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Books / April 11, 2010

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On February 17, 1967, the newspapers ran stories about a sensational new investigation into JFK’s assassination, headed by a New Orleans DA named Jim Garrison, who called into question the “lone gunman” theory laying all the blame on Lee Harvey Oswald. Five days after the news story broke, the prime target of Garrison’s investigation, David Ferrie, a right-wing pilot linked to the CIA, was found dead of a “cerebral hemorrhage.”

Public opinion was polarized over JFK’s assassination. Forty-six percent of Americans doubted the Warren Commission’s finding that Oswald “acted alone;” Garrison was becoming more vocal about Oswald’s alleged CIA connection; and independent journalists were asking potentially embarrassing questions. Nerves in Washington were frayed.

Then on April 1, the CIA circulated an extraordinary memo instructing agents how they could play the mainstream media in order to discredit all the speculation of CIA involvement. The top-secret memo—marked PSYCH for psychological warfare—read in part: “Employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose.”

So the CIA instructed its media assets to plant book reviews designed to debunk conspiracy theorists. And lo and behold, almost five decades after the assassination, mainstream media reviewers in the daily and weekly press are still carrying out the CIA’s orders, willingly or unwillingly. The New York Times has been especially zealous in this respect. The Village Voice ran a detailed report in 1992 on how the Times has managed the JFK assassination story; what they found is that over the years, in the rare instance of a reporter trying to file a dissenting opinion on the JFK assassination, the piece was either killed, or drastically altered. (A meticulously researched 14,000 word piece published in 1972 by Reason Magazine, “How All the News About Political Assassinations in the United States Has Not Been Fit to Print in The New York Times,” documented the august daily’s unwillingness, all the way back to the day of the assassination, to brook any alternative to Oswald’s sole guilt.)

Now, in response to a flurry of new books dealing with issues related to JFK’s November 22, 1963, assassination, the mainstream media have gone back to defending the “coincidence theory” consensus, but oddly enough they’re even more aggressive now than before —going so far as to question the sanity of people who doubt that Oswald “acted alone.”

The Times is again at the fore, using reviews of fiction, obituaries and even television coverage to smack down “lone gunman” doubters.  On February 17, hipster-in- residence, Dave Itzkoff, sneered at Oliver Stone’s “opinionated — some would say imaginative — takes on notable American events and figures.” The December 7 obituary of Malcolm Perry, the surgeon who performed a tracheotomy on the dying president —a procedure that made it much more difficult to forensically identify the wound—speculated as to why Dr. Perry refused to speak to the press: “[P]erhaps because he regretted contributing, however inadvertently, to the various conspiracy theories that have sprung up despite the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald acted alone,” the Times man mused. But through it all, as urged in the CIA memo, book reviews have stuck to the coincidence-theorist program.

The NY Times doesn’t only carry the CIA’s water in covering the JFK assassination aftermath. Frances Stonor Saunders’ highly respected history of the CIA’s influence on American arts and letters during the 1950s and 60s, The Cultural Cold War, singles out the Times‘ book review page being specifically prone to Agency influence. “Sometimes reviewers of books in the New York Times or other respected broadsheets were penned by CIA writers under contract,” she writes.

Those who try to question the assassination “lone-nut” consensus could find out about the Times’ unwritten editorial policy the hard way. The paper’s first edition, on December 1st 1970, carried a provocative, mostly positive, review of Jim Garrison’s book Heritage of Stone—by then newly minted critic, John Leonard. Citing a string of hard-hitting forensic questions about the assassination raised by Garrison, Leonard strongly implied that the DA might have been on the right track. He wrote: “Something stinks about the whole affair.” But immediately after it ran, the newspaper pulled it, scrubbed it, and ran an altered version of review in subsequent editions, which was much more keeping in the spirit of the consensus. Leonard was promoted to editor of the Sunday Book Review, but the incident left a sour taste in his mouth. From then on, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, a thoughtful purveyor of the Warren findings, who had panned Mark Lane’s Rush to Judgment, handled assassination books.

“The only reason I continued to review assassination books was because they fascinated me,” Lehmann-Haupt wrote me. “It did not reflect any policy of the paper whatsoever.” But he admits Times editors made their opinions known about a range of subjects in more indirect ways, which still affected coverage. In 1977, a still rebellious John Leonard filed a piece on the book My Story,by Kennedy mistress and Mafia moll Judith Exner. (She made waves in 1975 when the Church Committee investigating CIA crimes subpoenaed her.) Managing editor Abe Rosenthal–a notorious Agency suck-up– killed it.

Kennedy assassination references materialized in Lehmann-Haupt’s fiction reviews as well. The protagonist of The Magician, by Sol Stein, was portrayed as, “one of those `types,’ like Lee Harvey Oswald and James Earl Ray, who are born to lead, but lacking the equipment to do so, must assassinate the true leaders.” Coincidentally, Stein, an intellectual Cold Warrior, had served as Executive Director of the American Committee for Cultural Freedom, an Agency-backed operation, in the 1950s.

In 1993, Lehmann-Haupt championed serial-plagiarist Gerald Posner’s Case Closed–still considered the definitive defense of the Warren Commission’s version of events. Described—in one of the Times’ more tepid critiques of his work— as, having “built his literary career in no small part on debunking popular conspiracy theories,” Posner has never wanted for space in the Times. One of his pro-Establishment Op-ed page contributions was “Single Bullet, Single Gunman,” published February 2007. And it’s continued until recently: In December 2009, Bryan Burrough, writing in the Book Review, praised Posner’s latest piece of non-fiction Miami Babylon. But last month, Posner’s luck ran out. After being caught plagiarizing pieces he filed for the Daily Beast, it was quickly discovered that long passages of Miami Babylon were lifted from another Miami history, Frank Owen’s Clubland. So now it turns out that the chief propagandist promoting the Warren Commission’s theory has been outed as a liar and a fraud—or in Posner’s own words, “Yeah, I’m a thieving cocksucker.”

Burrough is positioning himself as the Times‘ next-generation debunker-cop: In 2007, he handled the review of Vincent Bugliosi’s 1,612-page Reclaiming History, a much denser and more rigorous defense of the Warren Commission than Gerald The Thieving Cocksucker could manage. But once again, Burrough’s review was so full of over-the-top praise that it verged on bad parody. Lauding the doorstop as a “public service,” Burrough stood up and saluted it: “It’s time we marginalized Kennedy conspiracy theorists the way we’ve marginalized smokers.” And then there’s the Times‘ chief critic, Michiko Kakutani, who wields considerable might in the publishing world: she too has been equally enthusiastic in hurling brickbats at lone gunman skeptics. In a February 15 review of Voodoo Histories, an epic put-down of a wide range of conspiracy theories by British neocon columnist, David Aaronivitch, Kakutani lays it all on the table. Repeating Aaronivitch’s reference to a poll that found 40% of Americans believe in “a Kennedy conspiracy,” she cracks: “It’s enough to make the characters from X-Files… Proud.”

In fact, it’s even worse than Kakutani lets on. An ABC poll taken in 2003 found that “7 in 10 Americans think the assassination of John F. Kennedy was the result of a plot.” Not to mention the 1979 the House Select Committee on Assassinations which found that there was a “probable conspiracy” to kill Kennedy; or the real-life CIA conspiracies documented in the 1975 hearings of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence–including a scheme to supply anti-Castro Cuban dissidents with a rifle equipped with a telescope and silencer. Perhaps Kakutani avoids referring to these facts because they run counter to Aaronovitch’s overarching thesis that modern conspiracies are fantasies cooked up by civilization’s discontents.

