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26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

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26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Frankie Vegas on Fri 06 Dec 2013, 12:20 pm

In a victory for the JFK research community, the JFK Library announced today that it has made public 26 boxes of long-secret files held by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. 
The files will likely shed new light on the inner workings of the Kennedy presidency.
One document released last summer showed that The CIA kept RFK apprised of Castro assassination plotting. (JFK Facts, Aug. 2, 2013).
——–
If any JFK Facts readers are in the Boston area, we are looking for news stories about what the new files contain.

http://jfkfacts.org/assassination/news/jfk-library-releases-long-secret-rfk-files/

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Albert Rossi on Sat 07 Dec 2013, 2:15 am

Makes me want to run off to Boston.

Frankie, I have some questions about the previous article on the memo.

First, the memo is addressed to Director of CIA (in 1964, still McCone, I believe).  So it was not a memo for RFK.  Then,

1.  How did it end up in the Attny General's papers?
2.  And on what basis are the following claims made:

a) Helms’s memo, entitled “Plans of Cuban Exiles to Assassinate Selected
Cuban Government Leaders,” reminded RFK that he had dabbled in the
killing business before his brother’s murder and could not escape it
even as he prepared to leave the government.

That statement is suppositious and unsupported, as far as I can tell.

Whoever wrote this blurb should have known better about the
Kissinger statement referred to in the Evan Thomas piece from 1998,
because Kissinger is reporting what Helms said to him, and, he's trying
to get Ford to clamp down on the ongoing investigations of the CIA.

The Inspector General's report (1967) was for internal CIA use.  Helms was looking for a way to hang the plots on JFK/RFK.  If he had found it, why would he not have used it?  Why would the CIA want to falsify an internal report in a direction that does not let them off the hook?  One would have to posit some sort of collusion between Helms and the Inspector General to suppress evidence about RFK, for what purpose -- to extort silence from RFK over Vietnam?  Is there any reason to believe such a thing?  Kind of fishy, if you ask me.

b) The June 10 memo doesn’t resolve the question about what RFK knew
before November 22, 1963, but it shows that the CIA did keep RFK
apprised of one not very promising plan to kill Castro after JFK was
dead.

Again, do we know if McCone passed this to RFK, or did RFK obtain it from another source?  At any rate, there is no evidence here that Helms intended this memo for RFK's eyes.

c) RFK underlined key passages of the June 10, 1964, memo with a blue
pen, each of which underscored his powerlessness.

How do we know (c) in particular?  Is there some connection between this blue ink and RFK's handwriting in other documents?  How do we know that wasn't McCone's underscoring?


Last edited by Albert Rossi on Sat 07 Dec 2013, 4:44 am; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : added remarks)

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Frankie Vegas on Sat 07 Dec 2013, 7:18 am

I'm afraid I am going to have to pass on all of those questions. But I did get this from JFK Facts, there is a comments section at the bottom of the story.
http://jfkfacts.org/assassination/news/jfk-library-releases-long-secret-rfk-files/

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Albert Rossi on Sat 07 Dec 2013, 7:25 am

I saw the comments.  No comment.

But my questions obviously were not posed just for you, Frankie.  Not like I was claiming you espoused that idea ... just conversing.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Frankie Vegas on Sat 07 Dec 2013, 7:32 am

Ah, sorry. One of my rules to live by is to stay away from the comments section on the internet if I can. Unless I want to spend the day raging and having lost faith in humanity.
As for my comprehension this morning the only excuse I have is I'm only on my third sip of coffee and I have two kids arguing over cat videos on youtube. Smile  Good morning.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Albert Rossi on Sat 07 Dec 2013, 7:36 am

That's OK.  I don't have kids or cats and often find myself in a stupor all day long that no amount of caffeine can remedy.Laughing

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Robert Charles-Dunne on Sat 07 Dec 2013, 10:36 am

Albert Rossi wrote:Makes me want to run off to Boston.

Frankie, I have some questions about the previous article on the memo.

