Readers defend DiEugenio, shred Shenon

After I commented on Jim DiEugenio’s CTKA essay on The State of the JFK Case: 50 Years Out, I heard  from more than one reader who took exception to my defense of Phil Shenon’s JFK book,  “A Cruel and Shocking Act.”

One reader writes:

“Shenon’s book is another limited hang-out. After 50 years, that’s not progress. If the book had come out in the 1970s, it might be more significant. It contains a few juicy tidbits of ‘new’ information, but the overall substance of the book is misleading”

Another says:

“Shenon connected the WC ‘finding’ of the lone gunman shooting a magic bullet with the long-ago debunked anti-Castro story by Mexican novelist and playwright Elena Garro. He recycled her worthless testimony about Oswald at a ‘twist’ party in Mexico City for transfiguring it as the occasion seized by ‘DGI agent’ Sylvia Duran for putting him up to kill Kennedy.
That’s quite a cruel and shocking act against the reader nowadays, since even Win Scott made this remark to the Garro allegation in 1964: ‘She is also nuts.’
Recycling Garro and twisting Duran hopelessly spoil the party with the rest of the significant stories.”

Another read asserts:

“Shenon’s book is a propaganda piece designed to appear ‘objective.’ One is better served by reading DiEugenio’s takedown of the book rather than the book itself.”

To which I say, Shenon has a different analysis of the facts than you and I. So what? A lot of people do. We wouldn’t be arguing about the causes and implications of JFK’s death if we weren’t trying to persuade people who think differently than we do. I’m trying to reach those people and talk to them, communicate with them. To denounce Shenon, an experienced news reporter who has taken on an incredibly slippery subject, is not the way to get that discussion going in 2014.

See also:

Shenon to NPR: ‘The destruction of evidence began within hours of the president’s death’ (Oct. 20, 2013)

‘The power of this secret world:’ Woodward links JFK cover-up to NSA abuses (Dec. 18, 2013)


113 thoughts on “Readers defend DiEugenio, shred Shenon”

  1. Who killed President Kennedy?
    Lee Harvey Oswald
    Who conspired with him?
    No one.
    Who killed Lee Harvey Oswald?
    Jack Ruby in
    Who conspired with him?
    No one.

    1. Even Ruby himself said very powerful people were behind the assassination. It’s on film.

      Educate yourself before providing baseless blanket statements.

  2. I noticed my previous remarks have been excised from this forum. I’m not sure why, since they were not particularly controversial or personal. In any event I’ll state them again: Having examined the evidence such as it is, one wild hypothesis after another over thirty years, I am unconvinced that LHO had any confederates in Dealey Plaza and that he was the assassin of JFK. The single piece of evidence that convinces are the “curtain rods”. Why would Oswald bring the “curtain to work”? Why did he retrieve his Mannlicher Carcano from Ruth Paine’s house just before the president’s visit? Show one substantive peice of evidence that would indicate otherwise…

    This does not preclude the possibility of some kind of conspiracy before the fact. Shenon’s book does us the courtesy of pointing out the possibilities of a Mexican/Cuban connection to Oswald. The exact nature of that connection remains to be determined.

  3. If you believe that you must also believe that JFK ,being a fourth degree Knight of Columbus , must have been guided in his actions by the proclamations of the Bishop of Rome – his highest religious authority.
    It goes both ways. The fact that many of our founding fathers were Masons is more a reflection of the appeal of Freemasonry during the Enlightenment to Liberal thought- an appeal that even crossed religious lines in the cases of Mozart and Bolivar. That appeal didn’t stop prominent Masons from being slaveholder s, however.
    Coming from a family of Masons I consider your viewpoint rather uninformed.

    1. Photon, I’ll probably trump your Masonic background, on both my maternal and paternal sides. We have a number of Grand Masters in our family history, up to and including the period of the early 1960’s in relatively important areas of Texas. Believe me, I know what I am talking about, and what I didn’t learn first hand in my early years, I have discovered through countless hours of objective research. I neither defend nor condemn the American Masonic Lodge in general. (I do however condemn the apartheid conditions the Freemasons helped foster in the North of Ireland over centuries.)

      Kennedy’s father was entrenched in religious fraternities other than the Knights of Columbus. I admire John F. and Robert for having determined they were their own men, and that they would serve the country without fear of Rome, the Jesuits, The KC’s, the Order of St. John, the Knights of Malta, Skull & Bones, or particular Masons; that may have helped get them killed.

