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Denny Zartman

Are there any JFK protests similar to Umbrella Man's heckling?

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5 minutes ago, Joe Bauer said:

There is and always was a mountain of conspiracy suggesting evidence, credible person testimony and background information so huge no one ever needed any visual enhancements to see it.  In fact, you have to make a ridiculously illogical effort to drive around it and/or keep pretending it doesn't exist.

Your assertion that there may be thousands of pieces of information suggesting conspiracy may well be correct. But in a case with literally millions of pieces of information, this would not be unexpected. And the "mountain" suggesting LHO did it alone is much larger than the conspiracy one.

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13 hours ago, Gene Kelly said:

We should all fold up tent and go home, right?  Its all about conspiracy theorists, and their flawed logic.  And obviously, you are an expert in quantum mechanics. The guy with the umbrella was Witt, he had a simple reason for what he did, and we should all get over it ...  nothing suspicious.  I know I'll regret pushing back and stating this, but you protest way too much:  

Conspiracy theorists have essentially formalized the tendency to assume agency, deliberateness, and sinister motivations in the quirky details of events. Conspiracy theories are often an exercise in anomaly hunting. When anomalies, like the Umbrella Man, are inevitably found it is assumed that they are evidence for a conspiracy. This is, of course, precisely where Conspiracy Land begins.  Better to just engage in dark speculation about who this seemingly ordinary cluck might have been.  BTW, do conspiracy participants typically sit back down on the grass and then wander over toward the TSBD, as Witt did?  The fallacy is in confusing a priori probability with posterior probability ...

Your diatribe convinces me there's more to this than meets the eye ... God (and you) only knows what it was.

 

You've COMBINED my words with those of Dr. Steven Paul Novella, a clinical neurologist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine and made them all appear to be mine.  Is this acceptable on these forums or in the academic circles in which you travel?  The indented quotation in my post is from Dr. Novella.

13 hours ago, Denny Zartman said:

Hi Lance,

Are there any pictures of anyone else protesting one of JFK's public appearances in a way similar or identical to Louie Steven Witt, aka Umbrella Man's alleged protest (holding up an umbrella in JFK's presence on a non-rainy day)?

I haven't found any.  Witt referred vaguely to a similar protest at the airport in Tucson or Phoenix, which would've been right in my back yard at the time, but I was unable to locate any reference or photo.

12 hours ago, Ron Bulman said:

"former home of Alex Jones"  Your not trying to hijack the tread with BS are ya Lance?

No, what I know about Alex Jones could be written on a postage stamp, but the Wikipedia entry on famous residents of Rockwall, TX, says he grew up there.  I literally know nothing about Alex Jones except that he apparently holds some wild views.

11 hours ago, Denny Zartman said:

Hi Lance, nice to talk to you, I enjoy your posts.

I am aware of these examples. I did some research before posting this thread. That's why I was so specific in my question.

I wonder why it is not obvious to you that you're taking both sides of this argument. You seem to say in one post that you're willing to bet that this Witt protest was maybe the only such recorded public protest of JFK with an umbrella, then you Googled it, and then you came in with an example of JFK being taunted with an umbrella by being sent one by schoolchildren from Bonn as well as quoting an explanation as to why the Kennedy's thought umbrellas to be so utterly vexing.

So, if this is true, and umbrellas were indeed a commonly known "sore spot" with the Kennedy's, and finding an example of JFK being mailed an umbrella by Bonn schoolchildren is just a Google search away, surely there are other examples of this type of Umbrella Man protest during one of JFK's public appearances.