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Into this vortex of institutional skepticism and editorial consensus steps Russ Baker, an investigative journalist who has been published in just about every heavyweight publication, including the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times. His contribution to the JFK controversy is a 500-page, a massively footnoted history of the rise of the Bush family, titled Family of Secrets. Not only does Baker challenge the conventional wisdom that Oswald “acted alone,” he argues forcefully that the JFK assassination was a successful coup pulled off by a “globally reaching, fundamentally amoral, financial-intelligence-resource apparatus.” At the center of this anti-democratic clique, which operated feverishly in Dallas around the assassination, was a 39-year-old deep-cover CIA operative named George “Poppy” Bush. Since then, with the help of its planted assets in the media, the power of the financial-military-intelligence elite has only grown. And with it, the power of the Bushes, who, like some tribe of malign Zeligs, were present at virtually every pressure point in our recent history, including Watergate.

The country’s collective image of “Poppy” Bush has been shaped by a few broad biographical strokes: genial patrician who, after flying a fighter in the Pacific and a political career of ups and downs, finally lucked his way into the presidency in 1988. (His brief stint as the CIA’s “first civilian director,” in 1977, when the agency was under fire from Congressional investigators—the Church Commission in the Senate, and the Pike Commission in the House– might be referenced in passing.) An unwitting illustration of just how pervasive is Bush’s benign if bumbling public persona came from stand-up comic– and fierce Warren Report critic– Mort Sahl in 2004. Deadpanning that Bush had once asked him who he would get to run the CIA, Sahl quipped: “Why don’t you get the guy who ran it when you were ‘running’ it?”

Yet the public record has long held clues that hint at a darker reality. Baker cites an FBI memo from November 29, 1963, in which FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover reports having briefed “Mr. George Bush of the [CIA]” after the JFK assassination. While the memo proved a mild Beltway curiosity in 1988, when the Nation first broke it, Bush was able to duck the issue by denying he was that George Bush. A different “George Bush” was identified who had worked as a clerk in the CIA—but it was found to be implausible that Hoover would have contact with someone as low-ranking as the other George Bush, and the mystery remained.

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The FBI memo recording George Bush’s “I was in Tyler” alibi

One of Family of Secrets’ most tantalizing threads centers on Bush’s long-time relationship to George de Mohrenschildt, a mysterious right-wing White Russian who was Lee Harvey Oswald’s “mentor.” Bush has long stated that he does “not recall” where he was on the day that Kennedy was killed, making him one of the only Americans who was an adult at the time not to remember that day—but his lapse of memory becomes even more strange when one considers Bush’s similar evasions on Iran-Contra.

Baker cuts through the multiple layers of noise (he would say disinformation) to establish once and for all Bush’s whereabouts on that fateful day.

The timeline of Bush’s movements are almost impossible to read without raising suspicions:

1. George Bush Sr. spent the night of November 21—and early the next day morning—in Dallas at the Sheraton Hotel. The next day, November 22, Bush flew out of Dallas on a friend’s private plane to nearby Tyler, Texas, around 12:30 PM, the time of the shooting.

2. Surfacing in Tyler around 1 PM, he begins a scheduled talk to a local Kiwanis club. After being interrupted with the tragic news, he stoically halts the speech.  At 1:45 he calls the FBI in Houston to claim that a local [Dallas] GOP employee, James Parrott, was acting suspiciously and might be JFK’s shooter. Parrott turns out to be harmless and childlike.

3. Later that same day he flies back to Dallas again, but leaves immediately—on a civilian flight—to return to Houston, where he lives.

Unsurprisingly, Bush “does not recall” making the FBI call from Tyler, which Baker sees as a transparent ploy to establish an alibi. Barbara Bush has added another layer of doubt by admitting, in her vaguely sketched memoir, “Barbara Bush: A Memoir,” to spending the 22nd with the wife of Al Ulmer, a CIA “coup expert.” While Baker may be too quick to interpret these facts in the most damning possible light—that Bush was directly involved in the assassination—Bush’s actions certainly cast doubt on his claim to “not recall” where he was on that momentous day.  Which raises the truly serious question of what he is trying to hide.

Baker reveals that in addition to Bush, a dazzling line-up of powerful players, who each harbored hatred of Kennedy—including Richard Nixon, who gave a speech to a beverage convention—were in Dallas on or around November 22. Allen Dulles, who had been purged by Kennedy from his CIA directorship in 1961 after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, spent time in Dallas in late October, ostensibly on a book tour promoting his tell-nothing memoir, “The Craft of Intelligence.” (Baker does not mention the fact that Dallas’s mayor, Earl Cabell, was the brother of Air Force General C.P. Cabell—the CIA’s Deputy Director under Dulles.)

While Baker admits that all of these facts could amount to nothing more than an incredible series of coincidences, at the very least his portrayal of the elite’s powerful and coordinated behind-the-scenes machinations to consolidate power – which reached critical mass at the time of Kennedy’s assassination, and culminated in George W. Bush’s stolen election in 2000 – reminded me of the Roman Republic’s transition to empire as described in Edward Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Indeed, Baker’s W. seems eerily reminiscent of Gibbon’s Augustus, who “at the age of nineteen [assumed] the mask of hypocrisy, which he never afterwards laid aside.”  Augustus, Gibbon adds, “was sensible that mankind…would submit to slavery, provided they were assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedoms.”

**

In the fall of 2008, as the publication date for “Family of Secrets” approached, establishment reviewers signaled growing interest. Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times asked for a reviewer’s copy. Professing enthusiasm about the book to its publisher, Bloomsbury, Time magazine’s Lev Grossman floated the possibility that Baker could make his case to Time’s readers in an online op-ed. Understandably, Baker began to feel his book might become an “an instant blockbuster.”

The first review of “Family of Secrets” appeared in Time’s December 17, 2008, issue, the same one that named Barack Obama “Man of the Year.” But the review was only 164 words long–leaving Grossman with just enough space to blurb Baker’s two most shocking assertions: “The prodigiously industrious investigative journalist Russ Baker has drawn [dozens of connections] between President No. 41 and the assassination of President No. 35,” he writes. “He also connects the dots between the Bushes and Watergate.” So there you have it: Credibly sourced claims that “Poppy” Bush was involved in two acts of high treason – charges laid down by a seasoned mainstream reporter and duly noted in the leading journal of the midcult establishment. Major media names like Bill Moyers, Dan Rather and Gore Vidal lent their praise to Baker’s book. Surely, Meet the Press and Hardball would come knocking on Baker’s door next—and the Bush family would be rocked back on its heels. Says Baker sadly, “That’s how it would have played out if the system worked,” he told me in an interview.

