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Strange attack on John Simkin


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I find this new article by Don Bohning a bit strange, considering he's a member of this forum and could just as easily have posted it here for all to see. I mean, if he's worried that people are gonna be misled, why not come here and set them straight, as opposed to posting it on a website where newbies rarely dwell?

http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/2008/06/simkin.html

Edited by Pat Speer
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I find this new article by Don Bohning a bit strange, considering he's a member of this forum and could just as easily have posted it here for all to see. I mean, if he's worried that the people are gonna be misled, why not come here and set them straight, as opposed to posting it on a website where newbies rarely dwell.

http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/2008/06/simkin.html

----------

Isn't this the Max Holland--whose work can be read in The Nation and the CIA's homepage--site? I mean the site called Washington Decoded.

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer
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I find this new article by Don Bohning a bit strange, considering he's a member of this forum and could just as easily have posted it here for all to see. I mean, if he's worried that the people are gonna be misled, why not come here and set them straight, as opposed to posting it on a website where newbies rarely dwell.

http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/2008/06/simkin.html

‘far pleasanter to sit comfortably in the shade rubbing red pepper into a poor devil’s eyes than to go about in the sun hunting up evidence’.

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I find this new article by Don Bohning a bit strange, considering he's a member of this forum and could just as easily have posted it here for all to see. I mean, if he's worried that the people are gonna be misled, why not come here and set them straight, as opposed to posting it on a website where newbies rarely dwell.

http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/2008/06/simkin.html

Reply to Don Bohning: Part 1

Thank you for pointing out this article. It does not surprise me that Don Bohning has made this attack on me. For several years we enjoyed a good relationship via email. He was a close friend of Chi Chi Quintero and he used to ask him questions for me. In return, I helped publicize his book The Castro Obsession on the forum and my website. However, Bohning turned nasty when I started asking Quintero about his work for Operation 40. He was especially upset when I asked him about the Gene Wheaton interview where he named Quintero, Carl Jenkins and Irving Davidson as being involved in the assassination of JFK. According to Bohning, Quintero and Jenkins were “winding up Wheaton” with their false confession of assassinating JFK.

Bohning did not take too kindly to my questions about his involvement with the CIA. At this point he stopped answering my email questions.

The problem for Bohning is that if you type in the words “Don Bohning” into Google my page on him comes up top of the list:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKbohning.htm

It includes the following passage:

In her book, A Farewell to Justice (2005) Joan Mellen revealed that "Bohning had received his Provisional Covert Security Approval as a CIA confidential informant on August 21, 1967, then Covert Security Approval itself on November 14th. On July 31st, the DDP himself approved the use of Bohning in the CIA's Cuban operations." He was given the code-name AMCARBON-3.

In an article published on 6th August 2007, the journalist, David Talbot, argued that AMCARBON was the cryptonym that the CIA used to identify friendly reporters and editors who covered Cuba. For example, Bohning's colleague at the Miami Herald, Al Burt, was AMCARBON-1. Talbot found a declassified CIA memo dated 9th April, 1964 that showed that the CIA’s covert media campaign in Miami aimed “to work out a relationship with [south Florida] news media which would insure that they did not turn the publicity spotlight on those [CIA] activities in South Florida which might come to their attention...and give [the CIA’s Miami station] an outlet into the press which could be used for surfacing certain select propaganda items.”

While working on his book, Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, Talbot contacted Bohning to ask him about his reported ties to the CIA. Bohning denied that he was paid for the work he did for the CIA. However, as Talbot pointed out: "The fact that Bohning was given a CIA code as an agency asset and was identified as an agency informant is a relevant piece of information that the readers" of his books and articles have a right to know.

I will deal later with his claims that “In the guise of education, John Simkin’s website delivers agitprop”. .

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The truth is in the middle here. Bohning is right in pointing out there false claims on the Spartacus website, like the guy with the glasses in the Barry Seal picture being Porter Goss, and another one being Frank Sturgis. However , the majority of Bohning's claims and especially his reliance on CIA records (f.e. concerning Frank Sturgis) are pure bullcrap.

