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Sen. Thomas Dodd and JFK by Lisa Pease


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Yikes! The plot thickens ...

Dodd had a most interesting set of witnesses appear before his committees, including Manny Pena, Richard Gibson, and the man who would later tell the HSCA where to find Oswald’s associate George DeMohrenschildt; Dutch journalist Willem Oltmans. Some of Dodd's witnesses turned out to be CIA assets. Dodd introduced into the Senate the Ardsley-on-Hudson conference report, sponsored by Freedom Horse and the Citizens Committee for a Free Cuba, a group which included such CIA backers as Clare Booth Luce and Admiral Arleigh Burke.

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A rogues gallery. However, I thought the second part of essay 2 was weak because suddenly the focus shifted to criticizing Russell and Scott. If Pease has written other investigative pieces delving into the very right wing ASC I'd like to read them. But I have no doubts that the CIA had factions within it. They still do. Perhaps you understand this portion of the essay better than I.

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I love the pay off to that section.

It turns out the informant was not an FBI guy at all.

But a member of the (tiny) communist party in Texas who said that Oswald may have been an FBI informer, but they had him pegged as a CIA agent provocateur--- which is why they stayed clear of him.

And then this was twisted by this alleged right-wingers, to be an FBI informer story.

Like Jim Garrison once said, the more you scratch at these alleged right-wingers, the more you see they are CIA connected.

FInally, if you read the memo Lisa found, Yarborough told the Warren Commission about this.

See if you find Mr. Stanford in the index to the WR, or in Walt Brown's witness index in The Warren Omission.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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It seems they wanted to put Ralph Yarborough in the limousine, but instead John Connally rode with JFK. I sometimes wonder if they were trying to kill two birds with one stone.

I simply cannot get over the presence of Pena in both plots... what a horrific insight. Dodd and Luce (with the phony Oltmans) ... William Pawley a few degrees of freedom away. ASC.

Yikes.

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Dodd was a really fascinating character in just about every way.

He was supposed to be a Democrat, but he opposed JFK about everywhere in the world, especially in Congo. Where he allied himself with William F. Buckley in the attempt to separate Katanga from Congo. Something that JFK refused to do.

If you read Tanenbaum's Corruption of Blood, he has some very interesting observations about Dodd's son Chris Dodd. And his service on the HSCA. He paints him as a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Which is where the title of his book becomes interesting. Go ahead and look it up.

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Jim - thanks for the clarification on the last section of part two of Linda Pease's great article about Sen. Thomas Dodd. I'm not advocating going light on the CIA, far from it. But the more you scratch at these CIA guys the more you see their extreme right wing views and connections.

Question - when did Dutch journalist Oltmans appear before Dodd's committee? Which committee? Why?

Gene - glad you thought to mention William Pawley. I wish we knew more about Manuel Pena. I wonder if Ernie has some info. Seems like without Trejo around to argue with Ernie disappears.

I'm surprised that Otto Otepka doesn't make it into Pease's article. I have his book, which I think is very self serving. But I'm going to dig around in there a bit today.

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Jim:

Quite interesting... the metaphorical "stain" or corruption of blood which arose from being condemned for a serious capital crime, like treason or murder. While unconstitutional, it seems this is the charge that Tanenbaum feels the plotters should have been subject to... without the need for a trial. Bill Kelly's May 2013 summary stated that it comes from the United States Constitution (Article 3, Section 3) which reads:

“The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attained.”

According to legal dictionaries, in old English criminal law, attainder was the metaphorical "stain" or "corruption of blood" which arose from being condemned for a serious capital crime (e.g. treason), without judicial trial. It entailed losing not only one's life, property and hereditary titles, but typically also the right to pass them on to one's heirs. Medieval and Renaissance English kings and queens typically used attainders against political enemies and those who posed potential threats to the king's position and security... and reversed their attainders in return for promises of loyalty. Often, nobles would refer to the act of being attainted (and then executed) as the person's "destruction."

Under common law, punishment for treason generally included drawing, hanging, beheading, and quartering. As with other crimes carrying sentence of death, those adjudged guilty of treason and finally sentenced were considered attaint, or stained, meaning dead in the eyes of the law ... even before execution. Once attainder was established, the attainted forfeited his real estate to the Crown - a requirement symbolizing lack of entitlement to the benefits of society. Attainder also worked corruption of blood. Forfeitures and corruption of blood worked hardship on dependents and relatives in order to provide maximum deterrence. Eventually, Parliament modified the laws of forfeiture and corruption of blood to protect the innocent.