Baker—a Columbia j-school grad who trained Serbian journalists for the State Department in the 90s—found out very quickly that the system did not work. After it became clear that his book was being ignored by the majority of the mainstream media, Baker fell back on Plan B. By late January 2009, he had embarked on a low-rent talk-show circuit, comprised of public access TV shows and Internet radio programs. (When New World Order-obsessed phony-preacher Alex Jones asked Baker if he was afraid of being murdered, Baker replied dryly: “No, my health is just fine.”) In blurbing the book, Bill Moyers had commented: “A lot of us look to Russ to tell us what we don’t know.” Yet this magnum opus of one of America’s brightest and hardest working reporters had been pushed to the fringes of American consciousness by the collective spokes-apparatus of the Establishment.  I wanted to know why.

After several attempts to penetrate the sheer volume of its reporting, “Family of Secrets” hooked me in. Baker pulls no punches in exploding the myth that the CIA performs covert operations only on foreign soil. In chapter after chapter he offers a glimpse of how power is really exercised in this country—and has been since the 1950s, when the seeds of a covert-police state were laid. While I’m not willing to swallow every connection Baker makes, there are hundreds and hundreds of well-documented and carefully footnoted facts that deserve a fair hearing. So far, they have received nothing of the sort.

In hindsight, Time’s review—printed in a comically slim sidebar found to the far right of a full-page pictorial, “History of the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball”—was rife with clues as to what the establishment had in store for “Family of Secrets.” No one, least of all Baker, should have been surprised that Time’s editorial brass made it a point to literally marginalize—and scoff at—Baker’s work. Prescott Bush’s “close friend and fellow Bonesman,” Henry Luce, Time’s founder, makes numerous appearances in the book using the Time-Life empire to provide cover for the CIA. He put up capital for “Poppy” Bush’s first spy-fronting business, a murky off-shore oil company named Zapata; he threatened John F. Kennedy with Time’s wrath; he purchased Abraham Zapruder’s famous color film of the assassination and kept it hidden from public view for over a decade, until it was pried out and finally released, shocking the country with visual evidence strongly suggesting that one shot hit Kennedy’s head from the front. Grossman didn’t respond to my attempts to get him to explain just how his piece wound up edited down to such a tiny blurb. Time has a long-standing caste system, favoring unseen rewrite men at the top. Conspiracy-minded readers might be forgiven for wondering if Grossman, known as something of a stylist, would voluntarily mar his prose with a made-up adjective, “farfetchedly,” especially when it seems to undercut his thesis.

But the sleaziest attempts to undercut Baker’s book came from the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post—the papers notorious for their campaign to discredit and destroy Pulitzer Prize journalist Gary Webb–the heroic San Jose Mercury reporter who exposed the CIA’s connection to the ghetto crack epidemic in 1996. Their campaign worked—Webb was eventually demoted and finally committed suicide. With Baker’s book, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post went back to work discrediting their colleagues who dare to get out of line. Tim Rutten, a bearded LA Times metro-desk tool, filed his handiwork on January 7, 2009.  After framing his attack by quoting long passages of Richard Hofstadter’s 1964 book The Paranoid Style in American Politics, Rutten goes after Baker with bizarre language that reads like some fanatical Bolshevik. He decries the very existence of Family of Secrets as a “reprehensible calumny” and denounces Baker’s reliance on “mind-numbing accretion of names, dates and places”– in other words, too many facts. That any American would even question the findings of the Warren Commission makes Rutten sputter with rage: “I regard the belief that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone as an important indicium of mental health,” he writes. Two months earlier, Rutten had been the proud recipient of the Anti-Defamation League’s Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize.  The last time I looked, the First Amendment was about encouraging freedom of speech, not vilifying the bearer of unpopular opinions

“Rutten actually did me a favor.” Baker says, a rare smile passing over his face. “It was so over the top that people in LA started to pay attention.”

Writing in the January 11 issue of the Washington Post, former Spy-editor Jamie Malanowski refused to even consider the possibility that the elder Bush would lie to protect his cover; that is, to deny he was a part of the CIA until 1977, when he became the agency’s first “civilian” director. Citing a 1988 denial by “a spokesman for the then-vice president,” Malanowski dismisses the memo from J. Edgar Hoover linking “Mr. George Bush [CIA]” to a November 29, 1963, briefing on the assassination. (Oddly, the Post’s hawk-eyed proofreaders nodded when Malanowski referred to Baker as “Smith.” Former Slate media-critic Russ Smith is a nearly universally despised figure in journalism.)

It’s hardly surprising that the Post review fails to disclose Baker’s damaging exposes on the Washington Post’s well-documented links to intelligence and domestic propaganda. “Family of Secrets” offers a trove of evidence that calls into question Bob Woodward’s—and by extension his editor Ben Bradlee’s and the Post’s—trustworthiness. The Watergate myth (enshrined by Hollywood in the movie “All the President’s Men”) tells the underdog story about how a plucky pair named Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein cracked Nixon’s complicity in the break-in, and how the two reporters managed to do it all with only shoe-leather and a conveniently voluble insider-informant (or in fiction terms, a “cheap literary device”) known as “Deep Throat.” But Baker raises evidence that Woodward, who served five years in Naval Intelligence in the 1960s, as a long-time deep-cover intelligence operative advancing his handlers’ hidden agendas. Of course, the Post will argue that any reporter who says that Naval Intelligence counted Ben Bradlee in its ranks during WWII, and that Paul Ignatius, the Post’s president until 1971, was secretary of the Navy under Lyndon Johnson, suggests an addiction to “mind-numbing” facts that raises questions about the author’s mental health. Better to de-numb the mind with fewer facts.

Demonstrating just how convoluted the real-world machinations of the intelligence community can be, Baker has dug up an undated memo from Charles Colson, then Nixon’s Special Counsel, that reads, in part: “The CIA has been unable to determine whether Bob Woodward was employed by the CIA.” This extraordinary document goes on to say that the CIA director had gotten the message to Woodward—who was reportedly “incensed” that his murky connections were being looked into.

No one today doubts that George W. Bush transformed the country for the worse, in ways that won’t be fully understood for decades.  By the time W. and his cabinet hunkered down in the White House for their final days, however, elements of his legacy had emerged: a politicized Supreme Court ever willing to curtail civil liberties and protect corporate interests; a never-ending war at home and abroad against a sketchily defined, shape-shifting supranational enemy; a highly concentrated and virtually unregulated banking elite, which in the process of amassing unheard-of fortunes left a great recession in its wake. (Even Bob Woodward, who earlier in W.’s first term penned an admiring volume about Bush 43’s administration, had become highly critical by the end of his second term.) The disaster we’re now in deserves more investigations with more open minds—the very opposite of what the establishment will allow. Back in December 2008 the besieged mainstream media—busied with breathless blanket coverage of Barack Obama—was in no position to even raise the key question, namely: How did this dyslexic princeling, son of a one-term president, steal an election, start two endless wars, wreck the financial system—and get away with it?

Seemingly alone among American journalists, Baker had the guts – and smarts – to at least try to answer this question without falling into the mainstream trap of self-censorship. Explaining to me how he wound up getting pushed out into mainstream Siberia, he says: “You can’t even ask if the conventional surface explanation is adequate, let alone totally wrong.”

I’m sitting with Baker in an upscale East Village café, listening to him argue his case. Middle-aged, with preternaturally youthful features, hooded eyes, and short graying hair, he wears the uniform of a typical middle-aged professional: glasses, white designer tee shirt and leather jacket. His voice barely rising above a whisper, he says: “I’m as shocked at the stuff in my book as my readers.”

“Poppy” Bush has long been on his radar.

