again, one country does not have the means to police the world and attack every time an atrocity is committed.
  10. Dr. Gregg Wager

    Legislation and the Bible

    When a government declares that there is a separation of church and state, not to mention freedom of religion, then by definition it should not pass any laws on the grounds that it violates a religious teaching.
  11. Dr. Gregg Wager

    Morality and Income Tax

    The question is loaded, since you are putting everyone into a pot and considering their circumstances equally. Using the term "wage earner" (which is what I think you mean) also implies that everyone in this pot is earning some sort of wage, which is not true. The richest people derive wealth from investments and speculations, and the poor are usually either unemployed or earn something which could not be considered a regular wage. That being said, there are many other moral questions to consider, for example, is it moral for people to live in poverty or is it moral to make someone work more than 8 hours a day without earning a living wage or anything they could even call a regular wage. To specifically answer your question, I have a difficult time believing that anyone earning a winfall of money, even in a so-called "free" economic system, really has a moral "right" to that money. You might believe he or she should keep that money, but that is not a moral issue.
  12. Dr. Gregg Wager

    My Political Ideology

    Skeptical Democrat One of the reasons I joined the Education Forum was its excellent researchers of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. No other event in the 20th-century symbolizes the demise of American democracy than this murder. Even more than about unethical military or intelligence operations, this event also teaches us how modern media perpetuates a lie, despite compelling evidence, and controls its consumers by entertaining them, selling them products, and masterfully suggesting to them what should be their political ideology at the beginning of the 21st-century. Those of us with an inkling for truth, not to mention a hope that some day democracy might be restored, are constantly on the watch for the lie, especially when it concerns political ideology. We recognize how the skillful pundits and shills of television spin. We are also vigilant, for example, when something called "the Libertarian Party" sparks the imagination of young thinkers as a sort of modern-day anarchy ("in the tradition of the 19th-century Social Revolution," says Milton Friedman), when in actuality it is an invention of the powerful American oil barons, including the Rockefeller family, among others, and their think tank for schemes to subvert democracy in their favor, the University of Chicago. The wealthy rule over their acquisitions and want to do so without the fear of a Justice Department enforcing human rights. Today's popular "anti-government" sentiments are actually well-designed but deceptive anti-democracy sentiments, helping those who ruthlessly hold power to subvert the efforts of the less powerful trying to exercise their rights. If we want to preserve human rights and real freedoms, we should use our common sense, reflecting on situations where a group of people try to make a decision together, and not let bullies prevail.
  13. Dr. Gregg Wager

    Greatest Figure in the History of the World

    I'll extend a vote to Pythagoras. We couldn't have gotten very far in a civilization without that equation of his. He is also said to be the first to measure musical intervals with ratios.
  14. Dr. Gregg Wager

    Have you a sporting hero?

    Americans will always have their penchant for baseball (my favorite teams was the Oakland A's of 1972-4), not to mention our football. The most excited I have been about a sports event were the three boxing matches between Mohammad Ali and Joe Frazer.
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