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Book Reviewers' Conflicts of Interest


Tim Gratz
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Well, Dawn, I was replying to Rovert.

Robert disagrees with the editors at the Washington Post who took Mr. Winton's claims seriously.

Shall we submit the issue to a professor of journalism to determine who is correct in this matter? That ought to easily resolve it.

P.S. I get paid by the word.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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In no manner am I trying to sully the name of Jefferson Morley.....

To support that assertion, Mr. Gratz then goes on to compare Morley -- and David Talbot, by neccessary inference -- to a burglar.

One would not assign a burglar to write a story of a burglary merely because he has the best knowledge of a burglary;

He goes on to insinuate that Morley and Talbot are on the same level as Joannides, though he is surely aware that even G. Robert Blakey now suspects that Joannides' role in the HSCA was to obstruct justice.

one would not assign a Vietnam veteran suffering from the effects of Agent Orange to review a book on the Agent Orange litigation.

Here Mr. Gratz digs even deeper in the hole he insists on digging for himself by comparing Morley and Talbot to someone suffering from a serious illness. A sympton of this illness, no doubt, is Morley's lawsuit against the CIA, in which he is joined by a number of prominent citizens doing nothing worse than exercising their rights under the law.

Morley and Talbot will no doubt be greatly gratified that Mr. Gratz pretends to soften his barrage of blows by throwing in the (bad) analogy of a police officer writing about a crime he investigated. Mr. Gratz is surely aware that police officers have often done just that in the past, and will undoubtedly do so in the future, provided only that the case in question has been resolved by the courts.

What does it tell us about Mr. Gratz's agenda when he prefaces his vicious attack on the reputations of two respected journalists with:

In no manner am I trying to sully the name of Jefferson Morley.....
???
Shall we submit the issue to a professor of journalism to determine who is correct in this matter?

Perhaps we should wait and see whether this whole issue ends up before the courts. That would really determine "who is correct in this matter"

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In no manner am I trying to sully the name of Jefferson Morley, an investigative reporter who has done yeoman's work on the assassination.

But Robert Charles-Dunne offers us no evidence of his expertise in journalism.

If Morley's involvement in the Kennedy case involves a conflict-of-interest is a matter best decided by professional journalists.

Gee, I guess the fact that I've written for dozens of periodicals - including Canada's largest circulation newspaper - should exclude me from having an opinion because I must first offer my "expertise in journalism." Rather funny, coming from a man whose sideline is picking up spare change by penning skewed interpretations of history for the Key West Coupon-Clipper. It is ironic that Tim thinks one need be a professional journalist in order to weigh in on this, since he is not a professional journalist. By his own standard, he is not qualified to pass judgement, yet does so freely.

And it is hogwash to say Morley can write a better review because of his "hands-on" knowledge of what is going on and therefore conflict-of-interest rules do not apply. One would not assign a burglar to write a story of a burglary merely because he has the best knowledge of a burglary; nor would one assign a police officer involved in the investigation of said burglary. Another way to look at it is that one would not assign a Vietnam veteran suffering from the effects of Agent Orange to review a book on the Agent Orange litigation.

This silliness gets thicker and richer all the time. You keep attempting to rebut points never made, as is the case in the first line of your graf above. Nobody said the rules should be bent for Morley because of his superior knowledge of the case. Two points: Morley has superior knowledge, full stop. The rules were neither bent nor broken by having a man of superior knowledge review a book, simply because he seeks information from CIA which, if anything, may also further corroborate the thesis of the book at hand.

Moreover, to equate an intimate knowledge of the arcane trivia involved in the Kennedy assassination - something required to do justice to any book on the topic - with a burglary displays your logical ineptitude. It's a book review, Tim; not a front-page, top-of-the-fold scoop. If you actually read book reviews, you'll note the writer's synopsized bio will usually include CV points that illustrate his or her qualifications to pen such a review.

But let's carry this nonsense of yours to its logical conclusion, shall we? Are your own Castro-did-it contributions to the Key West Coupon-Clipper prefaced by the disclaimer: "Tim Gratz spends all his waking hours on the internet trying to prove Castro-did-it, a fact the reader may wish to bear in mind while reading this, his latest example of Castro-did-it"? No? Why not, Tim? Do you and the editorial staff of the Key West Coupon-Clipper believe in full disclosure only when it applies to others?