On September 21, 1991, Baker published a scathing feature in the Village Voice, entitled “CIA: Out of Control.” Baker’s article argued that the Agency was scrambling to find new “bogeymen to vanquish” after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, and amid this scramble for a new enemy, Baker wrote, “Bush has worked unceasingly to weaken the checks and balances that were instituted following a string of White House-connected scandals in the 1970s.”

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Even Reagan’s would-be assassin John Hinckley was tied to the Bush family. Above: Hinckley poses for future newspaper reports. Below: Houston Chronicle report on Scott Hinckley’s assassination-day dinner date with Neil Bush.

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Baker himself is a man without definable qualities, except for hints of an East Coast formality inconsistent with the vibe of the town where he grew up: Venice Beach, California. You can easily come away from a long conversation with him wondering who he really is. He even refuses to give his age. Adding to his sense of mystery, when pressed, he sketches out a hazy background, which includes: time spent working in a “family importing business;” “a father who was an officer in the Air Force and worked in the aerospace industry, simultaneously;” “a mother originally from Europe.” Whatever the genesis of Baker’s disgust with the Bushes, few would deny that in the years following his Voice article, the trend towards weakening checks and balances—and towards manufacturing new bogeymen—went haywire.

“You can be a reasonably good political reporter without ever coming across this stuff about Bush,” he says, charitably. But despite his dry demeanor, it is clear that his treatment at the hands of the mainstream media, especially the Times, stings him deeply, and his mood begins to visibly sink when the subject of his freeze-out is raised.

Asked why the Times gives so much space to conspiracy de-bunkers like Posner while ignoring Family of Secrets, Baker says: “It’s a mind set.”

He attributes the inability of his nominally liberal peers to even consider his findings to “cognitive dissonance.” In other words, it’s just too jarring for the average Manhattan liberal, who Baker says is primarily interested in “yoga, food and feng shui.” Journalists especially are almost by nature part of and ingratiating themselves into the Establishment, he explains. “When you’re in the status quo, you’re invited to a lot of dinner parties. Even if you watch Jon Stewart, you can still think things are OK,” he says. “If you have to stop and say ‘Oh my God, something scary,’ you can’t function”

“Journalism is not a moral business,” he says finally.

But it is supposed to take its role as one of the checks and balances seriously, if this country is going to function properly.

On December 22, 1963, a month after JFK’s assassination, the Washington Post published a confounding editorial by ex-President Harry Truman in which he attacked the power of the CIA. Truman was a beloved figure across the country—and yet even he couldn’t defeat the Washington Post’s censors. Incredibly, former President Truman’s piece was quickly yanked from subsequent editions of the Washington Post, as if it hadn’t ever been published. But the record of it remains, and it is worth re-reading Truman’s ominous final sentence, published one month after JFK’s murder, which reads: “There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.”

According to Baker, that need has only grown more pressing.

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49 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Evan Harper  |  April 11th, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Right, well, feel free to deceptively edit this comment the same way you did with my last one, but — what possible reason would the CIA have to kill Kennedy?

    Kennedy ran to the right of Nixon on foreign policy. He exploited a non-existent “missile gap” to justify an arms buildup.

    He vastly expanded America’s special forces and “counter-terror” units. He very nearly started World War III in Cuba. The speech he was scheduled to deliver in Dallas on 11/22/63 was largely about promoting his arms buildup, including strategic & tactical nuclear arms, conventional forces, propaganda broadcasts, and increased military aid to friendly dictatorships.

    Kennedy’s economic policy consisted of cutting the top marginal tax rate and the capital gains tax, ie, tax cuts for the rich.

    Kennedy probably stole the 1960 election with the help of Daly’s Chicago machine.

    Kennedy was quite tepid on civil rights; LBJ did far more, which raises the question of why anybody would bump off Kennedy to defend Jim Crow.

    Was Kennedy going to get out of Vietnam? Doubtful. His plan for Vietnam consisted of getting out — after winning the war. Many years later, after the war had been discredited, a few of his advisers started to claim that he and they had secretly planned all along to withdraw. It was a blatantly self-serving claim without supporting evidence.

    This is the single biggest flaw in the left’s JFK assassination conspiracy theories; they are based on a completely ahistorical vision of Saint Kennedy, a Barack Obama wish-fulfillment fantasy. He wasn’t a goddamn leftist.

  • 2. Peter L. Winkler  |  April 11th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Putting the words cerebral hemorrhage in quotation marks doesn’t prove anything. But it’s typical of Baker and other conspiracy mongers’ style. David Ferrie died of an aneurysm. There is no contrary evidence.

    George H.W. Bush, Nixon and other prominent people were in Dallas on Nov. 22. In of itself, this proves nothing. So were tens of thousands of others. So was Lee Harvey Oswald.

    There’s a suggestion that Dr. Perry performed a tracheotomy to deform Kennedy’s throat wound. Ridiculous innuendo. Perry did talk to various researchers over the years.

  • 3. Chelsea  |  April 11th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    The media has also done an excellent job convincing the populace that anyone daring to question their conventional narrative (like the lone gunman theory) is a comparable nut. This piece is a good step in the other direction.

  • 4. Karl  |  April 11th, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    This has been on my ‘to buy list’ for ages now. Ever since Lew Rockwell interviewed Baker here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/lewrockwell-show/2009/02/17/101-russ-baker-the-looting-bush-family/

  • 5. Karl  |  April 11th, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    BTW, another one on my list is ‘JFK and the Unspeakable’.

  • 6. Madman  |  April 11th, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    There comes a point when not even the absolute truth can redeem the lies. For the US that point has come and gone.

    What remains now are half-assed attempts at constructing a narrative around the failure. The basic assumption being; If we only had appointed VIP A instead of VIP B we would not be in this mess.

    In the spirit of the above paragraph let me attempt to advance a narrative of my own.

    A1. You cannot have an empire without an strong military.
    A2. A strong military needs a strong lie and sufficiently ruthless bureaucracy to maintain it.
    T0. This bureaucracy is corrupt by design and will reward the corrupted.
    T1. A forced feedback loop is created that rewards the lies and the criminals. They are the only ones capable of winning at this game.
    T3. Logic and rational thinking is abandoned. What is needed is bold and decisive action by the right leader.
    T4. Collapse.

    My tip to any participants in this production would be. Get to know your local militia. Make sure they understand that you are one of the good guys. It might one day save your life, hell, it might even even prove to be lucrative endeavor.

  • 7. internal exile  |  April 11th, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Two seconds of googling found me this at:

    http://www.rutherford.org/oldspeak/Articles/Interviews/JFK.html

    JW: As you note in your book, the CIA hated Kennedy most for his attempts to circumscribe their activities. In fact, Kennedy was quoted as saying that he was threatening to “splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the wind.” Is that why the CIA thought he was going to do away with the agency? Is it why the decision was made to do away with President Kennedy?