I had indeed always thought that the logic of Witt's explanation was bizarre - "How could JFK possibly have made the connection Witt expected him to make???"   Until I started looking into it, I indeed didn't realize the extent to which a black umbrella had become a symbol of Chamberlain-like thinking (i.e., attempting to appease evil rather than confront it).  I still would find it highly unlikely that many people would have confronted JFK with this symbol because it seems to me that it would be difficult to characterize him as a weak-kneed appeaser.  You'd have to be just trying to irritate him with a reminder that his father wasn't exactly covered in glory in WW2.  Witt didn't say that he was "protesting" anything JFK had done, but rather that he intended to "heckle" JFK, which seems to me a more fitting description of what he was doing.  I'm not really taking both sides - simply acknowledging that I was wrong in thinking that Witt's umbrella and his explanation for it were uniquely bizarre.

1 hour ago, Joe Bauer said:

My interpretation is that L. Payette suggests looking at the assassination more with a real life, odd things happen all the time common sense versus conspiracy driven hyperventilating over these odd yet explainable details and anomalies and microscopic searching for even more.

And that perhaps many conspiracy believers can't let go of their mind set because they are much more emotionally motivated and locked into this view because of this emotional connection versus those that aren't?

Maybe this take on Payette is too general and even wrong, however it is one that allows me to frame and explain my own alternate interpretation of such a view.

I don't believe that's an unfair characterization.  Since I held to several conspiracy theories over the decades before evolving to the Lone Nut position, I'm certainly not in a position to suggest that conspiracy thinking is delusional.  I do think that conspiracy thinking is typically an a posteriori exercise in anomaly hunting as the quotation from Dr. Novella suggests.

An event of the magnitude of the JFK assassination, involving (actually or potentially) such a diverse cast of characters, is inevitably going to have many loose ends and seemingly inexplicable coincidences.  It's easy to weave plausible conspiracy theories all day long.  Not just conspiracy theories, but ones that on the surface seem highly plausible - perhaps more plausible than the Lone Nut explanation.

What I see going on - and what I myself did - is that many people are struck by a few of the loose ends and seemingly inexplicable coincidences and dive headfirst down the conspiracy rabbit hole, microscope in hand.  All they now see are loose ends and inexplicable coincidences (and some items of evidence that are genuinely puzzling).  They are in Conspiracy Land.  There is no longer any perspective at all.  It's simply a matter of which conspiracy theory is correct.  As these forums demonstrate, it's an endless game of "What about HIM?" and "What about THIS?"

I was "saved," if you will, by two things.  First, over the course of 35 years of heavy-duty legal practice (I mostly did nothing but research and write complex motions and appellate briefs), I honed my critical-thinking skills and saw first-hand how even many lawyers lack such skills.  Second, due to the diversity of my interests (the JFK assassination wouldn't even crack the top ten), I got a much broader and deeper education in the way that conspiracy thinking operates.  As I've stated, I became at least as interested in the psychology and dynamics of this type of thinking (including my own) as in the subject matter (JFK assassination, Roswell crash, Shroud of Turin or whatever).

(I really don't even think it has to be described as "conspiracy thinking."  It's broader than that.  It's more like a predisposition, a preference, for complex and fantastical explanations over mundane ones.)

An assassination theory can't just seem plausible at the microscopic level.  That level is distorting.  A common glass of water is full of tiny monsters.  You become overwhelmed and bewildered by "What about HIM?" and "What about THIS?"  Every anomaly, every odd coincidence, receives a conspiracy spin.  Every blank is filled in with conspiracy-themed speculation.  You can't see the assassination forest for the conspiracy trees.

An assassination theory has to deal with the best evidence, not just the anomalies.  The anomalies can't be allowed to overshadow the best evidence.  An assassination theory has to make sense from the proverbial 30,000-foot level in at least a roughly connect-the-dots sort of way.  An assassination theory has to deal with who Lee Harvey Oswald really was.

The Lone Nut explanation is the one that makes sense to me from the 30,000-foot level in a roughly connect-the-dots sort of way.  It is consistent with everything we really know about Oswald, factually and psychologically.  (Marina said that all events in the last year of Oswald's life were "window dressing," part of an effort to establish his bona fides as a revolutionary Marxist who would be welcomed as a hero in Cuba, to which he had shifted his grandiose fantasies after his dissatisfaction with the USSR.  This, I believe, is the reality.)

