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Wikipedia, Spartacus and the JFK Assassination


John Simkin
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Gerald Ford died yesterday. If you do a search at Google for "Gerald Ford", Wikipedia is ranked number one. The page does not include details of the role he played in the cover-up of the assassination of JFK. I have therefore edited the page to read:

In his later years new documents emerged that suggested that Ford had played a vital role in the cover-up of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The original first draft of the Warren Commission Report stated that a bullet had entered Kennedy's "back at a point slightly above the shoulder and to the right of the spine." Ford realized that this provided a serious problem for the single bullet theory. As Michael L. Kurtz has pointed out (The JFK Assassination Debates, 2006, page 85): "If a bullet fired from the sixth-floor window of the Depository building nearly sixty feet higher than the limousine entered the president's back, with the president sitting in an upright position, it could hardly have exited from his throat at a point just above the Adam's apple, then abruptly change course and drive downward into Governor Connally's back."

In 1997 the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) released a document that revealed that Ford had altered the first draft of the report to read: "A bullet had entered the base of the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine." Ford had elevated the location of the wound from its true location in the back to the neck to support the single bullet theory.

It will be interesting to see how long it stays there. I have also added a link to my page on Ford that explains how Gerald Ford provided J. Edgar Hoover with information about the activities of staff members of the commission. Hoover ordered that Norman Redlich's past should be investigated.

Ford was also being blackmailed by both Hoover and Johnson (see for example page 209 of Bobby Baker's Wheeling and Dealing: Confessions of a Capitol Hill Operator, 1978)

I also include details of how he established the Rockefeller Commission in an attempt to cover-up the illegal activities of the CIA.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAfordG.htm

This has already been removed from Wikipedia. How can they justify this behaviour?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Ford

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This has already been removed from Wikipedia. How can they justify this behaviour?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Ford

Since you have been adjudged "unreliable, propagandistic and extremist," you should not be surprised to learn that your postings evaporate upon discovery. We wouldn't want someone of your ilk to cause unnecessary thought by citing facts and such.

More to the point, there is no need to "justify this behaviour," as the Wiki-bots are accountable to none but each other. To whom would such a justification be offered, and why? Unnecessary.

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A bit of formatting will increase the probability of a text to last a little longer. Still curious how long it will remain online now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...;oldid=96748602

Rest in peace, loyal boyscout who made a career out of covering up for others. Gerald wasn't entirely evil like LBJ, Nixon, Poppy and Dubya, but was more a clean and cover up artist with little or no original plans as was clear during his presidency which could only be described as dull, grey and maintaining the status quo without any original plans whatsoever.

Then again covering up seems to be very good for one's career, because Bill Clinton got the job because he looked the other way at Mena were the CIA was importing massive amounts of cocaine to finance George H.W. Bush's Iran-Contra. Why did they try to impeach him for a blow job when there was a snow job as well or was it because he worked with George H.W. Bush and the CIA on that little affair.

Since Dubya will probably be succeeded by Hillary Clinton (2008) and Rudi "WTC" Giuliani (2016), we'll only have Carter so my request to John Simkin is not go skull digging in Jimmy Carter's career, because he'll be the only half decent president in the Era of Rogue Presidents (1963 - 2024).

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I am also a member of a forum that keeps a close look at what happens at Wikipedia. I posted details of my CIA-Google-Wikipedia conspiracy on this forum:

http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=5615

I rather like this reply from someone from Alice Springs in Australia who goes by the name blissyu2.

I like this theory.

The first search engine that I remember was Gopher, back before there were proper graphical web pages. The government wasn't involved in that. Then there was Yahoo, which structured everything and people had to register to get their web pages listed. Some people hinted there was government involvement, but it seemed pretty silly to take it seriously. Yahoo proved their innocence once and for all when similar search engines like Excite and Lycos turned up and did the same thing. And then came the meta search engines, like Dogpile, which of course were quite free of intervention.

We all felt safe that search engines were safe, and then along came Google.

When Google first appeared on the market, we didn't need Google. We had enough search engines, we could find what we wanted easily. There were specified search engines, there were meta search engines, it was all fine. Nobody asked to have ultra fast search engines. Nobody asked to have caches of old web sites after they'd been deleted. Nobody asked to have image searches. Nobody asked to have things listed without asking. Nobody asked for the laws relating to privacy being violated.

Yet Google appeared, unwanted though it was, and suddenly became extremely popular from the instant it was created. Why? Was it perhaps because it was plastered all over every advertisement on TV and in every newspaper? Was it perhaps because governments were talking about it in official sessions? Was it because Oprah Winfrey and every other talk show host talked about it?