Corruption of blood was one of the consequences of attainder. The descendants of an attainted person could not inherit either from the attainted criminal (whose property had been forfeited on conviction) or from their other relatives through the criminal. For example, if a person is executed for a crime leaving innocent children, the property of the criminal is forfeited to the crown and will not pass to the children. If the criminal's innocent father subsequently dies, his property cannot be inherited by the criminal's children either: it will be distributed among other family members. The US Constitution prohibits corruption of blood as a punishment for treason, and attainder has been abolished in England.

Legislation has occasionally been proposed in this regard, but is rejected because of due process and Fifth Amendment considerations. Other countries (e.g. North Korea, Iran) practice forms of this punishment. There would otherwise be no investigation ... plus everyone within the accused's family would be subject to the sanctions. In Tanenbaum's book, he has a passage that states:

"Assassinating the president is not treason… even a coup is not treason. Treason shall consist in levying war against the United States and giving aid and comfort to its enemies. It’s in the Constitution, the only crime defined in the Constitution... so forget treason. Conspiracy to commit murder, interfering with an investigation, tampering with and withholding evidence - that’s different, and we may have found evidence of all of that. It’s enough.’”

Gene

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Jim:

I did not read "corruption of Blood". But from your 1998 Probe piece entitled "The Sins of Robert Blakey". it seems that Tanenbaum’s expresses suspicions about "Henry Dobbs, Democrat of Connecticut" ... clearly Chris Dodd, son of Thomas.

Hence the inference would be that - had Thomas been convicted of treason (and subject to the old English consequence of attainder) - then any family property would have been forfeited and would not have been passed onto his son Chris Dodd. So, Chris Dodd was "tainted" with his Father's corruption of blood.

Gene

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Yes, that is what I think the title stands for.

If you read the book, Tanenbaum thinks that Dodd did a nice bit of play acting and was really a wolf in sheep's clothing.

He will say that its all fiction, but its clearly a roman a clef.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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Roman à clef: Created by Madeleine de Scudery in the 17th century to provide a forum for thinly veiled fiction featuring political and public figures. The reasons for using this format include writing about controversial topics or reporting inside information on scandals without giving rise to charges of libel. The fictitious names in the novel represent real people, and the "key" is the relationship between the nonfiction and fiction. This "key" may be produced separately or implied through the use of epigraphs or literary techniques.The key may be provided by a variety of different techniques and may be revealed only in partial form, or revealed in different degree to different elements of the readership.

Jim:

What do you think the "key" is that Tanenbaum used? Or is it self-revealing?

Gene

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Jim:

Perhaps Tanenbaum was attempting to induce public attention to Dodd and the plotters. The use of Roman à clef can also invoke what's called the "Streisand Effect":

If it becomes known that someone of power, fame, or influence is using strong measures to attempt to suppress a piece of information or a work, then many people will want to know what it is even if they never cared before.

This phrase was coined when Barbara Streisand - trying to suppress a photograph taken of her house - attempted to sue a photographer and force him to take the image off of his website. Predictably, this backfired: the Internet imp of the perverse was roused and now everyone wanted to see the photo that Streisand didn't want them to see. News of the photo's existence spread far and wide, with others quickly mirroring it on multiple websites as a rejoinder to Streisand. The image in question was not a paparazzo taking pictures of her house; rather, it was part of the California Coastal Records Project, a government-commissioned photographic study of the California coast. In the interpretative struggles over the photo, an important argument in the photographer’s defense was that he had not singled out Streisand; his photographs were part of a public service documenting coastal erosion. These facts also served to validate the photo by showing it belonged in a category different from paparazzi.

Instead of successfully removing the information from the public, it becomes even more widely available than before as a backlash against the censorship attempt. Psychologists have found that the subjects' desire for any kind of potentially censor-able material increases (i.e. forbidden fruit principle) when the subjects were told that it was censored. So, the only way to really keep something hidden is to have nobody look for it in the first place. How is that done?

