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Paul Trejo

Did the Dallas Radical Right kill JFK?

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1 hour ago, Roger DeLaria said:

Thanks for posting these Ernie.

I'm interested in looking at the Gerald L.K. Smith papers, as I'm currently reading his book "Besieged Patriot", but in checking the link, the papers are only for use at the U of MI Library, and unfortunately I'm not going to MI to do that, especially this time of year.

You might want to re-check your info.  Several months ago I contacted the UofMichigan Library to inquire about the cost for getting photocopies of documents in several GLKS files and they sent me a cost quote for that photocopying.  Also---most university libraries can put you in touch with locals (often students) who will perform research and copying services for you -- although it might cost you $15-$30 hour for their labor plus photocopying cost OR you could just post a "researcher wanted" message on Craiglist or other websites.

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2 hours ago, Ernie Lazar said:

You might want to re-check your info.  Several months ago I contacted the UofMichigan Library to inquire about the cost for getting photocopies of documents in several GLKS files and they sent me a cost quote for that photocopying.  Also---most university libraries can put you in touch with locals (often students) who will perform research and copying services for you -- although it might cost you $15-$30 hour for their labor plus photocopying cost OR you could just post a "researcher wanted" message on Craiglist or other websites.

Thanks for the info Ernie, I'm sure I wasn't looking in the right area. The extra cost is not in my budget right now, unfortunately.

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Did J. Edgar Hoover Kill JFK?

Did J. Edgar Hoover Kill JFK?

http://flagpole.com/news/news-features/2017/12/27/did-j-edgar-hoover-kill-jfk-1

By Donald E. Wilkes, Jr.

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JFK-NationalEnquirer.jpg

National Enquirer Conspiracy Theories

The tabloid newspaper National Enquirer cannot make up its mind about who was responsible for the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

On Apr. 20, 2016, it published an article which referred to Lee Harvey Oswald as “the man who murdered America’s 35th president,” and excitedly screamed it was Oswald who “blew President John F. Kennedy’s brains out!” That article, “Ted Cruz’s Father Linked to JFK Assassination,” infamously and falsely accused Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s father of being a “pal” of Oswald.

Seven months later, on Dec. 19, 2016, the Enquirer published another article on the JFK assassination, “Dying Castro Admits Killing JFK!”  This article claimed that JFK had been slain by a team of hired assassins sent to Dallas by Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro. The fatal shots, the article asserted, had been fired from the grassy knoll by a named Cuban-born mercenary who eluded detection and made his way back to Cuba. As for Lee Harvey Oswald, he had been “framed” and “was in fact a patsy!”

The December 2016 article obviously is wildly at odds with the April 2016 article but makes no mention of it. And now the Enquirer has put out a third JFK assassination article, which itself is wildly inconsistent with the first two articles but pretends they never existed.

The headline on the front page of the Nov. 27, 2017, Enquirer is “J. EDGAR HOOVER ORDERED JFK MURDER!,” referencing an article that begins on page 30 of the issue, “Hoover Masterminded JFK Killing!”

J. Edgar Hoover was the Director of the FBI for 48 years, from 1924 until his death in 1972.

National Enquirer’s Accusations Against J. Edgar Hoover

The Nov. 27 Enquirer article makes these claims:

“Hoover ran the deep-cover conspiracy that killed President John F. Kennedy in Dallas,” and the Enquirer “has obtained a shocking top-secret document that proves it!”

The document is a telex—a printed message transmitted via a teletype machine—consisting of a memo authored by Hoover. The telex, “now in the possession of the National Enquirer,” has “never before [been] seen.”

“According to an expert who’s spent decades investigating JFK’s murder, Hoover’s memo proves the FBI czar led the plot to kill Kennedy.”

“The telex was sent [from FBI headquarters to FBI field offices across the nation] on Nov. 17, 1963, at 1:45 a.m.”  (This was the Sunday before the Friday assassination.)

The telex (which the article quotes in its entirety) warned of a “threat to assassinate President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas Nov. 22-23, 1963…Bureau has determined that a militant revolutionary group may attempt to assassinate President Kennedy on his proposed trip to Dallas, Texas.” [Author’s note: In this and the following paragraph numerous spelling and grammatical errors in the telex have been corrected.]

The telex directed all receiving offices to “immediately contact” informants and determine “if [there was] any basis for the threat,” and instructed that the “Bureau should be kept advised of all developments by teletype.”

According to the Enquirer’s assassination expert, the telex “proves [that] J. Edgar Hoover “not only was part of a cabal to kill Kennedy but led it,” because, the expert claims, “the telex was sent [by Hoover] to cover himself after the fact!”

The existence of the telex was first disclosed to persons outside the FBI in 1968, “by William Walter, a former FBI agent in New Orleans.” The “night after JFK was shot, [Walter] looked for the telex in the New Orleans field offices and found that it was missing!” Then, after Walter discovered that the folder in which the telex had been filed also had vanished, and proceeded to mention the telex to a superior, “he was immediately fired by the FBI.”

Both the telex and the folder disappeared because Lee Harvey Oswald “was a confidential informant for the FBI, [and] Hoover…didn’t want any reports kept that might embarrass the FBI…”

Although the original telex is unavailable, we know its contents because Walter “reproduced [it] from memory.”

What National Enquirer Got Right and What it Got Wrong

Some of what the Enquirer alleges is true. The Nov. 17, 1963 telex did exist and it did warn that JFK might be assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22 or 23. William Walter (whose full name was William S. Walter) did discover, shortly after the assassination, that the telex and its folder had gone missing. We do know the contents of the telex only because Walter, using notes he had taken, reproduced them from his memory. The telex did first come to the attention of JFK assassination researchers in 1968. And Lee Harvey Oswald was an FBI informant.

But the Enquirer article gets many facts wrong. William S. Walter did work for the FBI but was never an actual FBI agent. From 1961 to 1966 he was the night security patrol clerk in the FBI’s New Orleans field office. He was the only employee on duty at the office from midnight to 8 a.m. His responsibilities included handling incoming and outgoing telephone calls; receiving and answering teletype messages; and communicating the activities of his shift to his supervisors. Walter discovered the telex and folder were missing not the night after the assassination, but about a week or so later. The FBI did not fire Walter in 1963; he retired amicably and with a clean record to pursue other business opportunities in 1966.

The article is wrong in asserting that the Walter telex vanished because the FBI did not want the public to know that Oswald was one of its informants. The telex did not even mention Oswald, much less indicate he informed for the FBI.

The article is also wrong in claiming that the telex has never been seen before. In his 1988 book On the Trail of the Assassins, former New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison quoted in full the telex as reconstructed by Walter.

The Enquirer article omits important facts. It fails to note that it was William S. Walter who while on duty that Sunday night became the first New Orleans FBI employee to see the telex, or that Walter immediately notified the local special agent in charge. The article does not mention the fact that Walter also discovered other FBI documents which indicated that Oswald was an FBI informant.

The article also fails to mention that on Mar. 23, 1978, William S. Walter voluntarily gave a lengthy deposition under oath before staff members of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations, which conducted a two-year reinvestigation of the JFK assassination (and concluded that the assassination resulted from a conspiracy).

William S. Walter’s deposition testimony was forthright and believable. He had a credible answer to almost every question put to him. He had nothing to gain by testifying. In fact, as Walter told assassination researcher Mark Lane, “he feared for his life since many key witnesses in the JFK investigation had died of ‘unnatural causes.’” Walter’s testimony shows that he was not an embittered or hostile ex-FBI employee; he was proud of and still admired the Bureau. Nor was he some sort of “conspiracy kook.” He testified: “I still feel Oswald was alone as far as I am concerned… [and] that there was no conspiracy either domestic or international…”

However, in its 1979 Final Report the House Assassinations Committee rejected Walter’s testimony, concluding that his “allegations were unfounded.”

Today, nearly 40 years later, we can say with confidence that the Assassinations Committee erred in disbelieving Walter. There is now so much information (much of it previously unavailable) about the inadequate protection given JFK during his Dallas visit, about the actual assassination itself (which is now recognizable as a military-style ambush), and about the substandard investigations carried out by the FBI, the CIA, and the Warren Commission, that William S. Walter’s testimony now has the clear ring of truth. This is why, in the JFK assassination research community, Walter’s account has gained widespread acceptance.