First, the memo is addressed to Director of CIA (in 1964, still McCone, I believe).  So it was not a memo for RFK.  Then,

1.  How did it end up in the Attny General's papers?
2.  And on what basis are the following claims made:

a) Helms’s memo, entitled “Plans of Cuban Exiles to Assassinate Selected
Cuban Government Leaders,” reminded RFK that he had dabbled in the
killing business before his brother’s murder and could not escape it
even as he prepared to leave the government.

That statement is suppositious and unsupported, as far as I can tell.

Whoever wrote this blurb should have known better about the
Kissinger statement referred to in the Evan Thomas piece from 1998,
because Kissinger is reporting what Helms said to him, and, he's trying
to get Ford to clamp down on the ongoing investigations of the CIA.

The Inspector General's report (1967) was for internal CIA use.  Helms was looking for a way to hang the plots on JFK/RFK.  If he had found it, why would he not have used it?  Why would the CIA want to falsify an internal report in a direction that does not let them off the hook?  One would have to posit some sort of collusion between Helms and the Inspector General to suppress evidence about RFK, for what purpose -- to extort silence from RFK over Vietnam?  Is there any reason to believe such a thing?  Kind of fishy, if you ask me.

b) The June 10 memo doesn’t resolve the question about what RFK knew
before November 22, 1963, but it shows that the CIA did keep RFK
apprised of one not very promising plan to kill Castro after JFK was
dead.

Again, do we know if McCone passed this to RFK, or did RFK obtain it from another source?  At any rate, there is no evidence here that Helms intended this memo for RFK's eyes.

c) RFK underlined key passages of the June 10, 1964, memo with a blue
pen, each of which underscored his powerlessness.

How do we know (c) in particular?  Is there some connection between this blue ink and RFK's handwriting in other documents?  How do we know that wasn't McCone's underscoring?
Precisely the case, Albert.  I left a comment there yesterday to this effect, and was astonished to see a writer of Morley's intellect buying into something for which there still, to this very day, exists no proof.

You'd think that somebody who's been repeatedly finessed in court by CIA balderdash would have a slightly more, um.... skeptical view of what the Agency dished out, and why.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Albert Rossi on Sun 08 Dec 2013, 2:05 am

Thank you Robert, I missed your comments on the blog ... I'll look for them.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by dwdunn(akaDan) on Sun 08 Dec 2013, 8:13 am

I started to write a response to this the other night but got sidetracked as usual with other things. In the interim Albert's covered most everything I had questions about; my initial response started with

Victory! Victory! Victory!

And I for one don't see anything ironic in that it is specifically the files of former US Attorney General Robert Kennedy that the JFK Library has chosen to make public; probably there's nothing else they have that's of interest. I do however have some issues with Mr. Morley's interpretation and account of the evidence in his brief article on the memo. I note that

1. This is a memorandum from Richard Helms, the CIA's Deputy Director of Plans at the time, written for "The Director of Central Intelligence" -- i.e., John McCone (head of CIA at the time). Yet without providing any details about context or provenance (possibly because he doesn't have that information), Morley writes as if this memo was "for" Robert Kennedy. It or a copy of it certainly was provided to Kennedy (presumably by McCone, since it was written for him by his DDP); but I think one would already have to be convinced that Kennedy "had dabbled in the killing business before his brother’s murder" in order to extrapolate from the (forwarded) memo that "the CIA kept RFK apprised of Castro assassination plotting.....
I would only add that it would have been highly irregular for talk of assassination to be in an official CIA paper if such plans/plotting were "our" (i.e., CIA's) efforts -- not the kind of thing you put down on paper in other words. On the other hand, if it's a reporting of such efforts being made or planning to be made -- and not "our"/CIA's efforts, then it makes much more sense: Helms reported on such plotting to his superior, McCone, who forwarded it to the Attorney General (theoretically responsible for taking action against such plotting, keeping other law enforcement agencies informed, etc, etc etc),

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Albert Rossi on Mon 09 Dec 2013, 1:41 pm

"I would only add that it would have been highly irregular for talk of assassination to be in an official CIA paper if such plans/plotting were "our" (i.e., CIA's) efforts -- not the kind of thing you put down on paper in other words. On the other hand, if it's a reporting of such efforts being made or planning to be made -- and not "our"/CIA's efforts, then it makes much more sense: Helms reported on such plotting to his superior, McCone, who forwarded it to the Attorney General (theoretically responsible for taking action against such plotting, keeping other law enforcement agencies informed, etc, etc etc)"

Dan, thanks for making explicit yet another thought I was having myself.