Robert offers a litany of instances wherein the WP should have disclosed conflicts by Ben Bradlee. What a non sequitur. How do the many past sins of the WP possibly justify its current omission? That is tantamount to the WP responding to Winton's objection by stating: "We've never advised our readers of conflicts-of-interest. Why should we start now?"

The only non-sequitur is in your mind, Tim. The Washington Post failed to disclose its solicitous treatment of CIA at every turn, as I illustrated, and is now kow-towing to a CIA fart-catcher named Dolan. I am uncertain just how it is that Dolan and Avalon Publishing's CEO have come to read from the same page of the hymn book, but in any event, it appears that Morley will henceforth be disqualified from using his superior knowledge of the case to educate people who actually wish to read books on the case, a fact that must offer some comfort to CIA and the various trolls in the media who toil for CIA. Surely, it is the sole beneficiary of any decision that disallows Morley a soapbox to spread his superior knowledge. If Pravda or Tass announced that books about the KGB couldn't be reviewed by anyone who actually knows anything about the KGB, you'd denounce it as Commie censorship and an illustration of curtailed press freedoms.

Interestingly enough, it is very similar to the Joannides case. In assigning Joannides to the HSCA, the CIA should have advised the HSCA of Joannides' involvement in JM/Wave. Joannides had a conflict because he should have been a witness.

Funny you should mention that, Tim. CIA doesn't appear to be bent out of shape when a conflict benefits its position, but rolls out the fart-catchers to decry a non-existent "conflict" it doesn't enjoy. Joannides didn't have a conflict in accepting the post; he was selected for it precisely because of the "conflict." The "conflict" resided with CIA, not the man it installed as gatekeeper in control of the very information that Morley first brought to light, and still seeks from CIA. Such is the hypocricy of the US intelligence community, and those who militate on its behalf, including our resident expert on such things, Tim Gratz.

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Nathan wrote:

To turn around and say that one is disqualified in commenting on a case involving the CIA because one is involved in a dispute with this nebulous and unacountable power is an act of hypocracy that would have herniated Orwell.

Nathan, this shows how little you understand the concept of ethical rules.

In a criminal case, if the defendant is the most vile and repugnant serial killer he still has the right to the removal of a prosecutor or a judge if there is an actual conflict of evidence.

Ethical rules do not turn on whether the party that might benefit from their application is a blameworthy person.

Timothy:

I notice that you do not capitalize your vague term "ethical rules" It doesn't sound like legal language.

I don't disagree with your general point. Its the related to the question I raised. Perhaps this is because I wasn't clear enough.

My point is that The CIA is involved in so much foreign policy and propaganda work that remains completely unknown to the general population. They operate with no checks at all. This would have

made the authors of the Declaration Of Independence crap their breeches, and even the authors of the

more conservative Second Constitution of the U.S. would have cringed in horror.

If there is to be an accusation of conflict of interest, then both parties have to be CLEARLY IDENTIFIABLE AS DISTINCT INTERESTS. The CIA has a clear history of ties to U.S. media companies. Do you deny this? Is Carl Bernstein credible on Wattergate, but not credible in his reporting on CIA ties to the corporate media?

How can the CIA have sole discretion over whether to release certain documents about policies that were paid for with public funds, leaving the public with no way of learning about these policies. When Morley sues he is simply seeking information from his government, A GOVERNMENT THAT WE SHAMELESSLY TEACH SCHOOL CHILDREN GETS ITS POWER FROM THE PEOPLE. The constitution envisioned some sort of democracy, not the National Security State of today, that cordons off the important stuff from the public.

That Morley should have to sue for his right to see public documents only creates one conflict of interest: that between democracy and its illusion.

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My point is that The CIA is involved in so much foreign policy and propaganda work that remains completely unknown to the general population. They operate with no checks at all. This would have

made the authors of the Declaration Of Independence crap their breeches, and even the authors of the

more conservative Second Constitution of the U.S. would have cringed in horror.