The Assassinations Committee gave two basic explanations for rejecting Walter’s testimony: (1) it was not corroborated by anything in official FBI files, and (2) the various FBI agents and employees who would have seen or been aware of the telex all denied knowing anything about it. In light of what we now know about the performance of law enforcement and intelligence agencies before and after the 1963 assassination, these explanations are pathetically unpersuasive.

As to the first reason, we now know for certain that in regard to its JFK assassination investigation the FBI repeatedly destroyed or denied the existence of files and documents it thought might compromise or embarrass the FBI. One notorious example was the destruction of the allegedly threatening note Lee Harvey Oswald wrote and delivered to the Dallas FBI field office approximately two or three weeks before the assassination. Shortly after the assassination the note, it is now firmly established, was secretly destroyed by a Dallas FBI agent acting on instructions from his superiors.

The absence of anything in the FBI files confirming William S. Walter’s statements about the telex, therefore, is meaningless. It is ridiculous to think that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI would not have purged its files of documents (including the telex) that might confirm Walter’s account, which was highly embarrassing to the FBI since it had failed to alert the Secret Service of a dangerous threat against JFK, or to take investigatory actions that might have saved JFK’s life.

No one has explained how gigantically embarrassing a revelation of the contents of the telex would have been for the FBI than Jim Garrison, who wrote: “The telex had been most explicit, naming both a place and dates for the attempt to assassinate the President. It was addressed to all special agents in charge, which meant everyone in the country, including Dallas. Yet the FBI did nothing. There is no record that it notified anyone…”

We now know, for similar reasons, that the fact that the FBI agents and employees asked about the telex by the Committee denied its existence is also meaningless. J. Edgar Hoover ran the FBI with an iron fist and regarded any action or inaction by FBI personnel that would embarrass the Bureau as practically felonious. In that toxic atmosphere FBI people were willing to and would commit perjury to cover up FBI blunders and prevent criticism of the Bureau. To avoid Hoover’s wrath, and out of loyalty to the FBI (a fierce devotion to the FBI was part of the Bureau’s institutional culture), FBI people would deny the truth whenever they thought it necessary to protect the Bureau’s reputation.

When Mark Lane once asked Walter whether the other FBI people who had seen or heard of the telex would confirm his story, his reply was, according to the Enquirer, “Not a chance.”

It is thus almost comical when we read that (in its own words) the Assassinations Committee “found it difficult to believe that such a message could have been sent without someone 15 years later—a special agent in charge, or an employee who might have seen the teletype—coming forward in support of Walter’s claim,” and that the Committee “declined to believe that many employees of the FBI would have remained silent for such a long time.”

What a disturbing display of naiveté by a Committee inquiring into the murder of a President!

Space limitations make it impossible to set forth here the numerous additional reasons we now have for concluding that William S. Walter told the truth. that the telex did exist, and that Walter accurately reconstructed its contents.

But one of those reasons does deserve brief mention.

Vincent Michael Palamara is one of the most respected JFK assassination researchers. In his excellent, eye-opening book Survivor’s Guilt: The Secret Service and the Failure to Protect President Kennedy (2013), he expresses no doubt that William S. Walter “received a memo via telex warning of a plot to kill JFK [by] ‘a militant revolutionary group [which] may attempt to assassinate President Kennedy on his proposed trip to Dallas…’”  

Palamara has come across an obscure official Secret Service document, dated only two days before the Walter telex, and published by the Warren Commission in 1964, which seems to substantiate Walter’s testimony about the telex. The document states on its face that it is based on “nformation received telephonically from FBI Headquarters, Washington, D.C.”  It also says that the FBI acquired its information from an individual “interviewed by the FBI on November 14, 1963…”

On page 65 of his book Palamara writes:

“Some have tried to discredit the authenticity of this telex, but a document ignored by the Warren Commission, and since discovered by the author, appears to corroborate it. Originating from the San Antonio, Texas field office [of the Secret Service] and dated 11/15/63, here is the pertinent part of the text: ‘… a militant group of the National States Rights Party plans to assassinate the President and other high-level officials.”

(For anyone interested in crosschecking, a photocopy of the Secret Service document Palamera refers to is on page 566 of volume 17 of the Hearings Before the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy.)

William S. Walter could not have known of this Secret Service document.

Was J. Edgar Hoover Behind the JFK Assassination?

No, he was not.

There is no doubt that J. Edgar Hoover despised President Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, whom he regarded as lightweight impertinent upstarts. In fact, he hated Robert Kennedy. Nor is there doubt that Hoover feared that if JFK was re-elected in 1964 he would lose his job.

There is no doubt that prior to Nov. 22, 1963, the FBI, because it did not conduct appropriate needed investigations, and because it did not collect and share relevant intelligence information, failed in its solemn obligation to ensure President Kennedy was properly protected. The House Assassinations Committee so found in its Final Report.

And no one was more aware of the FBI’s pre-assassination lapses better than J. Edgar Hoover (although of course in public he insisted that the FBI had adequately performed its duties prior to Nov. 22, 1963).

To give just one example, Hoover was outraged to learn that ex-Marine Oswald, who had once defected to and lived in the USSR, had sought Soviet citizenship and offered to turn over military secrets to the Russians, who had engaged in public demonstrations in favor of Fidel Castro’s communist Cuba, and who had visited Soviet and Cuban diplomatic compounds in Mexico City only weeks before the assassination, had not been placed on the Security Index, the FBI’s list of individuals deemed threats to the national security.

Therefore, less than three weeks after the assassination, 17 FBI officials—five field investigative agents, one field supervisor, three special agents in charge, four headquarters supervisors, two headquarters section chiefs, one inspector and one assistant director—were secretly censured or placed on probation by Hoover for “shortcomings in connection with the investigation of Oswald prior to the assassination.” Hoover was so appalled by the pleas of lower FBI officials that Oswald did not meet the criteria for inclusion on the Security Index that in a handwritten notation on a memo he stated: “Certainly no one in possession of all his faculties can claim Oswald didn’t fall within this criteria.” The American public did not learn of these disciplinary actions for over a decade.

There is no doubt that 48 hours after the assassination J. Edgar Hoover had already rushed to judgment and made up his mind that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin and there was no conspiracy. Nor can it be doubted that the entire FBI organization endorsed and adhered to Hoover’s Oswald-did-it-alone position. As a result, after Nov. 22, 1963, the FBI, as the House Assassinations Committee confirmed, failed to adequately investigate the possibility of conspiracy and in other respects was seriously deficient in its investigation of the murder of President Kennedy.

Nonetheless, there never has been any evidence that J. Edgar Hoover was the leader of or participated in a conspiracy to assassinate JFK. Nor are there any good reasons for believing such evidence ever existed. And given what we know about Hoover, it is unimaginable that this legendary, high-ranking law enforcement official—who admittedly was a terribly flawed man willing to trample on the constitutional rights of Americans when he deemed it appropriate—would ever intentionally allow the President of the United States to be murdered on his watch.

Nor is there any reliable evidence that, as some have claimed, J. Edgar Hoover knew in advance that the Mafia was planning to kill JFK but did nothing to stop it.

The Assassinations Committee was surely right when it concluded that the FBI—which certainly would include J. Edgar Hoover personally—was not involved in the JFK assassination.

The National Enquirer’s assassination expert offers not a shred of evidence in support of his allegations that J. Edgar Hoover masterminded a plot to murder President Kennedy and that Hoover sent the Walter telex for the purpose of covering himself once the murder had taken place.

The truth is that the telex reflects well on Hoover. It shows that he did take some steps to try to prevent JFK from being assassinated. If, as the expert claims, Hoover sent the telex to protect himself from criticism, why did he not make sure it was kept on file and made available to the public?  It cannot have been to prevent the public from knowing Oswald was secretly an FBI informant, because nothing in the telex indicated that.

In overview, the Walter telex most definitely is not proof that J. Edgar Hoover was behind the JFK assassination, and the claim that Hoover sent it to protect his reputation if and when JFK was murdered is speculative fantasy unsupported by facts.

But profound mystery still surrounds the Walter telex:  Why didn’t the FBI notify the Secret Service of the threat to President Kennedy, and why did the FBI do nothing to investigate the threat?  

Donald E. Wilkes, Jr. is a Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Georgia School of Law, where he taught for 40 years. He has published more than 100 articles in Flagpole. This is his 51st article on the JFK assassination.