Let's not overlook that RFK is still prosecuting the mob at this time.  Plus, Helms' language ("of course we don't condone this sort of thing") is perfectly suited to pass on to RFK, who got pissed off with them when he found out in 1962 about the earlier plots against Castro.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by dwdunn(akaDan) on Mon 09 Dec 2013, 3:35 pm

Yes, and then THAT episode has been turned around (interpreted) to mean that Kennedy's "only" objection was the use of mobsters -- obviously, since "we know" Robert Kennedy was "a wild man" trying to "get Castro," so he couldn't have objected to assassination efforts as such, but only to using the mob to do the hit........

I'm far beyond nausea on this subject at this point, Albert. But this is the kind of thing we were discussing earlier, because what's the "headline"? -- "the CIA kept RFK apprised of assassination plotting." And then a brief article using a lot of imagination to pull a lot of things out of basically nowhere.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by greg parker on Mon 09 Dec 2013, 6:54 pm

dwdunn(akaDan) wrote:Yes, and then THAT episode has been turned around (interpreted) to mean that Kennedy's "only" objection was the use of mobsters -- obviously, since "we know" Robert Kennedy was "a wild man" trying to "get Castro," so he couldn't have objected to assassination efforts as such, but only to using the mob to do the hit........

I'm far beyond nausea on this subject at this point, Albert. But this is the kind of thing we were discussing earlier, because what's the "headline"? -- "the CIA kept RFK apprised of assassination plotting." And then a brief article using a lot of imagination to pull a lot of things out of basically nowhere.
It's the same MO used for the all the "he's sick as a dog/doing PCP/screwing anything with two legs" stories.

And it tends to come from the same people.

Morley is a serial offender, all the while bemoaning the poor use of evidence by all but like minded souls.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Albert Rossi on Tue 10 Dec 2013, 2:11 am

Remember the "Kennedy Vendetta"?:

http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/Weisberg%20Subject%20Index%20Files/T%20Disk/Tiger%20to%20Ride/Item%20116.pdf

Brought to you in part by the "historian" (George Crile) who also brought you Charlie Wilson's War.

This old rotting journalistic corpse -- that JFK was out to "get Castro" -- finds precious little support in the declassified material having to do with Mongoose.  The next best thing, then, is to posit that the President wasn't involved, but his conniving little SOB brother was -- without letting his older brother know about it.  So the monster was created not by Dr. Frankenstein, but by his assistant Igor -- when the doctor left the laboratory in his hands.  In some ways it's an even better story. 

Addendum:

Version 1:  The monster is convinced by Dr. Frankenstein's rival to turn on his original creator(s).  This version doesn't hold water anymore.
Version 2:  Igor has second thoughts (or realizes things are out of control, like the Sorcerer's Apprentice), and tries to chain the monster, but it breaks free and turns on its creators in revenge.

Good stuff, no?

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Albert Rossi on Tue 10 Dec 2013, 3:41 am

" One would have to posit some sort of collusion between Helms and the Inspector General to suppress evidence about RFK, for what purpose -- to extort silence from RFK over Vietnam?  Is there any reason to believe such a thing?  Kind of fishy, if you ask me."

