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Review of Joan Mellen's new book on LBJ


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She will be in Dallas for the Lancer conference Jim, you can ask her there...and of course so can anyone else attending. And yes there is an extensive fingerprint chapter in

her book - which I have only skimmed at this point. I did see that the expert she used mentioned that the prints he was working from appeared good enough to go into the

FBI automated computer print system - but she has the same problem Stu and I do with MLK related prints. You have to have law enforcement involvement to use that system and

in turn they have to have an active case to refer the search against. At least that's what we have been told. Violating that rule annoys the FBI and somebody's privileges gets

pulled so the folks including AG's we have talked to are somewhat sensitive to its use.

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She will be in Dallas for the Lancer conference Jim, you can ask her there...and of course so can anyone else attending. And yes there is an extensive fingerprint chapter in

her book - which I have only skimmed at this point. I did see that the expert she used mentioned that the prints he was working from appeared good enough to go into the

FBI automated computer print system - but she has the same problem Stu and I do with MLK related prints. You have to have law enforcement involvement to use that system and

in turn they have to have an active case to refer the search against. At least that's what we have been told. Violating that rule annoys the FBI and somebody's privileges gets

pulled so the folks including AG's we have talked to are somewhat sensitive to its use.

Larry,

It's too bad the JFK murder isn't an active case.

-- Tommy

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Jim,

As I said, the copies we see here MUST be worse than what Darby saw. Because we see an area in the latent print that is completely black from which Darby was nonetheless able to match patterns. The obvious reason for this discrepancy is that our copy is worse than his. (Either that or he had serious cognitive problems, something I don't believe for a microsecond.)

Also, as I said, even our copy of Wallace's exemplar (intentional) print is good enough to easily find several unique patterns.

On the other hand, our copy of the latent print is an entirely different story. It is clearly awful. But it is also clearly not what Darby saw.

Now, if it turns out that Darby used a bad copy of the latent print, and that this later examiner, Robert Garrett, had the original from the archives, then I'll concede that Garrett may have found something new. Problem is, there is no way for me to know if what Garrett saw hasn't been tampered with.

But one thing is for sure, and that is that the exemplar print of Wallace's, from the Navy, that Garrett used, MUST have the same patterns that we can easily make out on the copy of Wallace's exemplar print we have here. And therefore MUST have the 14 points of matching patterns Darby found. With this in mind, it seems to me that any significant differences Garrett saw were actually on the latent print lifted from the TSBD, not on the Navy provided prints.

I will wait for the book for final judgement. But as of now I strongly believe that Darby was right. Because I've been studying the case and now I know Darby had a good reputation. To me he is like a mini Jim Garrison who stood up against those who tried to discredit him. My guess is that Garrett is no different than the numerous others who have taken the side of going along with the official story, for whatever reason, perhaps to preserve his reputation. Either that or he was given a copy of the lifted print that has been tampered with.

Sorry to disagree, but that is what my gut tells me. I just don't believe that Darby could have been so wrong. And it is easy for me to believe that his opponents would react the way other WC apologists have when faced with evidence suggesting a conspiracy of government cover-up... things they just cannot accept.

Edited by Sandy Larsen
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Sandy:

Are you a certified fingerprint examiner?

No, but I'm smart enough to read and understand A Simplified Guide to Fingerprint Analysis. And my eyesight is good enough that I can see some of the patterns in the Wallace print identified by Nathan Darby.

But much more importantly, my critical thinking skills are sharp enough to recognize the following facts:

  • The images of Wallace's fingerprints floating around the internet are not what Nathan Darby had for his examination. His images had to have been better.

  • The images Darby had were sufficiently good for him to make 14 pattern matches between the lifted fingerprint and Wallace's print.

  • Nathan Darby was a respected certified print examiner with several decades of experience under his belt. He made his Wallace identification without any preconceived bias.

  • Darby went on to make numerous additional pattern matches. Far more than would be required in a court of law.

  • Now that Nathan Darby is dead, there will likely be nobody who will defend his analysis and conclusion that the lifted print was that of Mac Wallace's.

