As usual, debate clarifies things.
Lisa Pease says “My three JFK theories” is a “cop out.” But I don’t think it is a cop out to try to develop ways of talking about JFK’s assassination that transcend the dialogue of the deaf that is the “conspiracy theorist” v. “lone nut” debate. In recent years, that debate has yielded a growing percentage of people who believe the official theory of a lone nut. Thus the polling data indicates that Lisa’s preferred approach to winning the argument is failing. She prefers not to try a new approach. I do. This is our chief difference.
I’m looking to expand the number of factual propositions about JFK’s assassination that reasonable people can agree are true. I think my success in calling attention to the importance of the Joannides files — which even mainstream news organizations like the Associated Press and committed anti-conspiracy theorists now agree should be released — vindicates my approach.
Dan Hardway is on the mark when he says, “You have one theory that you are testing by two different standards of proof,” referring to “beyond a reasonable doubt” and “preponderance of evidence.”
Dan also makes an important point when he says, “Intelligence operations are, per se, designed specifically to frustrate any proof beyond a reasonable doubt (the flip-side of ‘plausible deniability,’or, i.e., disinformation). Indeed, that is one of the earmarks of a good, well-designed and executed covert operation.”
This is why I think evaluating the evidence from a “preponderance of evidence” point of view is a useful approach. I think the preponderance of evidence points to some kind of still-undisclosed covert operation targeting Oswald and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in the summer and fall of 1963.
Patrick McCarthy draws an important distinction between different types of negligence. I think the CIA’s deceptive and unusual handling of pre-assassination information about Oswald clearly qualifies as simple negligence (failure to take ordinary care).
The key question, elided by Photon, is whether there was reckless disregard, requiring an assessment of level of the knowledge and intent of CIA officers who knew about Oswald. I think the Joannides files will shed light on the issue of reckless disregard.
Bill Pierce makes an unwarranted assumption when he summarizes theory #3 as “Oswald acted alone. All of the evidence of a frontal shot (or shots) should be dismissed. It is possible that a bunch of CIA officers failed to understand that Oswald was a dangerous Nut who probably wanted to murder the president.”
My theory #3 does not assert that Oswald acted alone and it does not dismiss all evidence of a frontal shot. As I should have made clearer, Theory #3 does not actually exclude Theory #2. Per Dan Hardway, they are two different ways of evaluating evidence.
Think of it this way. OJ Simpson was not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Similarly, we have no one individual who is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the murder of JFK. But a civil trial established that Simpson was responsible for the death of his victims.
A civil verdict in the case of the murdered president — that a group of CIA officers was responsible for a wrongful death — does not necessarily mean that some or all of them did not plot to kill the president, only that we lack proof beyond a reasonable doubt of their guilt. Per Hardway, this could be because the murder of JFK was a well-planned covert operation.
Is this, as Mitchum22 and D. Olmens suggest, excessively “legalistic”? I prefer to think that it is careful. I am taking care to make factual statements that the maximum number of people will find credible — even people who disagree with me. Unlike Lisa, I think skeptics of the official story have a credibility problem that they need to address by eliminating unsupported claims and focusing on forging consensus, not division.
PMRJohn is surely correct when he says, “We all need to coalesce for the 50th anniversary, for the larger good of informing the public at this historic opportunity.”