    JM: There are two motives for the CIA. One is this larger motive of the CIA opposing President Kennedy’s policies. And the other deals with the CIA representing what President Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex. The complex wanted war for monetary profit. We have to remember that the people who profited from the Vietnam War were Halliburton—Brown and Root became part of Halliburton in 1962, and Brown and Root profited from the Vietnam War, just as they would as Halliburton in Iraq. President Kennedy did not want a ground war in Vietnam. But Kennedy was not the Prince of Peace. Kennedy is the one who sent the Green Beret and Special Forces into Vietnam. Many thousands of people died as a result of that. But President Kennedy was not going to commit American troops and American boys to dying in the mud in Vietnam. He had issued the National Security Memorandum and was starting to bring the troops home. But as soon as President Kennedy is out of the way, a new policy develops. The CIA then helps the Halliburtons, Brown and Root, the Pentagon, the armament makers, the war machine and all those to profit enormously from the Vietnam War. This was the first motive.

    But motive number two was the warfare that President Kennedy personally was involved in against the CIA. This is reflected in Kennedy’s quoted statement in the New York Times to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter them to the wind.” Kennedy had already begun to reduce CIA power. He wanted to take away the flights over Cuba and put them under other auspices. He was cutting the CIA budget. He was cutting the powers of the Director of Central Intelligence. Kennedy was, as Gerald Patrick Hemming, a CIA operative, said in one of his interviews with me, “the last president to believe he could take power.” So we see a vicious battle here.

    JW: Since then, no president has really challenged the CIA.

    JM: That’s right, and I think Hemming was correct. Kennedy was a very shrewd, intelligent man. He was the last president who thought he could take power. Recently, when Bush gave his State of the Union Address, he looked up at Cheney, who was standing behind him, for his approval. Cheney gave him the thumbs up. This President is not in control. He is not in power. I believe Hemming was right. President Nixon was terrified. President Johnson immediately sent troops to Vietnam. I don’t think Johnson particularly relished the idea of all those boys dying in Vietnam at all.

  • 8. DocAmazing  |  April 11th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    The CIA might want to bump off Kennedy because he was a threat to them–he was famously pissed at them following the Bay of Pigs invasion (hatched under Nixon’s watch as VP, sprung on Kennedy as a fait accompli) and reportedly threatened to break them up. Additionally, Kennedy (and his later-to-be-bumped-off brother Robert) were making life uncomfortable for various Mafia figures, with whom the CIA like to work. As far as Kennedy’s cutting the marginal tax rate, that is true; however, he also threatened the oil depreciation allowance, which earned him the enmity of the petroleum industry.

    The myth of St. Kennedy has its counterpart in the myth of Jack-the-Identical-To-Nixon, which has been promulgated by lone gunman theorists like Posner. Kennedy was definitely no saint, but he did enough to make a whole bunch of enemies.

  • 9. goat_farmers_of_the_CIA  |  April 11th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Where´s the WikiScanner when one needs it? I would love to have these two´s IP numbers… Their names sound like the kind I get by the hundreds in my junk mail folder, advertising penis enlargement and canadian meds, S&H free.

  • 10. fischbyne  |  April 11th, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    I’m glad Ames is farming out the spurious correlations beat to other writers like Harvey. Ames has more important work to do.

  • 11. lars  |  April 11th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Well, it’s easy to see the CIA is still hiring ghosts to write reviews that defend the Warren Commission’s Whitewash Coverup Report by attempting to undermine any critics of said same.

    “what possible reason would the CIA have to kill Kennedy?”

    Let me count the reasons.

    1. How about he was going to cut off their black ops funding sources ? Which CIA did an end run around and went into the international drug running business for an off the Congressional Record funding source for the operations they didn’t want to report to Congress about where the money went.

    2. Stop the Vietnam War by reducing troop levels.

    3. Start dismantling the Military-Industrial Complex as Ike had warned us about.

    4. Reintroduce silver to back Federal Reserve notes, specifically in the $2 Bill Greenback currency note. And start to restrict the power of The Fed.

    5. That he, by the terms of the agreement with Kruschev and the Soviets, was to dismantle the CIA’s secret training camps for the anti-Castro Cubans who were going to assassinate Castro, or try to.
    He had J. Edgar Hoover involved in using Lee Harvey Oswald as an undercover agent of the FBI to locate the CIA training camps, and Oswald found the Lake Ponchatraine camp and days after he was there it was busted by the FBI and shut down amid a large weapons seizure and multiple arrests.

    Do you think the CIA doesn’t forget or not carry a grudge ?

  • 12. jack kane  |  April 11th, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    The presence of all the bigshots in Dallas on November 22 in itself proves nothing, but after the amount of coincidences reaches a certain number, one begins to wonder.

    David Ferrie was only one of the many people connected with the murder case to die in strange circumstances. More coincidences.

    Lee Harvey Oswald getting killed a day after his arrest, his claims of being a patsy, his connections to the CIA, etc, etc, how many coincidences can one accept?

    Then there are the countless details about the murder itself, the Zapruder film, and so on.

    The evidence strongly points towards a conspiracy.

    As for the motives for the assassination – what about sheer spite and hunger for power? Nixon detested JFK for defeating him at the 1960 elections. LBJ reviled JFK for winning the nomination. The CIA hated JFK for his firing of Dulles. J.E.Hoover disliked MLK and was especially worried about the “I have a dream speech,” which JFK allowed (as a way to pacify the black movement). The Texan oilmen were angry at JFK’s tolerance for the civil rights movement, and at his plans for taxing oil money. Hunt in particular seems to have held a grudge against JFK.

    There were enough people with enough influence and enough hatred for JFK to carry out and cover up the murder on Nov 22nd 1963.

  • 13. tim  |  April 12th, 2010 at 12:50 am

    In order to be a serious JFK conspiracy theorist, you must either be a serious investigative journalist ready to spend years investigating a 46-year old murder case, or you have to have a lot of free time on your hands, and an open and/or paranoid mind. Without the time, you aren’t going to make it through all those doorstoppers.
    And what kind of person who has lots of free time at his disposal serially reads fact-(or non-fact)- dense doorstoppers, all dedicated to the same topic?
    It’s logical: the people writing the books are sane, the people reading them are not. It’s mostly the unbalanced, and not the concerned, who build their homes on the grounds for paranoia.

  • 14. Allen  |  April 12th, 2010 at 1:08 am

    I’m no Kennedy conspiracy buff; but, searching my memory, I seem to recall that “the CIA killed Kennedy” theory hinges on the fact that Kennedy — whatever his true policy orientation — was bumped off for a cardinal sin: lack of sufficient “commitment” to the emerging security state typified by the CIA.

    He had removed several high ranking CIA agents over the Bay of Pigs and may have (if memory serves) been planning to drastically reorganize the agency or else fold and condense it entirely into something else.

    One of the people Kennedy fired, Charles Cabell, was just under Dulles himself (also removed by Kennedy); his brother Earle Cabell was mayor of Dallas and changed Kennedy’s Limousine route — essentially enabling Oswald all the opportunity he needed.

    Coupled with the usual speculation that Oswald may have been a U.S. intelligence asset, for reasons that I won’t go into but which can be looked up, this is provocative to say the least.

    There does not even really need to have been a second gunman, though one might have come in handy.

    I’m not saying I believe it, but I’m not going to call someone crazy for thinking it. There should have been a serious investigation into the possibility that it was a coup. It’s not like such things don’t happen.

  • 15. Brewer  |  April 12th, 2010 at 1:39 am

    “but oddly enough they’re even more aggressive now than before ”

    Maybe not so odd. New speculation about the Ruby-Lansky link and Kennedy’s contretemps with David Ben Gurion are doing the rounds. Whether or not there is any gold to be mined there, in some circles merely digging at this time would be viewed as provocative.