  • If the prints that Darby used in his analysis aren't made public, nobody will ever be able to defend Darby's analysis and conclusion. And the analysis and conclusion of Joan Mellen's examiner, Robert Garrett, will likely prevail. Not based on its merits, but rather based on the fact that his was the last word. And the fact that people will assume that the Navy-provided prints are genuine (i.e. haven't been tampered with).
Edited by Sandy Larsen
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Sandy, if you really want to explore this subject in detail I suggest you contact Richard Bartholemew who was part of the original Texas group and who could offer you a lot of background into exactly what was given to Darby and the process that was involved in his identification, which as I understand it was a bit more complex than just giving him one print. Walt Brown would also be someone for you to talk to as he was the spokesman for the group and ended up with much of the original material. I know that Joan talked at some length with Richard as I referred her to him. I'm sure Dawn has heard much of the original story about the work with Darby as well. I think those contacts would give you a lot more insight into his identification.

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Sandy, if you really want to explore this subject in detail I suggest you contact Richard Bartholemew who was part of the original Texas group and who could offer you a lot of background into exactly what was given to Darby and the process that was involved in his identification, which as I understand it was a bit more complex than just giving him one print. Walt Brown would also be someone for you to talk to as he was the spokesman for the group and ended up with much of the original material. I know that Joan talked at some length with Richard as I referred her to him. I'm sure Dawn has heard much of the original story about the work with Darby as well. I think those contacts would give you a lot more insight into his identification.

Thanks Larry.

I have been doing searches on the names you gave and have come up with a few things. In 2011 Dawn Meredith said that Nathan Darby was a neighbor of hers and that in 2003 he explained the matches to her and Richard Bartholomew. She said at the time that Darby had no motive to lie (I think very few accuse him of that) but that she thought his critics (other experts) did. Again, that was in 2011.

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To all,

The Nathan Darby analysis of the previously unmatched left pinkie print on a box in "the sniper nest" is NOT the end-all and be-all of Mac Wallace: 1.) being LBJ's go-to murderer-for-hire, OR 2.) being in AND around TSBD when the American Republic went the way of the dodo.

1.) The 8 murders for LBJ is a minimal number. When MW walked away from the Kinzer murder, he was in Johnson-Connally's pocket. In this thread, someone grudgingly admits "Yeah, Henry Marshall was probably not suicide." Ya think?! Shot himself five times with a bolt-action rifle, now that's perseverance! Bruised his head so badly like he'd been hit with a baseball bat, tough dude to be able to do that to himself! AND he had all the signs of car exhaust poisoning, the Mac Wallace special treatment. And then a couple of you said, OK it was probably murder, but how do we know it was good ol' MW? Just one tidbit about the case -- the next day, MW went back to the same store where he'd asked for directions to the HENRY MARSHALL FARM the day before, and told the guy, "Hey, y'know, I didn't really need directions to the HENRY MARSHALL FARM yesterday cuz I didn't go out there." How's that for cool? Puts a neon sign on his head. More than likely, the store-owner would've forgotten what MW looked like if he didn't go back to the SAME PLACE the NEXT DAY.

2.) At least five people saw Mac Wallace or his twin brother in and around TSBD acting suspiciously. Corpulent, balding dark hair, horn-rim glasses, tweedy jacket. Richard Carr from across Dealey, then within a block of TSBD when he walked over to check things out. A couple prisoners in the County Jail looked right at him on the sixth floor. A lady in the street saw him. A couple police saw him out the back of TSBD posing as one of the many phony SSAs.

Edited by Roy Wieselquist
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Doug:

Proving that Marshall's death was not a suicide, that does not ipso facto prove that somehow LBJ was behind it, as much as Philip Nelson would like us to think such was the case.

Nelson is the kind of author who is praised by people like Fetzer, who said his first book was comparable to Jim Douglass' JFK and the Unspeakable, which is one of the most absurd comments I have heard of late in appraisals of Kennedy assassination books. Nelson was wrong about LBJ ducking down prior to the shots, as shown by Groden in Absolute Proof and it appears he was wrong about this fingerprint match also. We shall see when Mellen's book becomes available to all for review.