This is of course that Frank Church and Otis Pike made in their reports on the CIA. However, they have constantly refused to be accountable to Congress.

As it happens I am currently reading Ray S. Cline's, Secrets, Spies and Scholars: Blueprint of the Essential CIA (1976):

The one thing that Army, Navy, State, and the FBI agreed on was that they did not want a strong central agency controlling their collection programs. Admiral Ernest J. King, an efficient but narrowly partisan military man, voiced a fear that has always been present; King told Navy Secretary Forrestal he "questioned whether such an agency could be considered consistent with our ideas of government." Truman himself repeatedly said, more with reference to the FBI, that "this country wanted no Gestapo under any guise or for any reason." These expressions of doubt are legitimate concerns, but they all served as bars to necessary centralization of intelligence tasks. The fact is that it is possible to introduce checks and balances that render central intelligence accountable to our constitutional government; it is not possible for the government to cope with the problems that beset it abroad without an efficient, coordinated central intelligence system.

The CIA was unaccountable and became what Truman feared it would become.

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The CIA was unaccountable and became what Truman feared it would become.

On reading about Truman I came across a letter he wrote to a magazine, shortly after the Bay of Pigs. He said that, to his mind, the CIA was created as an intelligence-gathering organization ONLY. He said that the words used to justify the CIA's covert acts had been misinterpreted from their original intent, and disavowed any responsibility for its actions. He said he never would have created the CIA if he knew what it would become.

It's intriguing to think what might have happened if Robert Bork had made it to the Supreme Court. In his zeal to embrace the concept of "original intent" and thereby undo all of Warren's liberal interpretations of the laws, would he have also embraced "original intent" in regards the CIA, and forced the dissolution of its operations wing? Somehow I doubt his backers would have stood for this. Their hypocrisy would have been exposed.

Edited by Pat Speer
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The CIA was unaccountable and became what Truman feared it would become.

On reading about Truman I came across a letter he wrote to a magazine, shortly after the Bay of Pigs. He said that, to his mind, the CIA was created as an intelligence-gathering organization ONLY. He said that the words used to justify the CIA's covert acts had been misinterpreted from their original intent, and disavowed any responsibility for its actions. He said he never would have created the CIA if he knew what it would become.

It's intriguing to think what might have happened if Robert Bork had made it to the Supreme Court. In his zeal to embrace the concept of "original intent" and thereby undo all of Warren's liberal interpretations of the laws, would he have also embraced "original intent" in regards the CIA, and forced the dissolution of its operations wing? Somehow I doubt his backers would have stood for this. Their hypocrisy would be exposed.

Pat I agree that this is a huge hypocritical contradiction in the Republican rhetoric of the the Reagan Era.

I refer to the contradiction between "original intent" as it would be selctively used to cut away at Great Society and New Deal programs, on the one hand, and the degree to which "original intent" would have been

ignored or forgotten about when applied to National Security State on the other hand.

But there was another, related contradiction that was just as stark. Under the banner of "getting the gov. off the backs of the people," Reagan cut a lot of social spending, especially in Housing. Yet he more than made up for this in military spending, that created record deficits. All Democrats had to do was say "Your growing the parts of the gov that help the rich, and shrinking the part that offers entry into the middle class"

On both of these contradictions, there were no democratic takers. I don't think its because these lines would have been unpopular with voters. Rather I think its because elites in the Corporate media would have defeated these candidates in the primaries before they ever got to the general elections. ( Also by 1985, with the formation of the DLC, the Democrats had agreed that they would allow the Republicans to define the debate on every single big budget issue. They were paid well for this.)

These contradictions--seen in terms of elections by themselves-- would undoubtedly have been fruitful for the democrats. They are not complicated contradictions. They were like two elephants in the room throughout the Reagan era. The fact that they were never used by the Democrats adds to my belief that real political power has very little to do with elections anymore.

John's thread of a couple of weeks ago on the Arms Trade and Terorism focussed on key lobbyists Tommy Corcoran. I think people like this are intersting because they provide links between ostensibly opposite groups of politicians( such as 30s new Dealers, and post-war westernunilateralists). These links represent not only links between politicians, but also can seve as catlytic nodes of power, because they can add the ingredient of corporate money.

