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Fred J. Cook


John Simkin
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Fred Cook was The Nations's main investigative journalist in 1963 (Stud Terkel called him the best investigative journalist working in America. He was unconvinced that JFK had been assassinated by a lone-gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. He wanted to investigate the case at the scene of the crime in Dallas but Carey McWilliams was unwilling to fund the trip. Cook did carry out research on the Mannlicher Carcano, the alleged murder weapon, and came to the conclusion that no assassin would have used such a "grossly inferior rifle". However, "Carey McWilliams was not enthusiastic about the trend of my researches" and the article was not published.

After the publication of the Warren Commission Cook decided he must write an article on the Kennedy assassination. Warren Hinckle, the editor of Ramparts Magazine, agreed to publish the 20,000 word article. It was delivered in September, 1965, and was due to appear in its December issue. However, at the last moment it was pulled. He was told it would be in the January 1966 issue. Once again Hinckle failed to keep his promise and in March he told Cook that he had decided not to publish the article. Cook told Ray Marcus that it was "the worst double-cross I have had from a publisher". In April, 1966, Cook received a "token payment" of $500, along with his unpublished manuscript.

Cook now returned to Carey McWilliams and asked him to publish it in the Nation Magazine. Again he refused but when Cook told him that Edward Jay Epstein was about to publish Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth, it might help him to get in before him. McWilliams saw the logic of the argument and the two-part article was published in June, 1966. Both parts of the article appeared with editorial disclaimers.

The first part, published on 13th June, was entitled Some Unanswered Questions and concerned itself with the way the Warren Commission dealt with the events in Dealey Plaza. Cook pointed out: "Not a single eyewitness the commission heard saw the action in the way that the commission decided it had happened. All, without exception, were convinced that the President and Governor Connally were felled by two separate, wounding shots." Cook went onto argue that he considered the evidence linking Lee Harvey Oswald to the purchase of the weapon, to the same weapon discovered on the TSBD sixth floor, and the ballistics linking CE 399 to that weapon convincing: "To contend in the face of all this - and more besides - that Oswald was innocent is to endorse absurdity." However, he added that it was impossible for him to believe that Oswald acted alone.

The second part of the article, published on 20th June, was called Testimony of the Eyewitnesses. He argued that in spite of the speed with which Dallas authorities all but closed the case against Oswald, with a lone shooter, three-shots-fired theory, "a surprising number of spectators insisted with varying degrees of certainty that they had heard four, five or six shots." Cook went onto point out: "Exhibit 386, is a back view of the President's head and shoulders; it places the entry wound, not on a line with the tip of the shoulder; it places the entry wound, not on a line with the tip of the shoulder, not always in the middle of the back, but well above the shoulder level on the right side of the President's neck. In other words, the location of this wound has been changed!".

On 11th April, 1966, Nation Magazine published an article by Jacob Cohen, criticising the work of Cook and Edward Jay Epstein for not accepting the findings of the Warren Commission. This time there was no editorial disclaimer. Cook was furious with Carey McWilliams and insisted he ran his reply without deleting a single word, or he would never write for the magazine again. McWilliams agreed to do this and Cook's letter that appeared on 22nd August dismantled every point that Cohen had made.

I have ordered a copy of Cook's autobiography, Maverick: Fifty Years of Investigative Reporting (1984), to see if he had anything else to say about the assassination.

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

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I have ordered a copy of Cook's autobiography, Maverick: Fifty Years of Investigative Reporting (1984), to see if he had anything else to say about the assassination.

http://www.spartacus...k/JFKcookFJ.htm

He certainly did. A chapter from the book appeared in Jerry Rose's The Third Decade. It's compelling reading.

The Truth Is Too Terrible by Fred J Cook: http://www.maryferre...726&relPageId=3

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Someone going by the name Lester Hajek wrote an essay for the Agency entitled Target: CIA (Features of the recent Soviet psywar drive against U.S. intelligence)

The classified document was released by the Agency in September, 1995. The author described Cook and The Nation as "deliberate components of the Soviet psywar campaign."

