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Disinfortmation Agents


Tim Gratz
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Having often been the victim of them, I find ad hominem attacks unnecessary and degrading to the people who make them. In logic courses, an ad hominem attack is considered a logical fallacy.

Having just seen (on the Chauncey Holt forum) someone else being accused of being a "disinformation agent" (and having posted a joke about the definition of such) I thought a serious discussion of same might be in order.

I do not think one necessarily needs to be paid to be a disinformation agent. Moreover, even if one is paid for writing the truth, that would not constitute him or her a disinformation agent (else all professional writers would be so classified).

There are two types of information: fact and opinion. I do not think that any post that constitutes an opinion would fall into the category of "disinformation". If the author of the post was pursuing an agenda, and did not honestly believe the opinion, he or she would be being intellectually dishonest but I do not think that is technically information.

To be technically accurate, I would submit only a primary source could be a disinformation agent. A primary source (even to include I would say an author who reports on an interview he or she conducted) would be a disinformation agent if he or she deliberately and dishonestly reported something.

If someone posts a fact developed by another, that can hardly constitute being a disinformation agent even if the information is false. For one thing, how would the poster even know it was false?

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Having often been the victim of them, I find ad hominem attacks unnecessary and degrading to the people who make them.  In logic courses, an ad hominem attack is considered a logical fallacy.

Having just seen (on the Chauncey Holt forum) someone else being accused of being a "disinformation agent" (and having posted a joke about the definition of such) I thought a serious discussion of same might be in order.

I do not think one necessarily needs to be paid to be a disinformation agent.  Moreover, even if one is paid for writing the truth, that would not constitute him or her a disinformation agent (else all professional writers would be so classified).

There are two types of information: fact and opinion.  I do not think that any post that constitutes an opinion would fall into the category of "disinformation".  If the author of the post was pursuing an agenda, and did not honestly believe the opinion, he or she would be being intellectually dishonest but I do not think that is technically information.

To be technically accurate, I would submit only a primary source could be a disinformation agent.  A primary source (even to include I would say an author who reports on an interview he or she conducted) would be a disinformation agent if he or she deliberately and dishonestly reported something.

If someone posts a fact developed by another, that can hardly constitute being a disinformation agent even if the information is false.  For one thing, how would the poster even know it was false?

There ARE disinformation agents. They fall into these categories:

1. WITTING

a. paid agents who are employed to spread false information or propaganda

b. political agents whose actions are based on party loyalty (Swiftboat Veterans)

c. persons with personal or pecuniary agendas (right/left wingers and authors)

d. contrarians, who just like obstructionism

2. UNWITTING

a. persons with mistaken but sincere beliefs, like space enthusiasts

b. persons employed by groups with an agenda, like NASA or the CIA, etc.

c. persons employed by certain media

d. persons who have not examined the evidence

e. persons who believe what they see on TV or read in the media

It is far more complex than this. Each case must be considered on its

evidence...for instance James Files or Judyth Baker, and the people

promoting such stories.

Jack B)

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Good post, Jack.

Some personally honest people can be UNWITTING disinformation agents, by definition. And on the subject of the JFK assassination, most disinformation agents are of the unwitting variety.

The hard part is determining who's trying to mislead, and who's been misinformed.

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Jack wrote that in his opinion "disinformation agents" include:

b. political agents whose actions are based on party loyalty (Swiftboat Veterans)

c. persons with personal or pecuniary agendas (right/left wingers and authors)

d. contrarians, who just like obstructionism

Here we get, I think, to the heart of the matter.

It is one thing to suggest that someone has an "agenda" because of his or her political ideology or whatever. I think we would almost all acknowledge that we often interpret events through our world view. A person who is truly interested in solving the assassination will follow the evidence, wherever it may lead, even if it requires consciously disregarding one's ideology. (I think it can be hard to change a position once formulated even if the position was not in the first place influenced by an ideology; "admitting error" can be a difficult (but courageous) thing to do in any undertaking.)

But to say one is a "disinformation agent" must, I think, mean far more than that one's views are driven by one's ideology. As I stated in the first post, I think "disinformation" can only (or should only) mean that one is falsely (and I would say wittingly) conveying information of which he or she claims personal knowledge. If one is propogating lies, it matters not whether one is paid for one's performance. The effect of the lies is nonetheless perfidious.

By Jack's expansive interpretation, anyone with whom you have a differing political ideology could be termed a "disinformation agent". And it is clear that many who use the term are following Jack's expansive definition.