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Ernie,

I agree that J. Edgar Hoover did not order the JFK Assassination.

I also agree that the National Enquirer is a scandal rag (and has always been one) so that anything it prints is likely to be exaggeration or mistake or both.

At the same time, it is intensely interesting to me that J. Edgar Hoover decided on a Lone Shooter scenario on the day of the JFK Assassination, before all the evidence was heard -- and never changed that story -- and was always resistant to change that story -- no matter what the conditions.

Denial of the evidence of the Zapruder film, of a dozen witnesses who reported shooters behind the picket fence of the Grassy Knoll, or of the Autopsy Photographs -- plus the thousands of pages of JFK documents hidden from the American people for more than a half-century -- all of this may be laid at the feet of J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI minions.

In my CT, the US Radical Right (a loose civilian organization) planned and executed the JFK Assassination.   J. Edgar Hoover had no role in that.

In my CT, however, J. Edgar Hoover did mastermind the JFK Cover-up -- manipulating any witnesses, evidence, photographs, records and so on -- to promote a Lone Shooter (aka. Lone Nut) theory of Lee Harvey Oswald.

I also agree, Ernie, with your pinpointing of the NSRP (National States Rights Party) in Secret Service documents regarding the JFK assassination.  It is a crucial part of the evidence against the US Radical Right in the JFK Assassination -- and it will become more important as the weeks roll forward. 

I would also raise the John Martin home movie showing the home of General Walker in its early frames, and Lee Harvey Oswald near Canal Street handing out FPCC fliers in its later frames.

I would also raise the Willie Somerset testimony to the FBI about Joseph Milteer boasting about an office building with a high powered rifle, weeks before the JFK Assassination.  The noose tightens.

That's my reading,
--Paul Trejo

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With more to come, new JFK documents offer fresh leads 54 years later

DECEMBER 28, 2017 05:00 AM

WASHINGTON 

Half-a-dozen 2017 releases of long-secret documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy have given plenty of new leads to those who don’t believe alleged gunman Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

President Donald Trump promised via Twitter this fall that all the JFK assassination documents will be public by the end of April 2018 “to put any and all conspiracies to rest.”

Instead, the 34,963 documents released so far in 2017 have fed the fire tended by researchers and others who believe there is much more to the story how a U.S. president was assassinated in Dallas 54 years ago.

“To this point, as expected, we haven’t had a document that lists the conspirators in the murder of President Kennedy,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and author of The Kennedy Half Century. “What we have gotten is a lot of rich material, not just about the Kennedy assassination but the times.”

It was a 1991 movie, Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” that led Congress to require the secret documents to be released more than two decades later after they were reviewed for national security purposes and to protect past informants. The film, which challenged the official version of the assassination, brought conspiracy theorists into the mainstream and led other Americans to question the official version of events.

McClatchy’s Washington bureau, the Miami Herald and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram have pored over thousands of newly released JFK documents. Here are some of the new or bolstered leads revealed thus far by the new material.

Dallas mayor was CIA asset

One particular document from the August release has created much buzz. It that shows that Earle Cabell, mayor of Dallas at the time of the Nov. 22, 1963, shooting, became a CIA asset in late 1956.

The CIA had withheld the information on grounds that it was not considered relevant. No related documents have been released, but even alone it is important. Cabell’s brother Charles was deputy director of the CIA until he was fired by Kennedy in January 1962.

 

 

cabell.jpg

This screenshot of a newly released CIA document from 1956 shows that Dallas Mayor Earle Cabell had been an asset. He was mayor at the time of the JFK assassination.

 

“That shows why Dallas was the place,” said Zack Shelton, a retired veteran FBI agent who fervently disbelieves that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone gunman. “I think the investigation or focus is going to be turned more into Oswald not being the lone wolf.”

Shelton, now 67 and retired in Beaumont, Texas, was an FBI agent in Chicago combating organized crime in the 1980s. In the process of helping bust a contraband ring involving an alleged mafia hitman named James Files, Shelton was told that Files had curious things to say about the Kennedy killing roughly 20 years earlier.

That tip to Shelton launched a chain of events that led to Files confessing from prison in Illinois that he was one of several gunmen in Dallas on the fateful day, and that he fired from the famous grassy knoll.

Many historians dismiss Files’ claims, but Shelton maintains that Files was indeed an assassin and was part of the Cosa Nostra mob organization headed in Chicago by Salvatore “Sam the Cigar” Giancana. Files was released from prison in 2016 after a long stint for attempted murder.

The CIA and FBI documents released so far say nothing about Files or another assassin he allegedly worked with named Charles Nicoletti, but that’s no surprise to Wim Dankbaar. He’s a Dutch national with a website and videos devoted to debunking what he considers a myth — that Oswald killed Kennedy or that he acted alone — and promoting the view that Files assassinated Kennedy.

“Do you really think they haven’t deep-sixed the incriminating files?” Dankbaar asked in a testy telephone interview.

The November tranche of new documents does include some about Giancana’s courier, a former Chicago cop who went by the alias Richard Cain and met in Mexico City with CIA staff; he was also an informant for the FBI. A 1992 biography written by Giancana’s family said the mob boss had told his younger brother that Cain and Nicoloetti, not Oswald, were in the Texas Book Depository from where shots at Kennedy were fired.

In addition, several new documents discuss the CIA and its work with mobsters to prevent Fidel Castro’s rise to power in Cuba and later oust him.

 

There’s this bar in New Orleans

Another revelatory JFK document released in full on Dec. 15 was the transcript of a 1978 interview by the House Select Committee on Assassinations with Orest Pena. According to Pena, a bar owner in New Orleans, Lee Harvey Oswald was a U.S. government agent or informant.

How did he know? Because Pena himself was an informant, he said. He had given details to the Warren Commission in July 1964 but, as the new document shows, later revealed much more detail about Warren de Brueys, an FBI agent in New Orleans to whom Pena said he reported.

Oswald, he claimed, frequented a breakfast place regularly not only with de Brueys but with agents from U.S. Customs and Immigration in New Orleans. Pena believed Oswald had an office in the same government complex.

Pena also testified to the House panel that de Brueys had threatened him if he shared with investigators details of their meetings and training of anti-Castro instigators, and that his FBI handler had transferred to Dallas before the assassination. Pena’s testimony, however, was largely discounted by two government commissions.

“Their reasons for denying this were weak,” said Rex Bradford, president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, which boasts the largest searchable electronic collection of JFK assassination documents; Bradford is another disbeliever in the official version of events.

The newly released transcript is likely to spark new interest in the New Orleans link to the assassination and searches of government records in multiple agencies, he said.

De Brueys died in 2013 at the age of 92. Son Jim de Brueys told the New Orleans Advocate at the time that his father was sent to Dallas after the assassination, not before, and that he was long frustrated by being named in conspiracy theories.

 

 
David Atlee Phillips, Texan in Mexico

One of the names experts are watching for in the documents yet to be released is David Atlee Phillips. The Texan was a native of Fort Worth, a decorated World War II veteran and actor who rose to CIA leadership roles across the Americas, including Cuba, Mexico and Chile.

Among the new documents released earlier this month was one showing that the CIA itself was trying to gauge what Phillips knew about Oswald and when he learned certain things about the alleged gunman’s mysterious September 1963 trip to Mexico.

Documents show that the CIA had tracked Oswald and picked up phone intercepts of his calls with and visits to the Soviet and Cuban embassies in the Mexican capital just months before the assassination in Dallas.

“He was there for six days and we know about six hours. What was he doing there? I don’t think he was on vacation,” said Sabato, who thinks there is still much to learn about the Mexico trip.

The new documents provide details about people with whom Oswald met in Mexico and agency efforts to reconstruct his time there when he visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies, purportedly seeking to travel to either country. Spying on the Cuban embassy was one of Phillips’ chief tasks, he wrote in his own autobiography, “The Night Watch.”

A main reason Phillips is of such interest is the claim by a now elderly anti-Castro leader in Miami that Oswald was a CIA informant handled by a man named Maurice (or Morris, as it sometimes appears) Bishop. And Bishop was actually an alias used by Phillips, insists Antonio Veciana.

Veciana, a Cuban émigré, helped lead the anti-Castro group Alpha 66 and claims he himself worked with Bishop/Phillips, and saw him with Oswald.

