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Joan Mellen: A Farewell to Justice


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(1) Do you ever consider the possibility that your research into Jim Garrison would get you into trouble with those who have power and influence?

"Trouble" is an odd word here. I knew that the New York Times, which named the Kay Boyle book and Hellman and Hammett as "New York Times notable books of the year," which is a major honor for writers, would never review "A Farewell to Justice." I hired a publicist named Barbara Monteiro who went to see Sam Tanenhaus, the editor of the NY Times Book Review and told him about my book. "I know who she is," he said. He made no comment. She left believing we had a chance of being reviewed in the Times. I knew otherwise. The Washington Post allowed a writer with a serious conflict of interest, Jefferson Morley, to review my book, and the Post later apologized to its readers:had they known of Morley's conflict of interest, they never would have permitted him to review my book. The damage, of course, had been done.

I knew I would not be on "The Today Show" or "Good Morning America." Even Philadelphia radio was afraid to handle this subject matter. There were people like Gil Noble who has a television program on New York network tv who did put me on. I trusted to word of mouth, that people would tell others that they thought the book was valuable, and that was what happened.

(2) Did you have any problems having A Farewell to Justice published?

Yes, I did have trouble getting "A Farewell to Justice" published. My first publisher was New York University press. When they read the manuscript, they said there was nothing new here, while, in fact, everything in my book, virtually, is new evidence. They said they REALLY only wanted a book about Jim Garrison as a district attorney (!), although Garrison was a liberal district attorney like many others, and that alone did not guarantee him a place in history. NYU then claimed they would only publish a 300 page book because that was what our contract stated, despite the fact that when I began I had no idea that I would be able to penetrate so deeply into the truth of the Kennedy assassination. Necessarily my book was longer than I originally intended that it would be.

Potomac Books is an independent publisher and they decided that they wanted truly to publish all sides, so while they publish the memoirs of CIA people too, they published my book without censoring any of it, a truly admirable act in my view. Freedom of the press remains alive today because such small publishers exist, and they should be supported by readers, I must say.

(3) You tend to write about controversial subjects. Do you think this has harmed your career in any way? Have you ever come under pressure to leave these subjects alone?

I have never been pressured not to write about controversial subjects. On the other hand, I have paid the expected price for writing about controversial ideas. I have been willing to pay that price (there will be no Pulitzer prizes for me) because I believe in the ideas of my books, and because I believe telling the truth, as I heard someone say the other day, in times like ours, is a revolutionary act. I am not interested in repeating received wisdom. Money and fame might be more likely to come my way were I not to have written positively, for example, about Jim Garrison, whom the CIA has spent forty years and continues to this day to attempt to discredit.

(4) The House Select Committee on Assassinations reported that the “committee believes, on the basis of the available evidence, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy”. However, very few historians have been willing to explore this area of American history. Lawrence E. Walsh’s Iran-Contra Report suggests that senior politicians were involved in, and covered-up, serious crimes. Yet very few historians have written about this case in any detail? Why do you think that historians and journalists appear to be so unwilling to investigate political conspiracies?

Historians and journalists are unwilling to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy, to cite our example, because they know that they will be punished, as you suggest in question number 3 were they to do so. They would get very small advances from the small publishers, and would have to finance the research themselves as I had to do. I wrote books about Japanese movies for the British Film Institute, I wrote those books about Latin America, to help pay for the research because my advance was so law.

As for the documents, many but not all are available at the National Archives. Anyone can view these documents. People are out there to be interviewed. These establishment historians have chosen, and this is a choice, not to explore what really happened to President Kennedy because they fear reprisal in the form of damage to their careers and to their financial well being.

Once the press rubber-stamped the Warren Report, and refused even to explore its contradictions, the press of our country became embedded in the official cover up. They continue to be embedded largely in official versions of events today, but it began, I believe, with the Kennedy assassination.

Jim Garrison reopened his investigation of the Kennedy assassination when he read Dwight Macdonald's article in Esquire magazine about the Warren Report and its deficiencies. But Macdonald, an old radical, was an exception in recognizing that the Warren Commission had done no real investigation. Even the great journalist I.F. Stone refused to deal with the Kennedy assassination honestly.

I do not believe that our country would have been damaged politically had the truth of government involvement in the murder of President Kennedy been reported. The reverse is the case. Democracy is weakened by the press maintaining official lies; please see "9/11 and 11/22," my op ed piece on my website http://www.joanmellen.net/NYC_2006article.html which compares the lies of two Presidential commissions, the Warren Commission and the 9/11 Commission.

(5) What is your basic approach to writing about what I would call “secret history”? How do you decide what sources to believe? How do you manage to get hold of documents that prove that illegal behaviour has taken place?

