The hazards of running a JFK joint in the era of Trump

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.

John McAdams
John McAdams, foe of “global warming fascism,” and defender of the official JFK story.

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, 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.

Oswald in New Orleans
Lee Oswald in New Orleans, August 16, 1963

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.












21 thoughts on “The hazards of running a JFK joint in the era of Trump”

  1. My response submitted two weeks ago to this column was 499 words. Lack of publication prompted my harsh words above. I withdraw them in view of the editor’s willingness to print a dialog now that resolves the apparent confusion regarding my longer, different, previous submission. Here is the top of my 499-word response, now lightly edited to include this intro for a total word-count of 495:

    There is absolutely nothing “careless,” as Jeff Morley claims, about my questions regarding about the status of reporter Wayne Madsen’s response last spring to this site’s attack.

    In April, Madsen’s investigative site “The Wayne Madsen Report (WMR)” protested what it called a repeated failure to publish his response. WMR published this protest as an addendum to Madsen’s April 7 column, “Was the father of presidential hopeful Cruz involved in the JFK assassination?” Madsen wrote, as excerpted below:

    “To WMR Readers:

    “What follows is a response by WMR’s editor to a blog post April 14 on the website, whose publisher/editor is Jefferson Morley, a journalist and author who formerly reported for the Washington Post….Morley’s blog post entitled, “Debunking the JFK conspiracy theory involving Rafael Cruz, father of Ted,” constituted an unwarranted attack on WMR. The Morley post can be found here:

    “Morley’s site invites reader comments to what is claimed to be a site about “JFK Facts.” (and email: But the following rebuttal has not been published as a reader comment, either in whole or in part.

    “To the Editor:

    “Your column makes grave factual and research procedural errors that unfairly smear me and undermine this blog’s title “JFKFacts.” Instead, your opinion stems from name-calling and anonymous sources. You claim a source stating that the mystery man was not Rafael Cruz. Who is your source? Who is the mystery man? Did you have this info before you defamed me?

    “I am a journalist, national security expert, author of 14 books, and former government investigator who has broken many scoops later vindicated. Based on training in 14 years as a Naval Intelligence officer, for example, my reporting includes a three-part series on the Wayne Madsen Report in 2006 exposing House Speaker Dennis Hastert as a gay pedophile subject to blackmail. As errors….”

    Moreover, I saw last spring emails by both Madsen and by one of his National Press Club colleagues to the “editor” about the submission, and the unnamed editor’s response to Madsen that his reply had to be resubmitted at less than 500 words. Madsen wrote then that he had complied.

    Readers can judge whether my due diligence was a reasonable basis for my question. That said, no reader is in a position to monitor the internal workings of the electronic submission system or personnel.

    But my inquiry was not “careless.” It would have taken an effort of mind-boggling proportions for Madsen to have concocted a 1,000-word response, then a 500-word one, and only pretended to have submitted them via the reader comment section.

    1. Here is Kreig’s 499 word response, submitted today for the first time, and published immediately. I stand by every word I wrote.

  2. Jeff Morley falsely promised me two weeks ago that he would publish my response to his unwarranted personal slurs in this column. Those responses were factual, low-key and gave him the benefit of the doubt.

    But he has again failed to implement his commitment. Especially in view of similar complaints about him from others, my experience indicates that he is a blowhard or incompetent who has lost his ability to function professionally, or else is a liar, or else all three.

    In view of that, I’m done participating in any fashion with him except to make these points crystal clear where appropriate while he pursues his pathetic conceit of being a reputable researcher.

    1. Andrew Kreig’s comment hasn’t been published because it is 1,200 words long. Longstanding site policy precludes consideration of comments more than 500 words. In short, Kreig is not paying attention to site policy and demanding that his comments get unique consideration while accusing me of “false promises,” being a “blowhard,” being “incompetent,” and having “lost my ability to function” and guilty of “pathetic conceit.” I welcome reader reaction.

      1. Mr. Morley, you know without me telling you that I support you and this site 100%. I just don’t know how to respond to website high-jackers. Mr. Krieg needs to come to terms with the fact that, as a visitor to this site, he’s in no position to demand anything. Furthermore, no else is under any obligation to accept without question his unfounded allegations. Lastly, he needs to follow the rules just like everyone else. Will that suffice?

      2. Ah, Jeff, sometimes one should ignore the ignorant, the distractions. How about talking about the accomplishments of Jim Lesar and FREEINGTHEFILES.
        Thanks for letting us know about the real blowhards though.

  3. I personally don’t think being a “global warming denier” has any bearing on someone’s credibility on the JFK case. For example, I disagree with Peter Dale Scott on many non-JFK matters, and find some of his opinions on 9/11, etc. pretty “out there,” but I still consider him extremely credible on the JFK case.

  4. If I may clarify something, Jeff, one of the reasons for my original comment was that I disagree that McAdams’ problem with Marquette or his views on climate change say anything at all about his “credibility as a source” on the JFK assassination. I think it’s irrelevant.

    (Incidentally, not everyone agrees with you that Marquette’s decision was justified. Some, including liberals, see it as an academic freedom or free speech issue.)

    1. Ah, the old “some liberals believe…” defense of indefensible behavior. Why don’t you just say what you think and let those liberal friends of John speak for themselves?

      People can be wrong about some things and right about others. But McAdams has a consistent record of being a mouthpiece for Koch-supported causes, and displaying outlandish attention-seeking behavior that calls his judgement and sincerity into question.

      1. Professor McAdams’s entire approach to the case is based on ad hominem attacks against skeptics of the official story.He regularly characterizes people who differ with him on any aspect of the JFK case as “buffs,” “fanatics,” and worse. There are too many examples of this behavior on this very website to count. On his own website, he argues that Fletcher Prouty cannot be taken seriously because of his belief in UFOs and his unusual theories about the nature of oil, despite the fact that those views are hardly any crazier than McAdams’s own extremist beliefs about climate change or some of the truly offensive views on race that the Marquette professor expresses on his blog.

  5. I think you need to define what you mean by “censor”. You say you never “censor”. What is your definition for “censorship”?

    As I speak there are many topics on the front page that have not been updated with a comment for over a week. I find it highly unlikely that no one has submitted a comment to any of those threads. If I am correct, then comments arrived but you did not publish them. Is that because you are tired of those topics and you do not want to feed them anymore? If that is so, is that not censorship?

  6. Member of Heartland Institute, a think tank created to influence policy, heavily funded by the fossil fuel industry, with the prominent goal of discrediting the findings of climate science – yes McAdams is a global warming denier; a mercenary for causes that go to great lengths to conceal the truth.

  7. Don’t get discouraged. Bravo for calling out a climate change denier. Its unfortunate that many people just say things with nothing to support their statement.

  8. Global warming fascism is an extreme allegation, but the blog post itself does not deny climate change. It says things about cooking data and suppressing dissent. It’s possible for both to exist — global warming can exist along with an effort to advance it through inappropriate means.

    Cruz Sr. and Oswald were both in New Orleans in the summer of ’63. Both were anti-Castro activists, Oswald as a phony pro-communist. Both were the same age. It’s not just possible they knew one another, it is highly likely. That said, the photo doesn’t show Cruz, Sr. The ears are wrong.

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