The threads on Corcoran and Irving Davidson reminded my of a very good book I read when I was a youngster. It was buy one of the best Journalist I have ever read, Thomas Byrne Edsell of the Washington Post. It was called the The New Politics of Inequality. It came out in 1984, and analyzed the roots of Reaganism back to Corporate Americas retrenchment, when it felt under assault in the early and mid 1970s.

This book and Edsell's columns talked a lot about lobbyists, think tanks and in a non-boring way.

It was a kind of a middle brow political writing that one simply doesnt see anymore in the corporate press, like the NYT. Some might argue that because it was in the Post, it was simply K street trade talk, but it was more than that. It was journalism that looked at politics bellow the supperficial level of elections.

Perhaps the absence of middle brow analytical writers like Edsell, are part of the general ignorance that makes today's citizens take U.S. elections at such face value. The media just won't mediate any discussion about the relationship between money and power. This, of course makes any presentation of such a connection all the more likely to be dismissed as a conspiracy theory.

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Prelude: Tim Gratz says that Jefferson Morley (and don't forget David Talbot) violated the journalistic code of ethics by reviewing books about the JFK assassination. Robert Charles-Dunne says that Jefferson Morley "neither bent nor broke" any of the norms of ethics (and by implication neither did David Talbot). Tim Gratz insinuates that Charles--Dunn is unqualified to render an opinion because -- unlike Gratz himself -- Charles-Dunne is not a professional journalist and knows nothing about ethics. Charles-Dunne replies:

Gee, I guess the fact that I've written for dozens of periodicals - including Canada's largest circulation newspaper - should exclude me from having an opinion.....

More than 24 hours have gone by since Robert Charles-Dunne's posting, and if Gratz intended to reply he would have done so by now. Since Tim is on the ground, and it is unfair to hit a man when he is down, let me speak in his place.

(Tim Gratz speaking) "Robert may have a far superior resume to me when it comes to journalistic ethics, but I say forget about resumes, what Robert Charles-Dunne overlooks is this: Everyone knows that ethical standards in the U.S. are much higher than in Canada, particularly in the field of journalism, and most particularly when it comes to the murder of our cherished 35th president. Examples of our superiority are too numerous to mention, but I attach a link below to just one example, written by two respected American journalists. It is out of date in places, and a bit wrong-headed in others, but I am sure you will get the picture.Thank you, Tim Gratz"

http://www.webcom.com/lpease/collections/a...f-stone-JKF.htm

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Re Robert Charles-Dunne and J. Raymond Carrol:

Guys, learn to read.

I did not state that Charles-Dunne was unqualified to render an opinion on journalistic ethics. I said, quote: "[Charles-Dunne has offers us no evidence of his expertise in journalism." Now he has and I respect that.

You guys (at least one of you) claimed I held myself out as an "expert in journalism". Read my posts. No where did I hold myself out as an expert, or a professional journalist for that matter (which I am not).

I think the concern of the Washington Post was not that Mr. Morley was stooped in the Kennedy case but that he had actually involved himself in it by filing the FOIA suit against the CIA. Presumably, it is good that a reporter or book reviewer has expertise in the subject he is covering but involvement in a story is different. Consider a reporter covering a criminal trial. It is certainly a good thing if the reporter had knowledge of law enforcement techniques and criminal jurisprudence. But should he cover the story if he was a witness (for either side)?

But the last post I made was that perhaps the question was best addressed by a expert in journalist ethics, e.g. a professor of journalism.

J. Raymond Caroll claims that I was equating Jeff Morley with a burglar, or with the late Mr. Joannides. These claims are so ridiculous they do not merit comment. I would repeat that I have great respect for both Mr. Morley and Mr. Talbot, and I think Mr. Morley's discovery of who Joannides was ranks as one of the most important recent discoveries in the case.