But since Bohning was so cosy with Frank Sturgis and Frank Sturgis, why does he not put some effort in warming up with Luis Posada and hear him out on Operation 40 and his alibi for Dallas? Maybe he can do better with Bohning than an unsubstantiated "I was pumping gas at Fort Benning, dressed as a sergeant". The Miami Herald might be interested in that story! Wait, on second thought, it might not be. With a man called Felix in charge op Operation 40, and Miami being in the middle of Governor Bush's state, the story will probably meet an early demise.

:eek

Wim

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So Mad Max is using his Washington Decoded Blog as a Soapbox for his friends Dale Myers and Bohning, both of whom are deceptive in their writings about the assassination.

Both Hemming and Sturgis were there in the thick of Cuban things, and I take exception to Bohning's obits of both men. Sturgis was USMC, a CIA contract agent, was in Cuba before and after the revolution, was primary contact with the Cuban Air Force and wasn't he arrested at the Watergate? Now Bohning wants to implausably deny this background?

I also take exception to Bohning's CIA status and his attempts to portray himself as an independent journalist, something that he and Holland can also deny, but a status that is quite clear from the records and their own writings.

One example of Bohning's research is his calling attention to Charles D. Ford, the Atlantic City guy who went to Princeton, and identified by Bohning as being RFK's CIA liason to the Mob in the plots to kill Castro.

A close look at the situation, reading Ford's own CIA reports, it's clear that he was the liason between RFK and JMWAVE, and had previously been in the OSS in China with J. Walton Moore, the CIA DCS officer in Dallas who George DeMohrenschildt reported to.

Of course Bohning doesn't want to go there, nor Holland or anyone who wants to portray RFK as being behind the Castro assassination plots that RFK says he tried to stop.

While Simkin has an obligation to update his web site info on Operation 40 with new information, Bohning can't change his stripes now, as he's already sold his soul.

BK

We're going to have to come up with a word for Bohning and Holland and other such CIA assets who propagate the CIA party line.

Oh, and Agitprop:

http://dictionary.reference.com/wordofthed...2002/01/04.html

agitprop \AJ-it-prop\, noun:

Propaganda, especially pro-communist political propaganda disseminated through literature, drama, music, or art.

Despite its explicit program, when the symphony was first performed in 1957 a Russian audience always on the lookout for subtexts quickly interpreted it as being about the crushed Hungarian uprising of the previous year. This officially sanctioned work of agitprop was read as an encrypted denunciation of the Soviet regime.

-- Justin Davidson, "Musical Explosions, Moving and Martial", Newsday, May 22, 1999

The essay was a farewell to the men of the left, a brilliant, impassioned piece of agitprop that galvanized women in communes, bookstores, hippie coffee houses and underground newspaper offices all over the country.

-- "Memoirs by women writers get personal with a host of issues, from politics to pregnancy to parent care", Washington Post, January 14, 2001

Neither writer offers a shred of evidence for her claims, which makes these books second-rate agitprop rather than "first-rate sociology."

-- Kim Phillips-Fein, "Feminine Mystiquers", The Nation, March 19, 1999

. . .nationally televised agitprop designed to appear nonpartisan while actually pushing the ideology of the party in power.

-- Peter Beinart, "The sleazification of an American ritual", The New Republic, February 3, 1997

Edited by William Kelly
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Perhaps this article is simply intended to generate interest in a new project? It does seem rather harsh, considering that most of the article deals with a different interpretation of information than what John may have. Certainly nobody has all the answers, and taking an adversarial stance such as this just calls attention to Bohning imo.

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One of the footnotes to Don's critique states in part that The only systematic CIA assassination program that is documented in US government records was code-named ZRRIFLE

According to Richard Mahoney's "Sons and Brothers," Beyond Kennedy's sophomoric dedication to counterinsurgency, the simple fact was that Miami was no longer controlled by Washington. Besides Roselli's kill team, Operation 40, a ZR/RIFLE unit created prior to the Bay of Pigs, brought together Cuban mob henchmen like Eladio del Valle and Rolando Masferrer - both Trafficante couriers - soldiers of fortune like Frank Sturgis (Fiorini), and CIA case officers like William Bishop and David Morales, who managed assassins.

