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Gus Russo and Tim Gratz


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Tim wrote:

David: You just posted on an internet site which is designated (by Mr. Simkin) as:

"JFK Assassination Debate"

You're correct, Tim...some folks cast out de bait, and the rest of us get to see who--or what--gets reeled in.

Edited by Mark Knight
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Ron, thanks for your interest.

Ortiz looked under both names. In different parts of Latin America, different cities in a country, I've been told filing may be different. In CA there is a convention for only the father's surname. With two surnames you'd cover all bases and ck both, which is what he did and he found his file. No mystery there IMO.

My confusion with HSCA investigators is why they came to the BS conclusion so quickly-- based on what? It's unclear from their final comment -see the other thread under "Blakey." Thanks for cking Russo's book, I don't have copy and wondered if issue addressed there. Will find and re-read.

HSCA interviewed A.R.O. in executive session. Are any/all of these executive session interviews released and available?

Is Edwin Lopez (the Spanish speaking reader you mention and co-author of "Lopez Report") still alive, anyone know where he is?

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Mark Stapleton wrote:

I think this hook needs fresh bait.

Well, then, Mark, see Chris' post above.

While I do tend to believe there may have been Cuban involvement, I tend to believe Oswald was in fact anti-Castro and working for U.S. intelligence. Which, of course, is exactly why he was the "perfect patsy". This may be why I tend to discredit the Ortiz report. However, I do not believe any such lead should be unexplored.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Mark Stapleton wrote:

I think this hook needs fresh bait.

Well, then, Mark, see Chris' post above.

While I do tend to believe there may have been Cuban involvement, I tend to believe Oswald was in fact anti-Castro and working for U.S. intelligence. Which, of course, is exactly why he was the "perfect patsy". This may be why I tend to discredit the Ortiz report. However, I do not believe any such lead should be unexplored.

No bait my way, no agenda if you must know, just a fact that has come my way recently yet there since the HSCA began its investigation. All public domain which is code for "do your homework." No points given for those that just read other people's analyses. Ron has responded, while others hurl insults at whomever jarrs the status quo--ground laid before most of us even got here. Keep this in mind. Almost like presenting at a conference, many will walk out on you and wonder "what's this got to do with the story?" and the handful that stay give you the impetus to keep at it. Tim have you read the manuscript?

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Robert is right in part and wrong in part. First let me cover where I would part company with him. He wrote:

Personally, I have little time for those who undergo such conversions. If their first position was based on so flimsy a footing, why would I accord their subsequent views any credence? If they were fooled in the first instance, why should I pay any further attention to them? Clearly, they are either dabblers or worse.

Robert and I disagree on this. One can change one's position for many reasons, including the discovery of new information. I believe credit must be accorded to individuals with the courage to admit that their initial views on a question were wrong. Earlier this year I posted an essay from the "New York Times" indicating that Albert Einstein had to change his position on one of his first theorems. Certainly Robert would not argue that Einstein was only a "dabbler" in science, or that his first position was based on "flimsy" reasoning. (I suspect both Robert and I would have difficulty grappling with either of Einstein's views on the subject.)

Show me a person who has never changed his or her viewpoint on an issue and I will show you a fool. So my position is exactly contrary to Robert's. Rather than discrediting someone who has changed his or her view on an issue, I would revere him or her as a seeker of truth.

Obviously, the emergence of new and crucial evidence can persuade one to alter one's opinion. However, that also indicates that the initial opinion may have been reached prematurely, or on the basis of less than compelling evidence. Those are hunches, and are not probative. Abandoning them in light of new evidence only illustrates how flimsy the hunch. How does one renounce conspiracy and embrace a lone gunman hypothesis? Based on what suddenly-introduced evidence does one repudiate conspiracy? Has something phenomenal been uncovered in the past 40 years that would justify such a 180 degree turn? If so, please specify what that is, and why you have yourself not found it compelling.

Robert's own post demonstrates the fallacy of his argument. He states that many who posit that the assassination was an internal coup came to that position only after decades of research. By his argument above, their conclusions must be disregarded because they first held a contrary belief.

Not at all. You put the cart before the horse, and not for the first time. Believe it or not, unlike yourself a great many people allow the evidence to lead them to their conclusion, not the other way around. They withhold judgement until they acquaint themselves with the facts. Realizing the gravity of the case, and the astonishing quantity of detail involved in reaching an educated opinion, they refrain from reaching hastily conceived conclusions, let alone posting them to their eternal chagrin. You might benefit from trying this. This might preclude you from making a fool of yourself by posting, for example, that Castro was planning to blow up New York City, and ipso facto, was therefore culpable in the Dealey Plaza tragedy. [Your posting of the alleged news article on which you based this nose-stretcher, promised last April, would still be welcome, by the way.]