That is, I think, unfortunate, in part because it robs the term of any significant meaning. Then one can call anyone with whom one disagrees a disinformation agent.

I think the term should be used cautiously and should only be applied to someone who is claiming personal knowledge of a factual posting. Before that person can be called a disinformation agent, there ought to be proof that the information published or posted is indeed false. Once that happens, I think it would be appropriate to require the proponent of the information to demonstrate that it was a mistake rather than a deliberate lie.

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Jack wrote:

A broad definition of DISINFORMATION AGENT is

anyone who disseminates DISINFORMATION regardless

of motive, witting or unwitting, paid or unpaid. Do you disagree?

Jack, respectfully, I do disagree.

Do you believe someone who posts a factual assertion by a third person which the poster in good faith believes to be true is a disinformation agent? By your definition he would be. I think that is overly broad.

Take the infamous Lee Harvey Oswald letter to "Mr. Hunt" now demonstrated to be a KGB forgery. The KGB agents who constructed the letter and sent it were, clearly, by the narrowest and proper defintion, disinformation agents. But the many authors who discussed that letter, and whether it was meant for H. L. or E. Howard, were certainly NOT KGB disinformation agents!

Let's take James Files. Most people on this Forum are convinced he is a fraud. If so, he is certainly a disinformation agent, although his agenda is clearly personal. But I am convinced Mr. Dinkbaar sincerely believes that Files is a truth-teller. But he is NOT a disinformation agent.

I argue for a narrow definition for two reasons (not necessarily ranked in order of importance): 1. because it is important to know if someone is deliberately planting facts he or she KNOWS to be untrue; and 2. to lower the intensity of debate over a subject in which personal feelings run high.

Perhaps I should expand my definition a bit. Let us assume that in a book an author states that he interviewed a Dealey Plaza witness who was certain he saw Charles Nicoletti in Dealey Plaza. Now assume a poster makes a post saying that in such and such a book the author quoted a witness who saw Howard Hunt in Dealey Plaza. In that case, it would be difficult to argue that the post was not deliberately false even though the poster did not claim personal knowledge of the fact being conveyed.

Let us assume (again just for argument) that either it is highly unlikely that Nicolletti was in Dealey Plaza or that the witness was telling the truth (perhaps the witness was a notorious publicity-seeker). Well, then if a poster posts that the author of such and such a book interviewed a witness who claims to have seen Nicoletti in Dealey Plaza, even if such a sighting was unlikely, that is hardly disinformation. Whether or not the witness told the truth is clealy only a matter of opinion and it can scarcely be disinformation.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Jack wrote:

During my 40+ years researching the JFK affair,

I have personally encountered MANY obvious

disinformation agents. Many of them pose as

JFK researchers or authors, but actually have

agendas of their own.

Jack, respectfully, even if someone's writing is rather clearly motivated by a political ideology, in my opinion that does not make he or she a disinformation agent. I think it is fairer to say the author's work is clearly influenced or motivated by an agenda than it is to say the author is a disinformation agent.

My narrow definition would also preclude classifying someone as a disinformation agent merely because you disagreed with his view on the assassination. A disinformation agent would be someone who knowingly propogates FACTS known to him to be false. So it would be first necessary to disprove a fact asserted by the author before one could call the author a disinformation agent.

Let's take Posner. Most of us agree that in his book he twists facts, omits facts, etc to support his lone gunman position. Does Posner have an agenda? Probably. It might be only to sell books or go down as the author of the leading non-conspiracy book. But I would not even call Posner a disinformation agent unless it is clear that he is deliberately misquoting things in his book. In my opinion, marshalling the facts to support a point-of-view is being an advocate for a position; it is not being a disinformation agent unless the facts being marshalled are not facts but lies.

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Call me a disinformation agent, call me a spook, call me an asshole, but this is the first time anyone on this Forum has challenged my gender! My gosh!!

For the more gullible members, the above is a joke.

But John seriously would you not agree there should be a distinction between a "disinformation agent" and one whose views are strongly influenced by a political ideology? Otherwise, probably most of your members could be considered "disinformation agents".

Edited by Tim Gratz
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[quote=Tim Gratz,Sep 24 2005, 05:37 AM]

Jack wrote:

But I would not even call Posner a disinformation agent unless it is clear that he is deliberately misquoting things in his book.

Precisely Tim. That you would state that even Posner is not PURPOSEFUL disinformation is one more reason your motives are thought to be less than sincere. I mean come on, Posner defines this term. If not him then WHO??? Since you started this thread who do you think spreads disinformation in this case?