Robert Charles-Dunne claims I "militate" on behalf of the CIA. Apparently in his logical world anyone who rejects his thesis that the CIA killed JFK must be a defender of every action of the CIA. I have repeatedly criticized the CIA for its excesses, in particular its involvement in the assassination plots against Castro and its employment of the underworld in those plots. One of two propositions must be true: 1) either Mr. Charles-Dunne is not good at making distinctions; or 2) he is deliberately mischaracterizing my position in an attempt to discredit my posts. And of course I also condemn the CIA for all that it withheld from the WC and the HSCA (including assassination plots; the role of Joannides in JM/Wave, etc. etc.) With respect to Joannides, it would certainly appear the CIA is attempting to hide something. Hopefully, Morley's suit will force disclosure of facts that will enlarge our understanding of what was happening in the early sixties.

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You shall now see how tricky I can be.

Now that I baited my good friend Robert Charles-Dunne to rush to the defense of Jefferson Morley, and stating how knowledgeable Mr. Morley is, I will point out to you that Mr. Morley posted right here on the Forum that he believed the allegations (of Cuban involvement in the assassination) made in "Rendezvous with Death" deserved serious consideration (words to that effect anyway).

Is it any wonder I like Mr. Morley?

Now, I appreciated him far before that. As I said earlier, his discovery of the Joannides connection is very significant and who yet knows where it will lead? Already it has blown G. Robert Blakey's faith in the CIA and united people as disparate as Gerald Posner and leading conspiracy proponents of all persuasions.

You all know I do not consider the CIA as an institution a suspect but given the possibility of rogue agents as participants, had I the authority over HSCA I would have required of the CIA a complete list of the names and job responsibilities of every CIA officer or agent working with JM/Wave or on related matters. Then the Joannides flap would never have occured.

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Re Robert Charles-Dunne and J. Raymond Carrol:

Guys, learn to read.

I did not state that Charles-Dunne was unqualified to render an opinion on journalistic ethics. I said, quote: "[Charles-Dunne has offers us no evidence of his expertise in journalism." Now he has and I respect that.

Actually, Tim, you did strongly imply that I was "unqualified to render an opinion on journalistic ethics" in the sentence that immediately followed the one cited above; the sentence you redacted when posting the above citation: "But Robert Charles-Dunne offers us no evidence of his expertise in journalism. If Morley's involvement in the Kennedy case involves a conflict-of-interest is a matter best decided by professional journalists." Rather an odd position to take considering that you feel qualified to make such an assertion while admitting that you're not one yourself. Perhaps it is you who should read and re-read your own posts before presuming to instruct others on what they have missed in them.

You guys (at least one of you) claimed I held myself out as an "expert in journalism". Read my posts. No where did I hold myself out as an expert, or a professional journalist for that matter (which I am not).

There was no reference to you being an "expert in journalism," Tim. If you bother to actually read the sentence, you'll note that it refers to expertise in hypocricy: "Such is the hypocricy of the US intelligence community, and those who militate on its behalf, including our resident expert on such things, Tim Gratz." Quite a different matter, wouldn't you agree?

I think the concern of the Washington Post was not that Mr. Morley was stooped in the Kennedy case but that he had actually involved himself in it by filing the FOIA suit against the CIA. Presumably, it is good that a reporter or book reviewer has expertise in the subject he is covering but involvement in a story is different. Consider a reporter covering a criminal trial. It is certainly a good thing if the reporter had knowledge of law enforcement techniques and criminal jurisprudence. But should he cover the story if he was a witness (for either side)?

Again you equate a book review with a criminal matter, and again posit that Morley has a vested interest. Perhaps you'd care to spell out what that was. Seems to me that Morley is one of several parties to a pending action attempting to procure information from the CIA. How, pray tell, does this give him a vested interest in this case, and just how would this fact alter his opinions in a book review?

But the last post I made was that perhaps the question was best addressed by a expert in journalist ethics, e.g. a professor of journalism.

J. Raymond Caroll claims that I was equating Jeff Morley with a burglar, or with the late Mr. Joannides. These claims are so ridiculous they do not merit comment. I would repeat that I have great respect for both Mr. Morley and Mr. Talbot, and I think Mr. Morley's discovery of who Joannides was ranks as one of the most important recent discoveries in the case.

Anyone who's read your posts in this threads already knows that you did precisely what Mr. Carroll stipulated you did. Now you call his claims "so ridiculous they do not merit comment," while insisting that other Forum members should "learn to read." Next, you'll reiterate your other well-worn mantra: "I do not indulge in ad hominem attacks..."