Google had money behind it, lots of it, yet we are led to believe that like Yahoo it started off by two college students. It might have, but these 2 had millions of dollars behind them, and government assistance. Google could not have done what they did without US government assistance, and without millions of dollars to help them. Indeed, my recollection from Oprah's story on it was that they had US military assistance, and it was no secret. But that's just a memory.

Google did something which Yahoo and Gopher never did. While Gopher and Yahoo for a time were the only serious search engines, like Google is today, they didn't ever get the ability to avoid privacy laws. Laws were effectively changed for Google. Nobody petitioned for them to be changed, they just ignored them and got away with it. There was no protest to say "Let Google break the law and get away with it". Nor was any court prepared to take them down over it.

But why would the CIA or the US government want to have a search engine which came up with more meaningless junk than any previous search engine ever had, and invaded people's privacy, with old journal posts or Newsgroup posts appearing years after they were deleted? To spy on people sure, but was that all? It seemed a bit minor, a bit petty.

The idea that the CIA was using it for something bigger, to then create an information database, a Wikipedia, makes a bit more sense. That CIA made Google so as to prepare the internet to be taken over by Wikipedia.

We know that the CIA uses Wikipedia, that much is obvious (they use Google too). We know that they are in there trying to manipulate articles. But how effective are they? Is Wikipedia complying with this? Or are they just unable to stop it?

What would be stopping the US government from calling Jimbo and demanding for him to cooperate with the CIA, or else he'd be framed as a terrorist? They could easily do it, and he'd have no choice in the matter.

Or is Jimbo doing it a bit more maliciously than that? Is he more than just innocent to what is going on? Is he more than an innocent victim?

We all know that Wikipedia claims that nobody owns any articles, yet people do. How many people have edited articles, and tried to fix huge mistakes, only to be told that they were not allowed to? Every major long-term article is owned by someone or other. How hard would it be for the CIA to get involved in this?

Look at all of the articles that would relate to matters of interest for CIA. All of the major murders and assassinations, political issues, wars and conspiracies. See how woefully inaccurate Wikipedia is compared to any other source on these topics.

We saw what Slim Virgin did to the Lockerbie Bombing article, and we saw what they did to the Port Arthur massacre article and the JFK assassination, to Hitler and to the George W. Bush article. We saw what they did to anything to do with the Iraq war. These are all matters of interest to the CIA. They have a vested interest to keep a certain version of the truth out there.

Disinformation isn't a simple matter of the government telling you something that is a lie. If they simply did that, then we'd all search for the truth, find it, and say "Ha". Nor is disinformation simply a matter of hiding the truth. We are too smart for that.

Disinformation is when the government pushes a ridiculous conspiracy theory, and leads breadcrumbs so that we will slowly start to see it make sense, and ignore everything else to push towards that. Then when we find out that it was wrong, we fall back on the official story, and ignore the actual story, which was neither of them. This is what disinformation is.

It does make a lot of sense.

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I have several points to make in reply to John Simkin's posting.

(1) As I write, which is about 1535 hrs UTC 28 December, the Gerald Ford article on the English Wikipedia does link to Spartacus in relation to Ford's Warren Commission role. That article is being edited over 100 times a day, currently.

(2) There is now a clarification on the Requests for Arbitration page of the English Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:RFAR) about the scope of the finding-of-fact made in the RPJ case with respect to the use made of Spartacus pages.

On broader issues:

(3) Wikipedia is founded on the idea of 'neutrality of point of view'. Whether or not one accepts this as a theoretical possibility, to be 'perfectly neutral', it is used all the time as a yardstick. In terms of history, the accepted implications are that (i) facts should be established as much as possible from reliable sources, and (ii), where interpretations of facts are disputed, Wikipedia should attempt to follow its uniform procedures for reporting on controversies and contentious issues. These include several areas, such as source criticism and the assessment of the prominence of various points of view and perspectives. There is doctrine on what Wikipedia considers 'original research', in other words synthesis of ideas.

(4) Because these matters are more an analysis of issues of disputed content into more manageable discussions, than an actual 'protocol' for solving content arguments and resulting 'edit wars', it is not possible to say how content disputes end. A small fraction only are ended through the dispute resolution mechanism. This is where the ArbCom fits in, within the English Wikipedia. Content judgements are generally avoided by the ArbCom.

In general terms, Wikipedia is a dynamic and very open site. Good information on how it actually works is rarely to be found in outside reports (unfortunately).

Charles

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I have several points to make in reply to John Simkin's posting.