In a statement to McClatchy, Veciana, now 89 and in failing health, said that “I have no doubt that the man I knew as Maurice Bishop was David Atlee Phillips. He was the same man I saw with Oswald.”

The JFK Assassination: A cast of characters

As new documents about the killing of President John F. Kennedy are released, The New York Times's Peter Baker walks us through who’s who in this American tragedy.

The newly released documents show that the CIA looked into Veciana’s claim. One document reveals a list of all employees past and present with the last name Bishop, ordered up by agency leaders.

“I don’t think I will live to see it, but as more documents come to light the country will eventually learn the truth about the Kennedy assassination and in what way Bishop/Phillips was involved,” Veciana told McClatchy.

Shawn Phillips, now 74 and an acclaimed folk musician, is the nephew of the former CIA leader. He has been often quoted telling the story of how his own father, James, became estranged from brother David late in life; an attempted reconciliation went south after David, dying from lung cancer, confessed to James that he had been in Dallas the day of JFK’s assassination.

The nephew did not return requests for comment, but in a 1988 poem eulogized his uncle as a man of mystery and complexity.

In “The Night Watch,” written years earlier, David Atlee Phillips said that he was working in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City when he got a call from his wife saying she’d heard a report that Kennedy had been shot, contrary to what he supposedly confessed on his deathbed.

Of Oswald he wrote, “I know of no evidence to suggest that Oswald acted as an agent for the Cubans or the Russians, that he was a CIA agent or that any aspect of his Mexico City trip was any more ominous than reported by the Warren Commission.”

Still, documents released in 2017 suggest the CIA and FBI spent decades trying to better understand Oswald’s time in Mexico.

More intrigue

Other twists in the newly released documents include the finding that an ultra conservative former secret agent named George Gaudet had mysteriously had been issued a Mexican travel permit whose number was the next one after [[or before? DID NOT SPECIFY ]] Oswald’s permit number.

 

gaudet.jpg

This screenshot of a recently released U.S. government document shows onetime CIA asset George Gaudet apparently had received a Mexican travel permit that was sequentially one number off of a permit issued to Lee Harvey Oswald.

 

And in yet another revealing document that will set researchers hunting in a new direction, there’s the account of a call to the British paper , the Cambridge Evening News, just 25 minutes before the assassination, advising that the U.S. embassy would soon have big news. The released document was a memo from the CIA to the FBI, dated four days after the killing, and notes the information was shared with Britain’s MI5.

“It’s getting late in the game. We are 54 years on,” said Bradford, with the Mary Ferrell Foundation.

Kevin G. Hall: 202-383-6038, @KevinGHall

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Conspiracy theories: Here's what drives people to them, no matter how wacky

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2017/12/23/conspiracy-theory-psychology/815121001/

 
William Cummings, USA TODAYPublished 1:36 a.m. ET Dec. 23, 2017 | Updated 1:41 a.m. ET Dec. 23, 2017
  Wake up, sheeple. 

Right now, there are networks of passionate and committed people across the world working to subvert some of our deepest-held beliefs and upend the established world order.

They're called conspiracy theorists. They walk among us. They could be your friends, neighbors or loved ones. Who knows? You may even be one yourself.

There seems to be a conspiracy being "uncovered" all the time these days, and no matter how outlandish they may be they seem to have no trouble drawing in ardent believers. 

Despite the prevalence and pervasiveness of conspiracy theories, the reasons people are drawn to them is a relatively new area of study for psychologists. 

Jan-Willem van Prooijen, an associate professor at the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology at VU University Amsterdam, said research into the phenomenon has really only taken off in the last seven years. 

According to University of Chicago political science professors Eric Oliver and Thomas Wood, in any given year roughly half of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory. Their 2014 study found that 19% of Americans believed the U.S. government planned the 9/11 attacks to start a war in the Middle East, 24% believed former president Barack Obama was not born in the United States, and 25% believed Wall Street bankers conspired to cause the financial crisis that began in 2008. Those are high numbers considering there is zero evidence to support any of those theories.  

And a whopping 61% said they do not believe the official conclusion of the Warren Commission that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating President John F. Kennedy, according to a 2013 Gallup poll. The number has not dropped below 50% since Gallup began polling on the subject just after the 1963 tragedy. 

President Trump himself has expressed a belief in at least two of the above conspiracies at one time or another. He was the most vocal proponent of the baseless claim that Obama was not born in America, and during the 2016 Republican primary campaign, Trump implied Sen. Ted Cruz's father was connected to Oswald and the Kennedy killing. Trump has also said climate change is a Chinese-manufactured hoax meant to hurt U.S. industry. His characterization of Russian election meddling as a "made-up story" designed to discredit his election victory was deemed 2017's lie of the year by fact-checker Politifact last week.  

Everyone's a suspect

Conspiracy theorists can be conservative, liberal or any other political stripe — male or female, rich or poor, well educated or not.

To some extent, the human brain is wired to find conspiracy theories appealing. People are highly evolved when it comes to the ability to draw conclusions and predict consequences based on sensory data and observation. But sometimes those same processes can lead to oversimplifications and misperception through what psychologists refer to as "cognitive bias," van Prooijen said.

Among the cognitive biases Van Prooijen and other psychologists believe contribute to the appeal of conspiracy theories are:  

  • Confirmation bias: People's willingness to accept explanations that fit what they already believe.
  • Proportionality bias: The inclination to believe that big events must have big causes.
  • Illusory pattern perception: The tendency to see causal relations where there may not be any.

Yet there are factors that make some people more or less inclined to accept conspiracy theories.

People with greater knowledge of the news media are less likely to believe conspiracy theories, according to a new study, “News Media Literacy and Conspiracy Theory Endorsement,” in the current issue of Communication and the Public

“It’s significant that knowledge about the news media — not beliefs about it, but knowledge of basic facts about structure, content and effects — is associated with less likelihood one will fall prey to a conspiracy theory, even a theory that is in line with one’s political ideology,” co-author Stephanie Craft, a University of Illinois journalism professor, told the Columbia Journalism Review.

Oliver believes the greatest predictor of people's likelihood to accept conspiracy theories is the degree to which they rely on their intuition over analytical thinking. 

"They go with their gut feelings. They’re very susceptible to symbols and metaphors," he said. 

Conspiracy theories as coping mechanism?

One reason for the pervasiveness of conspiracy theories is that they serve an important psychological function for people trying to cope with large, stressful events like a terrorist attack. 

People "need to blame the anxiety that they feel on different groups and the result is frequently conspiracy theories," van Prooijen said, defining the term as a belief that "a group of actors is colluding in secret in order to reach goals that are considered evil or malevolent." 

"People don’t like it when things are really random. Randomness is more threatening than having an enemy. You can prepare for an enemy, you can’t prepare for coincidences." 

Conspiracy theories also appeal to people's need to feel special and unique because it gives them a sense of possessing secret knowledge, according to a study in the July 2017 edition of Social Psychology

Real conspiracies

Of course, sometimes conspiracies turn out to be real.

President Nixon tried to cover up the Watergate break-in; the Reagan administration sold arms to Iran to illegally fund the Contra rebels in Nicaragua, and the CIA really did test LSD on unwitting U.S. citizens. 

Of course, one thing those conspiracies have in common is that they all came to light. And that is almost certain to be the case with any large plot like those imagined by conspiracy theorists.

Yes, conspiracies exist, but the real ones usually don't fit the Hollywood mold of films like The Parallax View, The Manchurian Candidate or Oliver Stone's JFK

They imagine "a secret government employing hundreds of people that operate with supreme efficiency, everybody having the capability of James Bond and never making an error," said Gerald Posner, author of Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK. Posner began the book a believer that the mafia was behind the assassination, but his research led him to conclude that the Warren Commission was right and Oswald acted alone. 

"After 54 years, you say, 'Where’s the deathbed confession?'" Posner said of the Kennedy assassination. "Where’s the guilty person with a guilty conscience who comes out? Where’s the diary that’s been left by somebody that has now been unearthed?

"Are there some out there that we never found out about? I’m sure," Posner said. "But at the level of assassinating the president of the United States, with the level of complexity and the number of people that would have had to have been involved, for that to have worked? No." 