Robert Charles-Dunne claims I "militate" on behalf of the CIA. Apparently in his logical world anyone who rejects his thesis that the CIA killed JFK must be a defender of every action of the CIA.

I have no such thesis. If you can find a post here in which I said "The CIA killed President Kennedy," please provide a citation. What I have said is that CIA belongs on the list of suspects in the crime, which is not the same thing at all. Perhaps some remedial reading is in order. As for militating for CIA, that is precisely what you have done here. You are prepared to entertain the hypothesis that the crime was committed by Madame Nhu, the KGB, the Mob, Castro, pink fairies and Martians and/or a combination of all of the above; just not CIA. As you admitted more than a year ago on January 15, 2005:

"I have said it before but I'll say it again. I do not believe any CIA official participated in the assassination..."

So long as mere "belief" dictates what you are and aren't prepared to entertain, even as an hypothesis, you'll not bother to investigate evidence that is contrary to your "belief." That is the crux of the matter in a nutshell, and you've made it quite apparent in your several thousand posts here.

I have repeatedly criticized the CIA for its excesses, in particular its involvement in the assassination plots against Castro and its employment of the underworld in those plots. One of two propositions must be true: 1) either Mr. Charles-Dunne is not good at making distinctions; or 2) he is deliberately mischaracterizing my position in an attempt to discredit my posts.

You need no such help from me, my friend. You do fine all by your lonesome.

And of course I also condemn the CIA for all that it withheld from the WC and the HSCA (including assassination plots; the role of Joannides in JM/Wave, etc. etc.) With respect to Joannides, it would certainly appear the CIA is attempting to hide something.

Gee, d'ya think? But only "with respect to Joannides?" Why do you think Blakey had no other choice but to excoriate CIA, once it became apparent the full range of stuff that was withheld? CIA put someone who should have been a witness in charge of determinging what the US public - via its elected officials' investigation of a Presidential murder - could learn about CIA involvement in the crime. But your concern isn't with that; it's what a book reviewer should know, and what steps he mustn't take to actually learn the subject matter at hand. All while nevertheless claiming that you're sincere in trying to determine who killed the President [so long as it implicates Madame Nhu or Castro or the Kremlin.] When the evidence leads to CIA, you're not nearly so keen to follow it, are you?

Hopefully, Morley's suit will force disclosure of facts that will enlarge our understanding of what was happening in the early sixties.

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You shall now see how tricky I can be.

We all know what you fancy yourself to be, Tim. No further proof is required.

Now that I baited my good friend Robert Charles-Dunne to rush to the defense of Jefferson Morley, and stating how knowledgeable Mr. Morley is, I will point out to you that Mr. Morley posted right here on the Forum that he believed the allegations (of Cuban involvement in the assassination) made in "Rendezvous with Death" deserved serious consideration (words to that effect anyway).

Is it any wonder I like Mr. Morley?

So, in other words, you are admitting that Morley had no predispostion against, or prejudice toward, the topic in the book you nevertheless claim he was disqualified from reviewing by some vaporous "conflict of interest?" Say, you are "tricky," arguing against your own postiion, and all.

Now, I appreciated him far before that. As I said earlier, his discovery of the Joannides connection is very significant and who yet knows where it will lead? Already it has blown G. Robert Blakey's faith in the CIA and united people as disparate as Gerald Posner and leading conspiracy proponents of all persuasions.

And that's the least of his many, many contributions. Try re-reading [i know how strongly you advocate reading, Tim, and how militant your are in suggesting that [b]other[/b] Forum members "learn" how to do it] "What Jane Roman Said:"

http://www.history-matters.com/essays/fram...RomanSaid_1.htm

Once you're finished, perhaps you'd be so kind as to log back on here and give us the benefit of your thoughts on what CIA was up to, why it felt inclined to lie in its own cable traffic about a man who was about to become an infamous assassin, and why some of that cable traffic is still missing and has never been divulged to the WC, the Church or Pike committees, the HSCA, and even the ARRB.