And needless to say, if there were such a deal (which I seriously doubt), it didn't work, because RFK's behavior in 1967-68 does not suggest being intimidated by the threat of any such revelation.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by dwdunn(akaDan) on Thu 12 Dec 2013, 7:21 am

greg parker wrote:
dwdunn(akaDan) wrote:Yes, and then THAT episode has been turned around (interpreted) to mean that Kennedy's "only" objection was the use of mobsters -- obviously, since "we know" Robert Kennedy was "a wild man" trying to "get Castro," so he couldn't have objected to assassination efforts as such, but only to using the mob to do the hit........

I'm far beyond nausea on this subject at this point, Albert. But this is the kind of thing we were discussing earlier, because what's the "headline"? -- "the CIA kept RFK apprised of assassination plotting." And then a brief article using a lot of imagination to pull a lot of things out of basically nowhere.
It's the same MO used for the all the "he's sick as a dog/doing PCP/screwing anything with two legs" stories.

And it tends to come from the same people.

Morley is a serial offender, all the while bemoaning the poor use of evidence by all but like minded souls.

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


I was amazed to find that Morley bought the Mimi Alford crap; so are we talking about agenda(s), or about an unfortunate by-product of what we've been "taught" (and some have believed)? More power to him on the Joannides case, but even if swallowing the "Bobby killed Jack" thesis is more understandable, what are we to make of Morley's comprehension & analytical abilities when he can believe the Mimi Alford stuff?

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by greg parker on Thu 12 Dec 2013, 8:44 am

Dan D wrote:I was amazed to find that Morley bought the Mimi Alford crap; so are we talking about agenda(s), or about an unfortunate by-product of what we've been "taught" (and some have believed)? More power to him on the Joannides case, but even if swallowing the "Bobby killed Jack" thesis is more understandable, what are we to make of Morley's comprehension & analytical abilities when he can believe the Mimi Alford stuff?
I'd rather not think the worst. But look at Morley's stance:

He insists on sticking to facts without theorizing. It's a stand that is hard to argue against - even by those who do theorize on occasion to fill evidentiary gaps. I mean, who in there right mind actually prefers theory over facts? It's a suble way of saying "if you don't agree with me, you're a CT kook."

One of the offshoots of that stance is that you start to gain a reputation as being "above the mob" - that you are one of the few credible critics in a sea of sludge. Once you have such a rep, anything you say on the case must ipso facto be a fact, or at least a credible parsing of the evidence. So then you are free to jump on the Aldford bandwagon. You are free to jump on the "Kennedys knew" bandwagon because his rep alone will make people think "there must be something there" if he says so.

Given the above, it's hard not to think the worst.

I demolished the Aldord story. Others have demolished the "Kennedy's knew" bullshit.

That Morley buys into these stories when the evidence beggars belief, is maddening. 

He WILL convert a lot of his readers (and he knows he will) by sheer dent of his successful propaganda campaign to align himself squarely with "the facts".    

My disgust is such that I no longer believe anything will be found in the Joannides files that will help solve this case.

Morley joined this forum to bring me to task before about my criticisms.
http://reopenkennedycase.forumotion.net/t230-comments-from-blakey-on-the-49th-anniversay

He is free to come and explain about his latest "facts" if he wants.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by dwdunn(akaDan) on Thu 12 Dec 2013, 10:42 am

And this

Jefferson Morley wrote:I said that Alford's account is most interesting about what it says about JFK's state of mind amidst the Cuban missile crisis: that he understood the sentiment behind "better red than dead."
is exactly the same kind of fluff that comes with the Mary Meyer story: John Kennedy "sees the light," expresses the kind of groovy advanced thinking about stuff because of Mary Meyer and LSD trips; or shared his innermost self with Mimi Alford when he should've been worrying about Khrushchev's next moves..................

As if Kennedy and McNamara hadn't been dealing with the gravest issues of nuclear weapons from the start. As if Kennedy had not been a student of foreign policy from his youth. And Morley doesn't say he "understood the sentiment" by supporting Alford; he says Kennedy expressed that sentiment himself (to Alford).