(1) As I write, which is about 1535 hrs UTC 28 December, the Gerald Ford article on the English Wikipedia does link to Spartacus in relation to Ford's Warren Commission role. That article is being edited over 100 times a day, currently.

This was because I added it again after making a fuss about it on this forum and on the Gerald Ford talk page. This time they let it remain. The question is - why was it removed in the first place? Was it really so dangerous to include a link to a biography that actually criticizes Ford?

The section about him altering the Warren Commission Report has yet to be put back.

By the way the current page includes an important error. His name at birth was Leslie King. His parents divorced when he was an infant and his mother remarried a paint salesman in Michigan. Leslie's name was changed to that of his stepfather, Gerald Rudolph Ford. He did not discover the truth of this until he was 17.

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<snip>

The section about him altering the Warren Commission Report has yet to be put back.

<snip>

By the way the current page includes an important error. His name at birth was Leslie King. His parents divorced when he was an infant and his mother remarried a paint salesman in Michigan. Leslie's name was changed to that of his stepfather, Gerald Rudolph Ford. He did not discover the truth of this until he was 17.

The words ''Ford had altered the first draft of the report'' appear as I read it live. His changes of name are discussed in the 'Early Life' section. Any factual correction is welcome.

The number of editors recently concerned in that one page on Gerald Ford probably runs into three figures. If removals are objectionable, the system is transparent as far as who did that. I think that circumvents the need to use 'they' as an abstraction.

Charles

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(2) There is now a clarification on the Requests for Arbitration page of the English Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:RFAR) about the scope of the finding-of-fact made in the RPJ case with respect to the use made of Spartacus pages.

A publication competing with the UK’s Spartacus has called Spartacus “propagandistic” and “unreliable.” This statement was published as a finding of fact in connection with the competing publication punishing one of its editors for citing to Spartacus.

In his post above, Mr. Matthews, who voted for the factual finding against Spartacus, provides a link to additional comments by him and others from the competing publication think about Spartacus being “propagandistic” and “unreliable.”

One now claims that “most of the problem” with using Spartacus were caused by one of its editors, who was then banned, for using “selected pages” from Spartacus to “advance contentious points.” See comment by Panel Member Fred Bauder 13:16, 23 December 2006 (UTC) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:RFAR#RPJ_c..._Spartacus_site

Mr. Matthews also now states that the this was “a ruling on how a source [spartacus] was used in a particular article” that made it propagandistic and unreliable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Vil...an.27t_be_cited

These new statements by Mr. Bauder and Mr. Matthews are not well taken. The reliability of a publication does not vary depending upon who cites the publication as a source of information nor does a publication’s reliability vary depending upon for what point it is cited. A publication such as Spartacus has little or no control over who will use the publication and for what points it s is cited. A publication is either reliable or unreliable. on its own merits, not how some third party uses it.

The competing publication simply needs to retract its wrongful finding of fact accusing Spartacus of being unreliable and propagandistic since neither claim is true.

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A publication competing with the UK’s Spartacus has called Spartacus “propagandistic” and “unreliable.” This statement was published as a finding of fact in connection with the competing publication punishing one of its editors for citing to Spartacus.

In his post above, Mr. Matthews, who voted for the factual finding against Spartacus, provides a link to additional comments by him and others from the competing publication think about Spartacus being “propagandistic” and “unreliable.”

One now claims that “most of the problem” with using Spartacus were caused by one of its editors, who was then banned, for using “selected pages” from Spartacus to “advance contentious points.” See comment by Panel Member Fred Bauder 13:16, 23 December 2006 (UTC) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:RFAR#RPJ_c..._Spartacus_site

Mr. Matthews also now states that the this was “a ruling on how a source [spartacus] was used in a particular article” that made it propagandistic and unreliable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Vil...an.27t_be_cited

These new statements by Mr. Bauder and Mr. Matthews are not well taken. The reliability of a publication does not vary depending upon who cites the publication as a source of information nor does a publication’s reliability vary depending upon for what point it is cited. A publication such as Spartacus has little or no control over who will use the publication and for what points it s is cited. A publication is either reliable or unreliable. on its own merits, not how some third party uses it.

The competing publication simply needs to retract its wrongful finding of fact accusing Spartacus of being unreliable and propagandistic since neither claim is true.

Well, I don't see Wikipedia as in any direct sense a competitor of Spartacus. For example, I recently (before all this) created the English Wikipedia's article on Henry Nevinson. I included a link to the Spartacus page on Nevinson, as a matter of course. Sites providing free factual material are not necessarily competitors in a market sense.