  4. You can’t be serious, as one that purports to understand US history, at least the military aspect, that you do not understand the impact of freemasonry on our country? And if you have studied their history, you will also know that oaths were at one time taken very seriously. And behind those oaths is a pledge to the fraternity, and that fraternity supersedes all but “god the almighty.”

    Do I think members of the Warren Commission lurked in dark alleys sharing private handshakes to get their marching orders? No. Do I think Masons on the Warren Commission felt the presence of their personal histories, their benefactors, and a common fraternal agenda? Most likely.

    One looks for the glue to hold large numbers captive. The Masons are a perfect example of a bonding agent.

  5. D. Olmens: I am not meaning to interrupt your conversation with DiEugenio, but I would like to follow up with this statement of yours:

    “Yes and no. It’s clear the WC and the HSCA were both impeded by the CIA, of that there can be little doubt. However, as I said above, that in itself does not automatically mean they were covering up their involvement in the assassination. There are a number of possibilities here, and that is just one. Unfortunately conspiracy theorists tend to jump from the first observation straight to “OMG! They did it!”, whereas I’d argue there’s a range of possible explanations. Hopefully the long overdue release of the remaining records will help to clarify this point.”

    “OMG! They did it!” should not be dismissed or go unchallenged here. This comment represents a mockery of those that are ubiquitously referred to as conspiracy theorists, and then you follow with an erudite statement that “there’s a range of possible explanations,” as if to suggest, “Now Now Children, there is no reason to be alarmed, I’m quite certain there is a plausible explanation for the roof having caved in on Democracy.”

    D. Olmens, I for one have never made the leap your are implying, that because the CIA (I’m never quite certain who we are talking about when we revert to THE CIA) subverted the investigation, they were therefore complicit in the murder itself. In fact, I resist that conclusion, but I do believe the question that is raised by their subversion is far more serious than as you suggest, one that needs a mere “clarification.”

  6. I highly recommend Mr. DiEugenio’s “Reclaiming Parkland”. I think it’s an astonishing effort. I give a more qualified recommendation to his “Destiny Betrayed”. I’ve read both. I may be alone in thinking “Reclaiming Parkland” is the more important book of the two. I think it’s an under-publicized, under-rated gold mine of information and argument.

    I haven’t read any of Mr. Photon’s books yet. Perhaps they’re quite important too. He needs to let us know what they are.

  7. I must say I admire Mr. D’s civility in his responses on this thread. I’ve read him elsewhere where he has pretty much shredded more than a few assertions, and, in turn sometimes those who made them for less than the slander and character assassination he has received here. When one’s integrity is being impinged they can defend it and/or call out the attacker and prove them wrong justifiably IMHO. I can see how such could be taken personally and returned in kind. If the original act of assassination of credibility is not personal I don’t know what is. FREETHEFILES.

  8. i understand the frustration of the conspiracy community with writers like Shenon. To me the case is the false mystery that Solandria first spoke of so eloquently.

    When does the lone nut do a random, senseless act that gets fully propangandized in the media by emissaries of the CIA within hours of his arrest? That fact alone NEGATES any claim to a random act by a nobody. Add in Oswald’s impersonation in Mexico City and confessed handling by DeMorenschildt and there’s no way the assassination didn’t involve govt spooks.

    Then two of the best criminal prosecutors in the country say they are making headway then WALK AWAY from the HSCA investigation because of CiA obstruction.

    Ramdom, senseless act my ass.

  9. I don’t have a problem per se with people wanting to be anonymous, but I draw the line on anonymous personal attacks and smears like Photon’s attacks on Jim DiEugenio. Such smears and insults should at the very least not be permitted by people who will not identify themselves. It is inappropriate and also quite cowardly. There should be rules forbidding such anonymous attacks and smears.

    1. Absolutely. On many levels this site is working very productively towards progress in the JFK murder case but it’s a tightrope act and steps should be taken to ensure that the productive track continues.

    2. I am a ‘recovering lone nutter’ myself. When I finally took the time to educate myself on both sides of the argument common sense won out and I have new heroes in my life and Jim D is one of the truth seekers I admire. I would also like to see posters be required to use their real names to eliminate the cowardly anonymous smear tactics used by some.

  10. I would like to point out that two of the sharpest American commentators on politics in the 20th Century were Dwight MacDonald and Gore Vidal, and between them they possessed exactly one Bachelors Degree from Yale Univesity (MacDonald graduated in 1928). Vidal had no college education whatsoever.

    If you’ve ever worked in academia (I spent 3 years working in a support staff position at a think tank in NYC), you’ve encountered your share of high IQ morons, as well as people with long lists of letters after their names who haven’t got the sense God gave a chicken. Lack of advanced degrees didn’t prevent people like Edmund Wilson, Mary McCarthy, and Murray Kempton from writing brilliantly on historical and literary subjects.

