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Guest James H. Fetzer

Judyth Vary Baker: Living in Exile

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Pamela - as a fellow lover of history I like your openminded approach. I have read as much of Ms. Baker's material as I could. Her presentation is very strong but the material just doesn't ring true, and without documentation it seems more like the rant of a person without much of a life. Bu she deserved a thorough hearing for sure.

Paul,

I agree with you that everyone who is interested should read Judyth's material and then decide for themselves what to think. Based on Judyth's not using the objective documentation that puts her in proximity with LHO at Reily, I have no choice but to consider her book and statements speculative, as I do Haslam's MF+TMV, which happens to be a book I have been fascinated with since it came out.

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Pamela,

I viewed the limo at the Henry Ford last spring and it has obviously been modified. The hardtop on it is an attempt to distort history. The trunk area also seems different from the photos which I have viewed so many times.

I am curious as to how one becomes a trained historian. Are you referring to having academic degrees?

All the best on your upcoming projects.

Ken,

SS100X was gutted down to metal and rebuilt as a bulletproof car after the assassination. The timetable made it impossible for it to be used in the WC reenacment, so the primary crime scene was effectively destroyed by the rebuild. I am focusing on that timeline at NID. Subsequent to that I will make that information available also at ss100x.com.

I majored in history in the US and the UK. I also include the daily talks with my Father. I am, as a result, unable to look at events as a 'normal' person might, so it's not necessarily always a good thing. I hope my experiences can be of help to demonstrate to others how to weigh and evaluate evidence.

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Did they first catch sight of each other at a drinking fountain? Or did their eyes meet over a cup of coffee in the lunchroom?

It was at the Coke machine!

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Guest Robert Morrow

As an historian, I can say that Judyth had debunked herself (from a post on my Finding Judyth blog):

When I first made my agreement with Judyth Baker, to keep an open mind on what she had to say until her book came out, I was given an opportunity to bring everything to a halt right at the beginning. I did not realize the implications at the time, but just as the Vaughn Ferguson memo (released to me by mistake by NARA some years ago) kept haunting me until I realized its unique significance, so does the Judyth patter about how she and Lee met raise --yes, you guessed it -- a HUGE red flag.

I am a trained historian. I know, that can be hard to tell as I have a tendency to go on a lot and do a lot of teaching (yes, I am also a teacher, so I can't really help that). I was trained to study history on both sides of the Atlantic, and also by my father, who was a brilliant, though amateur, historian, who made his living as a metallurgical engineer. So while other families were weighing and evaluating the merits of sports teams, my Father and I were weighing and evaluating the different battles and aspects of WWII, for example. Or walking the fields at the Battle of Gettysburg (with my Mother and Sister, too). History was a living and breathing part of our lives. I had no choice but to follow where it lead. And, despite the heat I have taken in groups such as aaj, where Prof. McAdams refused to believe that an historian could demonstrate more than one position, I am glad that I did. Being able to weigh and evaluate history is invaluable, especially when dealing with something as convoluted as the assassination of JFK.

But back to the point -- Judyth. For seven years I asked the research community to give Judyth an open forum simply because she had objective documentation linking her to Lee Oswald. They both worked at Reily Coffee. They were both hired the same day. No, the documentation did not give evidence that they actually knew each other, but it did put them in proximity for a matter of a couple of months in the summer of 1963. And very important months they were too, as some of us believe the plot to assassinate JFK originated in NOLA that summer.

But what does Judyth do with this documentation? Does she take us through the awkward and possibly painful meeting of the undoubtedly snobby secretary and the grimy mechanic? Did they first catch sight of each other at a drinking fountain? Or did their eyes meet over a cup of coffee in the lunchroom?

According to Judyth, no. Lee and Judyth did NOT meet at Reily. She says they met at the Post Office.

Well, fine.

Let's take the ONLY OBJECTIVE DOCUMENTATION SHE HAS and throw it out the window!

If Judyth and Lee did not meet at Reily, how do we know they met at all? :-0

How do you know where and how Judyth and Oswald met? Historian? A historian should have an open mind, use critical thinking skills and always be willing to change their minds based on new or more compelling information.