Which sources do we believe/how to get documents: this is a good question, and one I plan to go into in depth in the sequel to "A Farewell to Justice" that I am writing now, which will be called "Dear Sherlock," and will be a memoir taking the reader on the path of my investigation. Generally let me say that you believe a source when he talks against interest, when it does not benefit him nor does he profit from admitting what he knows. This was the case for me in two of my major sources, Angelo (Murgado) Kennedy and Thomas Edward Beckham. I have since corroborated and am continuing to corroborate, their testimony to me. But I had enough to corroborate them in "A Farewell to Justice."

Allow me to add that I am very dubious about the people who questioned the reliability of these sources. I have no doubt about them: they were telling the truth. Yes, what they told me was explosive. But it is all true. The context in which both men spoke to me alone corroborates their testimony. These were very reluctant witnesses.

Sometimes it is only petty jealousy that leads people who belong to what is known, euphemistically, as the "research community" to challenge a writer. Sometimes amateur historians don't understand how to evaluate a source. Sometimes these amateurs don't know enough history. If you knew the history of Cuba, for example, you could never claim that Che Guevara took money from the C.I.A. for personal gain.This is inconceivable. But you have to know a lot about Che to be able to make this statement with confidence.

There are no documents that alone tell the story of what happened to President Kennedy. Many documents have been destroyed by government agencies. We know of some that have never become available because the HSCA investigators were allowed to have a peek at them, but were forbidden to copy them or even to take notes. The documents generally offer "traces," bits of information, that it takes the historian a long time to put together and then to conclude from...I hope "Dear Sherlock," which I am now writing, will answer this question more fully.

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The Washington Post allowed a writer with a serious conflict of interest, Jefferson Morley, to review my book, and the Post later apologized to its readers:had they known of Morley's conflict of interest, they never would have permitted him to review my book. The damage, of course, had been done.

Actually, if I recall correctly, the Washington Post said only that Jefferson Morley had a POTENTIAL, not an ACTUAL conflict of interest, and this potential conflict of interest consisted only of the fact that Mr. Morley is a party (along with several other people) to a lawsuit seeking information from the CIA that may or may not be relevant to the JFK assassination.

The subject of Jefferson Morley's alleged conflict of interest has been discussed on this thread:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.ph...=6047&hl=morley

I think it is fairly clear that the problem for the Washington Post was that Mr. Morley does not seem to be as loyal a supporter of the Warren Commission as the Post would like, so quoting the Washington Post as gospel does absolutely nothing, in the eyes of serious assassination researchers, to help your cause.

I do have a serious question. I recently read your book, but it has now gone back to the library. As I recall, you state or imply that Marina Oswald committed perjury at the trial of Clay Shaw. Marina testified that her husband was home with her each night, with the exception of the night he spent in jail, during the period when Perry Russo claimed (without specifying a date) that Lee was involved in a conspiratorial meeting with David Ferrie and Clay Shaw.

Marina's testimony at the trial of Clay is discussed on this recent forum thread:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.ph...=7039&hl=marina

Is it your position today that Marina lied at the trial of Clay Shaw and if so, what evidence, apart from the testimony of Perry Russo, do you offer in support?

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  • 1 month later...

Prof. Mellen,

I have a question regarding the Habighorst controversy. There is one thing about that whole incident that still bothers me. Why would Clay Shaw so stupidly admit that he had an alias, completely contrary to the advice of his lawyers who told him not to admit nor say anything?

Thanks!

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I am led to understand the footnotes will be corrected with the next printing....or edition, but don't know when that will be. I also know she is working on a follow-up book.

Perhaps she will then unequivocally answer the question about whether she believes that Marina Oswald Porter was being truthful when she said that Perry Russo was a lying sack of S- - - t.

Or maybe she and her publishers will be afraid of the libel laws, since any further accusations against Marina might be considered Actual Malice.

Edited by J. Raymond Carroll
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J. Raymond Carroll wrote:

"Perhaps she will then unequivocally answer the question about whether she believes that Marina Oswald Porter was being truthful when she said that Perry Russo was a lying sack of S- - - t.

Or maybe she and her publishers will be afraid of the libel laws, since any further accusations against Marina might be considered Actual Malice."

Here's a third alternative. Maybe Joan Mellen will note all of the ugly and untrue things Carroll posted about her and her book A Farewell to Justice, along with his inability to acknowledge any of the facts about Marina Oswald's conflicting testimonies to the Warren Commission and HSCA, and ignore his negative and weak attempts to sidetrack this thread.

Mike Hogan

Edited by Michael Hogan
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Here's a third alternative. Maybe Joan Mellen will note all of the ugly and untrue things Carroll posted about her and her book A Farewell to Justice, along with his inability to acknowledge any of the facts about Marina Oswald's conflicting testimonies to the Warren Commission and HSCA, and ignore his negative and weak attempts to sidetrack this thread.