(Above quote is from Jim DiE, #8 of this topic)

Most highly esteemed Jim DiEugenio-san,

(I tried to put this in my previous post, but...computer skills of a monkey, etc...prevented me)

Please, I'm dying to know, what about Phillip E. Nelson's masterpiece, Mastermind, bugs you. There must be, literally, a million pieces of info in there. It's a completely different animal from Jim Douglass' Unspeakable. PEN's opus is wonderfully sourced, and the scope of it, there's nothing like it. Unspeakable is more about the big picture, a whole different purview and subject.

Jim D paragraph 1: LBJ not behind Marshall death?! HM investigating Billie Sol Estes, one of LBJ's many crooks and lackeys, etc. etc. LBJ scared to death that his criminal house of cards might be about to catch a breeze, etc, etc. I mean it just goes on. Does ANYone doubt......

Jim D. Paragraph 2: LBJ ducking down before the shooting starts. First, this is one tiny detail that, if wrong, is the size of a gnat on the planet Jupiter for reason to impeach the entire work. Two, EVERYone says LBJ was playing that farce "listening to Youngblood's radio" right there at the end. LBJ WAS hunkering down. So what if for one snapshot (what, 1/40th of a second?) if LBJ was merely out of frame or blocked, as Groden showed?

I sure wouldn't want you to take much time answering my question, which may be a dumb one. (I don't see how you do what you do on all the forums, books, conferences, etc. Man, i mean it knocks me out.) Just a link to a review or something. From anybody is fine with me. Ever since I've seen the JFKA computer community of researchers, I have never understood why Nelson seems to get such short shrift. I suspect that maybe it's because he says so much, that there are so many targets to aim at for "errors," something I see a lot of in the community. In case you can't tell, I admire and appreciate both DiEugenio and Nelson more than my poor vocab can say. But it's like Nelson and Douglass, comparing lobster and chocolate eclairs. They're both delicious. And so is the hard-shell crab, DiEugenio.

Edited by Roy Wieselquist
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Sandy, I'm always very cautious about throwing around words like "lie". I don't know of anyone who actually accused Darby of lieing in regard to the print, however in my own conversations with Richard - who used to be a member here - many years ago, I gathered that there was an evolving process of showing prints to Darby, not just one print and there was an issue pertaining to a Wallace hand injury that came into play. Its way to vague for me to say anything firm which is why I would refer you to Richard who was possibly the closest one to it that you might talk with.. I do have to note that the whole context of the print came up as part of a much larger effort to prove in Wallace and Johnson in the crime.

At one point I had actually written a book length piece on Wallace and Johnson and their possible role - which also involved Loy Factor - you will find some of my initial research on Wallace still on the forum if you look in the areas on articles...well at least it used to be there. However after a couple of years work I had to pull back simply because I was uncomfortable with some of the pieces. That was many, many years ago which is why I won't depend on memory to discuss it. I'll leave that to others. I would certainly suggest you read Joan's book and talk with Richard B before reaching any conclusions.

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Roy:

I kind of thought you were referring to me originally.

Thanks for using my actual quote on the Marshall murder, since you misquoted me in a very snarky way the first time around.

CTKA reviewed Nelson's book many years ago. And that review is quoted in my discussion of Jim Fetzer. You can easily look it up.

As per your praise of Nelson's notes and your dismissing of the Altgens, I am afraid I disagree with you on both.

Concerning the latter, there is no way to dismiss this piece of evidence as you wish to, as simply part of Nelson's mosaic. For the simple reason that he himself refers to it in his book in the following terms: "The Hidden Key to Unraveling the Crime of the Century" (p. 471). Does it get any more clear than that? He himself makes it his keystone. He goes on and on about it for well over ten pages, more like 15. He accuses LBJ of lying about it, of engaging others in a cover up about it, as being the reason he did not want to testify to the WC etc etc etc. When in fact, it is not what Nelson says it is.