In the course of understanding the dynamics of the Streisand effect, there emerge certain tactics used by censors to reduce outrage from their actions (“The Streisand Effect and Censorship Backfire” by Sue Jansen and Brian Martin, International Journal of Communication 2015). Although overwhelming force may be on their side, perpetrators and their allies still commonly take steps to reduce public outrage by using one or more of these five tactics. In most cases, only powerful perpetrators have the resources and authority to use all five methods. An institution, like a church containing child molesters, can more readily use official channels, intimidation, and rewards to reduce outrage... all five methods. This appears to be what happened during the HSCA:

  1. Hiding the existence of censorship (cover-up);
  2. Devaluing targets of censorship;
  3. Reinterpreting actions by lying, minimizing consequences, blaming others, and using benign (favorable) framing;
  4. Using official channels to give an appearance of justice; and
  5. Intimidating opponents or rewarding those involved

Covering up the action is itself a form of censorship ... censorship of censorship. Even the most ruthless and powerful groups use these methods to justify their atrocities. For example, the Nazis used all five methods in their so-called euthanasia program to kill people with disabilities: The program was assiduously hidden from the general public; people with disabilities were stigmatized as a societal burden; those who had suspicions about what was happening, such as parents of victims, were met with lies about the cause of deaths; formal complaint procedures led nowhere; and protesting parents were threatened with losing their other children or worse. These methods do not necessarily operate in any predictable sequence, and can occur before or after an action. For example, although it occurred a century ago, the Turkish government continues to devalue anyone who seeks to raise awareness of the 1915 Armenian genocide. In the same vein, 50 years after JFK’s murder, the government appears to be censoring and devaluing critics (e.g. Oliver Stone).

Jansen and Martin talk about the “information onion” analogy. Censorship does not have to be absolute, but is effective enough to limit awareness and understanding of the issue, reducing the potential for popular concern. Many examples involve layered censorship. If the censorship were completely effective, it could remain undetected. Sometimes, however, with the passage of time, information that was once highly sensitive loses its volatility and becomes public: Those currently in power may release it or records may be deposited in archives and later discovered or reinterpreted by historians. As an example, for many years, authorities denied rumors about the existence of Operations Northwoods and Mongoose. Since a large number of people were involved in various actions associated with these intrigues, there were rumors, but the rumors and investigative reporters who pursued them were devalued and dismissed as part of the radical lunatic fringe. It was implied that no sensible person would believe that their government could be involved in such bizarre activities. The 1975 Senate investigation headed by Senator Frank Church confirmed the existence of the mafia-related plots. In this case, all five methods were successfully invoked and succeeded for 15 years in keeping the operation secret or at least, in the language of the time, “plausibly deniable.” By the time these activities were publicly disclosed in the immediate wake of the Watergate affair, the public had already had its fill of outrage and was ready for reform and reconciliation.

The Jansen/Martin analysis of outrage management highlights the fact that censorship is a process rather than a singular action or an outcome. In many cases, something is hidden, at least to certain audiences, but remains potentially vulnerable to wider exposure, indicating that deliberate processes are involved in maintaining secrecy or limiting visibility. In other words, censorship seldom can be achieved with finality, but instead commonly requires active maintenance, using the methods for inhibiting outrage.

Where this is all headed - as far as the future is concerned - is unclear. As lawyers, crisis management advisers, and brand managers advise their clients of the hazards of Streisand-effect backfires, the powerful may exercise more restraint in selecting their targets, avoiding those that are likely to trigger media attention and public sympathy. If history is any guide, however, when the powerful and their advisers do act to suppress information, they will try to develop more effective ways of concealing and maintaining their censorship's.

Gene

PS. All of this is extracted from “The Streisand Effect and Censorship Backfire” by Sue Jansen and Brian Martin, International Journal of Communication 2015. I found it an instructive analogy for what has happened with media and information flow in the 50 years following JFK's murder.

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If you read the book, Tanenbaum makes very little effort to hide who the characters really are.

I mean he does not even go to any great lengths to conceal the names. I mean Dobbs and Dodd?

And the progress of the book, and the last meeting he has with Dobbs, makes it pretty clear what he thinks of him and what he was up to.

See, the thing that makes me really ponder this is that, if it really was all fiction, then why would Tanenbaum delve that deeply into that obscure clause of the Constitution for something as simple as his title? And why pick out Dodd of all the people on the committee?

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