Jefferson Morley and Alan Dale discuss Cass Sunstein’s ideas concerning conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists.
- Conspiracy theory as a political issue
- The US government and the Theory of Incompetence
- Sunstein and Vermeule: Conspiracy Theories (2008)
- Dr. Cyril H. Wecht’s Reply to Sunstein and Vermeule
- Hollywood’s portrayal of conspiracy theorists Jackie Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson
- Woody Harrelson’s father, Charles Harrelson
- Professor Joan Mellen’s new work, Faustian Bargains: Lyndon Johnson and Mac Wallace in the Robber Baron Culture of Texas
- Professor Mellen’s conversation with Alan Dale
- Revisiting Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA
- Bill Simpich’s important work at Mary Ferrell Foundation: State Secret——-\
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7 thoughts on “JFK Facts podcast: The trouble with conspiracy theories and their critics”
I’m still thinking that instead of theories the JFK community research must list “conspiracy facts” proven beyond any reasonable doubt —material evidence— in order to set a body of evidence that prevent against muddying the waters. Let’s say,the bullet hole in Kennedy’s jacket and shirt. Whoever opposes to the conclusion —inextricably linked to Gerald Ford’s forgery in the WC Final Report— should accept to undergo an experiment for verifying on their own bodies if the fabric of a tailored shirt and jacket could goes up so far for changing a wound in the back to a wound in the base of the neck. And so on…
John Wilkes Booth (a southern sympathizer) shot and killed President Lincoln at Fords Theater in Washington, D.C. Following Lincoln’s assassination, Booth’s fellow conspirators were sought out, tried, and most of them executed. It was the US Military that handled the investigation – this was in 1865. In 1963, although not a federal crime, JFK’s assassination was not pursued by the military, which is strange, in that JFK was the Commander-in-Chief of the whole US government. In fact, the local military reserve units for Dallas was commanded to stand-down during the motorcade and NOT to provide protection for President Kennedy. In any drama, certain players have specific parts that, when acted out, contribute to later developments in the drama. Here in Dallas, the plotters didn’t have to know the shooters, who didn’t have to know the plotters, who didn’t have to know the cover-ups, who didn’t have to know the plotters (but probably did!) – in the end, all their combined efforts resulted in the main objective(s) being achieved: JFK dead; LBJ President; assassins escape and identities protected; scapegoat captured and killed; wipe-out patsy captured, jailed, eliminated; Cover-up proceeds…nothing personal, just business.
NONE, adding to your thoughtful post, the capitalist motive often goes unsuspected in this democracy. Indeed, the desire to “capitalize” upon tragedy, or conspiracy, is the American way. The purveyors of disinformation are selling a flawed product without any product safety features; thus they warning, caveat emptor. When 2017 dawns, those of us eagerly awaiting the bleached bone remains of government files on the JFK assassination probably will find a veritable treasure trove of documents leading nowhere – as intended. Alas, such a documentary chasm will spawn yet more cries for more documents suspected of being withheld. I suspect that Robert Kennedy is the Rosetta Stone of the JFK assassination. His personal suspecion of where the conspiracy originated, in my estimation, gleaned from the CIA/MOB/Anti-Castro Cuban nexus, is garnering more support as more documents are released. If such a conspiracy congealed around these groups, it is understood no documentary or evidence trail existed. When intelligence agencies around the world inferred that JFK was felled by a domestic plot, then we in America should have taken notice. Robert Kennedy astutely (privately) defined the role of the Warren Omission as that of a public relations gimmick formed to pacify the public. He focused his behind the scene inquiries on the CIA, Anti-Castro Cubans, and the Mob. Perhaps RFK should have included the Military, the PALACE GUARD (Secret Service), and the Dallas outfits of the FBI, Secret Service, Birchers, and law enforcement. Researchers fail to consider the violent nature of Southern hate groups, how the FBI and local law enforcement routinely subverted hate crime investigations, or the courts failed to deliver justice for victims of such crimes. Interestingly, the FBI had thoroughly penetrated these subversive groups; but, to protect their “sources,” allowed violence against American citizens of color. More than any JFK foreign policy position, these hate groups targeted and responded with violence [against] domestic policies and people, they fervently believed encroached upon their hateful, bigoted way of life. H.L. Hunt, General Edwin Walker, Mayor Cabell, Sheriff Decker, and a host of “good ‘ol boys” could have easily set up the assassination – and who would be the wiser?
Conspiracy theories will always be filled with errors and frauds and supported by folks who are in some cases not credible and in other cases outright crackpots. This is by definition how it has to be. The government works with a huge budget and highly credible-sounding people who work in unison to resolve the issues, while the conspiracy theorists are always under-funded, under-educated and amateurish in their efforts. That doesn’t mean those attacking the official version are wrong, though. Not at all.
Amid the haystack of lies, distortions and half-truths, there is sometimes the needle of truth. If the embarrassing truth becomes more accessible, the government dis-information effort will require that new, erroneous angles and new, un-credible accusers be added to the haystack. Some conspiracy theorists in some scenarios may in fact be government agents or more often useful idiots, but I don’t mean stir anyone’s paranoia with this troubling fact. Your close compatriot in search of the truth deserves your trust as would any good American.
The role of conspiracy theories in a democracy is to assure that no official version of events can go unscrutinized, and whenever you see a government official seeking to dispel conspiracy theorists with official action, then you know that either the truth is beginning to win, or the official does not understand democracy and the marketplace of ideas.
A good example of government management of conspiracy theorists concerned 9/11. The most popular conspiracy theory for years was the one that asserted the planes were empty. Hence, the theory that gained the most mainstream coverage was the one that flew its adherents directly into the pain and grief of the 9/11 families. Other theories that didn’t push such a horrendous and unacceptable idea never received as much attention. With time, 9/11 conspiracy theories became synonymous with outrageous, hurtful lies that psychologically tortured the families of those killed on that day. Who would want to be associated with that sort of thing?
Has the producuon quality of the show increased? The media player doesn’t have a FF or REW function, at least for me. I haven’t been able to listen to this series because the media player is painfully awkward. iTunes? Spreaker? Is there any other way to get this show besides the link from this post?
The idea that “dissent,” in the form of seeking redress from the government for withheld information pertaining to the assassination of the 35th President of that same government, should be suppressed, even eliminated, exceeds any rights granted to any individual or body (elected or independently formed) under the US Constitution; however, when operating from a extra-governmental position, the rules of engagement are considered an unnecessary inconvenience for those who back the sham called the Warren Report. We accept the Warren Report to be inherently flawed based upon the “theory” that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone to stage a “one-man-did-it” coup d’etat unparalleled and unprecedented in the annals of coup d’etats across the globe. The fact that Earl Warren (Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court), and Allen Dulles (former head of CIA) were members of this august and honorable body of American sages, who could be trusted for their “patriotism in times of great need,” indicates this was an insiders joke played upon an unsuspecting American public. The Warren Commission was the official seal for the betrayal of the American People by the US Government and accepted by the usurper of the Presidency, on behalf of a duped public – Lyndon Baines Johnson. If the HSCA was the last “official” investigation, then “WE THE PEOPLE” must pursue the TRUTH of 11/22/1963, as the US Government and the MSM are not interested. Based on the American people’s right to know and hold accountable their government, then “WE” are the true patriots and our government now is the oppressor, both of truth and those very rights no body or person is entitled to put asunder. This truth we hold to be self-evident.
Wecht for the win!…
Hiring of “credible private parties…” Just a thought but I wonder if bugliosi and posner fall into that group.