David Talbot talks to Patrick Marks at the Green Arcade bookstore about “The Devil’s Chessboard,” his biography of Allen Dulles: “It’s a counternarrative about power.”
Tag Archive for David Talbot
Those who study the case are “historians”, “researchers” or “students”. All perfectly good words, unlike “CT,” “LN,” or “theorist,” Theory of what?
‘JFK buff’ is an insult
The term “buff” is — how do i say this politely? –repellent. A buff is a hobbyist. What we’re doing has great value, but it would be a pretty sick hobby. Remember how John Kerry did some good work on the contra-cocaine story? Newsweek labeled him a “randy conspiracy buff”, invoking the trifecta of nudity, sex, and high adventure. No thanks.
I refer to myself as an “operations researcher.” When I’m making progress, I might upgrade to “investigator.”I
“Lone nut” is also in poor taste, often used in the context of the “LN crowd”. The terms “Lone wolf” or “single gunman” are respectful ways to refer to one’s adversaries in a case like this.
I believe that many of us use the phrase “conspiracy theorist” because it seems practical, romantic, or titillating.
The last two reasons are bad ones. Real bad. Two of the many reasons the word has been marginalized.
Those who study the case are “historians”, “researchers” or “students”. All perfectly good words, unlike “theorist”. Theory of what?
If we want to not be seen by anyone as “on the margins”, there is a simple fix. Admit that the phrase has been abused by our adversaries and the mass media. It is now used as a red flag. The design is to put the target in a box. It can no longer be used by us in a practical sense.
I think the romantic and titillating aspects of the word “conspiracy” are enticing. “They killed the President! We have to call it what it is – conspiracy!” It’s fun to be wrapped up in a world of high adventure, fighting the forces of Mordor with the energies of truth and light.
I understand it — I like romantic stuff and have a rebel nature. But, I have to admit, it makes me blue. We’re in the midst of an important conflict about how history will be written. We need to share good stories, not needless drama. I’d rather win.
The best books about the assassination of the 35th president, as selected by the MaryFerrell.org, the premier Web archive of JFK assassination records.
Since the reviewers at mainstream news organizations are studiously avoiding David Talbot’s groundbreaking Devil’s Chessboard, CTKA’s Jim DiEugenio takes up the challenge of explaining why the book is so important.:
“Talbot goes much further than these previous authors in his attempt to excavate just how involved Allen Dulles was in some of the unsavory aspects that helped create and maintain the Cold War state. Many of these aspects were ignored or minimized in the previous books. But Talbot does not shy away from detailing Dulles’ role in attempting to undermine some of America’s allies, like France during the revolt of the French generals in 1961. Beyond that, he goes much further than they do in explaining Dulles’ dismissal by President Kennedy (it was not all about the Bay of Pigs).”
John Kirsch – December 1
I did read “Devil’s Chessboard” and came away feeling that the material relating to the JFK assassination was the weakest part Read more
Talbot has an eye for quotes, and one memorable one is derived from the memoirs of French President Charles de Gaulle’s information minister, Alain Peyrefitte. Talbot quotes at some length from the words de Gaulle spoke upon his return from the Kennedy funeral. After talking insightfully about the assassination – de Gaulle was a recent target himself – the French president observed the possibility of great upheaval in America, but concluded that it would all be swept under the rug: “But you’ll see. All of them together will observe the law of silence … They don’t want to know. They don’t want to find out. They won’t allow themselves to find out.”
Source: Mary Ferrell Foundation on The Devil’s Chessboard
In Salon, David Talbot writes that JFK was assassinated, 52 years ago today, at the behest of a clique of CIA officers led by a highly-praised operator named Bill Harvey.
Is Talbot right?
When people ask ‘Who killed Kennedy?’ one plausible answer is William King Harvey, a tough and much-praised CIA officer in 1963. In the most popular video ever on JFK Facts Harvey’s widow, CG Harvey, says on camera that JFK and Jackie were “scum.”
If you’re in Dallas, you’ll want to check out the usual array of excellent speakers, inlcuding David Talbot, Bill Simpich, Marie Fonzie. Larry Hancock, and Bill Garnet, to name just a few. It is a chance to drill down on the key issues raised by the unresolved events of November 1963 with some of the most knowledgable people in the world.
Jacob Carter, millennial author, wants his generation to know and care about the JFK assassination story. The result is “Before History Dies,” an introduction to the debate over the causes of JFK’s death via interviews with thoughtful people who hold diverse opinions on the subject.
They include: Anthony Summers, David Talbot, Dan Hardway, Marie Fonzi, Dale K. Myers, Max Holland, Judge John R. Tunheim, and Gerald Posner.
I’m not unbiased because I am interviewed too, and because Carter is the social media manager for JFK Facts and a friend. Nonetheless, I have to say this is not just an excellent introduction to the JFK story. Its a model for people of any age for how to think about the JFK story: with humility, tranquility, and courage.
President Kennedy was aware of McCone’s less than enthusiastic embrace of his administration. As reported by Talbot in The Devil’s Chessboard, “In March, the president’s secret White House recording system picked up a heated conversation between the Kennedy brothers about their increasingly disloyal CIA director. McCone, Bobby informed his brother, was going around Washington feeding anti-Kennedy information to the press. ‘He’s a real bastard, that John McCone,’ responded JFK. ‘Well, he was useful at a time,’ observed Bobby. ‘Yeah,’ replied the president ruefully, ‘but, boy, it’s really evaporated.’”[iv]
Source: Read — 2017 JFK
As Talbot explains, “What I was really trying to do was a biography on the American power elite from World War II up to the 60s.” It’s a huge, sprawling book, and an amalgam of all the appalling things Dulles and his cohort definitely did, things the evidence suggests they probably did, and speculation about things they might plausibly have done. More than a biography, it’s a exploration of well-organized pathology.
Talbot and his research associate Karen Croft, to whom he dedicated his book, have found all sorts of nuggets in Allen Dulles’s papers, his appointment calendar, oral histories, and other less-used sources. In addition, Talbot infuses his book with anecdotes from interviews he personally conducted. While I found some points I could nitpick in various episodes, overall this is a worthy addition and a much-needed perspective that elucidates how we came to have two governments: the elected one and the one that doesn’t answer to the elected one.
In Part 2 of this 3-part series in WhoWhatWhy , President Kennedy learns of Dulles’s involvement in plotting to overthrow de Gaulle, and assures the French of his support for de Gaulle, while issuing a warning:
This review, I think, captures the core concept of Talbot’s book: The American constitutional system was disrupted on November 22, 1963 and never repaired.