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Albert Rossi on Thu 12 Dec 2013, 10:53 am

I think we should start referring to this version of JFK's foreign policy as the "coitus interruptus" interpretation; because the hawks use it to say he wasn't man enough, others use it to claim he would have if he could have (but couldn't for any number of extenuating circumstances), and still others to say that he listened to his confidante(s?), suddenly realized the not-so-desirable consequences and backed out just in time.

Sorry to be so vulgar, but it's vulgar history-writing any way you look at it.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by dwdunn(akaDan) on Thu 12 Dec 2013, 12:57 pm

Which brings us back to the same question, Albert: agenda or "misinterpretation"? I mean, I don't fault people for not being the frickin reader of history et al that I was in my youth (I rather envy them, as things have turned out); but under the influence of Thomas Powers' The Man Who Kept the Secrets in particular, I readily subscribed for most of my life to the "Kennedy Vendetta" idea. And I just as easily could believe President Kennedy was a whoremonger ...... until the propaganda goes too far and basically asks us to believe he was mostly screwing in the 2 years and 10 months he was president. That is, when he and/or "Bobby" weren't trying to kill Fidel Castro.

But when someone sets himself up as a "facts man" who doesn't dabble in "theory," what really is the difference between that and Paul Trejo's standard "I have my theory and you can have yours"? (And incidentally, would -- or did -- any of us waste nearly as much time with Trejo as Lazar has, along with Trejo's feeder Brancato; yet another thing to make one suspicious) It's just a way of making oneself look good; once that standing's secured, as Greg's alluded to, you can throw out any amount of bullshit which will become "credible" because the "source" is credible, highly touted, has the trust of "the community" and so on.

After a while, and given a certain number of adverse experiences, I've become suspicious about all sorts of agendas in these venues and this "community." Mostly because when things don't add up, they don't add up, and it would be naive to believe all's right with it. If it's vulgar history, turd history, then why has that succeeded?

What we really need is political power, and lots of it.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Albert Rossi on Thu 12 Dec 2013, 3:45 pm

Dan, I certainly did not mean to argue for anyone's innocent misunderstanding here; sorry if I gave that impression. I personally do not know whether this whole effort is agenda-driven or not, though I certainly do believe there are those who would like to manipulate efforts at disclosure in order to close off from exposure the more dangerous part of what might be revealed, or to push the narrative in a more aseptic and less politically volatile direction.

And I agree with what you say about how one acquires the mantle of authority in the world of "respectable" journalism (or academia, for that matter).

While I personally never believed in the horseshit about the vendetta and was very skeptical about the "I was JFK's lover" stories, I can appreciate how under media bombardment, well-educated and well-read people could.  (BTW, I trust you are familiar with Jim D's "Posthumous Assassination" essay; this was one of the first things of his I read, and it was like having my own thoughts and words over the 30+ years since the mid-70s, when this crap first started to emerge, read back to me.)

But to answer your question why "vulgar" succeeds: if I may be permitted another bout of cynicism, it succeeds precisely because it is vulgar (and I mean this both in the common and etymological senses of the word), indeed for the same reason that TV succeeds, or that advertising succeeds.  Moreover, as Madison Avenue knows, people don't need to truly believe that the message is authoritative, or even truthful, for them to become addicted to it.  It is enough that the repetition of the message numb them into a reflex response.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by dwdunn(akaDan) on Fri 13 Dec 2013, 4:10 am

Albert, I'm not angling on any kind of "litmus test" kind of thing, mostly just venting; so there's no need to apologize about anything. I don't know either, so I'm wanting to see what others think. When we had the earlier discussion in the "what we are witnessing" thread, I brought up the idea of a consensus of basic facts of evidence in the JFK case (which might be presented as "bullet points" and so on); to some extent I was angling in that, because I have serious doubts that there is any kind of consensus about "basic facts." To me, it's that lack of consensus that holds "us" back and helps in our marginalization.