Is Mahoney correct? If so, both John and Don have corrections to make. My own impression is that the records are so unclear as to allow a number of widely different interpretations - which is exactly what you get if you start checking what various researchers and authors have claimed about Operation 40.

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Reply to Don Bohning: Part 2

At the beginning of Don Bohning’s article he states: “In the guise of education, John Simkin’s website delivers agitprop”

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary the word agitprop means:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agitprop

Etymology: Russian, ultimately from agitatsiya agitation + propaganda

Date: 1935

: propaganda; especially : political propaganda promulgated chiefly in literature, drama, music, or art

— agitprop adjective

Another online dictionary defines the word as “Propaganda, especially pro-communist political propaganda disseminated through literature, drama, music, or art.”

http://dictionary.reference.com/wordofthed...2002/01/04.html

Later in the article Bohning argues: “It takes a little digging to figure out Simkin is much more interested in indoctrination than education, in keeping with his unreconstructed left-wing views. Simkin exemplifies the kind of militant socialists, once peculiar to the Labour Party, who were all but run out of that party by former Prime Minister Tony Blair.”

Bohning does not provide any information to indicate that I am more interested in indoctrination than education. His suggestion that I was expelled from the Labour Party as a member of the militant group could not be further from the truth. Not only was I not part of this group, I was not a member of the Labour Party at this time. It is true that as a young man I was active in the Labour Party but left in the 1960s in protest against the Wilson’s government failure to develop an independent foreign policy.

If he did do the research he suggested he did, he was discovered that I have a long record of being opposed to communism. Nor have I ever supported the groups like Militant that have been inspired by the teachings and writings of Leon Trotsky. I am a libertarian socialist - the kind that was persecuted by Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky when they were in power. My independent political views are hated by all those in power, whether they go under the heading “left” or “right”. My political views cannot be bought, unlike those of AMCARBON-3.

I am a member of no political party. However, I am not an anarchist and do vote in elections. After all, a large number of people died in order that everyone got the right to vote. For many years I voted for the Labour Party. However, since the arrival of Tony Blair, I have voted for the Liberal Democrats. They are far from perfect but at least they have policies that would reduce economic and political inequality and were against the illegal war in Iraq.

Bohning also argues that much of my work has been self-published. That is indeed true. Tressell Publications was set up in 1979 by a group of teachers dissatisfied with conventional history textbooks for students. We felt that our ideas were too revolutionary to be accepted by mainstream publishers. Our books and teaching packages were very popular and we were soon employing seven workers (not me who remained in the classroom).

The establishment of Spartacus in 1984 was very similar. It was even more successful than Tressell. However, we decided to retain our independence when we turned down a takeover bid from a major publishing corporation.

I have had work published by national newspapers. In fact, I have been on the staff for two of them, the Telegraph and the Guardian. However, I found it a frustrating experience because you have so little influence over such large organizations.

Even the ownership of the Spartacus book publishing company created limits on what you could say. You are under the control of market forces and it is difficult to be too experimental in what you publish. That is why I created the Spartacus Educational website in 1997. Because the production of information is so cheap, it gives you complete freedom to produce the educational materials you believe in. As he happens, the financial rewards are greater than it was from publishing books. Isn’t technology wonderful.

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John do not take this fool's libellous smears to heart.

Spartacus is a fine website and you have been a fine educator for many years. The main reason why you are a such fine educator is that you unsettle people's thinking in the pursuit of knowledge - sometimes to extent that they snap back with rather predictable codswallop like that presented here

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John do not take this fool's libellous smears to heart.