The long-awaited release this year of nearly 2,900 previously classified records related to the Kennedy assassination also failed to produce any evidence of a conspiracy to kill the president. But a few documents remain classified, which is more than enough mystery to keep the conspiracy theories around the assassination alive. 

The National Archives have released more than 35,500 records on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The once-classified records have fascinated researchers and fueled conspiracy theorists for decades. USA TODAY

JFK files: Here are the most interesting records on Kennedy assassination, annotated

More: JFK files: Withheld documents only encourage more conspiracy theories, expert says

An act of faith

The absence of evidence never got in the way of a good conspiracy theory. No matter how unlikely a given imagined conspiracy, and no matter how many facts are produced to disprove it, the true believers never budge. 

For example, even when Obama released his birth certificate many "birthers" were still certain he was not a natural-born American citizen. The fact that multitudes of horrified people witnessed the planes fly into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, hasn't stopped conspiracy theorists from insisting the towers collapsed because of a controlled demolition. 

And what do you say to the people who still aren't convinced we went to the moon or that the Earth is flat? 

"I’ve learned that is there no such thing as evidence that persuades a conspiracy theorist," Posner said. "It’s sort of a psycho-religious belief, in part. They just know it’s true even if they can’t quite prove it."

Van Prooijen also called conspiracy theories a "form of belief." 

"It doesn’t matter how much evidence to the contrary you raise, these hardcore conspiracy theories will discredit the source of the evidence," van Prooijen said. "It’s very easy to dismiss evidence as being part of the conspiracy, being part of the coverup. So it’s very hard to disprove a conspiracy theory." 

Is social media making it worse?

Social media is often the scapegoat for many of contemporary civilization's ills, but surprisingly there is not yet evidence it is increasing the number of conspiracy theory adherents. 

"I’m not yet persuaded that the number of people who actually believe in them has increased due to social media," said van Prooijen, adding that people believed in conspiracies in huge numbers long before the arrival of Facebook and Twitter. 

But van Prooijen and Oliver think those sites, as well as anonymous platforms like 4Chan, have increased the number of conspiracy theories out there and allowed them to spread more quickly.

"It was harder to get conspiracy theories to your doorstep 50 years ago than it is now," said Oliver.

A person who might have been handing out fliers on a street corner to get their ideas out in the past might have 200,000 followers on social media today, Oliver said.

So, what's the harm? 

Irrational conspiracy theories can lead people to not vaccinate their children, to deny the scientific evidence of climate change or to dismiss mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary as "false flag" operations meant to spur gun control. 

A wildly irrational conspiracy theory that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was connected to a child-sex ring that was being run out of a Washington pizza shop even led to a man opening fire in the restaurant with a semi-automatic rifle. Fortunately, he shot at the ceiling and not the patrons.  

The assault on a D.C. area pizzeria was a result of a man being influenced by an online conspiracy that the restaurant was helping Hillary Clinton run a child sex ring. USA TODAY, Collin Brennan

More: 'Pizzagate' gunman attempted to recruit 2 others

Van Prooijen believes such conspiratorial thinking can undermine democracy because it sews distrust and leads to groups perceiving each other as enemies. 

Oliver does not believe conspiracy theories have a major impact on politics as much as they are symptomatic of problems with the political system. 

"It’s less about the conspiracy theories themselves and it’s more about kind of the flight from reason in political discourse," he said. "American democracy is a product of the Enlightenment, it’s a very explicitly rationalist enterprise." 

And if people reject rationality to embrace what they believe over what they can prove, that Democratic enterprise could begin to unravel. 

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Ernie,

This article that attempts to psychoanalyze the JFK CT community -- to shame us into silence -- is a rank failure.  Van Prooijen believes that conspiratorial thinking can undermine democracy because of its inherent distrust of the US Government.

Um -- is Van Prooijen an American?   What does he know about our American tradition of criticizing our Government?

Oliver believes that it's not the CT, but "about kind of the flight from reason in political discourse."    That's a cop-out.   The CTer faces down politics and political figures -- and besides, every CT is an exercise in logic and reason.

Granted, there are at least 100 JFK CT's out there -- and when all the facts are finally in -- only one of the CT's will be true and correct.

But that's expected in any Research.   Thomas Edison was interviewed when he had failed one thousand experiments to make a light bulb.  One journalist asked Edison, "aren't you embarrassed to fail one thousand times?"   Edison replied.   "That's not failure.  We now know one thousand ways not to make a light bulb."

Only one experiment was finally successful -- but it was well worth the effort and years of frustration.

Oliver added, "American democracy is a product of the Enlightenment, it’s a very explicitly rationalist enterprise."   I agree, and I would add that the JFK CT began as an explicitly rationalist American movement.   

Yet, because evidence was deliberately withheld from the American Public by our Government, we were reduced to guesswork in several points.

Oliver is completely mistaken to presume that the JFK CT has anything to do with the "rejection of rationality."    It is, instead, one of the most mammoth experiments in rationality and self-correcting enterprise that history has ever seen. 

We are coming to the end of the line, as well.   The most recent releases of FBI material in the JFK assassination are going to finally settle which JFK CT was finally correct -- and which were incorrect.   The 38,000 pages are now public.  It's just a matter of time.

Everybody here knows my position.   The US Radical Right stands at the center of the JFK Assassination.   Confirmation pending!

Regards,
--Paul Trejo

Edited by Paul Trejo

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30 minutes ago, Paul Trejo said:

Ernie,

This article that attempts to psychoanalyze the JFK CT community -- to shame us into silence -- is a rank failure.  Van Prooijen believes that conspiratorial thinking can undermine democracy because of its inherent distrust of the US Government.

Um -- is Van Prooijen an American?   What does he know about our American tradition of criticizing our Government?

Oliver believes that it's not the CT, but "about kind of the flight from reason in political discourse."    That's a cop-out.   The CTer faces down politics and political figures -- and besides, every CT is an exercise in logic and reason.

Granted, there are at least 100 JFK CT's out there -- and when all the facts are finally in -- only one of the CT's will be true and correct.

But that's expected in any Research.   Thomas Edison was interviewed when he had failed one thousand experiments to make a light bulb.  One journalist asked Edison, "aren't you embarrassed to fail one thousand times?"   Edison replied.   "That's not failure.  We now know one thousand ways not to make a light bulb."

Only one experiment was finally successful -- but it was well worth the effort and years of frustration.

Oliver added, "American democracy is a product of the Enlightenment, it’s a very explicitly rationalist enterprise."   I agree, and I would add that the JFK CT began as an explicitly rationalist American movement.   

Yet, because evidence was deliberately withheld from the American Public by our Government, we were reduced to guesswork in several points.

Oliver is completely mistaken to presume that the JFK CT has anything to do with the "rejection of rationality."    It is, instead, one of the most mammoth experiments in rationality and self-correcting enterprise that history has ever seen. 

We are coming to the end of the line, as well.   The most recent releases of FBI material in the JFK assassination are going to finally settle which JFK CT was finally correct -- and which were incorrect.   The 38,000 pages are now public.  It's just a matter of time.

Everybody here knows my position.   The US Radical Right stands at the center of the JFK Assassination.   Confirmation pending!

Regards,
--Paul Trejo

Nobody  is trying to "shame" anybody into silence.  Just another example of how you cannot correctly read and interpret evidence.

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1 hour ago, Paul Trejo said:

Ernie,

This article that attempts to psychoanalyze the JFK CT community -- to shame us into silence -- is a rank failure.  Van Prooijen believes that conspiratorial thinking can undermine democracy because of its inherent distrust of the US Government.

Um -- is Van Prooijen an American?   What does he know about our American tradition of criticizing our Government?

Oliver believes that it's not the CT, but "about kind of the flight from reason in political discourse."    That's a cop-out.   The CTer faces down politics and political figures -- and besides, every CT is an exercise in logic and reason.

Granted, there are at least 100 JFK CT's out there -- and when all the facts are finally in -- only one of the CT's will be true and correct.

But that's expected in any Research.   Thomas Edison was interviewed when he had failed one thousand experiments to make a light bulb.  One journalist asked Edison, "aren't you embarrassed to fail one thousand times?"   Edison replied.   "That's not failure.  We now know one thousand ways not to make a light bulb."

Only one experiment was finally successful -- but it was well worth the effort and years of frustration.