Their are conspiratorialists (if I can call them (us?) such who once believed the Warren Commission Report. On the other hand, there are those who once saw a conspiracy who now believe that there may have indeed been a lone guman (and some who think that was Oswald). If they are intelligent people who make cogent arguments, I for one am reluctant to attack their sincerity. I think it interesting that so many people who subscribe to the "internal coup" theory so readily attack (without any basis that I can see) the sincerity of others, calling them intellectually dishonest or worse. I think the intellectual intolerance of opposing viewpoints is indicative of someone whose priority is not the truth but an ideologically driven agenda.

That would have to be your fallback position. Otherwise, you'd simply have to acknowledge that the quality and quantity of evidence garnered to date strongly suggests the 'internal coup' scenario in a way that your half-baked Castro-did-it fantasy never will, irrespective of whether it was the result of a conspiracy or the act of a single man. To equate these two scenarios as intellectually equivalent is a farce. To suggest that those who point out the farce are intellectually intolerant is the final recourse of a man with nothing else to offer.

* * * * * * * *

Robert also wrote:

All books on this topic should be, and will be, read by those with a sincere interest. Where discrepancies in the various books emerge, they will ultimately be resolved by the readers, not the writers.

Here Robert is right, and Dawn, of course, wrong. Anyone with a sincere interest in solving the assassination will want to devour the literature rather than refusing to read a book if he or she disagrees with its ultimate premise. Anyone who refuses to read a book that does not conform to his or her bias is not, as Robert points out, sincerely interest in finding the truth.

An example: Russo's book offers many facts that are not covered in other assassination literature. One must either disprove the facts he asserts (if possible) or evaluate how those facts fit into what was going on in the early sixties. For instance, Russo argues quite convincingly (based both on interviews and government documents) that the Kennedy Administration was planning a second invasion of Cuba, and that Castro was aware of it. If Russo is correct, and it appears he is, that fact in itself does not prove that Castro "did it". But it does, I submit, completely eviscerate the argument that Castro would not have struck at Kennedy for fear of risking an invasion of Cuba. He knew that unless he did take out Kennedy, a second invasion was certain. Again, the fact alone is insufficient to prove Castro did it but when an argument against Cuban involvement can be conclusively dismissed, that is indeed an important development.

Gee, Castro was well aware of the pre-BoP plans before Kennedy was even elected. Why didn't he take out Eisenhower, or Kennedy upon his inauguration? You seem highly selective in what you're prepared to consider probative.

The fact that Russo, in my opinion, has wrongly concluded that a single gunman could have caused all of Kennedy's wounds does not make him wrong on the second invasion issue. In the first case, we are examining his opinion on facts. In the second case, it is not his opinion that is in question but only the facts he marshals. His conclusion therefore stands unless it can be proven that he misquoted the people he interviewed or that the official government documents he uncovered were fakes. So I can accept the facts set forth in Russo's book without having to agree with every one of his opinions.

In order for Russo's "facts" and opinion to congeal into something substantive, he would have to demonstrate that the lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald was acting as a Castro pawn. When he does that, I'm sure you'll let us know; certainly his book does not. It is not that he proposed an unpopular theory that is so offensive, but that he fails so miserably to advance his case. As a JFK assassination historian, he was a far better composer of soundtracks for B grade horror films that nobody saw. Nevertheless, it will be read by those who are compelled to digest everything, irrespective of slant, as it should be.

I have learned a great many things reading disingenuous books such as "Oswald's Game" and "Case Closed." Unfortunately, what I learned is not who killed the President, but how and why unscrupulous people continue to peddle what the public has steadfastly refused to accept and never will. Russo's merely another in a long line of fantasy peddlers, pushing the already implausible to ridiculous extremes.

That you recommend this book so highly, in light of your admission its central premise is wrong, only makes one question what you are up to. If Russo cannot even fathom that the assassination could not have been the work of any single human being - Oswald or not - on what basis does one assume him capable of the far more challenging task of identifying Oswald's alleged sponsor? Your acceptance of, and publicity efforts on behalf of, a book so deeply flawed only underscore the deep flaws within your own methodology, such as it is, and invite the very scorn you think so unfair and intolerant.

And then, to move from the ridiculous to the sublime, you accuse those who point out the fatuousness of what is wholesaled by you, Hemming, Russo, et al, as having an "ideologically driven agenda." Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. What you lack in logic and knowledge, you more than make up for in sheer entertainment value, dear boy. You grow funnier by the day. Please do continue....

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