Spartacus is a fine website and you have been a fine educator for many years. The main reason why you are a such fine educator is that you unsettle people's thinking in the pursuit of knowledge - sometimes to extent that they snap back with rather predictable codswallop like that presented here

Bohning clearly has an agenda. Evidently, he finds the belief that Op 40 had an assassination capability offensive on some level. As I pointed out in my response on Holland's site, Sturgis' sworn testimony details that he was asked to commit an assassination by an agent of the CIA. By singling out that this was the only time he was asked to commit an assassination on American soil, moreover, he gives the strong implication that he'd been asked to commit other assassinations on foreign soil. (I haven't read his testimony in awhile, so correct me if I'm wrong.)

Anyhow, while the page on Op 40 may very well have some mistakes--I, for one, would not be surprised if that photo with all the Italians and/or Cubans gathered around a table is a red herring, and actually some guy's bachelor party--the raison d'etre for Bohning's "attack" if you will, is that he wants everyone to know that Op 40 was not in the business of killing people. To this end he wants us to believe that "assassination" was not in the CIA's play book, outside of the unsuccessful ZR/Rifle project. This is historical revisionism at its blindest. This ignores the still-redacted assassination lists prepared for the 54 Guatemalan coup, and similar lists prepared for the Bay of Pigs invasion--both of which pre-dated ZR/Rifle.

In short, there is NOTHING in the record to make us think that Op 40 was not designed to enter Cuba after a successful invasion at the Bay of Pigs, and murder political rivals to America's chosen leader. From the political climate of the time, moreover, there is every reason to believe that among those slated for execution was Manolo Ray. When Ray made a brief appearance on this website, I asked him if he had any knowledge of a group called Op 40 and if his information indicated they were supposed to kill him. He never answered. Maybe he thought my question was in bad taste, I don't know. But I took it as an indication that it's still a touchy subject in the anti-Castro Cuban community. For me, Bohning's article confirms this belief.

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Evidently, he finds the belief that Op 40 had an assassination capability offensive on some level.

Bohning himself says that part of Op 40's "assigned but never-realized" task was to "purge pro-Castro officials" after the invasion. What does Bohning think that "purge" means? To give them all enemas? As I recall, the CIA had a list of Guatemalan officials it wanted purged after the the coup in Guatemala, and it meant to kill them plain and simple. Would Cuba somehow be different?

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John do not take this fool's libellous smears to heart.

Spartacus is a fine website and you have been a fine educator for many years. The main reason why you are a such fine educator is that you unsettle people's thinking in the pursuit of knowledge - sometimes to extent that they snap back with rather predictable codswallop like that presented here

Don has not upset me as his claims against me cannot be supported by the evidence. However, I am not too pleased that he has not allowed my reply to appear on his website. Has anybody else had this problem?

Maybe someone can post this URL so that readers can see my reply to his attack.

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Reply to Don Bohning: Part 3

Bohning describes me as being more interested in “indoctrination than education”.

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/indoctrination

Etymology: probably from Middle English endoctrinen, from Anglo-French endoctriner, from en- + doctrine

Date: 1626

1 : to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : teach

2 : to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle

It is true that much of education is indoctrination. It was the reason that socialists in the 19th century opposed the idea of state education.

In those countries where the state completely controls the education process, such as in the former Soviet Union and China, indoctrination does take place. Even in so-called liberal democracies such as the UK and the USA schools, teach a common message that is favourable to the capitalist system. However, the great advantage of the capitalist system is that it does allow some dissent from the dominant ideology. That is why I would rather live under capitalism than communism. However, one always needs to be on guard because capitalism sometimes resorts to fascism to preserve itself, as we saw in Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy in the 1930s.

Although dictatorships can attempt to indoctrinate its people, this is not possible in a democracy. The idea that any lone individual within the capitalist system is in a position to “indoctrinate” anybody is a ridiculous notion.

It is true that in a capitalist society the mass media does help with the imposition of a dominant ideology. However, liberal democracies do provide alternative news sources.