Oliver added, "American democracy is a product of the Enlightenment, it’s a very explicitly rationalist enterprise."   I agree, and I would add that the JFK CT began as an explicitly rationalist American movement.   

Yet, because evidence was deliberately withheld from the American Public by our Government, we were reduced to guesswork in several points.

Oliver is completely mistaken to presume that the JFK CT has anything to do with the "rejection of rationality."    It is, instead, one of the most mammoth experiments in rationality and self-correcting enterprise that history has ever seen. 

We are coming to the end of the line, as well.   The most recent releases of FBI material in the JFK assassination are going to finally settle which JFK CT was finally correct -- and which were incorrect.   The 38,000 pages are now public.  It's just a matter of time.

Everybody here knows my position.   The US Radical Right stands at the center of the JFK Assassination.   Confirmation pending!

Regards,
--Paul Trejo

 

Happy New Year Paul + everyone - - 

Although this epistle from Paul today drifts more into political and social commentary, I agree with the implied invitation to look at how a CT or CTer's mentality might fit in with our view of government.  Our views on government might even determine one's explanation for the JFK assassination. It is important to examine the reasons why one explores or adopts a CT; and examine how one's feelings towards power, authority, and government impact which CT is adopted.

From my perspective, which might be slightly at odds with Paul's point, 90% of the CT community starts with the proposition that the government, the Establishment, wealthy people, law enforcement, the intelligence community, et. al, are inherently conspiratorial, dishonest, and supremely powerful.   From this "truth" they adopt their CT.

I am on a winter break and away from research until mid-January, but it's clear to me as I look through the body of CT resources that almost everyone starts with a conclusion, then finds evidence to support it.  The conclusion almost unanimously begins with something like a group of Illuminati, Billderbergers, or another cabal of wealthy men who secretly control the world --- and all the JFK evidence is molded in to this thesis of how society and the world works.

In my own case, I voted for Obama and reluctantly voted for Clinton.  So I would be tagged as on the Left.  But I have no inherent distrust of the Right.  I've voted for Republicans before, many friends and family are conservatives.   I've known people who work in the White House, I know cops, my friends and family are in some cases now or formerly in US intelligence, diplomacy, or government.  There is NO wide-ranging conspiracy.  None.   Not now, not in 1963.  Not possible.  There are Democrats, Republicans, rich and not-so rich everywhere in law enforcement, intelligence,  the national government, locally, and in the so-called Establishment, both now and 55 years ago.

Each piece of evidence should stand by itself, or at most in relation to other evidence - evidence doesn't serve a conclusion, it can LEAD to a conclusion, or more frequently it merely adds weight to a conclusion, but just as often there is no safe conclusion whatsoever from much of what CTers doctrinal groupthink considers "proof".

 

Jason

Edited by Jason Ward

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8 minutes ago, Jason Ward said:

 

Happy New Year Paul + everyone - - 

Although this epistle from Paul today drifts more into political and social commentary, I think it's important to examine the reasons why one explores or adopt a CT; and examine how one's feelings towards power, authority, and government impact which CT is adopted.

From my perspective, which might be slightly at odds with Paul's point, 90% of the CT community starts with the proposition that the government, the Establishment, wealthy people, law enforcement, the intelligence community, et. al, are inherently conspiratorial, dishonest, and supremely powerful.   From this "truth" they adopt their CT.

I am on a winter break and away from research until mid-January, but it's clear to me as I look through the body of CT resources that almost everyone starts with a conclusion, then finds evidence to support it.  The conclusion almost unanimously begins with something like a group of Illuminati, Billderbergers, or another cabal of wealthy men who secretly control the world --- and all the JFK evidence is molded in to this thesis of how society and the world works.

In my own case, I voted for Obama and reluctantly voted for Clinton.  So I would be tagged as on the Left.  But I have no inherent distrust of the Right.  I've voted for Republicans before, many friends and family are conservatives.   I've known people who work in the White House, I know cops, my friends and family are in some cases now or formerly in US intelligence, diplomacy, or government.  There is NO wide-ranging conspiracy.  None.   Not now, not in 1963.  Not possible.  There are Democrats, Republicans, rich and not-so rich everywhere in law enforcement, intelligence,  the national government, locally, and in the so-called Establishment, both now and 55 years ago.

Each piece of evidence should stand by itself, or at most in relation to other evidence - evidence doesn't serve a conclusion, it can LEAD to a conclusion, or more frequently it merely adds weight to a conclusion, but just as often there is no safe conclusion whatsoever from much of what CTers doctrinal groupthink considers "proof".

 

Jason

Jason, I don't see how you can believe two of your main points.

CT's regarding the JFKA start with the fact that LHO didn't do it, therefore we have been lied to, and people with the power to construct and maintain the lies did so.  There is no irrational leap of faith there. One must start with hypotheses and see if they stand up to scrutiny. The WCR represents a theory just like any CT. 

The generation of the lie and cover-up necessarily was a wide ranging conspiracy. The actual assassination, not necessarily so.

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38 minutes ago, Jason Ward said:

 

Happy New Year Paul + everyone - - 

Although this epistle from Paul today drifts more into political and social commentary, I agree with the implied invitation to look at how a CT or CTer's mentality might fit in with our view of government.  Our views on government might even determine one's explanation for the JFK assassination. It is important to examine the reasons why one explores or adopts a CT; and examine how one's feelings towards power, authority, and government impact which CT is adopted.

From my perspective, which might be slightly at odds with Paul's point, 90% of the CT community starts with the proposition that the government, the Establishment, wealthy people, law enforcement, the intelligence community, et. al, are inherently conspiratorial, dishonest, and supremely powerful.   From this "truth" they adopt their CT.

I am on a winter break and away from research until mid-January, but it's clear to me as I look through the body of CT resources that almost everyone starts with a conclusion, then finds evidence to support it.  The conclusion almost unanimously begins with something like a group of Illuminati, Billderbergers, or another cabal of wealthy men who secretly control the world --- and all the JFK evidence is molded in to this thesis of how society and the world works.

In my own case, I voted for Obama and reluctantly voted for Clinton.  So I would be tagged as on the Left.  But I have no inherent distrust of the Right.  I've voted for Republicans before, many friends and family are conservatives.   I've known people who work in the White House, I know cops, my friends and family are in some cases now or formerly in US intelligence, diplomacy, or government.  There is NO wide-ranging conspiracy.  None.   Not now, not in 1963.  Not possible.  There are Democrats, Republicans, rich and not-so rich everywhere in law enforcement, intelligence,  the national government, locally, and in the so-called Establishment, both now and 55 years ago.

Each piece of evidence should stand by itself, or at most in relation to other evidence - evidence doesn't serve a conclusion, it can LEAD to a conclusion, or more frequently it merely adds weight to a conclusion, but just as often there is no safe conclusion whatsoever from much of what CTers doctrinal groupthink considers "proof".

 

Jason

I agree with several points made by Jason especially his third paragraph.

Historically, political conspiracy theories (which I distinguish from other types) arise from situations where the official explanation of some event or controversy does not seem accurate or honest or completely plausible.  For example:  as I have pointed out several times to Paul --- from the first day of the "lone gunman" explanation for JFK's murder, the majority of Americans rejected that conclusion and every time Gallup has polled our countrymen on the JFK assassination, a majority has still declared that there was a conspiracy involving more than one person.

It is also historically relevant to point out that most political conspiracy theories originate from the losing side in political disputes and public policy debates -- especially if the losing side has been losing for very lengthy periods of time.  Often you can read conspiracy adherent arguments which refer to the "law of averages" making some outcome impossible.

The hypothesis of "losers" is as follows:

It is inconceivable that the same person(s) and group(s) could repeatedly prevail in elections and policy debates and thus wield power and influence over long periods of time (plus accumulate purportedly undeserved wealth, status, awards, and honors) without the reason being some underlying and ongoing corruption of political processes.

From the "losers" perspective, the simple “law of averages” should produce periodic sustained and decisive victories for their personal political preferences (i.e. candidates and policies) and, consequently, they (the perennial losers) should have a roughly equal impact upon shaping the public debate and winning political contests.

The fundamental flaw of this argument is simply that there is no applicable formula from history or logic that would help us establish typical or average rates of "success" or "favorable results" with respect to political contests, policy debates, elections, measurements of power, influence, wealth, awards, and honors.