You all know I do not consider the CIA as an institution a suspect but given the possibility of rogue agents as participants, had I the authority over HSCA I would have required of the CIA a complete list of the names and job responsibilities of every CIA officer or agent working with JM/Wave or on related matters. Then the Joannides flap would never have occured.

Again you misunderstand and/or mischaracterize. CIA refused to acknowledge any "authority" residing with anyone at the HSCA. Ask Lopez and Hardway and Fonzi just how far they got in trying to plumb the depths at CIA. Ask them how much harder the task became when they were hampered at every turn by CIA ass-kisser Blakey.

As for your attempt to distinguish between CIA "as an institution" and "rogue agents," just how would you go about discerning the difference?

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Robert:

It surprises me that you would not know that I read "What Jane Roman Said" years ago. You are correct that it was another great contribution by Mr. Morley.

Obviously the CIA was up to something and is hiding something. On that I think we can all agree. Yes?

But let us get back to a journalist's conflict of interest on which you claim expertise. Given this sentence, I now doubt your understanding of the rule:

So, in other words, you are admitting that Morley had no predispostion against, or prejudice toward, the topic in the book you nevertheless claim he was disqualified from reviewing by some vaporous "conflict of interest?" Say, you are "tricky," arguing against your own postiion, and all.

A conflict of interest exists in any field (journalism, judicial ethics, etc) whether or not the journalist or judge has a "predisposition" or "prejudice". The test is not whether an actual prejudice exists, it is whether a conflict exists that could lead to a prejudice. When a major law firm determines whether to accept a case, it first does a conflict of interest check to determine whether it has ever represented the adverse party. If it has, it is duty bound (in most cases anyway) to reject the case. A judge cannot fail to recuse himself in a case in which he has a financial interest in one of the corporate parties and that is the case even if every party in the case would agree the judge was so fair he would never be influenced by the conflict.

Next point: the thesis of "Rendezvous With Death" is totally different from the premise of "Ultimate Sacrifice". I do not understand why Mr. Morley's statement that the allegations in "Rendezvous With Death" deserve careful study impact why he might have a conflict in reviewing "Ultimate Sacrifice".

Finally, I note you did not get around to responding to my major point: Jefferson Morley, who saw "Rendezvous With Death" states that its allegations merit careful scrutiny. Is Morley wrong? I find it curious how readily you reject "Rendezvous With Death" without ever seeing it.

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Robert:

A judge cannot fail to recuse himself in a case in which he has a financial interest in one of the corporate parties and that is the case even if every party in the case would agree the judge was so fair he would never be influenced by the conflict.

Anyone who watched the recent Senate hearings on television will recall that Alito was appointed to the Supreme Court after admitting that, while a sitting judge on a Federal Appeals court, he had ruled in favor of Vanguard Corporation, the Company in which his retirement savings are invested. This was after Alito gave an undertaking to the Senate, when he was first appointed to the Federal bench, that he would recuse himse if any case involving Vanguard came before his court. (BTW, it was Tim Gratz's favorite Senator, Ted Kennedy, who highlighted this issue).

Things have come to a sorry pass when I find myself saying that Tim Gratz is libelling Jefferson Morley and David Talbot when he equates their position as book reviewers with Alito's position in the Vanguard case.

Alito had a clear conflict of interest, yet he now sits on the Supreme Court, while Morley and Talbot should be banned from reviewing books on the JFK assassination, if we were to agree with Tim Gratz and the editor of Book World

Finally, I note you did not get around to responding to my major point: Jefferson Morley, who saw "Rendezvous With Death" states that its allegations merit careful scrutiny. Is Morley wrong?

Of course this has not been Tim Gratz's major point. His major point on this thread has been that Morley and Talbot have violated their profession's code of ethics by reviewing books on the JFK assassination. About 95% of adult Americans have an opinion on the JFK case, according to every opinion poll I've seen. If these polls truly are representative of the nation, then one can only suppose that about 95% of all book reviewers also have an opinion on the case. Yet Tim Gratz equates Morley and Talbot with a burglar, a sick man, a man who is known to have obstructed the JFK inquiry, and now, saving the best for last, he tries to equate them with a dishonest judge.

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