After a long hiatus, the JFK Facts podcast has returned! This week Alan and I talk about the important keynote speech of Judge John Tunheim, former chair of the Assassination Records Review, at the CAPA conference in Washington last month. Tunheim talked about the JFK issues of 2017
Journalist David Talbot has brought a federal complaint to obtain records on the ex-CIA official at the center of congressional investigations into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.Talbot says he asked the State Department and CIA for travel records and other documents about William “King” Harvey.
Allen’s ascendency brought furtive characters, such as gun-toting William Harvey and cadaverous James Jesus Angelton, into a powerful global apparatus. Cold War ideology brooked no nationalist aspirations in any country wishing to control domestic politics and natural resources. A post-colonial era was emerging. But democratically elected nationalist leaders such as Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala were conveniently portrayed as communists. In both countries, the CIA orchestrated coups ensuring protection for profitable corporate oil interests and the United Fruit Co. The agency contributed to the killing of Patrice Lumumba, the charismatic Congolese leader who only wanted self-government for his beleaguered people.
Yesterday, November 22, I talked JFK for an hour with WIOD talk radio host Fernand Amandi and friends David Talbot and Bill Simpich. David talked about JFK in the Age of Trump. Bill talked about What We Know Now. I offered some thoughts about what we might learn in October 2017. Listen here.
David Talbot, Bill Simpich and I, will be talking about the JFK story on Miami’s WIOD talk radio on Tuesday November 22 from 11am to noon, Eastern Time.
I promise a theory-free discussion. We will only be talking about the facts of November 22.
With host Fernand Amandi, we will make the point that the JFK story is not some ancient historical debate but a live political issue in the new maelstorm of American politics. I will talk about why full JFK disclosure is coming in 2017. What does that mean? You can tune in here.
While it may be uncomfortable for members of the Intelligence Community to read some of these chapters, Talbot has done detailed research in his effort to stitch together a story. It may appear to most readers as prosecutorial or adversarial in tone, but this perspective needs to be read and understood, even if it is only part of the story of the CIA in the 1950s.
The disturbing shadow of John F. Kennedy’s assassination remains visible in American politics and journalism.
Witness the appearance of Roger Stone, adviser to Donald Trump, at a symposium on Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans, which drew the attention of the New York Times (and the pro-Clinton attack group Media Matters.)
“At a time when talk of having lost the country is very much in vogue, along with deep suspicions of a powerful and secretive elite, the symposium seemed remarkably of the moment,” writes reporter Campbell Robertson.
Of course, reporting on how fears of secret power are driving the discourse of the 2016 presidential election is an eminently timely and worthy subject. But reporting is what Robertson failed to do. Instead of learning the latest JFK facts, Times readers were served a birthday cake. Read more
In an wide-ranging interview with the German publication, Heise, David Talbot talks about his biography of CIA director Allen Dulles, “The Devil’s Chessboard,” which has just been published in German.
Q. Among the most incredible aspects of the Kennedy assassination is the fact that Dulles and his friends were called to investigate in the Warren Commission (1963), as well as Rockefeller Commission (1975). Was Dulles correct in his assessment, that the American people do not read?
“America is ruled by a parallel system of power that operates above and in some ways below our system of democratic governance,” says David Talbot in this engaging conversation with University of California-Berkeley professor/poet/diplomat Peter Dale Scott.
From the review: “Talbot’s work is not without flaws—which I will detail later. But it is so far ahead of its competitors, and it deals with such a wide variety of important subjects, that I strongly recommend reading it. Most books I review in this field I read once, and then walk outside and throw them in the dumpster. Talbot’s book is Read more
My approach to the JFK assassination is that it was “an operation”. When I’m feeling down to earth, I refer to myself as an “operations researcher.” When I’m making progress, I might upgrade to “investigator.”If I was looking for employment, I would go with “analyst.”
David Talbot refers to people like us as “people’s historians”. That’s good too.
When discussing the events of November 22, 1963, I ted to use terms like “Joint action”, “concerted action”, or “acted in concert.” Don’t forget the simple word “plan.”
I don’t often use the word “conspiracy.” I think that when talking about the JFK case or similar events, the c-word is counterproductive and marginalizing. Why describe those of us that challenge the lone gunman story as “conspiracy theorists”? Or, in reductive bumper sticker terms: CTs?
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.
The people fighting AIDS had to deal with “victim”, “sick”, and similar metaphors. Those in danger of infection were not “shooters” or “junkies” but “injection drug users”, or IDUs. The challengers of the anti-immigrant forces have spent many years using the phrase “undocumented worker” rather than “illegal alien”. Words matter.
The romance of conspiracy
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.