Two JFK Facts commenters have recently criticized me personally, and I feel the need to respond. I know an editor should have a thick skin but a season of succesful conspiracy theorizing has opened up the real possibility that U.S. nuclear codes will soon be delivered into the hands of a racist buffoon. I’m feeling a little touchy.
So let me dispatch with these theories and theorists.
Jean Davison’s Complaint
John McAdams periodically claims, without evidence, that he has been censored by JFK Facts. McAdams’ claims matter because he is often quoted by national news organizations on the details of the JFK story.
His belief that he is victimized is consistent with the unique personality that recently got him fired from Marquette University for conduct unbecoming of a professor. McAdams says his former employer violated his First Amendment rights; the courts will have to decide that issue.
Suffice it to say, his rights have never been violated on this site. JFK Facts has published hundreds of John’s comments over the years, and never changed a word in any of them.
Jean Davison, a frequent and knowlegable commenter on the site, objects to my recent observation that McAdams is a climate change denier who was fired by Marquette.
“Why this personal attack?” she asks.
I decided McAdams was a climate-change denier when he issued this warning alerting me to the imminent threat known as “Global Warming Fascism.”
Maybe the subtleties of his scientific thinking elude me, but that sounds like a climate denier to me.
My comments about him were not intended to be personal. They were professional, a service to young bloggers and old news organizations that might be assessing McAdams’s credibility as a source.
McAdams antics, like Cass Sunstein’s ruminations, remind us of a doleful truth of 21st century America.
there are a lot extremely implausible conspiracy theories about JFK’s assassination, and the official story is one of them.
Andrew Kreig’s Carelessness
In his comment, activist Andrew Kreig claims that I have rebuffed blogger Wayne Madsen’s “repeated attempts” to respond to my column about his baseless smear of Ted Cruz’s father.
I just checked the Comments queue of JFK Facts. Readers have submitted 6,780 comments for publication since it was launched in 2012. None of them are from Wayne Madsen.
Kreig makes three assertions:
1) I claimed I had “a secret source” who knew that the figure next to Oswald in the photo was not Rafael Cruz;
I didn’t claim I had a “secret source.” Here’s what happened. It is a complicated, maybe even tedious, story but bear with me.
When I first responded to Donald Trump’s fact-free smear of Ted Cruz’s father, I was writing quickly. I didn’t want to make a factual mistake about the identity of the man in question. My prudence was, well, prudent. I would have made a mistake.
I thought that Madsen (and Trump) were referring to the man to the left of Oswald in the photo (meaning the man next to Oswald’s right shoulder) I knew that this man had been identified by the Warren Commission. I knew he was of Japanese extraction and I knew is last name was Ehara.
But I couldn’t find the document on MaryFerrell.org, to prove it. So I wrote, per Trump’s hoax.
Over the years, JFK researchers have tried to identify the man in the photo and met with some success. Unlike Madsen [and Trump], we actually interviewed sources who put their name on the record. We studied the statements of the people who were there when Oswald was photographed in August 1963.
I will report my own personal findings shortly.
That man who I couldn’t identify on the spot was Jay Junichi Ehara.
If the baseless Trump conspiracy “theory” had targeted Ehara, I was going to recount an an interview I did with a man who: 1) looked very much like Ehara and; 2) who knew about Oswald’s actions in New Orleans before the assassination.
His name was Isidro “Chilo” Borja. He was a Cuban-American engineer in Miami who had been a leader in the CIA-funded Cuban Student Directorate (DRE) in the early 1960s, and who he did indeed know about Oswald’s actions in New Orleans on that day at the time.
I found a photo of him in 1963, and he was a dead ringer for the man in the photo. But Chilo told me he was not in New Orleans at that time. He agreed he looked like the man in the photo. But he wasn’t the guy.
I dug into the story deeper and concluded, based on a variety of evidence, that Chilo was telling the truth. It wasn’t a slam dunk case, more of a personal and complex judgment call, the kind that an investigative reporter has to make all the time.
Such were the “personal findings” I was going to present. It was a story about the perils of ex post facto photo identification and the thankless job of investigating the JFK story.
But I was mistaken. Trump was not referring to Ehara. He was referring to the man to the right of Oswald in the photo (by his left shoulder) who never was identified.
So my story about Ehara and Borja and the photo was irrelevant to the Trump controversy. I decided not to right about it.
Borja died in 2014. He was good-humored, candid, and thoughtful man who sat for several interviews. I had no desire to drag his name or photo into the JFK fever swamps, where they might be misused by careless conspiracy theorist like Donald Trump. I never followed up with my “personal findings.”
I explained all this to Kreig. I never claimed to have a “secret source.” I told him the bare bones of the story above. I plead guilty to being careful.
2) Kreig disputes my assertion “that there is no evidence that the man was Cruz”
In the era of Trumpian lies, it is necessary to repeat ad nauseum against the Internet trolls, that there is no evidence–zero, zip, nada, none–that the man in the photo of Lee Oswald on August 16, 1963 was Rafael Cruz, father of Ted.
If Trump (or Madsen or anyone else) has such evidence, I will be glad to publish it. Trump has presented none. If you wonder, why the Trump Foundation is taking donations.
(Tim Brennan has a good autopsy of the Oswald photo and the Trump smear here.)
3) I am accused of saying that Wayne Madsen, the blogger who originated Trump’s hoax “was essentially a conspiracy nut with no credibility.”
I never wrote that Madsen was “a nut.” I described him, accurately, as a “conspiracy theorist.” Per the Trump photo, Madsen wrote he “has been informed by a source that the individual to Oswald’s left is none other than Rafael Cruz.”
Madsen has no credibility because he has never identified his source.
Yesterday Madsen published a piece, arguing that “David Duke may be a paid actor to act as a millstone around Donald Trump’s neck.”
Sure. And “Barack Obama may be a paid Muslim to act as a millstone around America’s neck.”
Madsen, like Trump, is peddling pernicious conspiracy theories that deserve contempt. To get Madsen’s evidence, you have to pay him some money. Maybe Trump will to pony up with a donation from his foundation. Maybe not.