Your mileage may vary, of course.  But pretty much all I see on here are people lost in Conspiracy Land.  My efforts to engage people at the 30,000-foot level, or even the 3,000-foot level, go nowhere.  I NEVER get a response to any question that demands logic and common sense.  In Conspiracy Land, nothing actually has to make sense in the context of a real-world Presidential assassination.  The dots don't have to be connected by anything other than conspiracy-themed speculation.  It's all "Oh, yeah, well about HIM?" and "Oh, yeah, well about THIS?"  The "discussion," to the extent it isn't conspiracy-oriented, immediately descends to insults and ad hominem attacks, which really isn't much of an advertisement for the rationality of conspiracy thinking.

I am admittedly in Lone Nut Land these days, but at least I've done my time in Conspiracy Land and have a pretty good idea of the lay of the land.  I could still be persuaded by a limited assassination conspiracy, but it would take EXTRAORDINARY evidence to convince me of any conspiracy that didn't fit plausibly into Oswald's "window-dressing" campaign to establish his bona fides as a Marxist revolutionary.

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Lance, thanks for the engagement in response to my earlier post.

I would like to ask you about Lee Harvey Oswald and your consideration of the possibility that he was trying to establish ( as Marina said of his last year of extreme political and even gun using activity - the New Orleans leaflet doings and radio political debate, back yard photos, shooting at Walker ) his bona fides as a Marxist revolutionary with the ultimate goal of being welcomed as a hero in Cuba.

Do you think that Oswald actually believed that his shooting and killing of JFK would be the final guaranteeing key to this goal?

And that he ( Oswald) actually believed he could pull this off and successfully escape to Cuba for this grand honoring welcome?

Oswald seemed quite intelligent enough to formulate an escape plan better than the one where he leaves his shells and gun just feet from his perch, then runs down to a 2nd floor lunch room to buy and sip a soda pop, then casually walks out of the TXSBD building to a bus stop, boards and jumps off when the bus is stalled in traffic, hails a cab, gets to his room, rushes past his landlady with a gun on his person, starts walking...to where no one is sure...and then everything falls apart after Tippit and the movie theater tussle and arrest.

My common sense tells me that the scenario of Oswald doing such extremely idiotic , poorly planned,  risky and self incriminating things from the Walker shooting, to the BYPs to firing hugely loud rounds right above hundreds of bystanders at JFK in Dealey Plaza to his poorest person budget escape attempt and desperation run from his room doesn't fit the Cuba hero plan at all.

It sounds much more like the unplanned actions of a mentally deranged or drug addled nutcase or someone bent on suicide. Oswald was not of these mind sets and he had to have known in his political history reading savvy that Cuba and Castro would want him eliminated ASAP if he survived and somehow showed up in Cuba.

Oswald also did show true love, affection and concern for his daughters. In this mind set, it is a challenge to believe he would completely risk ruining their future lives welfare with a possibility of  his being discovered as the assassin of a beloved President of the United States and who was a father of two young children himself.

For Oswald to cross that human and father love bond line, and become a cold blooded killer of someone he didn't even know simply for political reasons seems very implausible to me, again falling back on my "common sense" instincts versus the circumstantial evidence to the contrary including Marina Oswald's theory of Lee's motivations testimony.

 

 

 

Edited by Joe Bauer

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2 hours ago, Joe Bauer said:

Do you think that Oswald actually believed that his shooting and killing of JFK would be the final guaranteeing key to this goal?

And that he ( Oswald) actually believed he could pull this off and successfully escape to Cuba for this grand honoring welcome?