In other words, there is no pre-existing norm or baseline that can be used for comparison purposes in order to determine when one prevailing viewpoint has exceeded "the norm" -- because there is NO norm!

Just like, for example, there is no known formula or baseline for sports team competition.

If the Boston Red Sox do not win a world series for 86 years (!) does that mean "a conspiracy" must have been responsible, i.e. some secret agreement by corrupt persons to prevent Boston from winning the world series or from even reaching the final playoffs?

Why? Because "the law of averages" should have produced a world series win long before 86 years had elapsed? Because "chance" could not possibly account for such a long period of failure? Because random, unintended, or unpredictable events or circumstances could not possibly apply to such a long period of failure in competitive contests?

Although Paul Trejo immediately dismisses and de-values ANY research which he interprets as critical of conspiracy theories and their adherents, there is, nevertheless, a very substantial body of academic research into conspiracy theories and why people are attracted to and believe them.

Conspiracy theory acts as a psychological tonic and establishes one's own "superior" understanding of events and "the way things really are".  

Most political conspiracy theories presume a conscious, coherent plan in operation for decades which proceeds almost flawlessly without ever being exposed by its participants or witnesses. 

In fact, it is this very quality (ultra-coherence) which renders conspiracy theories so implausible. Conspiracy theories provide a degree of order and clarity which rarely exists in human affairs.

So, under what circumstances would someone voluntarily relinquish such a potent elixir and revert to an ordinary mortal's weak, ambiguous, or unsatisfying understanding of history and contemporary events?

Conspiracy theories speak to our internal need for neat, orderly, and unambiguous identification of enemies that one should vanquish and render impotent within society.  

Edited by Ernie Lazar

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During my many debates with JBS members and other believers in a "Council on Foreign Relations-New World Order" conspiracy, I have developed a series of questions which I use to focus attention upon the intrinsic absurdity of many of their propositions.   I present some of those questions below because they can be used to expose the defects within many conspiracy arguments (just substitute the alleged current conspiratorial actor for CFR-NWO).

(1) What is the definition of NORMAL political behavior?  In other words, what criteria determines when behavior is conspiratorial as opposed to normal political activity?  

(2)  Has there ever been a period in U.S. history when conspiratorial forces were not predominant?

(3)  Which objectives are the CFR-NWO conspiracy pursuing that it cannot achieve by non-conspiratorial means?  For example, according to the most recent edition of the John Birch Society “Freedom Index” (which scores all members of Congress with respect to “their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements”) --- the average score for the House of Representatives is 43% and the average score for the Senate is 36%.  In other words, the alleged CFR-NWO crowd (aka "Establishment elite") apparently has been successful at achieving its objectives through the legislative process---so why do they require some kind of “conspiracy” to achieve what they want?

(4)  Are political conspirators ordinary mortals?  Do they function in the same manner as ordinary people?  For example, do they have the same range of emotions such as anger, jealousy, envy, pride, admiration, respect?

(5)  Are the persons involved in political conspiracies omniscient or omnipotent?  If not, are they fallible?  Are they susceptible to the same weaknesses and defects experienced by ordinary people such as:  stupidity, desire for revenge, failure to accomplish assigned tasks, inability to resolve personality conflicts, inability to work well with co-conspirators, incompetence, failure to anticipate adverse results of their actions or decisions?

(6)  From our knowledge of previous conspiracies…

  •  typically, how long from the inception of the conspiracy did it take before the existence of the conspiracy became known?
  •  how are conspiracies normally organized?  For example: are there regularly scheduled meetings?  Are any notes taken?  Are there written memos, reports, or any other documentary evidence?  Is there any sort of organizational chart?
  • How do conspirators communicate with each other?  For example: when a new policy or objective is decided upon, how does senior management of the conspiracy inform their subordinates?  Newsletter? Phone calls? Emails? In-person discussions?  Or what?
  • Do the conspirators usually have regular full-time jobs doing things un-related to the conspiracy?  If so, how much time are they normally able to devote to the conspiracy?  Does the conspiracy normally take priority over their family life?  If so, this must create tension or acrimony within their families who feel neglected---just as is the case with many prominent persons whose careers absorb most of their time.  What evidence do we have of such conspirator family quarrels or friction?

(7)  Every conspiracy we can name (for example: Mafia, Watergate, CPUSA, tobacco companies, Enron, KKK) has produced insiders who defected and told their stories to law enforcement, legislative committees, and/or news media.  Specify some defectors from the “CFR-New World Order” conspiracy.

(8)  In every organization involving human beings there is competition for leadership and influence.  That competition often leads to internal disputes and hurt feelings.  Usually, policy or personal differences result in acrimonious exchanges, and, consequently, someone leaks embarrassing information as “payback” to get even.  Is there such evidence in CFR-NWO conspiracy history?

(9)  How is the conspiracy financed?  What financial records, if any, are kept and by whom?  Are the records audited in any way?   Does the conspiracy assess dues or require periodic financial contributions?

(10)  Every conspiracy we know about has produced defectors or disillusioned participants or witnesses who copied confidential internal documents and then released them to law enforcement or Congressional investigators or the news media.  The documents often reveal membership or financial data, mailing lists, or other confidential information.  Are there any such defectors, witnesses, or disillusioned participants who have provided such documentary evidence about the CFR-NWO conspiracy?

(11)  With respect to specific defectors or disillusioned participants…

  • Have they made any statement which summarized their conspiratorial career?  In other words, something that starts with “I joined the conspiracy” on (date) and then proceeds to explain (a) their reasons for joining, and (b) what his/her specific role was in the conspiracy, i.e. what tasks he/she was assigned, and (c) why and when he/she left the conspiracy? Was the conspirator unsuccessful at any assigned task?  If so, specify examples. 
  • Does the participant state whether or not he/she was a junior or senior officer within the conspiracy?  OR was he/she just a follower of orders but not a decision-maker? 
  • How often did the conspirator attend conspiracy meetings? Who was present at those meetings?  After the meetings, did the conspirator prepare written notes about what transpired?  What plots were discussed at these meetings and which of those plots did the conspirator participate in?
  • What specific tasks was the conspirator assigned by their superiors after joining?  Who were their superiors?  How much direct contact did conspirators have with their superiors?  Was that contact by phone or in writing, in person, or what?   Are there any records of such contacts?
  • Are there any documents (or confirming testimony by other members of the conspiracy) that establishes that the defecting conspirator was actually a member of that conspiracy and which also discusses the conspirator’s status within the hierarchy of the conspiracy?

(12)  By definition, conspiracy refers to illegal behavior so….

  • On what date(s) did the conspirator first contact law enforcement authorities to report his/her participation in the conspiracy and the illegal activities he/she was associated with? 
  • Do law enforcement records confirm such contact(s)? 
  • Did the conspirator prepare a sworn affidavit or testify under oath in court or before any legislative committees about his/her participation in a conspiracy?
  • If the conspirator never reported his/her participation in the conspiracy to law enforcement or other entities – then how do we know that he/she genuinely left the conspiracy?  
  • How do we determine whether or not a conspirator genuinely departed from the conspiracy as opposed to merely pretending to be a defector in order to become a disinformation agent to confuse authorities and the public about the actual existence, operations or objectives of the conspiracy OR for the conspirator to protect his/her own reputation to prevent any legal jeopardy for his/her own actions?
  • By revealing the names of their co-conspirators, the defecting conspirator would expect hostility and reprisals.  Can you cite some examples of such hostility and reprisals directed against the defecting conspirator --- such as comments made in court testimony, newspaper or magazine articles, interviews,  or on websites --- where the defecting conspirator is denounced?

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Jason,

Thanks for your reasonable input on this complex topic.

I would point out that when the JFK CT community began, more than a half-century ago, it was a profoundly rationalist program.   One of the first advocates of a JFK CT was the British philosopher, Bertrand Russell.  This was even before Mark Lane.

Russell, one of the founders of the Analytical movement in Philosophy, and a supremely logical thinker,  supplied the rational, thinking, global community with 16 reasons why the JFK Assassination had to be a Conspiracy.   They are still good questions today:

http://22november1963.org.uk/bertrand-russell-16-questions-on-the-assassination

Nobody can logically accuse Mark Lane of "irrationally evading reality."    What would then be "reality"?  The Lone Nut theory?   Earl Warren banned thousands of JFK documents from public view, on grounds of National Security, and said, "we'll release these after 75 years."  It would be irrational to blindly accept the Warren Report after that move.