Excerpts:

The six publications include, in addition to three "white" propaganda productions issued in East Berlin and Moscow, three from ostensibly non-Communist sources-one by British member of parliament Bob Edwards and Kenneth Dunne, A Study of a Master Spy (Allen Dulles), one published in New York, Robert E. Light and Carl B. Marzani's Cuba vs. the CIA, and Fred J. Cook's The CIA, published as a special issue of The Nation. What distinguishes these latter three from the recent welter of more or less honest and spontaneous scapegoating of the CIA and marks them as deliberate components of the Soviet psywar campaign is the similarity of their arguments to those of the Bloc books and in particular their coordination in building up a distorted structure upon certain document fragments that could have been furnished, directly or indirectly, only by the Soviets.

Later he calls Cook a Soviet bogey-man:

The last two quotations from Cook lead us into the first of some other thematic characteristics with which the Soviet psywar artists clothe their bogey-man. There are four of them:

  • CIA interferes with and even creates State Department and U.S. foreign policy. It tries unilaterally and secretly to overthrow legal governments.

  • CIA is perfidious and unprincipled. It spies on America's friends as well as its foes.

  • CIA dominates and manipulates supposedly independent organizations, governmental as well as private. It misuses emigne groups and turns them into spy nests.

  • Despite the fact that it costs the U.S. taxpayer fantastic sums, CIA is incompetent.

We shall look at each of these in turn....

https://www.cia.gov/...i1a04p_0001.htm

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On 11th April, 1966, Nation Magazine published an article by Jacob Cohen, criticising the work of Cook and Edward Jay Epstein for not accepting the findings of the Warren Commission. This time there was no editorial disclaimer. Cook was furious with Carey McWilliams and insisted he ran his reply without deleting a single word, or he would never write for the magazine again. McWilliams agreed to do this and Cook's letter that appeared on 22nd August dismantled every point that Cohen had made.

Although Fred Cook did not mention Cohen by name in his book, he did recount the following story. Cohen's statement to Vince Salandria became the title of Cook's chapter on the Kennedy assassination.

The author of the back-stabbing exercise that so infuriated me had announced that he was going to withdraw from the ivy halls, become a full-time free-lance writer, and produce a book that would silence all critics and vindicate the Warren Commission. In my reply, I pointed out that I knew how extremely difficult it was to make a living by free-lance writing. I didn't believe it could be done by someone who hadn't established a broad reputation in the field, and I was convinced that the man who had done a job on me must be privately financed by some government agency like the CIA.

There was never a rebuttal to this accusation. A couple of reactions came from other sources: from Tom Caton, who had been a professor at Monmouth College, in West Long Branch, New Jersey, and Vince Salandria. Their feeling was that, once the report was exposed and the assassination issue raised, agencies were going to have to take out after somebody. They had both met the back-stabbing author of the Nation article and asked him why he had gone out of his way to take such vicious potshots at me. He told them that he had done it "for that very reason" -- because he wanted to discredit me in my own forum.

Sometime later, in that summer of 1966, I got a late-night phone call from Vince Salandria. He was in Boston, where he had just had a debate with my Nation back-stabber. Salandria was excited. "Fred, I told him that you had accused him of being a CIA front -- and he did not deny it. He did not deny it!"

After the debate, Salandria said, he and his opponent had a long, private bull-session. "He's a very disturbed person," Salandria told me, "and I wound up feeling sorry for him. He has a lot of conflicts within himself, and he finally admitted that he knows we are right, but he said: 'The truth is too terrible. The American people would never be able to stand it.' In the end, however, he said he was not going to write the book." And he never did.

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On 11th April, 1966, Nation Magazine published an article by Jacob Cohen, criticising the work of Cook and Edward Jay Epstein for not accepting the findings of the Warren Commission. This time there was no editorial disclaimer. Cook was furious with Carey McWilliams and insisted he ran his reply without deleting a single word, or he would never write for the magazine again. McWilliams agreed to do this and Cook's letter that appeared on 22nd August dismantled every point that Cohen had made.

Although Fred Cook did not mention Cohen by name in his book, he did recount the following story. Cohen's statement to Vince Salandria became the title of Cook's chapter on the Kennedy assassination.