No, I believe that the Mexico City fiasco ("fiasco" from Oswald's perspective), together with Marina's cold refusal of his pleas the night before the assassination for her to move back in and live as a family, put him in a despondent "Who cares anymore?" mental state.  He was a doubly whipped puppy.  As Marina suggested, if she had agreed to move back in with him, I doubt there would have been an assassination at all.  The rifle would have remained in Ruth Paine's garage.  If you believe he took the shot at Walker and wrote the note to Marina, as I do, he was perfectly willing to throw away his family even at that point (when he still had the grandiose fantasies of himself as a great historical figure).

I think the assassination and escape had about as much planning as they look like they did - essentially none.  I think Oswald had no expectation of escape, perhaps no real expectation of actually reaching the point of pulling the trigger.  I think he was probably the most surprised person on the block when he walked out of the TSBD unscathed and was at that point flying by the seat of his pants.  Perhaps his shattered dream of being a hero of the Cuban revolution was revived by his escape and he hoped to find his way back to the Cuban embassy in Mexico City with his new credentials as the assassin of JFK.  Perhaps he had no plan at all at that point.

Of course, his denial of killing Kennedy and Tippit and his entire post-arrest demeanor do require some explaining.  I give Oswald credit for a pretty high level of intelligence (as did almost everyone who interacted with him), and almost everyone noted his uncanny coolness under pressure.  I believe he was game-playing in an entirely Oswald-like manner.  His request for John Abt is significant.  I suspected he was already envisioning a grand trial where he would, if not acquitted, at least get to spout his political philosophy and fulfill his destiny as a great historical figure.

The above is obviously my speculation.  To the extent we try to get into Oswald's head, we do have to speculate.  I believe that plausible speculation has to take into account that he had been a sincere Marxist since his teens; had been driven by a fantasy that he was destined to become a great figure in history; became a changed and bitter man after his incarceration in the Marines, as those who knew him best described; had been bitterly disappointed by his experience in the USSR (both because he wasn't greeted as a celebrity and the country wasn't the Marxist workers' utopia he had pictured); had been disappointed by his return to the U.S., where he wasn't greeted as a celebrity either and had difficulty getting anyone including Marina to take him seriously; had shifted his Marxist hopes and his grandiose fantasies to Cuba and begun engaging in a series of activities to establish his bona fides (both genuine pro-Castro activities and phony anti-Castro activities he described as "infiltration"); had pinned his hopes on Mexico City and had them completely dashed; had found himself living alone as a minimum-wage order-filler with a wife who mocked him and who coldly refused his pleas to put the family back together; and who seemed to have had the JFK opportunity handed to him on the proverbial golden platter.  I think he may well have seen the congruence of his lowly employment and JFK's motorcade as an act of Fate, the fulfillment of the destiny he had always foreseen for himself.  Exactly how it was going to fulfill that destiny, I'm not sure even Oswald could have articulated on the morning of November 22nd.

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I don't think someone can say in good faith that there is nothing suspicious about a guy pumping an umbrella up and down on a clear day in the exact spot in front of where the president gets assassination.  People who dismiss a connection of the Umbrella Man to a potential conspiracy outright, IMO, are trying too hard to be "rationally minded."

I'm agnostic as to whether the Umbrella Man was really Louie Steven Witt. I've done a bit research on him. He just died in 2014. I checked his criminal record but it was clean.  I've interviewed some of his coworkers and his niece. His niece said he was a strange guy who didn't talk much and didn't like to talk about the Umbrella Man.

At the time of the assassination, he worked for the Rio Grande Insurance Company, which had connections to Carlos Marcello. After that, he was a warehouse manager. I found a guy who worked for him but he said he never mentioned the Kennedy assassination or that he was there at all. The guy didn't find out he was the Umbrella Man until years later during the HSCA. Also, it turns out Witt was a union representative--so much for being such a right-winger like he said during his testimony (although to be fair, back in the day before the hyper polarization, some conservatives were union supporters).

If I remember correctly, one of David Lifton's close friends knew Witt's dentist and claimed he heard Witt tell him he was the Umbrella Man a year before the HSCA.  