The rational asked, "If Lee Harvey Oswald alone was the JFK killer, and he is now dead, then where is the problem of National Security?"

Also, while I grant that Jim Garrison prosecuted Clay Shaw with too little evidence -- nevertheless we are all indebted to Garrison for showing the Radical Right relationships that Lee Harvey Oswald nurtured in New Orleans at 544 Camp Street, there with David Ferrie and Guy Banister.

There seems to have been a decline in the quality of most CT's after the 70's -- as profiteering, hack writers emerged merely to imitate the first great CTers.  One or two great books appeared among the many imitators, however, which continued to justify the global enterprise.

A half-century later, near the end of the road, the profiteering, hack writers seem to dominate with sensationalism.   LBJ-did-it, Nixon-did-it and Bush-did-it CT's join the old, CIA-did-it CT's, as the H&L science fiction nonsense leads their way.   Is this irrational?  No, it's that old profit motive, and most likely bids for a Hollywood movie deal.   Fantasy and science fiction are all the rage in Hollywood.

The chaos in Washington DC today has little to do with the JFK CT Community.   The causes are wildly separate.   Most young people today don't care two-bits for the JFK Assassination.   It's ancient history.   Their problems today are vastly different.

Anyway, there's my second sociological rant for the morning.   It's good to hear your voice on the Forum again, Jason.   Welcome back.

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

All best,
--Paul

Edited by Paul Trejo

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1 hour ago, Paul Trejo said:

Jason,

Thanks for your reasonable input on this complex topic.

I would point out that when the JFK CT community began, more than a half-century ago, it was a profoundly rationalist program.   One of the first advocates of a JFK CT was the British philosopher, Bertrand Russell.  This was even before Mark Lane.

Russell, one of the founders of the Analytical movement in Philosophy, and a supremely logical thinker,  supplied the rational, thinking, global community with 16 reasons why the JFK Assassination had to be a Conspiracy.   They are still good questions today:

http://22november1963.org.uk/bertrand-russell-16-questions-on-the-assassination

Nobody can logically accuse Mark Lane of "irrationally evading reality."    What would then be "reality"?  The Lone Nut theory?   Earl Warren banned thousands of JFK documents from public view, on grounds of National Security, and said, "we'll release these after 75 years."  It would be irrational to blindly accept the Warren Report after that move.

The rational asked, "If Lee Harvey Oswald alone was the JFK killer, and he is now dead, then where is the problem of National Security?"

Also, while I grant that Jim Garrison prosecuted Clay Shaw with too little evidence -- nevertheless we are all indebted to Garrison for showing the Radical Right relationships that Lee Harvey Oswald nurtured in New Orleans at 544 Camp Street, there with David Ferrie and Guy Banister.

There seems to have been a decline in the quality of most CT's after the 70's -- as profiteering, hack writers emerged merely to imitate the first great CTers.  One or two great books appeared among the many imitators, however, which continued to justify the global enterprise.

A half-century later, near the end of the road, the profiteering, hack writers seem to dominate with sensationalism.   LBJ-did-it, Nixon-did-it and Bush-did-it CT's join the old, CIA-did-it CT's, as the H&L science fiction nonsense leads their way.   Is this irrational?  No, it's that old profit motive, and most likely bids for a Hollywood movie deal.   Fantasy and science fiction are all the rage in Hollywood.

The chaos in Washington DC today has little to do with the JFK CT Community.   The causes are wildly separate.   Most young people today don't care two-bits for the JFK Assassination.   It's ancient history.   Their problems today are vastly different.

Anyway, there's my second sociological rant for the morning.   It's good to hear your voice on the Forum again, Jason.   Welcome back.

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

All best,
--Paul

Paul, if for nothing else than to show others that me and you are not entirely of the same mind I'll begin by saying that I disagree somewhat with your point about Mark Lane and a few of the others you mention.

Mark Lane was a Rebel Without a Cause when he was given the great gift of the Kennedy assassination to latch onto as his cause célèbre. This in no way means that his work is invalid, in fact  his work is probably critical  in both timing  and the direction he took ... but if it wasn't for the JFK assassination he would have concentrated on the Vietnam War or any of the other pet left-wing projects of his day.   In other words, even people who are right pursue their CT for many of the same self-satisfying reasons as those who are wrong.

.

.

.

If you want to kill your wife or your boss, or anyone you see everyday and trusts you with their life, do you arrange for a spectacularly chaotic and mistake-filled circus as she drives by  in a convertible with hundreds of witnesses around and a dozen or more photographers in place? Or do you kill her in a way that is guaranteed to succeed?  Or do you do it in a way that is guaranteed to succeed and guaranteed that only the lone nut can be blamed?   Only those with no easy access to JFK kill JFK in a fireworks show that was only 1 bullet away from total failure.

Most indoctrinated CTers are getting too wrapped up in the details without looking at the overall picture. No one close to JFK spins the roulette wheel of sloppy chances that was this Dallas fiasco that almost failed. Anyone close to JFK that wants JFK killed does so with no witnesses, very little evidence, and one hundred percent certainty. Anyone close to JFK could still blame it on a lone nut with total certainty and no need of a cover-up- without embarking on the total gamble that was Dealey Plaza. Dallas left us with hundreds of witnesses, truckloads of evidence and was an unlikely crapshoot in terms of potential success.

...

Another thing is that everyone seems to have no problem accepting that the Mayors Daley of Chicago or perhaps district attorneys in Mafia towns like New Orleans could look the other way AFTER all sorts of crimes are committed..... without actually being involved in the crime themselves. Very few conspiracy theories seem to recognize the same process could be in place with Kennedy, there seems to be a total block towards the idea that the killers and the cover-up are not necessarily in close relation nor in close cooperation.

 

 

Jason

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jason Ward

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2 hours ago, Jason Ward said:

Paul, if for nothing else than to show others that me and you are not entirely of the same mind I'll begin by saying that I disagree somewhat with your point about Mark Lane and a few of the others you mention.

Mark Lane was a Rebel Without a Cause when he was given the great gift of the Kennedy assassination to latch onto as his cause célèbre. This in no way means that his work is invalid, in fact  his work is probably critical  in both timing  and the direction he took ... but if it wasn't for the JFK assassination he would have concentrated on the Vietnam War or any of the other pet left-wing projects of his day.   In other words, even people who are right pursue their CT for many of the same self-satisfying reasons as those who are wrong.

.

.

.

If you want to kill your wife or your boss, or anyone you see everyday and trusts you with their life, do you arrange for a spectacularly chaotic and mistake-filled circus as she drives by  in a convertible with hundreds of witnesses around and a dozen or more photographers in place? Or do you kill her in a way that is guaranteed to succeed?  Or do you do it in a way that is guaranteed to succeed and guaranteed that only the lone nut can be blamed?   Only those with no easy access to JFK kill JFK in a fireworks show that was only 1 bullet away from total failure.

Most indoctrinated CTers are getting too wrapped up in the details without looking at the overall picture. No one close to JFK spins the roulette wheel of sloppy chances that was this Dallas fiasco that almost failed. Anyone close to JFK that wants JFK killed does so with no witnesses, very little evidence, and one hundred percent certainty. Anyone close to JFK could still blame it on a lone nut with total certainty and no need of a cover-up- without embarking on the total gamble that was Dealey Plaza. Dallas left us with hundreds of witnesses, truckloads of evidence and was an unlikely crapshoot in terms of potential success.

...

Another thing is that everyone seems to have no problem accepting that the Mayors Daley of Chicago or perhaps district attorneys in Mafia towns like New Orleans could look the other way AFTER all sorts of crimes are committed..... without actually being involved in the crime themselves. Very few conspiracy theories seem to recognize the same process could be in place with Kennedy, there seems to be a total block towards the idea that the killers and the cover-up are not necessarily in close relation nor in close cooperation.

 

 

Jason

 

 

 

 

Jason,

As Paul said earlier, good to see you back again. 

If someone with close access wanted to take JFK out quietly and covertly, that could have been easily done. One could also say that the open and public manner of the operation was by design and intended as an example. Does that mean it was by those without close access? Certainly possible as you said. Things to ponder.

Everyone have a safe and happy New Year, and see you in 2018!

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