In other words, the fifteen or so pages are all agenda driven nonsense, worthy of the Lamar Waldron/Jeff Caufield award. Our review, by Joe Green, called him on this. But the Groden book went even beyond that.

Question: Why didn't Nelson talk to Groden about this matter before he wrote his book?

Your former point, about Nelson's notes, is again not really accurate or to the point. Because once you examine his bibliography and his footnotes you will note an oddity: I could not find one original interview or new document in the footnotes or bibliography. And its 617 pages long. Further, it was published in 2011, many years after the ARRB shut its doors.

And then there is his use of sources, like Seymour Hersh, and his hatchet job of a book on JFK. When he was criticized for this, because Hersh is close to the CIA, Nelson tried to point to an article in the NY Times showing that Hersh had gone contra to the CIA on the My Lai Massacre--in other words it may have been part of the Phoenix Operation. Well guess what? I went and got the article at the library: Hersh did not write it.

Now Nelson did not know that, even though he offered it into evidence?

Edited by James DiEugenio
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Author Phil Nelson, who is not a member of the forum at this time, asked me to post his response to prior remarks concerning him in this thread by Jim DiEugenio. It is my privilege to do so:

Phil Nelson's Response to DiEugenio:

James ("Jimmy") DiEugenio has proved once again that he is a master prevaricator who thinks that if he repeats outrageous lies, with authority, and often, then he will convince masses of people that he speaks the "truth." He either learned that from Joseph Goebbels or Lyndon Johnson, who became a master debater using that very device.

First he mentions the CTKA review of my Mastermind book saying, "Our review, by Joe Green, called him on this." Talk about a "hatchet job," as he called Seymour Hersh's important work, that so called "review" set the standard that is still being used by that organization (which should be retitled "CPCTKA" with the addition of "Politically Correct" to properly qualify the term "Truth." "Mean Joe Green" definitely did not present a case for Johnson being in the Altgens photograph, since all he said was, Except I can see LBJ in the photograph, as can most others.

One would think that any attempt to rebut that point might consist of a strong and thorough analysis, based on blow-up copies and accompanying sketches, which at least attempts to spot LBJs ear, or nose, or whatever. But that would be wrong; Greens proof was simply that single meaningless sentence. This perfunctory treatment of the photo is reflective of the overall quality of the review itself. As to what "proof" Robert Groden has now posted in his overpriced book, I have my doubts that it would stand the "smell" test any better than Green's lame attempt. Frankly, I don't have the time, inclination or money to invest in exploring that rabbit hole.

___________________________________

Next DiEugenio launched yet another attack on my "sources," in his feeble attempt to discredit some of the most famous truth-seekers of all time, including Seymour Hersh. If Hersh had never published a book titled, "The Darker Side of Camelot" we would have never had to defend a man of his stature. But that book said some unkind things about JFK's personal activities that are not allowed to be repeated over at CTKA because they might undermine much of the real story of why JFK was assassinated:

Jimmy D: "Nelson tried to point to an article in the NY Times showing that Hersh had gone contra to the CIA on the My Lai Massacre--in other words it may have been part of the Phoenix Operation. Well guess what? I went and got the article at the library: Hersh did not write it."

The HELL he didn't. The article simply didn't have his name, or any other, in the by-line, a common practice in those days. But in his quest to rewrite factual truths DiEugenio will throw that statement "Hersh did not write it" against the wall, hoping it will stick and no one will notice that he neglected to announce just who did write it. Let's call it "EXHIBIT A" that he cannot deny.

This sentence was a part of my 2011 "CTKA Response" paper referencing Hersh's works:

"This continuing, shameless character assassination of one of the foremost heroes of our time is disgusting. Seymour Hersh exposed the gruesome details of the March, 1968 carnage at My Lai in a blockbuster news report on November 12, 1969, shortly after Calley was arrested. It had taken that long for the news to leak out because of the cover-up within the military."