Mike Hogan

This thread pertains to Ms. Mellen's book, and my comments/questions have been strictly on point. I think any impartial reader of this thread will see that I have no interest in sidetracking it. I am still waiting for Ms. Mellen to repond, if she is able.

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Here's a third alternative. Maybe Joan Mellen will note all of the ugly and untrue things Carroll posted about her and her book A Farewell to Justice, along with his inability to acknowledge any of the facts about Marina Oswald's conflicting testimonies to the Warren Commission and HSCA, and ignore his negative and weak attempts to sidetrack this thread.

Mike Hogan

This thread pertains to Ms. Mellen's book, and my comments/questions have been strictly on point. I think any impartial reader of this thread will see that I have no interest in sidetracking it. I am still waiting for Ms. Mellen to repond, if she is able.

If you were Joan Mellen, would you have a hard-on to talk to J Raymond Carroll?

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Guest John Gillespie

Here's a third alternative. Maybe Joan Mellen will note all of the ugly and untrue things Carroll posted about her and her book A Farewell to Justice, along with his inability to acknowledge any of the facts about Marina Oswald's conflicting testimonies to the Warren Commission and HSCA, and ignore his negative and weak attempts to sidetrack this thread.

Mike Hogan

This thread pertains to Ms. Mellen's book, and my comments/questions have been strictly on point. I think any impartial reader of this thread will see that I have no interest in sidetracking it. I am still waiting for Ms. Mellen to repond, if she is able.

If you were Joan Mellen, would you have a hard-on to talk to J Raymond Carroll?

________________________________________________________

No self-respecting researcher would (at least not without dinner and a show).

Edited by John Gillespie
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No one that reads these threads takes Carroll seriously. This is the same guy that wrote:

"I am sad to say that Mellen's book is scandalous and a disgrace to the research community, IMHO."

"I am not certain that you are yet capable of knowing what a fact is, even when it stares you in the face."

"Joan Mellen's book, assuming it belongs in a bookstore, belongs in the pornography department, IMHO."

Now Carroll says he is "still waiting" for Mellen to respond to his negative and weak and ugly attempt to

sidetrack this thread into some kind of Marina Oswald discussion.

Carroll isn't fooling any Forum readers, impartial or otherwise.

Mike Hogan

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"I am not certain that you are yet capable of knowing what a fact is, even when it stares you in the face."

Mike Hogan

Mr. Hogan's last post is quoting your's truly, mainly from this thread:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.ph...ic=7039&hl=

There were only two witnesses at the Clay Shaw Shaw trial who offered material evidence, i. e. two people who testified on the question of whether a conspiratorial meeting involving Lee Oswald could have taken place at David Ferrie's apartment. The two witnesses -- as everyone interested knows by now -- were Marina Oswald Porter for the defense and Perry Russo for the prosecution. Russo could not specify a date, or even a day of the week, for the supposed meeting, but he did claim that it took place in September 1963.

Marina testified, entirely consistent with her Warren Commission and HSCA testimony, that her husband was home with her every night when they lived in New Orleans, including any night when Russo's supposed conspiratorial meeting could possibly have taken place.

Joan Mellen's book is an attempt to glorify Jim Garrison for building a prosecution case around the testimony of Perry Russo, which necessarily meant proving as a fact that Marina was a xxxx. Anyone who imagines that referencing Marina Oswald Porter's testimony at the Clay Shaw trial is an attempt to sidetrack a discussion of Joan Mellen's book is truly not capable of recognizing what a fact is, even when it stares them in the face.

I am still waiting for Ms. Mellen's response, and I must caution that -- as of August First, 2006 -- neither Hell nor Earth shows any sign of freezing over anytime soon.

Edited by J. Raymond Carroll
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In the quotation box, why put my name next to your words as if I said it? In text you admitted that the words were yours. And you quoted yourself out of context. Here are the other two that go with it:

"I am sad to say that Mellen's book is scandalous and a disgrace to the research community, IMHO."

"Joan Mellen's book, assuming it belongs in a bookstore, belongs in the pornography department, IMHO."

Don't you have enough sense to realize the meaning of your words? Do you really expect Joan Mellen to acknowledge you?

She seems to have more good sense and more class than that.

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Do you really expect Joan Mellen to acknowledge you?

If she had a credible response, I am sure she would have provided it by now.

But there is always the future and Dum Spiro, Spero.

Edited by J. Raymond Carroll
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I'm afraid Prof. Mellen is too busy working on other books and projects to have time to follow the Forum.

Or maybe she doesn't really care that much about the JFK assassination.

In the meantime you might just try to stop being a dupe of the big lies of the official version....

Garrison's version is one of the "official" versions (he was a public official, was he not?). Believe me when I say that I wouldn't be here if I believed any of the official versions.

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