They could easily have met at the post office. Or a small restaurant. Or the grocery store. I wonder how many folks have meet at the gym or church and said "Oh you work at such and such Big Company? What a coincidence - so do I!"

Usually good liars line up their stories so perfectly and truthtellers will have coincidences and minor flaws in it.

Having said that - I take anything Judyth says with a big grain of salt.

Edited by Robert Morrow

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As an historian, I can say that Judyth had debunked herself (from a post on my Finding Judyth blog):

When I first made my agreement with Judyth Baker, to keep an open mind on what she had to say until her book came out, I was given an opportunity to bring everything to a halt right at the beginning. I did not realize the implications at the time, but just as the Vaughn Ferguson memo (released to me by mistake by NARA some years ago) kept haunting me until I realized its unique significance, so does the Judyth patter about how she and Lee met raise --yes, you guessed it -- a HUGE red flag.

I am a trained historian. I know, that can be hard to tell as I have a tendency to go on a lot and do a lot of teaching (yes, I am also a teacher, so I can't really help that). I was trained to study history on both sides of the Atlantic, and also by my father, who was a brilliant, though amateur, historian, who made his living as a metallurgical engineer. So while other families were weighing and evaluating the merits of sports teams, my Father and I were weighing and evaluating the different battles and aspects of WWII, for example. Or walking the fields at the Battle of Gettysburg (with my Mother and Sister, too). History was a living and breathing part of our lives. I had no choice but to follow where it lead. And, despite the heat I have taken in groups such as aaj, where Prof. McAdams refused to believe that an historian could demonstrate more than one position, I am glad that I did. Being able to weigh and evaluate history is invaluable, especially when dealing with something as convoluted as the assassination of JFK.

But back to the point -- Judyth. For seven years I asked the research community to give Judyth an open forum simply because she had objective documentation linking her to Lee Oswald. They both worked at Reily Coffee. They were both hired the same day. No, the documentation did not give evidence that they actually knew each other, but it did put them in proximity for a matter of a couple of months in the summer of 1963. And very important months they were too, as some of us believe the plot to assassinate JFK originated in NOLA that summer.

But what does Judyth do with this documentation? Does she take us through the awkward and possibly painful meeting of the undoubtedly snobby secretary and the grimy mechanic? Did they first catch sight of each other at a drinking fountain? Or did their eyes meet over a cup of coffee in the lunchroom?

According to Judyth, no. Lee and Judyth did NOT meet at Reily. She says they met at the Post Office.

Well, fine.

Let's take the ONLY OBJECTIVE DOCUMENTATION SHE HAS and throw it out the window!

If Judyth and Lee did not meet at Reily, how do we know they met at all? :-0

How do you know where and how Judyth and Oswald met? Historian? A historian should have an open mind, use critical thinking skills and always be willing to change their minds based on new or more compelling information.

They could easily have met at the post office. Or a small restaurant. Or the grocery store. I wonder how many folks have meet at the gym or church and said "Oh you work at such and such Big Company? What a coincidence - so do I!"

Usually good liars line up their stories so perfectly and truthtellers will have coincidences and minor flaws in it.

Having said that - I take anything Judyth says with a big grain of salt.

With all due respect, I disagree. It happens to be part of the process I use to establish credentials for the person making the claims. I do not have to keen an *open* mind in this regard; I do need to weigh and evaluate what is given to us.

In this case, Judyth, for whatever reason, is not using the only objective credentials, IMO, that she has, namely her being in proximity to LHO in NOLA in the summer of 1963. She *could* have met him anywhere in the area; that is true. In this case, I am unable to grant her any status based on her working at Reily at the same time as LHO. In the absence of any other documentation or eyewitness account of what Judyth says was their first meeting at the Post Office, it is my decision to treat her work as one of speculation. I do the same thing with Ed Haslam's MF+TMV, which is a very fascinating book to some of us.

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[...]As of right now (August, 2013), I believe Judyth Baker had a friendship with Oswald and was indeed a secret cancer researcher and that is quite important. But it appears to me that Judyth Vary Baker on many points is MAKING STUFF UP and is introducing much GARBAGE into the historical record.