At the time of our little squabble back in 2011, I couldn't prove one way or the other who wrote that unattributed article, but knowing that Seymour Hersh practically owned that entire story, indeed won a Polk award and the Pulitzer Prize for his reportage of My Lai, it was obvious to me that he was the author of that article and several others that appeared in 1970-72.

Well, guess what: Since then, an article in the March 30, 2015 magazine The New Yorker by Mr. Hersh himself stated: "On November 15, 1969, two days after the publication of my first My Lai dispatch, an antiwar march in Washington drew half a million people." Whether it was two days, or three days, only a first class nitpicker would question, and Hersh was undoubtedly going on his memory when he wrote his latest article forty-six years later referenced below:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/03/30/the-scene-of-the-crime

DiEugenio also erroneously stated, repeatedly misstated, as he continually spread the disinformation, that Seymour Hersh was a CIA stooge, an absurd claim for which he invented even more lies to prop up, as I pointed out in my essay back in 2011 regarding the CTKA's so-called "review" of the Mastermind book. I was given the task of attempting to correct a mythological history that DiEugenio had spent years to create: He repeatedly, over many years (who knows how long?) tried to trash Hersh because he just couldn't allow for the fact that JFK's personal lifestyle -- his affairs with ladies that are by now rather well established by most rational, clear thinking, objective people -- caused many people to dislike the 35th POTUS, whether Jimmy likes it or not. That's because he does not want his followers to see how LBJ, Hoover, Helms, Angleton, et. al. used those dalliances (their jealousness might have had something to do with it) to whip up the animosity of others, while berating the Kennedys as wild and reckless and opening themselves up for blackmail or extortion.

A good example of this kind of rebel-rousing was contained in a letter (previously posted by Phil Drago) that was written in the late 1990s by a Boston financial services official to Robert Caro, for the purpose of alerting him to the actions of Eliot Janeway, a famed economist and newspaper columnist regarding his efforts in the summer of 1963 to warn the investment community of a pending "regime change." A partial excerpt from that letter reads as follow:

In the summer of 1963 the economist Eliot Janeway kept an appointment he had made with William H. Gassett, vice president and economist of Eaton & Howard, Inc., located at 24 Federal St., Boston. Bill Gassett had previously telephoned me, two floors above him, and asked me to attend the meeting. I was a portfolio manager, not an economist, and when I entered Gassetts office I expected to see some other people from Eaton & Howard there as well. But I was the only one invited. . . . For the next twenty to thirty minutes Janeway spoke to us as a close friend of LBJ of long standing about the dangerous man called John F. Kennedy who occupied the presidency of the United States. He whispered his comments in what I have always referred to as a hiss. Janeway had not one good thing to say about JFK or his brother Robert, and strongly advised us to consider the great damage that they could and probably would do to the nation. Following the assassination, when I saw many older officers, who were staunch Republicans, openly weep, I telephoned Gassett from my office and reminded him of Janeways earlier visit. Gassett said, I dont even want to think about it.

(See Deep Politics Forum, re: Robert Caro Book Review, Post #29: https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?10096-Book-Review-of-Robert-Caro-s-THE-PASSAGE-OF-POWER/page3#.V87peo-cGUl)

DiEugenio's Specialty: Smearing Sources, Reframing Heroes as "CIA Stooges"

The folks at CTKA, following their leader, have disgracefully smeared the name one of the Twentieth Century's most prolific truth seekers. His incredible achievements, starting with the exposure of war crimes at My Lai, took great courage, against some mighty powerful institutional blockades. But, in their attempt to banish Seymour Hersh's book "The Dark Side of Camelot", from being used as a credible source for anything else, the CTKA organization has attempted to demolish Seymour Hersh's reputation as an iconoclastic figure who deserved praise from his fellow citizens. Instead, we were told exactly the opposite of the truth in the following snippet from DiEugenio's post on the Education Forum nearly six years ago. This has been going on for a number of decades and as his current post illustrates, he still hasn't stopped his prevarications.