  • 16. Lee Harvey  |  April 12th, 2010 at 3:02 am

    I never knew what to make of the Kennedy conspiracies but I would say this:

    You can’t say that because Kennedy’s policies were right-wing – and, yes, they were right-wing – there was no reason for his assasination. Why do you assume that an assasination would have to be ideological? Is it because that’s the way you view the world? Is it not more likely that an assasination would have been down to some internal power struggle?

    Again, I don’t know if JFK was assasinated or not – but I do know that if he was it was likely not down to his policies. For one, didn’t he, after the Bay of Pigs, say that he wanted to “tear the CIA into little pieces and throw them to the wind”? The CIA, like any organisation, cares first and foremost about its own existence – far more so than anything like civil rights.

    The only thing worse than conspiracy theories is the assumption that what gets played out on the political stage for the people is the actual site of political conflict. Spend four days in even a local government institution and you’ll see that this is not the case at all…

  • 17. jimbo  |  April 12th, 2010 at 3:42 am

    The power elite always want more and they would be motivated to get rid of the Kennedys just because they might present an obstacle to their acquisition of power. So they killed them not because they were champions of egalitarianism but because they were competition.

  • 18. CapnMarvel  |  April 12th, 2010 at 4:42 am

    For all the alleged control the Bushes have had over the media, what’s most jarring is how incompetently they governed once they were officially in power. For all the strings they were able to pull in media, business, and politics, they weren’t able to keep the people from ultimately hating their guts.

    Now, if we can only get the same reality check to happen on the Republican party as a whole.

  • 19. servat29  |  April 12th, 2010 at 7:04 am

    Those people who claim that Kennedy himself wanted to continue with the policies of the U.S. national security state need to read JFK and the Unspeakable by James Douglas. In this book, among other topics addressed, Douglas provides well documented information that JFK as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis had indeed come to realize that the U.S. would have to peacefully coexist with the Soviet Union. Towards this end he began back channel communications with Nikita Khrushchev as to how this could be accomplished, including but not limited to reducing nuclear stockpiles with the goal of eventually eliminating all thermonuclear weapons.Douglas also provides evidence that Kennedy began back channel communications with Fidel Castro in order to build a foundation for the U.S. and Cuba to peacefully coexist in the Western Hemisphere. Both of these initiatives ended on November 22, 1963. Ever since that day the U.S. has been continuously involved in wars both directly and by proxy and no U.S. President (and I am thinking mostly of Carter, Clinton and Obama) has made any attempt to confront or stop the Military-Industrial-Intelligence complex in the promulgation of these wars, because all of these men certainly realized that what happened to JFK could easily happen to them.

  • 20. killcity  |  April 12th, 2010 at 7:20 am

    @Tim
    The implication of your comment, as I read it, is bizarre. Its sane to accept the big lie–unless you’re an “investigative journalist.”
    But forgetting that: don’t you think some people just want to know who killed their president? And what happened to their country?

  • 21. RecoverylessRecovery  |  April 12th, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I don’t know if Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone or not, I just wish he/they COULD ACT *AGAIN*.

  • 22. EJK  |  April 12th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Lead-off dunce “Evan Harper” should be congratulated on his/her list of anti-Kennedy cliches, normally attributed to the likes of anti-conspiracy twits such as Chomsky and Alex Cockburn. (God forbid there could be an exception to the Evil Elite!)

    Some counter-facts:

    Kennedy refused United States troop involvement in Laos, a country in the exact same pre-revolutionary state as was Vietnam. In this case, Kennedy — who was pushed by his whole government to launch a US troop involvement — instead helped set-up a coalition government including the leftist Pathet Lao. A coalition government which stood throughout the 1960s. No loss of US blood.

    Bay of Pigs. Again, in the face of advice from his entire government, Kennedy refuses air cover/US invasion. No loss of US blood.

    Berlin Wall goes up. Kennedy is advised to finally draw a line in the sand, to the point where US generals in Germany concoct a confrontation with the Soviets. Kennedy orders US forces pulled back. No confrontation. No loss of blood. Wall stands for 30 years.

    Missile Crisis. Recommendations to JFK include everything from taking out the sites, invading the island, blowing up Soviet ships, and — from the always reasonable Joint Chiefs of Staff — launching a nuclear attack in Moscow. None of this happens. No one dies. (Except for the US pilot who was sacrificed in one of the National Security State’s attempt to sabotage Kennedy’s blockade.)

    Indonesia. Kennedy sets up back channel to Sukarno, who is faced with a leftist threat similar to what was happening in Laos & South Vietnam. Kennedy and Sukarno begin plans to include the PKI in the Indonesian government. Then comes Dallas. 18 months later, Sukarno is overthrown and over one-million “leftists” are massacred.

    Vietnam. Incredibly, in what is surely the most valuable and astonishing revelation in Sy Hersh’s otherwise scummy book, Kennedy sets up back-channel to North Vietnamese(!) government, with the knowledge of the Ngo brothers. No way this did not leak. Within months, the Ngos and Jack Kennedy are dead.

    To not use force when all the force in the world is on your side — that is the mark of the true hero. If only our current Wall Street pimp/house nigger had such guts. . .

    BTW, the first chapter of James Douglass’s masterpiece can be grabbed here:

    http://www.maryknollmall.org/chapters/978-1-57075-755-6.pdf

  • 23. Myf  |  April 12th, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    There’s no question that they killed Kennedy. The sort of default mindset that everyone is supposed to have “forget the past and move on” is only good for the people on top who do all the horrible things that people can’t stop thinking about. The CIA is half idiot mormon thugs and half serious computer genius dudes, all serving the interests of the tiny elite who fucking ruined this great country. I don’t really have faith in the people to do anything about it, and that’s the way the people at the top want me. Oh well

    I want to move away, live a peaceful life and have a family. fuck the CIA, fuck everything, let it all burn down. We’ll see how they enjoy their cash and power when they’re dead.

  • 24. RecoverylessRecovery  |  April 12th, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Speaking of the CIA, I hear that their male agents are trained to commit suicide by biting-off their own dicks.

    Or -as I like to call it- ‘dick-on-dick’ action.

  • 25. Jamal  |  April 12th, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    The mess of the JFK investigation doesn’t point to an organized conspiracy, it points to career-minded folks trying to cover their ass. If they wanted to kill Kennedy and get away with it, they could have done it.

    It seems far more plausible that while the CIA was funding anti-Castro activist groups as well as pro-Castro groups (intended to solidify their place as villains), that Oswald/Kennedy was the unintended consequence of that pot stirring. The CIA didn’t want to take any responsibility for hyping up Oswald, and so on…

  • 26. tim  |  April 13th, 2010 at 1:18 am

    @killcity-
    That’s sort of what I am saying. Just hear me out.
    There’s a spectrum between fighting back tooth and nail, and taking it in the ass.
    I knew a woman in Russia who got credit from the government to privatise her flat, somehow she got some cash and then put it in the bank who was in charge of the transaction. Then the bank refused to let her buy because they said the crisis was starting and she wouldn’t be able to pay (all absolute nonsense of course) and they gave her the money back- minus 40,000 dollars. She just took it up the ass. Her reaction was weak and lame and so on, but there she is, alive. (Not that they would have killed her, but I am looking for extreme examples.)
    The other end of the spectrum is someone like Politikovskaya or any of the other journalists who got whacked for reporting on Chechnya. They knew what they were getting into, and I knew a couple people from Mozdok who while Muslim were loyal to the government. They said, shit, she knew she was going to get killed, what’s noble about being dead? Her cause was good, AND she knew it would get her killed.
    Reading about things like the Kennedy assasination, or more specifically, buying books about them, stimulates or at least allows those types of investigations to continue, and generate discussion about an important topic. I applaud those journalists. At the same time- I was raised in something like a religious sect. I know what futile, noble struggling is. It’s futile, and it’s noble. You get neither, or you get both. When I chose neither, I get bored. Which is why I browse this site.