I didn't want to pursue it further because I didn't want to be a buzz-kill. But my basic point would have been that there are competing organizations, competing conferences, competing forums, competing theories, competing interpretations of facts; and consequently there is no real consensus that could be presented. If you've followed the careers of Greg Parker and Lee Farley, you know that they've been somewhat disruptive in laying out evidence and arguments that go against some "received truths" and "sacred cows"; I believe that's because they're committed to honest investigation no matter where it leads. But when the digging gets deeper, it seems to inevitably lead to the larger questions of "why is there so much factionalism?" "why does it seem no consensus can be reached?" And if you then start addressing those issues by asking serious questions about David Lifton, Mark Lane, Mary Ferrell, etc, then get ready for a shitstorm.

I personally have no axe to grind regarding Jefferson Morley (but then maybe in writing I come off as too "intense"??). I supported (and support) his efforts to get the Joannides files released, but then I'm in favor of any and all efforts to get any and all files released. Without knowing anything more, I assumed he was an honest, sincere reporter who carried some "respectability" and so I was glad he was "on our side." Then I read his RFK article and while disagreeing with this or that sentence/idea, I was ready to accept that RFK could indeed have been the little assassination plotter CIA personnel have led us to believe he was. Then I read the memo itself, and it didn't add up to what Morley made it out to be. And then I read Greg's post about Morley accepting the Mimi Alford bullshit and I thought, WTF????

One thought that's occurring to me now, and is admittedly a bit of a stretch, is that maybe the whole Joannides files case winds up being a way to get Blakey off the hook, or at least to rehabilitate his image. That is, in the slow unraveling of the bullshit blanket, it comes out that poor Prof. Blakey was misled and by god things would've been different blah blah blah.... (I have a special hostility reserved for Blakey, since apart from his "work" on the JFK case, he also basically invited anyone who had anything at all on the Martin Luther King, Jr. case to dump them in the files to be sealed until 2029. What a patriot.) Too often it seems that we never get to the end of the story and find out Severus Snape was really a good guy after all; instead, we get to the end and find out Albus Dumbledore privately enjoyed squashing puppies under his boot.

I am indeed familiar with Jim DiEugenio's "Posthumous Assassination of JFK" essays. I noted and linked to it in the very first sentence of the first of the pieces I posted in Gary Loughran's "Blame It On The Bobby" thread at the Simkin Forum, as that was conceived as a corrollary to Jim's arguments. I found Jim's work to be a relief and inspiring, as someone was tackling head-on the whole issue of propaganda and perception about President Kennedy. And that's what this is all about at this point. If even well-read and well-educated people can be convinced to believe in horseshit, then it all comes back again to the sources of information and who's benefiting from all the lies. And if we can't find some way to break through the barriers, we might as well just call our country Corporate America, Inc., and learn to bow down and worship the m*********er as the Mammon idol that it's truly become.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Albert Rossi on Fri 13 Dec 2013, 4:58 am

While I have followed this case for a long time, and was previously aware of the divisions in the community, the last two years of my experience have been an eye opener.  It dismays me as well, but as with everything there is probably more than one reason for this.  Some of it is driven by agenda; some comes as a reaction to the marginalization of our discourse; and some is inevitably the effect of people investing their lives in a point of view (just as with any scholarly endeavor).  One would think that uncovering the truth would be paramount, but there are many obstacles to that, yea even from those professing scholarly objectivity.  Human limitations and human nature always intervene.  This is why it is important to maintain a civil and sane dialog, even if consensus may not be a reachable goal.

I also think that the factionalism indeed shows that this issue is essentially a political one, much to the contrary of what the pundits would wish one to believe (it's all neurosis and search for cognitive or emotional closure).  I am often tempted to say, "tell me your politics and I'll tell you what you probably think about the JFK assassination", but of course there are always exceptions to that. 

Your suspicions about saving Blakey's HSCA are not without foundation or merit.  The risk here is yet another limited hangout.  But, as you suggest, how can one argue against the release/declassification of files?  I too support those efforts.  We have to, if only for the sake of transparency, which is what democracy rests on.

As for Corporate America, Inc (with its double, Corporate Interests of America, or CIA):  my friends and in-laws in Italy tell me the Italians are now beginning to take to the streets.  We need more of that here -- much more.