I do also agree that one's personal ideology can influence how this evidence will be viewed. You are a perfect example of this. Being a right wing Republican you will never see involvement of any of your heros, no matter how much evidence is unearthed, imho.

Dawn

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[quote=Tim Gratz,Sep 24 2005, 05:37 AM]

Jack wrote:

But I would not even call Posner a disinformation agent unless it is clear that he is deliberately misquoting things in his book. 

Precisely Tim. That you would state that even  Posner  is not PURPOSEFUL disinformation  is one more reason  your motives are thought to be less than sincere. I mean come on, Posner defines this term. If not him then WHO??? Since you started this thread who do you think spreads disinformation in this case?

I do also agree that one's personal ideology can influence how this evidence will be viewed.  You are a perfect example of this. Being  a right wing Republican you will never see involvement of any of your heros, no matter how much evidence is unearthed, imho.

Dawn

Anyone who has fully read Posner's book, and thereafter actually compared it to the known/factual evidence as well as the witness testimony, can not reasonably come away from this without full recognition that it is merely a modified version of the WC information in an attempt to further obfuscate the facts and truth of the assassination.

Therefore, this book was published to serve some purpose.

Which, it would appear is to make excuses for the WC.

Had Posner done such a great job, then he would know that the "shot that missed"

(which actually did not miss) was in fact the third/last/final shot which was in fact fired after the headshot impact at Z-312/313.

That Posner also included in the strike to the tree limb, is indicative that he either knew or was fed information relative to this part of the assassination.

He "exposed" his hole card in many ways!

Tom

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Call me a disinformation agent, call me a spook, call me an asshole, but this is the first time anyone on this Forum has challenged my gender!  My gosh!!

For the more gullible members, the above is a joke.

But John seriously would you not agree there should be a distinction between a "disinformation agent" and one whose views are strongly influenced by a political ideology?  Otherwise, probably most of your members could be considered "disinformation agents".

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

Tim:

I think that John was referring to "Lady Mac Beth" -- she of the "heros" (sic) !!

GPH

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

"What,me worry !! -- Alfred E. Neumann, 1953.

_____________________

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Having often been the victim of them, I find ad hominem attacks unnecessary and degrading to the people who make them.  In logic courses, an ad hominem attack is considered a logical fallacy.

Having just seen (on the Chauncey Holt forum) someone else being accused of being a "disinformation agent" (and having posted a joke about the definition of such) I thought a serious discussion of same might be in order.

I do not think one necessarily needs to be paid to be a disinformation agent.  Moreover, even if one is paid for writing the truth, that would not constitute him or her a disinformation agent (else all professional writers would be so classified).

There are two types of information: fact and opinion.  I do not think that any post that constitutes an opinion would fall into the category of "disinformation".  If the author of the post was pursuing an agenda, and did not honestly believe the opinion, he or she would be being intellectually dishonest but I do not think that is technically information.

To be technically accurate, I would submit only a primary source could be a disinformation agent.  A primary source (even to include I would say an author who reports on an interview he or she conducted) would be a disinformation agent if he or she deliberately and dishonestly reported something.

If someone posts a fact developed by another, that can hardly constitute being a disinformation agent even if the information is false.  For one thing, how would the poster even know it was false?

There ARE disinformation agents. They fall into these categories:

1. WITTING

a. paid agents who are employed to spread false information or propaganda

b. political agents whose actions are based on party loyalty (Swiftboat Veterans)

c. persons with personal or pecuniary agendas (right/left wingers and authors)

d. contrarians, who just like obstructionism

2. UNWITTING

a. persons with mistaken but sincere beliefs, like space enthusiasts

b. persons employed by groups with an agenda, like NASA or the CIA, etc.

c. persons employed by certain media

d. persons who have not examined the evidence

e. persons who believe what they see on TV or read in the media

It is far more complex than this. Each case must be considered on its

evidence...for instance James Files or Judyth Baker, and the people

promoting such stories.

Jack :lol:

I think your definition of disinformation agent is too broad. It would cover just about anyone--or at least anyone one disagrees with. "People with mistaken but sincere beliefs?" I would put you in that category, regarding your Apollo Hoax ideas, as I suppose you would me. But I would not call that disinformation. There is a difference between disinformation and misinformation. Here is a definition of disinformation I grabbed off the internet:

1.Deliberately misleading information announced publicly or leaked by a government or especially by an intelligence agency in order to influence public opinion or the government in another nation: "He would be the unconscious channel for a piece of disinformation aimed at another country's intelligence service" (Ken Follett).

2.Dissemination of such misleading information.

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