  11. Philip Shenon’s A Cruel and Shocking Act is a promotion of the Warren Commission with an outré and debunked Oswald as Castro’s assassin twist.

    Jim DiEugenio’s review shows author Shenon is embarked on more than a slippery slope, and is not interpreting facts so much as arguing facts not in evidence.

    Oswald worked under CIA officers McCord and Phillips in an operation against FPCC, a wholly contrived performance not an organic expression of support.

    Castro himself suggested the assassination was a CIA operation in his November 23, 1963 speech

    Gerald McKnight, How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why, 2005, is a superlative examination of what a shoddy piece of workmanship the Commission was.

    Its a priori conclusion of lone gunman insured it was not an investigation but a suppression of facts, a fact which escapes author Shenon, making his exercise Quixotic given the vast majority of citizens who doubt its conclusions.

  12. I recall a government funded study years ago on why a certain type of frog ate a particular insect over a wide choices of food. After much expense, time & study it was concluded that the frog ate a particular insect over a wide choice of food available because the frog liked consuming that particular insect.

    That’s the case with me for both Jim DiEugenio & Jeff Morley. I like what they write & the direction they have taken with their lives. In the JFK murder case I need more than a wind up toy that repeats ‘Oswald did it’ to help me understand it all. I’ve read Bugliosi, Russo, Myers, McAdams, Reitzes & what they have to say & how they say it does not appeal to me. Mr. DiEugenio & Mr. Morley both operate on a tough playing field, yet neither man has offended me with their efforts to the point I’d consider moving on to another arena. People throw punches & insinuations at them all over the Internet but no one has convinced me either is undeserving of my trust & time. Each author feeds a multitude of author wannabes.

  13. Philip Shenon acknowledged in his book the JFK Assassination had not previously been of much interest to him when he was approached by a former member of the Warren Commission (whom I suspect was Arlen Specter for a variety of reasons) and Shenon’s lack of familiarity with the topic become obvious as one reads through the book.

    The major drawback to the book is that Mr. Shenon seems incapable of viewing ambiguous or conflicting information as evidence of possible conspiracy. Perhaps it was out of loyalty to his sources or perhaps unwilling to risk his reputation in the main stream media (or maybe his editor). In any event, whenever Mr. Shenon encounters evidence that presents a crossroad decision for him, he consistently opts for the lone gunman path. In doing so, he sometimes omits evidence to the contrary, overstates the evidence he relies on or uses the same approach of the Warren Commission and chooses to ignore or find such problematic evidence unpersuasive.

    I identified about 40 misstatements or overstating of the facts in his book which I posted on my Hard Evidence facebook page:

  14. Jfkfacts prouds itself for enganging in factual and civil conversations. Yet against your better judgement you have allowed certain entities to use character assassination instead of using real arguments.This is a slippery road.
    You say that we should let the other side present their views but they only use dirty tricks and vitriolic attacks when they have no arguments left to defend their views.
    You still think you can communicate with and pursuade these people?

  15. I honestly do not understand the animus toward Shenon’s book. He scrupulously avoids arguing for any ultimate conclusion about who is responsible for the assassination. At the same time, he proves beyond cavil, with some substantial new evidence, that the Warren Commission’s investigation was so flawed as to completely discredit its conclusions: that the CIA lied to the Commission; that other executive branch agencies purposefully destroyed and suppressed evidence, and obstructed the investigation; and – not least – that Oswald had companions in Mexico City. He takes the official narrative, burns it to the ground, and dumps salt on it. What on earth is the problem with that?

  16. Nathaniel Heidenheimer

    I disagree with the description of Shenon as “taking on” this slippery story. First I would describe the story as greased not slippery, because I think the stories that are granted MSM wide-enough-access to matter are ONLY those books like Shenon’s that either are lone nut, OR suggest the possibility of conspiracy but so distort JFK’s policies as to make the assassination SEEM it resulted in few policy changes.

    In reality, it resulted in the most significant policy shifts of the last 50 years, and eliminated the last opposition to those interests who wanted the US to deindustrialize and become a purely oil, Banking, military and finance economy based on more aggressive and universal imperialism.

    Shenon does not “take on ” the case at all. He plays be the rules of media access. At the very onset of the book he announces that he will rely ONLY on the top lawyers of the Warren Commission to let them explain their own mistakes. Then he banishes the myriad academics, journalists, etc who have produced oceans of evidence that contradict that narrative-of -the we-a-culpad, but this time were going to tell the truth.