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Stan Dane on Fri 13 Dec 2013, 7:07 am

dwdunn(akaDan) wrote:To me, it's that lack of consensus that holds "us" back and helps in our marginalization.
 
I didn't want to pursue it further because I didn't want to be a buzz-kill. But my basic point would have been that there are competing organizations, competing conferences, competing forums, competing theories, competing interpretations of facts; and consequently there is no real consensus that could be presented. If you've followed the careers of Greg Parker and Lee Farley, you know that they've been somewhat disruptive in laying out evidence and arguments that go against some "received truths" and "sacred cows"; I believe that's because they're committed to honest investigation no matter where it leads. But when the digging gets deeper, it seems to inevitably lead to the larger questions of "why is there so much factionalism?" "why does it seem no consensus can be reached?" And if you then start addressing those issues by asking serious questions about David Lifton, Mark Lane, Mary Ferrell, etc, then get ready for a shitstorm.
Thought provoking discussion, Dan and Albert.
 
To your point above, Dan, we surely do lack consensus. Could the reason for this be due, in part, to simple human nature?
 
For example, Christianity is a faith based upon one book, one set of "facts" it you will. Yet there are thousands of competing denominations, sects, cults, creeds, dogmas, doctrines, ideologies, etc. Why is this? I think if there are things that are subject to interpretation, there will be different interpretations. Different camps form around these interpretations and ultimately compete against one another.
 
Earlier this year, I read on Bill Kelly's blog how the second floor lunchroom incident actually exonerates Oswald. If the testimony of Marrion Baker was true, Bill said, then Oswald could not have just come down the stairs from the sixth floor. His logic sold me and I became a believer. Then, beginning in August, Sean Murphy in the Prayer Man thread over at the ED forum began to lay out a different twist: the second floor lunchroom incident never happened at all. As I followed this fascinating thread, I slowly came around to believe that Oswald was on the first floor/entryway when he encountered Baker. I then learned that Greg Parker was one the first to explore/articulate this scenario.
 
I think Bill Kelly is great, but if I had to place myself somewhere right now, it would be in the "church" of Parker, Murphy, and Farley. I agree with the general theories and ideas they've put forth. But Bill Kelly's "church" is a fine place too, and I can see many choosing to "attend" there. There are many other JFK assassination "churches" out there as well, many good, a great many not so good. If you follow me here.
 
One of the things I have been considering suggesting to Greg (when I'm not making pictures) was to establish some white papers on what the core group of researchers in this forum believe about the JFK assassination. A pithy "statement of beliefs" if you will. Everything in one sock. When new people come to visit, what is it about this place that distinguishes it from other websites? What is it that you would like people to know, without them having to browse thousands of pages of threads, etc.? Most people are not experts, so the positions formed here through much research must be distilled down into digestible forms so average people can understand. Most people today have short attention spans. To use the tree-falling-in-the-woods analogy, if great research is produced but nobody ever reads or understands it, is it really great research?   
 
Would this eliminate our marginalization? Probably not, but it could be a step in the right direction. Who knows?

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by greg parker on Fri 13 Dec 2013, 9:30 am

This is what comes to mind every time there is a discussion about factionalism.

 

I think it is human nature. But that human element is sometimes exploited to create more disarray than there would otherwise be. The FBI made an art form of it.

I think it's also true that those most often bemoaning lack of consensus - or calling for consensus are those on the extremes of the debate, or are otherwise professional fence-sitters masquerading as champions of consensus. Nelson Mandela clones they ain't, if you get my drift.

The thing is, I am not going to get behind the likes of Fetzer just for sake of having a united front.  Unless the State sanctions otherwise, there will always be many churches because there is zero chance of ever proving any one of them is the right one. Call me naive but I remain hopeful that our "many churches" will be made redundant by the same State sanctioning a revised history via an open, honest new inquiry. Whether we like it or not, we don't write the history books that are given to our kids. We have to get an official new verdict. Putting it in the "too hard" basket is not an option. Being a naysayer is not an option. Consensus for the sake of consensus is not an option - and never is in any situation. 

