Belzer in defense of Belzer

There is much sound and fury in the comment section over Professor McAdams’s review of Richard Belzer’s book. The purpose was to stimulate debate and 36 comments and counting shows success on that score at least.

Besides the usual fulminations of Jim Fetzer (published without editing), there were many useful links, including Ronnie Wayne’s bibliography of reviews of McAdams’s work. Andrew sent along this this unusually thoughtful Politico interview with Belzer, which I missed when it came out.

The best way to advance the debate here is to let Belzer speak.

Belzer is sometimes a little careless with facts. (Ninety percent of Americans do not believe in a JFK conspiracy. The true figure is more like 65-70 percent. There is an allegation that Oswald was paid $200 a month as an FBI informant but no proof. Etc)

And I don’t share his certainty that some of the deaths were homicides and related to the JFK’s assassination.

But on the larger point of whether murders of potential witnesses have to be regarded as suspicious, I think Belzer is more on the mark than Professor McAdams, whose review never mentions the most compelling examples of assassination-related homicides presented by Belzer: namely the violent deaths of mobsters Sam Giancana and Johnny Rosselli, not to mention Oswald himself.


8 thoughts on “Belzer in defense of Belzer”

  1. To D. Olmens: Mary Pinchot Meyer was not just the wife of a high ranking CIA official. She was a close friend and mistress of JFK, and may have been instrumental in helping to turn his consciousness towards peaceful solutions to problems, instead of the “cold war” approach of solving global problems/discords with armed force. She was murdered in broad daylight and her murder was made to appear as if a “crazed” black man shot and killed her.
    Look at the police report and news accounts surrounding her death. Google her name and read what comes up. Her death is suspicious because the allege black man fingered for her death did not shoot her. He was not in his right mind, but he also seemed to be a victim of CIA subterfuge. Guess who showed up looking for Mary’s diary? James Jesus Angleton – head of Counter-intelligence. Mary Myers was Toni Bradlee’s sister, and Ben Bradlee’s (Washington Post editor)sister-in-law.
    I’ve read apologists for Angleton say he was there because Mary was formerly married to a top CIA official and her diary may have contained information of a STATE SECRET type. Really? Up until she died there was no concern about her diary? ANGLETON only then begins his snooping? Why then?

  2. The Politico interviewer asks Belzer what Mark Lane shows has been a CIA talking point. Something like, Isn’t there money to be made in assassination publications. Belzer replies he’s not in it for the money.
    He might have also said something like, “Well there is more money to be made now then when Mark Lane started publishing. And I’m glad. I hope it helps encourage more people to write about this. It’s okay to have your work rewarded.”

  3. “…namely the violent deaths of Sam Giancana and Johnny Rosselli…”

    When considering the deaths of these two individuals in particular it’s worth keeping in mind that violent death is not exactly an uncommon occurrence in their chosen profession: organised crime. That’s not to suggest the timing of their deaths isn’t of interest, but rather that it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not all that unusual for people in that line of work to end up dead at some point.

    On the larger question of the “Hit List”, I’d be interested to see an explanation as to why this would be a sensible course of action on the part of the conspirators given the inevitable attention it would create. I also struggle to see the relevance of some of these deaths. Mary Pinchot Meyer was no doubt an intriguing figure with an interesting social circle (married to a high ranking CIA officer) who met a truly dreadful fate, but her relevance to the assassination is not immediately obvious by any stretch.

    1. The suspicious death, even murder, of someone who has revealing knowledge of the conspiracy won’t create attention greater than if the person were alive to tell the story. The evidence of that is how many suspicious deaths there have been and how little real damage they did cumulatively to the conspiracy. Meyer’s death was similarly potentionally dangerous to the conspiracy considering her closeness to JFK, the diary she kept and what he and her CIA ex-husband and CIA Counter-Intelligence chief James Jesus Angleton may have told her about what NOT to be talking about. There’s a reason Angleton showed up at her home to snatch up her diary, and I doubt that it was merely to keep her affair with JFK a secret. In his book, “Reclaiming Science: the JFK Conspiracy,” author Richard Charnin lists nearly three dozen suspicious deaths worthy of consideration in the 3 years following the assassination, and durng the 1970s investigations.

  4. “90% of Americans do NOT believe in a JFK conspiracy. The true figure is more like 65-70%.”. Erm surely you meant DO believe in a conspiracy?

    1. Agreed there is no way to know for sure who was murdered and who wasn’t my money based on the available info is most if not all were eliminated for either what they knew or info that had been passed to them!

  5. Some of the deaths were genuinely mysterious, and others are not. With many, we don’t have enough information to be sure. But there were an awful lot of key people who dropped dead during the Congressional investigations of the 1970s.

    David Sanchez Morales’ lifelong friend Ruben Carbajal was convinced that Morales was poisoned while having lunch with some of his old CIA buddies. He made his last trip to Washington in early May, 1978. Carbajal had a drink with Morales a few days later. Carbajal told him he looked unwell. He replied: “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Ever since I left Washington I haven’t been feeling very comfortable”. That night he was taken to hospital. Carbajal went to visit him the next morning. As Carbajal later recalled: “They wouldn’t let no one in, they had his room surrounded by sheriff’s deputies.” Later that day (8th May) the decision was taken to withdraw his life support. Morales’s wife, Joanne, requested that there should not be an autopsy.

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