Edited by Brian Schmidt

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2 hours ago, Brian Schmidt said:

I don't think someone can say in good faith that there is nothing suspicious about a guy pumping an umbrella up and down on a clear day in the exact spot in front of where the president gets assassination. 

No, I don't think they can either.  That was Tink Thompson's point.  Umbrella Man practically SCREAMS "Something sinister!"

2 hours ago, Brian Schmidt said:

People who dismiss a connection of the Umbrella Man to a potential conspiracy outright, IMO, are trying too hard to be "rationally minded."

Certainly, if they dismiss Umbrella Man OUTRIGHT.  But who does?  The dismissal is (1) after you hear Witt's explanation, which is just unlikely enough to be true - and too absurd to be a planned cover-up; and (2) after you think rationally about what sort of conspiracy, particularly one with Oswald as the designated patsy, would have Umbrella Man and Walkie Talkie Man standing in full view right in the kill zone?  No one had any idea how many film, still and TV cameras were in the crowd that day.  Umbrella Man and Walkie Talkie Man simply make no sense unless the assassination was someone's idea of a comedy skit.

2 hours ago, Brian Schmidt said:

At the time of the assassination, he worked for the Rio Grande Insurance Company, which had connections to Carlos Marcello.

Where does this come from?  All I could find was another post of yours quoting the highly fictionalized 2016 movie.  What was Marcello's "connection"?  What could it possibly have had to do with Witt or his role as Umbrella Man?  I demonstrated that one of John Armstrong's footnotes in HARVEY AND LEE, which was entirely bogus and did not support the point being made in the text, now appears as gospel throughout the conspiracy literature.  So I am a bit sensitive about this sort of thing.

2 hours ago, Brian Schmidt said:

Also, it turns out Witt was a union representative--so much for being such a right-winger like he said during his testimony (although to be fair, back in the day before the hyper polarization, some conservatives were union supporters).

No, he didn't say he was a right-winger.  He said he was "a conservative-type fellow."

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Lance,

Gaurantee Reserve Life Insurace was under FBI investigation for allegedly lending money to mob figure Marcello (and Trafficante and Roselli). Their assets would be spun off to Rio Grande Insurance around the time of the assassination. There are declassified FBI documents about this. The movie quote you found about this was probably one of my old posts in this forum telling people about the movie (The Umbrella Man) and how it was funny they knew about this relatively obscure fact.

Right-winger is a synonym for conservative.

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The ONLY other motorcade (in nice weather) where I could find someone holding an open umbrella: Houston, 1962; the year before!

41849351_10215916177712853_8861918004519108608_o.jpg

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On ‎10‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 6:40 PM, Larry Hancock said:

It would be interesting to hear Vince's response on whether any umbrella waving experiences occurred during other JFK public appearances.  I don't recall any myself, usually protests against JFK were quite graphic and explicit, with signs or placards.

41849351_10215916177712853_8861918004519108608_o.jpg

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1 hour ago, Brian Schmidt said:

Lance,

Gaurantee Reserve Life Insurace was under FBI investigation for allegedly lending money to mob figure Marcello (and Trafficante and Roselli). Their assets would be spun off to Rio Grande Insurance around the time of the assassination. There are declassified FBI documents about this. The movie quote you found about this was probably one of my old posts in this forum telling people about the movie (The Umbrella Man) and how it was funny they knew about this relatively obscure fact.

Right-winger is a synonym for conservative.

I'm not going to pretend to know anything about this, but I could find nothing (including past posts on this forum) to suggest it is true.  Perhaps it is.  But I do know that in Conspiracy Land things like this take on a life of their own.  The next phase will be that Witt was "associated" with Marcello and "may well have had Mafia connections."  Please document what you are asserting if you can.