Sooner or later, things change. Sometimes even for the better. 

How do we eliminate marginalization? 

I think we need to refer to how that has historically been achieved by various individuals/groups.

Stan, I like your idea.

_________________
Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the Great Leap Forward

            Billy Bragg
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 Australians don't mind criminals: It's successful bullshit artists we despise. 
             Lachie Hulme            
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The Cold War ran on bullshit.
              Me

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

Post by Albert Rossi on Fri 13 Dec 2013, 11:25 am

Greg, while there is certainly truth to what you say about those bemoaning a lack of consensus being at the extremes, I do think there are many simply frustrated by the ineffectiveness dissension fosters.  The well-intentioned ones I do not think would equate consensus with compromise or with saying you must accept an argument you don't believe is valid, but would instead try to find the strands in common which unite everyone who disagrees with the official story and focus on using that as leverage against the prevailing myth.  If indeed that common ground exists.

But I am with you on not joining ranks with a clique simply in order to form a united front ... see my remarks above regarding discernment.  And your remarks about human nature I think it is clear from my previous post that I share.

The thing I find intriguing in all of this is the question of which discourse is to be adopted to characterize our efforts: that of hermeneutics, or that of empiricism.  Let me explain.

I am something of a Tiresias in that I have spent nearly equal portions of my life up until now on each of the two sides of the "two cultures" divide, to invoke the famous meme of C.P. Snow.  While I don't buy Snow's interpretation of this divide, I do think those two areas of human effort -- the human sciences on the one hand and the natural sciences on the other -- do exemplify orthogonal models of knowledge or "truth", which I have called for the sake of convenience the hermeneutic and the empirical.  Consensus, as a platform for dialogue, is useful in the realm of, say, scholarly interpretation, but therein does not carry with it any fundamental power of validation.  Consensus also has a place in the scientific disciplines, but is not of the same order, for it is there grounded in a shared method, whereas methods in the former are by nature plural.

What is interesting to me is how these imperatives get negotiated when it comes to the pursuit of historical understanding in general, and in particular, in the case of the JFK assassination. Stan's allegory is a telling one, for it models this enterprise in terms of religious faith (based on the interpretation of a text -- hermeneusis), not in terms of empirically verifiable knowledge.  But historiography actually lives on the margins of this basically humanistic model, for if it completely surrenders any pretense of empiricism, then it does end up being just a sophisticated form of myth making.  Those engaged in what I would call adversarial history (what we do as a whole in attempting to combat official propaganda) feel the tug of the empirical proof even more strongly. On the other hand, the gap between fact and significance generally tends to be wider in this domain than in experimental science.  And of course, all of this get further complicated by the nature of the evidence.  Einstein wrote that "God is subtle but not malicious" as characterizing the outlook a scientist must adopt with regard to the natural world in order to make any headway.  But few would be as trusting of the evidence in this case.

Aside from the purely "political" aspect of consensus (there is strength in numbers), I thus believe that the lack of and/or perceived need for agreement is worth meditating on seriously, for while consensus may not be necessary when discussing Shakespeare or Freud or Nietzsche or Beethoven or Proust or Picasso, its absence can appear to signify a more fundamental lack (and certainly that's what many wish it to signify) when the search for "historical truth" is at stake.

The problem all of this points up is that we -- as with all historians worth their salt -- are engaged simultaneously in an empirical and hermeneutic quest, and are delicately suspended between those forms of understanding.  Which one deserves to gain more emphasis depends, I would say, on one's purpose.  Something analogous might be said to hold for how much emphasis one gives to consensus, and in what contexts it may or may not be necessary.


P.S.  Sorry to have deadened that hilarious Monty Python bit with philosophizing ...  (By the way, I'm a member of the Association for Empirical Hermeneutics, NOT the Empirical Hermeneutics Association, and certainly not the Society for Hermeneutic Empiricism).

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Re: 26 boxes of secret files released!!!!

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