To address the matter of 'propagandistic' in context, I will cite the enWP guideline on 'conflict of interest' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:COI); namely its section 1.5 on 'Campaigning', which contains "Activities regarded by insiders as simply "getting the word out" may appear promotional or propagandistic to the outside world." We made our 'finding of fact' on a related basis, I believe (I cannot and will not speak for any other Arbitrator); namely that, in effect, the 'aggressive biased' editing of User:RPJ was in the nature of such campaigning. Largely Arbitration is a question of looking at editor behaviour rather than content; as I said before, the ArbCom tends to avoid ruling on content as such. However the logic of what we were saying here required a finding on the material being added. That is because the editing pattern causing the case to be brought up was forcing the issue.

The finding of fact, together with the separate clarification, now adds up to a comment from the ArbCom about uneven quality of Spartacus pages. The ArbCom does not have power to make policy in this or any other area.

Charles

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(3) Wikipedia is founded on the idea of 'neutrality of point of view'. Whether or not one accepts this as a theoretical possibility, to be 'perfectly neutral', it is used all the time as a yardstick.

This goes to the heart of the problem. As any trained historian will tell you, it is impossible to produce a “neutral point of view” of the past. An attempt to do this is a political act. The idea of “neutral history” appeals to those who wish to protect the status quo. They do this by pretending that historians are not in conflict over the interpretation of the individual’s past. That it is possible to provide an agreed view of a particular person, event, etc. This is why the people who control Wikipedia are so keen to remove all criticism of the individual being protected. They even remove links to other pages on the web that suggest there is more than one interpretation available. Of course, not everyone is protected. From my experience, the only people being “looked after” are those people from the United States who are part of the power elite. It is very important to the American political system that these people are presented as being “honest” and “patriotic”. Wikipedia, working closely with Google, is at the forefront in promoting a certain view of the past.

It might work in the United States but it will not be accepted by those countries that enjoy a reasonable education system. For example, in the UK, children from the age of 7 are taught that there is no such thing as “neutral” or “objective” history writing.

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In terms of history, the accepted implications are that (i) facts should be established as much as possible from reliable sources, and (ii), where interpretations of facts are disputed, Wikipedia should attempt to follow its uniform procedures for reporting on controversies and contentious issues. These include several areas, such as source criticism and the assessment of the prominence of various points of view and perspectives. There is doctrine on what Wikipedia considers 'original research', in other words synthesis of ideas.

If we look at the case of editing of the Gerald Ford entry, we can see that the above statement is not true. As I pointed out, in 1997 the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) released a document that revealed that Ford had altered the first draft of the report to read: "A bullet had entered the base of the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine." Ford had elevated the location of the wound from its true location in the back to the neck to support the single bullet theory.

Ford admitted this was the case in an interview with Mike Feinsilber, of the Associated Press on Gerald Ford and the Warren Report (2nd July, 1997).

The passage was not removed because of its factual basis, but because it portrayed Ford as participating in a cover-up of the evidence during his time on the Warren Commission.

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The words ''Ford had altered the first draft of the report'' appear as I read it live. His changes of name are discussed in the 'Early Life' section. Any factual correction is welcome.

I agree that the offending passage has now been put back in. So also has the link to my web page on Ford. The main reason I get this privileged treatment is because I have the power to expose Wikipedia via this forum and my media contacts. However, others like Pat Jaress and Daniel Brandt are banned from editing Wikipedia entries.

The number of editors recently concerned in that one page on Gerald Ford probably runs into three figures. If removals are objectionable, the system is transparent as far as who did that. I think that circumvents the need to use 'they' as an abstraction.

This explains one of the major problems with Wikipedia. Although we can trace the codenames of the people who remove your content, it is not possible to discover the real names of people. It is therefore not possible to check their expertise on the subject they are involved in editing. The same goes for those adding new content. Going by the “talk” pages, some of these people are complete idiots who know nothing about the subject they are talking about. While this situation remains, the credibility will always remain low. For example, any student in the UK would be in trouble if they quoted Wikipedia in any history essay they submitted.

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Guest Gary Loughran

I concur with John and would further add that Wikipedia would not be permitted for cites in any subject area.

I know that my recent degree course actually stated it would not be acceptable for referencing.

When Charles talks of the 'uneven' quality of Spartacus, I am reminded of people in glass houses. I have no vested interest in Spartacus but have always found it accurate and extremely useful for all issues on which I've consulted it. Initially, yes, this was JFK related and led me to this forum. More recently I've used it for other subjects.