I did find this gem of conspiracy thinking from one Russ Baker:  "In the last article, I mentioned that Witt, the self-proclaimed 'Umbrella Man,' worked for Rio Grande National Life Insurance in the Rio Grande building. I mentioned that the same building housed the Immigration office frequented by Lee Harvey Oswald, and the local office of the highly negligent Secret Service. I mentioned that Rio Grande wrote a lot of insurance for the military. And, separately, I noted the strong military intelligence connections to key figures connected with 11/22/63.  One thing I did not mention, but should have, was that Military Intelligence itself had offices in that Rio Grande building."

Baker also quotes the illustrious John Simkin, whose confident pronouncements are dead wrong:  "According to John Simkin, a retired British history teacher and textbook author who runs the historical website Spartacus Educational, the umbrella was never the symbol of Chamberlain that the 'umbrella man' claimed it was.  'In Britain, there was never any association with an umbrella at all,' Simkin told me. 'Everyone had umbrellas and bowlers in those days.' According to Simkin, the only proper symbol for Chamberlain and appeasement was a piece of paper."

To refresh your memories (from my earlier post):

Those who opposed Chamberlain’s work soon began to mock him using a signature accessory of his as their ammunition – his large black umbrella, ever present by his side. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, the black umbrella had been used in satirical cartoons to poke fun at the Prime Minister, as well as in protest.

and

Neville Chamberlain’s umbrella was ubiquitous during the Munich Crisis and in its aftermath, as material object, as commodity, and as political emblem that came to represent the temperament and character of the ‘Man of Peace’ who had brought relief to the world by striking a ‘gentleman’s peace’ with Hitler on 30 September 1938. This culminated in the damning portrayal of the Prime Minister as the ‘Umbrella Man’ in ‘Cato’s’ Guilty Men (1940).

Gottlieb, J.V. (2016) Neville Chamberlain’s Umbrella: ‘Object’ Lessons in the History of Appeasement. Twentieth Century British History, 27 (3). pp. 357-388. ISSN 1477-4674, http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/10136

Here is the history of the Rio Grande National Life Insurance Company from the Texas Department of Insurance, which presumably knows what it's talking about:

Date Event
01-11-1968 MERGED WITH KENTUCKY CENTRAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY (45700) LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY CANCELLED
11-05-1967 MILITARY BUSINESS REINSURANCE BY BANKERS LIFE AND CASUALTY COMPANY (07900).
12-18-1928 INCORPORATED 01/01/1929 LICENSED
01-01-1900 RIO GRANDE NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, DALLAS, TEXAS

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On ‎10‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 6:28 PM, Vince Palamara said:

The ONLY other motorcade (in nice weather) where I could find someone holding an open umbrella: Houston, 1962; the year before!

41849351_10215916177712853_8861918004519108608_o.jpg

FWIW, the above photo would presumably have been September 12, 1962, the day JFK gave a speech at Rice University.  I couldn't find the actual temperature, but the day was described as "blazing hot."  So this may just be a Houston Belle shielding her skin.  I assume that not every black umbrella irritated JFK (not that Jackie didn't have plenty to protest about).

 

Edited by Lance Payette

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The Witt story doesn't pass the "Bozo test".  He is not interviewed, nor does he come forward for many years, until HSCA ... but he is the closest human witness to the most controversial event of the century?  It simply feels wrong and is not credible.  The symbolic nature of Appeasement is a rationalization ... nice try, but its isolated and odd.  Where are other similar protesters?   Where are all of the other umbrellas? 

For the record, type casting people as liberal or conservative, conspiracist or lone-nut, pro-choice or right to life -- even Democrat or Republican -- is a old school.   Its not a simple question of one or the other anymore.  Free thinking adults are more sophisticated and complex than that.  Its insulting, childish name-calling, and a provocation tactic. 

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10 hours ago, Gene Kelly said:

The Witt story doesn't pass the "Bozo test".  He is not interviewed, nor does he come forward for many years, until HSCA ... but he is the closest human witness to the most controversial event of the century?  It simply feels wrong and is not credible.