  • 27. Tyrone Slothrop  |  April 13th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    The Kennedy who authorised napalm to be used on Vietnamese civilians in ’62? The same Kennedy who told Bobby to “bring the horrors of the world” upon Cuba and launched Operation Mongoose? That Kennedy? Proto-Regan?

    Nice shot Oswald.

    Attempting to turn Kennedy into some kind of establishment rebel who was defiant of the extreme institutional pressures put upon any president is laughable. Truly. Back-channel discussions? That’s the evidence? I’m humbled by the audacity of what are stunningly normal diplomatic actions. Please don’t reveal anything more, like that these informal discussions were… and I hesitate; cordial?!

    Recommencing historical revisionism in three… two…

  • 28. plethora  |  April 14th, 2010 at 8:59 am

    @Brewer
    The idea that the Jews killed JFK is as much as a red herring–and as dumb–as Oswald “acting alone.”

  • 29. robert chambers  |  April 15th, 2010 at 2:02 am

    We’ll never know the whole story – did you read Mailer’s “Oswald?” Mohrenschildt relationship with Oswald is certainly peculiar… however, a Bush connection is never mentioned, it has this funny wishful-thinking from the Liberal-sewer aroma about it somehow. Btw, the CIA is hardly right wing. What a cliche. Maybe some of it is. Management is all Ivy league, in case you are wondering why things like homosex are being promoted every day, and in every way… Try “Company” by John Ehrlichmann. CIA is about as “right wing” as CNN. But it’s also sprawling enough that certain sections could be up to things that aren’t necessarily approved (or even known) by upper management…. Mailer’s Oswald is good, but raises more questions than it answers. Same with Watergate, the more you look into details, the less sure you are what actually went on.

  • 30. Elmer Gantry  |  April 15th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Funny you mention Mailer. Of all the WC apologists, he was quite convincing. After all, he’s Mr. White Negro, Mr. Armies of the Night. That man.

    But his Oswald book is a novel. And towards the end of his life he began admitting that there were quite probably other forces which had aligned to kill JFK in Dallas on Nov. 22nd. But he always adds that his Oswald–who again, in fiction–is somehow inviolable from those historical forces.

    So it becomes quite clear that the Oswald which he speaks, is a symbol that he has created; not the historical Oswald. Take a look:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TynkcCQ7Hv8

    (And note the overwrought spooky soundtrack and editing to make the fable sizzle.)

  • 31. James Ageo  |  April 15th, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    A long long exhausting essay indeed, but full of details I never
    > heard of and thus difficult to master. Most impressive and truly scholarly.
    > Obviously the result of enormous work. I miss the story of Ruby and his
    > killing Oswald, a strange coincidence. Then too, whatever happened to Ruby?
    > You have pretty much convinced me. I always wondered how George Bush got all
    > those big jobs…. , let alone George W. Thank you. I will reread it ,
    > probably more than once.

  • 32. robert chambers  |  April 15th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Oswald’s Tale is non-fiction novel, which I take to mean all the facts are right but he weaves it into this narrative… like Capote’s In Cold Blood. In any case, it would be very unMailerlike to omit the appearance of George Bush I, had his research unearthed even the remotest connection. That doesn’t make it impossible, just highly unlikely.

  • 33. Badbear  |  April 15th, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Actually, all I need to see to convince me the government lied is the Zapruder film. Being a shootist for over 40 years, I know which direction a gunshot comes from and what kind of damage it will do. Anyone with eyes can see that the kill shot came from the front over the passenger side or possibly through the windshield and hit Kennedy in the right temple and exited out the left back of his head. This was also backed up by five doctors who examined the body before the coverup started. Also, the real autopsy photos reveal this to be accurate. Closed case.

  • 34. fmrmilofcr  |  April 17th, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    @servat29 – consider that Xe, run by Mr Prince, is a lead CIA contractor located in Moyock North Carolina. consider that Xe hires operators skilled in hostile insertions and assassinations, and further trains those operators. further consider that Xe has access (official, or under the table) to the security plans for all u.s. government installations. consider, also, that Xe operators include trained pilots, and that Xe has access to military airframes. Consider, finally, that Moyock to White House is well within the combat radius of a UH-60 chopper, which can deliver a full team of operators at any time.

  • 35. Jyp  |  April 19th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Why? Why? Surely you jest. The banksters (ie., the so-called “elite” one endlessly hears about) has just lifted something like 4 trillion dollars from the masses. The Company has always been the action arm of the banking elite. Herriman(s) were the creatures of REDACTED from the time of E.H., as was the original Morgan. But don’t worry about it. As you are laying in your ditch under the bridge, munching on something you got out of a garbage can, you can console yourself that it’s all that gibberish from “conspiracy theorists” that’s the problem.

  • 36. FrankMcG  |  April 19th, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Every time I hear claims of grand CIA/shadow government conspiracy theories, I think of all the little hidden details about the CIA that leaked out. The whole Iraq war cherry pick justification. The “yellow cake uranium” incident. Small stuff like that was leaked from one of the most secretive administrations ever.

    And you’re trying to tell me the same organization has managed to keep such an airtight mass crackdown on grand schemes like this?

    For a brief period I once had a conspiracy nut for a roommate. He would spend all day watching clips of shadow governments, UFO investigations, and JFK theories. He tried to convince me that the Zapruder film clearly showed Kennedy’s driver pulling a gun and delivering the 2nd shot to the head, and that Jackie was climbing on the trunk to get away from the driver.

    I watched the tape. If you’re really trying to look for it, there’s an optical illusion of sunlight reflecting off Keller’s (front passenger seat) head that could kinda sorta maybe look like the glint of a gun.

    How, in 4 decades, has no one had been able to piece together the driver shooting him from 3 feet away in plain sight? How did the driver’s bullet magically pass through the divider and not leave a hole?

    None of this mattered to my roommate. It was a COVERUP that THE MAN didn’t want you to know THE TRUTH about.

  • 37. Drew Pearson  |  April 20th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Ah, Mac, the old “whistle-blower fallacy;” reeking of the same establishment think-tanks–filled with the same type of Asperger monkeys–who gave us other discredit models, like game theory and the Laffer curve.

    Indeed that syllogism would have a shred of validity if we had a free and open press, which wasn’t afraid to follow up on all the leads that have dropped on their lap (not to mention congress’ own investigations.) It might also have some validity if every one that questioned it wasn’t attacked by drooling goons like Posner. But as Baker, have proven, Oswald’s connection to the CIA has come out. Its come out over and over again. They’re as clear as day.

    You’re not going to read them verified in the NY Times however.