---------------------

From a posting on the Education Forum "Joe Green's Review of LBJ the Mastermind":

James DiEugenio, on 27 December 2010 - 10:16 PM, said to me, Phillip F. Nelson:

"Obviously, if you had the evidence for doing such things you would not have spent so much time regurgitating the likes of Sy Hersh and his completely discredited book "The Dark Side of Camelot". I mean, do you know anything about the man? Apparently not. Hersh has been in bed with the CIA since the beginning of his career. Yes, that is true. Hersh started his career off by covering up a simple fact: That the My Lai massacre was part of Operation Phoenix. Which was one of the darkest CIA secrets of the Vietnam War. Hersh's book goes to all kinds of absurd lengths to conceal that fact, explicitly saying that the massacre was not part of any kind of operational conspiracy. Hersh did such a nice job covering it up that we had to wait for a real reporter, Doug Valentine, to show us My Lai was part of Operation Phoenix. But Hersh did such good cover up work that Phoenix was then exported to Central America, against the Contras."

_________________________

Something about all of that didn't make sense to me. Here we have a famous reporter and author, Seymour Hersh, who I have always felt was a rare "hero" of that incredibly insane time in the history of this country. I acknowledge that there have been some controversies in his past, and some of his work has been rightly criticized by other researchers, but that's what happens when you're a true iconoclast, working on the edges, exposing truths to a nation not always receptive to the uglier truths. But here, this is about DiEugenio's and CTKA's despicable trashing of a guy who was all alone on the fringes of the mighty military and intelligence machine, whose record to most thoughtful Americans is among the best. There was something wrong with this picture.

So I looked on Amazon to see if I could find anything in the book he had cited (The Phoenix Program by Douglas Valentine) which might clarify all of this. Fortunately, the book was partially on-line, and there were references to Operation Phoenix on pp. 342-345. Guess who Valentine referenced three times as stating, both in his news reports and his subsequent book, Cover Up, that indeed the My Lai massacre was a part of Operation Phoenix. None other than Seymour Hersh!

Here are the excerpts, right out of Valentine's book, so you don't have to bother looking them up for yourself:

P.342

On August 25, 1970, an article appeared in the New York Times [though the author was not named, it is a historical fact that Seymour Hersh was exclusively reporting this story for the Times] hinting that the CIA, through Phoenix, was responsible for Mai Lai. The story line was advanced on October 14, when defense attorneys for David Mitchella sergeant accused and later cleared of machine-gunning scores of Vietnamese in a drainage ditch in My Laiciting Phoenix as the CIAs systematic program of assassinations, named Evan Parker as the CIA officer who signed documents, certain blacklists, of Vietnamese to be assassinated in My Lai. When we spoke, Parker denied the charge.

P. 343

In Cover-up (1972), Seymour Hersh tells how in February 1968, Ramsdell began rounding up residents of Quang Ngai City whose names appeared on Phoenix blacklists. Explained Ramsdell: After Tet we knew who many of these people were, but we let them continue to function because we were controlling them. They led us to the VC security officer for the district. We wiped them out after Tet and then went ahead and picked up the small fish. The people who were wiped out, Hersh explains, were put to death by the Phoenix Special Police.

P. 344

As Hersh notes parenthetically, Shortly after the My Lai 4 operation, the number of VCI on the Phoenix blacklist was sharply reduced.

(Emphasis added, for Mr. DiEugenio's benefit)

......................

What DiEugenio stated in the above thread, and has been repeating for many years, and STILL CONTINUES, is the exact opposite of what was actually in the book. To call them "untruths" seems a little too charitable in my opinion.

And that begs the question: "How many of his other assertions about Hersh, or anyone else that he's assaulted with untruths, would withstand the scrutiny of someone who had the time to track them all down and unparse the words he has used to drag the names of all the people he attempts to discredit through the mud?" Mr. DiEugenio has a track record of word parsing, twisting meanings, selective preference and general prevarications. Clearly, as these examples attest, they are all intended to set boundaries for would-be critical thinkers and he has mastered that art just like some of his (apparently favorite) politicians: LBJ, for one, the "master debater" of all time.

Edited by Douglas Caddy
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