That is not an easy or simple answer. It is not neat and tidy, but it is where I am at right now on Judyth Baker. I think Judyth Vary Baker has historical truth, floating around in buckets of feces.

Robert,

As you know, I spent seven years as part of Judyth's support team, doing everything I could to be objective and give her a place to share her statements because she had documentation putting her at Reily Coffee at the same time as Lee Oswald. I was unable to let the possibility of a witness of great value get tossed out like garbage simply because of the controversy that her statements were creating and her inability to stay out of the fray and make things even worse.

My point in doing what I did, which has cost me enormously, was and still is, to allow people to decide for themselves what to think about her statements. As things ended up, my two greatest concerns were what I consider her unfair treatment of Marina and the fact that when I told her that my agreement with her was completed (I agreed to keep an open mind until her book -- it ended up 'authorized version of her book' came out), she pretty much turned on me and said, 'who will believe you now?' If I hadn't hit a low point before then (and there were several) that dead end did it for me.

You're saying you don't find Judyth's story believable?

Which part?

Dave

Dave,

I hope to demonstrate to you that the historical process I use does not involve 'believing' or 'not believing' a person. It does include weighing and evaluating what they are saying, and it includes, hopefully, grounding them by documentation that what they are saying should have merit.

Let me give you an example from the limo-world --Mr. Whittaker, of the Rouge. He claimed to see the limo on Monday, Nov. 26th at the B Building (assembly) at the Rouge in MI. That means the limo would have had to be flown or driven in all its bloody glory or transported roughly 700 miles over the weekend. Mr. Whittaker has no documentation connecting him in any way with the limo. Nor does the limo have any documentation connecting it with the Rouge. Based on those facts, I am not persuaded by Mr. Whittaker's statements.

So, to return to Judyth; since Judyth tells us she and Lee did NOT meet at Reily, for which she does have documentation, there is, to my thinking, no objective documentation that they met at all -- no photo, letter, etc, that would tie them together. So, as a result, I am choosing to place all of her statements at the level of speculation, as I do with Ed Haslam's MF+TMV.

"Belief" doesn't have to enter into it.

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I finally grabbed a clue! (from Finding Judyth blog)

From almost the moment Judyth emailed me in 2003, asking for my support, I asked her in return, "who told you to contact me?" I had a gut feeling that she did not do this on her own. I received no reply. But, from time to time, during the seven years in which I kept an open mind to what Judyth had to say (until her book came out) I was put under attack, for apparently no reason at all. Out of the blue an email would come that contained the dire statement, "I was told not to trust you." "By whom?" I always replied. Gradually, it dawned on me that the person who told her 'not to trust' me may well be the person who put her up to contacting me in the first place.

Now, flush with the success of having kept my end of the agreement (even though, to Judyth, there was apparently no agreement at all; she just seemed to think she had ported me into her camp of 'believers' to be manipulated however she wished) I have begun realizing the wisdom of my not asking her the kinds of questions she hoped I would (from a 'believer') or of contributing in any way to her 'research', other than to answer any specific questions on the limo and its handling that she asked.

But today, in the middle of the US shutdown, the MO lockout, including the just-announced resignation of Mr. Vanska, I had an insight completely unrelated to any of that -- I know believe I know who told Judyth to contact me and I know why. I could be wrong. But this makes sense.

Prior to the last three episodes of TMWWK, Mr. Weldon and I fought a long battle over the validity or lack thereof of his 'mystery witness from the Rouge'. In order to prove my points I hired researchers at the HFM and paid them roughly $40/hour to find documentation for me. As a result, my research was incorporated into the slickly white-washed version of this story as it appeared in "The Smoking Guns". Mr. Whittaker, by that time deceased, was also no longer nameless. I was used to sharpen their story. And I paid for it myself.

It is my thinking that the man behind the scenes in the Weldon/Whittaker years, who also got me booted off the DellaRosa forum, is the man who told Judyth to contact me, in hopes that my research would do the same thing for Judyth's story as it did for Mr. Whittakers. He hoped I would take the bait and spend countless hours and thousands of dollars digging up documentation that Judyth could then just turn around and spin in her direction. I was going to be used again as I had been in 2003.

Only this time it did not work!

Nice try, JF.

Edited by Pamela Brown

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