    But feel free to dismiss all of the evidence taken from the book and laid out in this excellent eXiled article–to talk about your roommate and UFOs. Because it proves what a bunch of intellectual pick-pockets conspiracy-debunkers are.

  • 38. FrankMcG  |  April 21st, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Intellectual pickpockets! Syllogism! Hey everyone, Drew studied for his SATs and wants to tell all you sheeple THE BIG TRUTH and expose me for the secret government thinktank lackey hired to post on message boards that I am!

    Poor intellectual conspiracy theorists, having their pockets picked clean by spooks like me.

    So……where was this vast, 100% effective iron clad (for over 40 years) CIA information lockdown during, say, Watergate? The yellow cake Uranium incident or any other of the dozen incidents of the pre-Iraq intelligence shell game that were quickly leaked out despite the best efforts of one of the most closed administrations since McCarthyism?

    Are you telling me there’s no incentive for the media to report any proof of JFK assassination plots? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? How long did the news run the JFK Jr. plane crash story? Boomers still dominate the market. A solid JFK connection would be a golden circus for them.

    But (most of the time), journalism has these little things called “fact checking” and “follow up”. Which is why this conspiracy stuff is only picked up by paranoid kooks.

  • 39. FrankMcG  |  April 21st, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Sorry, in addition to paranoid kooks I should have included “People who realize there’s a big paranoid kook market and cater to them”.

  • 40. Erk  |  April 21st, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    But you haven’t responded to the book, Frank. Baker gives a stack of footnotes, what do you serve up with your diatribe?

    Also, that comment really drove you up the wall, huh?

  • 41. FrankMcG  |  April 22nd, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    What about the book? If there’s some damning pieces of evidence in it, Mr. Harvey should post it here. As it is, most of this article is about critics calling it a shitty book rather than anything in the book itself.

    Other comments have already covered this, but the facts uncovered here are, at best, disjointed coincidences. Bush was in Dallas at the time…okaaaaay. So were a lot of other important people. They were investigating a potential assassination threat…okaaaay…so what? The CIA had no evidence that Bob Woodward ever worked for them? ….huh? I’ve seen Michael Moore movies with better constructed smoking gun trails than this, and Michael Moore is a sensationalist illusionist.

    Maybe it’s not just this article. It sounds like Baker devotes more energy to talking about the vast army of shadow government stooges out to ruin him more than he does about any actual evidence. Sounds like the same touch of paranoid schizophrenia and martyr complex that most conspiracy theorists operate under. The same exact line that the UFO people use when they talk about the men in black discrediting them by releasing false stories to paint theorists as kooks.

    These people ignore Occam’s Razor entirely and run wild with the whole “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” thing. You could declassify every CIA/FBI document ever made on JFK and interview every single person to have worked there in the past 40 years, and if nothing turned up they’d still go on claiming there’s a buried treasure conspiracy out there somewhere.

    Honest to god. The CIA has one of the worst track records for success out of any Federal agency. How have they been able to keep an air tight lid on this for 40 years while every other damaging fact about them has come out? Where was this shadow government clampdown during all the whistleblowing on the illegal telecom information gethering, the FISA bypassing, the pre-Iraq intelligence build up, the blowing of operatives’ cover who had fallen out of favor. They couldn’t even keep that shit covered up for 2 years.

    So why is it ONLY the Kennedy assassination that’s been perfectly covered for decades? Are all the other leaks just MORE of the conspiracy to THROW US OFF THE TRAIL 40 years later? Keep in mind this is the same site that concluded there was an Obama/banker conspiracy because of “proof” that an administration member and Obama both stopped lynch mobs during college. That’s all the kind of ridiculous connection they need to declare smoking gun. The Exiled can be entertaining to read but for god’s sake people not everything is gospel.

  • 42. FrankMcG  |  April 22nd, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    and triple irony points for someone trotting out all the logical fallacies they learned on debate team in defense of one giant vague logic loophole thesis.

  • 43. Drew Pearson  |  April 23rd, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    @Frank

    I get it, you don’t like my vocabulary, but I never called you a spook, or even implied it. Do spooks spend their time posting comments?

    Anyway, something’s puzzling me. You write that “Bush was in Dallas at the time…okaaaaay… They were investigating a potential assassination threat…okaaaay…so what?” Well there’s the fact that he denied it, but that’s not a smoking gun.

    But your theory is just Baker-style conjecture right? Or you know something we don’t? I think a lot of people would be very pleased to know Bush wasn’t involved in the assassination.

  • 44. Pelham  |  April 25th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    @Robert Chambers
    Ex-CIA staffer–and anyone but the CIA-did-it-proponent–John Newman wrecked Mailer’s thesis with “Oswald and the CIA” in ’95. Newman found that: “the CIA had a keen operational interest in Lee Harvey Oswald from the day he defected to the Soviet Union in 1959 until the day he was murdered in the basement of the Dallas city jail…. Secondly, whether witting or not, Oswald became involved in CIA operations.”

    So much for “Oswald’s Tale.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Oswald-CIA-John-Newman/dp/0786701315

  • 45. FrankMcG  |  April 25th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    “The CIA had an involvement in keeping tabs on Oswald.”

    okaaaay….so? I’d certainly HOPE the CIA was keeping tabs on ex military technicians traveling to the Soviet Union. What does this prove, exactly? Again, another disjointed accusation with a much simpler explanation than a conspiracy to assassinate JFK.

    The state of Hawaii’s records office is to this day bombarded with so many time/money wasting calls and emails from Birther conspirasts that they have adopted official policy to specifically ignore them. Using JFK conspiracy logic, I could just as easily claim that that is proof the state of Hawaii is covering up Obama being a secret Kenyan Muslim sleeper agent.

    The fact is, the more you look into Oswald’s documented activities, the solider the argument that he was just a self-styled anti-fascist crusading nutcase becomes.

  • 46. DOPEaddict  |  April 26th, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    You argument is rather convincing, Mr McG. But regardless of whether a large, international or CIA conspiracy was behind JFK’s murder, one unavoidable fact remains unexplained — who shot him in the face/temple? The presence of a 2nd shooter is not easily explained away by Occam’s razor.

  • 47. Pelham  |  April 27th, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Why would an “anti-fascist nutcase” have wanted to kill JFK again? Cue Sy Hersh styled character assassination–he was behind the Bay of Pigs yada. Just BS.

    The fact is, whether or not he was a liberal by the standards of multi-cultural-ism, the New Left etc., he was a threat to the warrior state. Not to mention the Establishment was probably nervous that he was vulnerable viz illness and his serial peccadilloes. They whacked him, and no matter how many honorable men try to keep the genie in the bottle–just about everyone in America knows it.

  • 48. Pelham  |  April 27th, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Oh, and Frank, the quote from Newman was: “whether witting or not, Oswald became involved in CIA operations.”

    Not, as you write: “The CIA had an involvement in keeping tabs on Oswald.”

    You wouldn’t be setting up Straw Men arguments in order to debunk them would you? Naah…

  • 49. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 5th, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I personally found this article to be VERY informative and it helped me to dispel MANY misunderstandings I had about some of our government agencies and their functions.

    Take the CIA for example; I’d always believed that it stood for ‘Cunnilingus Indulgers of America’.

    Hey I wasn’t far off ..they DO suck don’t they?


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