The author of the back-stabbing exercise that so infuriated me had announced that he was going to withdraw from the ivy halls, become a full-time free-lance writer, and produce a book that would silence all critics and vindicate the Warren Commission. In my reply, I pointed out that I knew how extremely difficult it was to make a living by free-lance writing. I didn't believe it could be done by someone who hadn't established a broad reputation in the field, and I was convinced that the man who had done a job on me must be privately financed by some government agency like the CIA.

There was never a rebuttal to this accusation. A couple of reactions came from other sources: from Tom Caton, who had been a professor at Monmouth College, in West Long Branch, New Jersey, and Vince Salandria. Their feeling was that, once the report was exposed and the assassination issue raised, agencies were going to have to take out after somebody. They had both met the back-stabbing author of the Nation article and asked him why he had gone out of his way to take such vicious potshots at me. He told them that he had done it "for that very reason" -- because he wanted to discredit me in my own forum.

Sometime later, in that summer of 1966, I got a late-night phone call from Vince Salandria. He was in Boston, where he had just had a debate with my Nation back-stabber. Salandria was excited. "Fred, I told him that you had accused him of being a CIA front -- and he did not deny it. He did not deny it!"

After the debate, Salandria said, he and his opponent had a long, private bull-session. "He's a very disturbed person," Salandria told me, "and I wound up feeling sorry for him. He has a lot of conflicts within himself, and he finally admitted that he knows we are right, but he said: 'The truth is too terrible. The American people would never be able to stand it.' In the end, however, he said he was not going to write the book." And he never did.

This is really interesting. In the CIA secret report written on 4th January, 1967, about the work of conspiracy writers, Joachim Joesten, Mark Lane, Leo Sauvage, Bertrand Russell, Carl Marzani, etc. ends with the words: "There are hopeful signs: Joacob Cohen is writing a book which will appear in 1967 under the title Honest Verdict, defending the Commission report... But further criticism will no doubt appear."

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I think I have posted a link to this before but in case there are members who haven't seen it, it makes for interesting reading. It is a debate that was aired on WTTG-TV in November, 1966. It is called A Re-Examination of the Warren Commission: A Minority Report. The programme was moderated by Jim Bishop, who would go on to write The Day Kennedy Was Shot (a pro-Warren Commission book), and the guests are: Penn Jones, Harold Weisberg, Leo Sauvage, Mark Lane and Jacob Cohen.

Cohen is joined by Bishop as the defenders of the WC Report.

The transcript runs for 85 pages:

http://www.maryferre...661&relPageId=2

If you posted the link previously, I missed it. Thanks for posting it again. That transcript is one of my favorite reads of the year. Harold Weisberg had some classic retorts; his one-liners were great. What a brilliant evidentiary mind that man had. Lane, Jones and Sauvage were no slouches, either. That certainly was an impressive, heavyweight lineup of panelists.

It quickly became clear that Bishop and Cohen had only a cursory understanding of the Warren Commission evidence, at best. Near the end of the show, Bishop asked:

"Was there a conspiracy?"

The panelists' answers begin here: http://www.maryferre...61&relPageId=80

Cohen's response was lame, of course; not much different than the Warren Commission apologists today.

Edited by Michael Hogan
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  • 3 weeks later...

From the Fred J Cook papers at Syracuse University:

When Cook's 1964 book Goldwater: Extremist on the Right was published, it -- and Cook -- were attacked by Conservative evangelist and radio broadcaster Billy James Hargis on his radio show on station WGCB, based in Red Lion, Pennsylvania. Cook sued, arguing that under the Fairness Doctrine he was entitled to free air time to respond to the attack. Red Lion Broadcasting, the company that owned WGCB, decided to challenge the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine. The case went to the Supreme Court as Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission in 1969, which resulted in the Court's ruling that the Fairness Doctrine was constitutional.

http://library.syr.e...s/c/cook_fj.htm

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  • 8 years later...
On 12/14/2012 at 12:16 PM, Michael Hogan said:

He certainly did. A chapter from the book appeared in Jerry Rose's The Third Decade. It's compelling reading.

The Truth Is Too Terrible by Fred J Cook: http://www.maryferre...726&relPageId=3

Since Calvin bumped this old thread I thought I'd share this.  The article Michael shared by Cook looks vey interesting though I stopped for the moment after 4 ages because of the small print. 

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