The education system is more problematic. Take for example, the teaching of history. School textbooks will invariably transmit a view of the past that supports the dominant ideology. However, it is possible for the teacher to expose students to different interpretations of past events. This was the main reasons why we set up Tressell Publications in 1979. One of the main objectives was to present different views of past events. This is what made our books so popular with teachers and in 1984 this approach was adopted by the examination boards when they introduced the GCSE exam. Three years later “interpretations of the past” became part of the national curriculum for history (5-16).

Therefore, when I create books or web-pages, I always provide different interpretations of past events. Britain is fairly unique in this approach to history teaching and foreigners with little understanding of our educational system often become confused by what they are reading. For example, a couple of years ago, a national newspaper in Finland reported that Spartacus Educational was involved in promoting Soviet propaganda. This even led to questions being asked in the Finnish Parliament because they believed, quite wrongly, that the website was being sponsored by the European Union. As it happens, another Finnish journalist, who had a better grasp of the British educational system, wrote an article for another newspaper, explaining how we taught history and pointing out that as well as the extract from the Soviet textbook about the invasion of Finland, the page also included extracts from other sources that supported the Finnish view of this event.

Don Bohning has made a similar error in his account of my web page on Operation 40. For example, he writes that “Simkin also fingers, without providing any documentation, Porter J. Goss as a member of Operation 40. The Spartacus website even features a photograph, which it claims was “taken in a nightclub in Mexico City on 22 January 1963. It is believed that the men in the photograph are all members of Operation 40.” Among them, allegedly, is Goss (with glasses, at the bottom left-hand corner).”

If he read the page carefully he would see that it is not me that says this but Daniel Hopsicker writing in Mad Cow Morning News on 24th August, 2004. I do not pass any opinion on this claim. It is one of many sources that I provide on this web-page. This includes a passage from Don Bohning’s “The Castro Obsession” and the recent article he wrote for Washington Decoded.

Don rightly claims that Frank Sturgis and Gerry Hemming are not reliable sources. However, can we rely on his sources to tell the truth? In the passage I quote from “The Castro Obsession” he relies on an unnamed member of Operation 40 for his information. How are we to judge the value of this source? In his Washington Decoded he uses information provided by Chi Chi Quintero and Porter Goss? Are they more likely to be telling the truth about Operation 40 than Frank Sturgis and Gerry Hemming? Personally, I prefer the analysis of Larry Hancock in “Someone Would Have Talked” that is based on CIA declassified documents. As he points out that "new documents provided by researcher Malcolm Blunt confirms that Sanjenis, the individual in charge of Operation 40, was actually the number one exile in the AMOT organization trained and prepared by David Morales." (page 111).

Larry then goes onto argue that evidence has emerged that suggests that members of Operation 40 were involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy: "The individuals knowingly involved in the actual conspiracy included both exiles and a small number of their most committed American supporters... It is likely that some of the participants were part of the Morales trained and organized intelligence service that was developed to support the 1962 action against Cuba and which had a political assassination (black list) component. Elements of this group were retained as Morales' intelligence and surveillance force in Miami after the failure at the Bay of Pigs. Some of them had been involved in Agency sanctioned (and possibly unsanctioned) projects to assassinate Castro. This group was unofficially known as Operation 40." (page 372).

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Therefore, when I create books or web-pages, I always provide different interpretations of past events.

I stand corrected on this previous statement of mine, John: Is Mahoney correct? If so, both John and Don have corrections to make.

Although I can see where you're coming from with this methodology, I can't say I agree it's always a good idea to treat history as if it were a series of Nostradamus quatrains.

Nor do I believe some of what you have on your web-pages is simply different interpretations of the same facts. Just as often, the various quotes used are positing entirely different sets of facts (and sometimes just plain incorrect facts).

In the scheme of things, this isn't a major criticism. Just my 2 cents fwiw (and perhaps not even that!). Spartacus Education is a valuable resource and your effort to allow all POV a chance to be seen and tested is far more than the Bohnings of this world will ever contemplate allowing on their own turf.

I think, in any case, people like him could be stopped from misrepresenting what you do by simply adding a disclaimer to each page along the lines of "The views expressed here are not necessarily the opinions of.... but are presented to encompass a wide range of interpretations"

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