Back to Wiki - I recently edited the JFK:assassination page, on Wikipedia, to remove the use of Super 8 film in describing Zapruder's film. The super 8 hyperlink even went to a page which stated that Super 8 wasn't released by Kodak until 1965. Kennedy being murdered in 63 of course. I appreciate that the wikipedia is unweildy given the nature of the beast, but surely this highlights a major, fatal, flaw. Now that is uneven quality.

This thread has also reminded to check with the folks at Mozilla, and query whether they should really bundle the Wiki bookmark in their quick search on Firefox, as well as Google, there seems to be no pressing need for open source software to have these alliances - which I'm sure are unsolicited.

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When Charles talks of the 'uneven' quality of Spartacus, I am reminded of people in glass houses.

As far as that goes, we actually explicitly disclaim reliability: these words are in our general disclaimer: "Wikipedia cannot guarantee the validity of the information found here. The content of any given article may recently have been changed, vandalized or altered by someone whose opinion does not correspond with the state of knowledge in the relevant fields" and "Wikipedia is not uniformly peer reviewed". Anyone who works on Wikipedia is aware of its limitations and strengths. Traditionally science, technology and mathematics have been well ahead of the humanities, a situation that is only slowly changing.

As far as John Simkin's points on historiography are concerned: WP starts really with the proposition that it is to compile reference material. This will always fail to be 'academic history', anyway, just as pure chronology does. Ideally, for any contentious point, the 'controversy' should be described even-handedly.

I don't agree that, as John puts it, "The idea of “neutral history” appeals to those who wish to protect the status quo." We have a lot of good evidence from China, for example, that the whole business of NPOV (editing from a neutral point of view) is quite unappealing to the government, and is also regarded as innovative by editors of the Chinese Wikipedia. (Small case in point: should the war starting in China in 1937 be called 'the Second Sino-Japanese War', or 'War of Resistance Against Japan' as is traditional in China?) In discussing the issue of neutrality, we have distinguished between 'systematic bias' (protecting the status quo would be an example of that, but there are many other relevant variations, for example religious slants) and 'systemic bias', which is caused for example by the demographics of the editing group. Whether or not it is theoreticaly possible to drive out systematic bias completely, it is entirely clear that gross examples can and should be removed; and collective editing can work well to do that. We have less success on the 'systemic' side.

John says "It is therefore not possible to check their expertise on the subject they are involved in editing. The same goes for those adding new content. Going by the “talk” pages, some of these people are complete idiots who know nothing about the subject they are talking about." The 'complete idiots' is of course no news to me. Some of them are very young. If we didn't want it to be interactive in this way, we'd make a quite different site (constant debate on this leaves on a minority view for less openness).

John also says: "Of course, not everyone is protected. From my experience, the only people being “looked after” are those people from the United States who are part of the power elite. It is very important to the American political system that these people are presented as being “honest” and “patriotic”. Wikipedia, working closely with Google, is at the forefront in promoting a certain view of the past." In any given case, and particularly in the current polarised state of US politics, it would be very rash to deny any such possibilities. My areas of interest are quite different. Living people are more strongly protected under policies against defamation on the site. There was interference of Congress politicians' offices with biography articles a while back, a story broken by Wikinews. That all being said, I don't recognise the description. Wikipedia doesn't (as far I know, and I'm not on the Board) have any relationship at all with Google, despite some well-publicised discussions a while back. We are on somewhat better terms with Yahoo, who apparently donated some clapped-out servers.

Charles

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In terms of history, the accepted implications are that (i) facts should be established as much as possible from reliable sources, and (ii), where interpretations of facts are disputed, Wikipedia should attempt to follow its uniform procedures for reporting on controversies and contentious issues. These include several areas, such as source criticism and the assessment of the prominence of various points of view and perspectives. There is doctrine on what Wikipedia considers 'original research', in other words synthesis of ideas.

If we look at the case of editing of the Gerald Ford entry, we can see that the above statement is not true. As I pointed out, in 1997 the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) released a document that revealed that Ford had altered the first draft of the report to read: "A bullet had entered the base of the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine." Ford had elevated the location of the wound from its true location in the back to the neck to support the single bullet theory.

Ford admitted this was the case in an interview with Mike Feinsilber, of the Associated Press on Gerald Ford and the Warren Report (2nd July, 1997).

The passage was not removed because of its factual basis, but because it portrayed Ford as participating in a cover-up of the evidence during his time on the Warren Commission.

Mr. Simkin, could you please explain what you mean by "Ford admitted this was the case"? He "admitted" revising a sentence, but he didn't say he'd "elevated" the wound or that he made the change to support the SBT. What evidence is there that he made the revision for that reason, may I ask?

Jean Davison

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