As he told the HSCA, he was ashamed and didn't want to come forward because he had heckled the President.

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On ‎10‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 2:46 PM, W. Tracy Parnell said:

Your assertion that there may be thousands of pieces of information suggesting conspiracy may well be correct. But in a case with literally millions of pieces of information, this would not be unexpected. And the "mountain" suggesting LHO did it alone is much larger than the conspiracy one.

You should've said: "The mountain suggesting Oswald was involved in the assassination." Even if Oswald really was the only shooter (which is VERY doubtful in my opinion) we can never rule out the possibility that he acted at the behest of others. In fact, considering that Oswald had a very positive view of Kennedy and no other discernible motive, that's the most likely explanation. The Walker shooting  shows how easily Oswald could be instigated to carry out an act of violence. And here again, we have evidence that several unidentified men fled the crime scene...

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On ‎10‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 5:35 PM, Lance Payette said:

What I see going on - and what I myself did - is that many people are struck by a few of the loose ends and seemingly inexplicable coincidences and dive headfirst down the conspiracy rabbit hole, microscope in hand.  All they now see are loose ends and inexplicable coincidences (and some items of evidence that are genuinely puzzling).  They are in Conspiracy Land.  There is no longer any perspective at all.  It's simply a matter of which conspiracy theory is correct.  As these forums demonstrate, it's an endless game of "What about HIM?" and "What about THIS?"

 

Well, maybe it's just a weird coincidence that Mr Kashoggi suddenly disappeared after he left the Saudi embassy in Istnabul. There's no evidence AT ALL that he was harmed in any way, apart from unfounded allegations. Not even his BODY has been found. And yet Saudi Arabia is being accused of state terrorism. Certainly some conspiratorial minds are at work here... right? Video footage that shows people entering and leaving an embassy... what does that prove? Nothing. Mr Kashoggi could be enjoying a sun bath in Rio, Tahiti or Australia for all we know.

Quote

JAMAL KHASHOGGI is gone, and with each passing day it seems more likely that his government killed him. A prominent Saudi journalist living in self-imposed exile, he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd to collect some paperwork for a new marriage. A CCTV camera recorded him entering it. There is no sign that he left. Turkish police believe he was murdered by men flown in from Riyadh. Some believe it was a botched kidnapping. His body, say the Turks, was carved up with a bone saw and smuggled out in a black Mercedes van.

Though there is no proof, the evidence of foul play is mounting. On October 10th a pro-government Turkish newspaper published photos of the men it said were flown in from Saudi Arabia. Video footage showed them arriving at the consulate and leaving later that afternoon. One was later identified as a forensic expert; others as members of the Saudi security services. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has not repeated the allegation of murder. But it is unlikely police would have made such a claim without his blessing.

Saudi officials deny the charges and insist Mr Khashoggi left the building safely. But they have offered no evidence. The Saudi consul in Istanbul says, implausibly, that his CCTV system did not record any footage. He has not produced visitor logs or documents, nor even offered an account of Mr Khashoggi’s time inside.

It is no mystery why Saudi Arabia might have wanted to silence Mr Khashoggi. He was a critic of the powerful crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman. Mr Khashoggi wrote frequently in Arabic, penned a regular column for the Washington Post, and kept close ties with countless diplomats and journalists. For more than a year he used that platform to criticise growing repression in Saudi Arabia and urge an end to the war in Yemen. But he was hardly a radical. Mr Khashoggi was part of the Saudi elite, close to members of the royal family. In the 2000s he advised Turki al-Faisal, a former intelligence chief who became Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Britain and America. He often stressed that his criticism of the regime was constructive, not a rejection of the monarchy. His editor at the Post says he did not even like the label “dissident”.

https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2018/10/13/did-saudi-arabia-kill-jamal-khashoggi

 

 

If an American Journalist had disappeared after entering a US embassy, allegations of "foul play" would certainly be branded "conspiracy theories".

Edited by Mathias Baumann

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