    That is not “taking on” the case. That is refusing the challenge of rational debate that was once supposed to be the basis of The Enlightenment. That is relying on the shelter of a completely corporate press that more far more pooled on the JFK case and its policy implications than it was for the invasion of Iraq.

    I would not object to the defense of Shenon, were he not given the privilege of mass-media access while far superior books can not get a single book review in all the United States. Shenon took on nothing. He shied away from a debate. But mediated debates on this topic are simply not allowed.

  17. How many forums devolve into character assassination and credentials one up-manship? Anyone studying the trajectory of this particular discussion will recognize the methods, but of greater concern is that this site frequently provides the foil for what is in danger of becoming a parlor game rather than a vehicle to resolve the investigation into the assassination of a US president.

  18. Jeff,

    The responses here to your post illustrate the problem with a “fair and balanced” website on a controversial subject.

    Face it. There are three camps. Ardent deniers. Ardent supporters. Ardent truth seekers.

    I put you in the third camp. A truth seeker.

    A truth seeker samples everything.

  19. To stick to one point, I think many academics do get frustrated with one another, and that frustration often manifests itself as rude or snide remarks. Regardless of what one thinks of JD’s credentials, and I do think he has written worthy work on the JFK assassination, I find his tone to be someone brusk. In general, the tendency in scholarship, even given the fact that everyone is subject to human emotions, is to write as professionally as possible, and snide remarks and insults should generally be avoided. On that account, and regardless of the fact that Jim’s arguments may be the stronger, I do agree with Jeff and find the tone of some of these debates to be somewhat off-putting.

  20. For the record, I have three college degrees.

    My last degree was an M.A. in Contemporary American History from Cal State Northridge. My faculty advisers on the MA project were Professors Paul Koistenon and Ron Davis. I thought about getting my Ph.D. in history. But after talking to Paul a long time about the employment shake up taking place in colleges due to several factors–some schools phasing out Western Civ, the beginning of the online courses–I decided it did not make economic sense to do so.

    Its simply not true that CTKA, or myself, does not read books from the other side. I wrote a whole book about Reclaiming History, and I wrote a ten part series on Bugliosi. I also did a critique of Posner’s book. Shenon’s book also says Oswald did it. CTKA reviews almost everything.

    1. God knows I’m tired. Tired of all of the lies, the deception, the obvious CIA shills. I’m also tired because it’s almost 1.50am in England. Nevertheless, I will say, thank you to Mr Di Eugenio, with apologies for the incorrect lower case d in his name.
      Thank you Sooooo much Jim. Keep fighting the good fight. You know we’ll win, in the end.

    2. Thanks for clearing that up. Probably won’t be enough for a double Ph.D. I remember being told in the course of getting my one little BBA that a diploma is not worth the ink written on it without some common sense. This thread also made me think of an article I read years ago about people with GED’s. A Judge, Senator’s, a Governor, a Physician (Surgeon General), and even MSM standby’s a Parade Editor and dear old Peter Jennings.
      I’ve read your posts on another site and you have stepped on a few toes, in response to BS and personal attacks. I’ve read Destiny Betrayed, The Assassinations, and CTKA on a regular basis (just in the last year or so). Though my opinion may carry little weight I find your work enlightening, relevant and penetrating. As far as reading the other side I think some posters on here need to read some of what for them is the other side. One of my Daughter’s friend’s dad some how ended up with a copy of Parkland which she brought home. So I’ll watch it. Something I would have not paid to do based on many reviews. I’m ordering Reclaiming Parkland tomorrow based on reviews of it and Reclaiming History. I thank you for your work which I believe, as is Mr. Morley’s, an Honorable Service to the people of The United States of America.

    3. Jim DiEugenio,

      If your credentials are pertinent to the facts that you have uncovered relating to the assassination, then your readiness to share your CV is important. Otherwise, shouldn’t your decades-long commitment stand for itself. If we revere credentials, then likewise shouldn’t we scrutinize the family histories (that inevitably influence agenda) and/or the CV’s of leading researchers up to and including those with deep affiliations to the very system we are suspecting, i.e. the Washington Post?

      Tens of thousands (hopefully more) of Americans are adamant that the investigation into the assassination of Kennedy be resolved; however, a large percentage are not in a position, nor are they inclined to do their own research. This is where the issue of credentials seems to enter the dynamic.

      Americans are conditioned to look to the very academic system that has covered up the assassination for five decades. Where is that line drawn? A Yale historian trumps a historian from Duke University, but a historian from Duke certainly trumps one from West Texas State University, and that historian clearly trumps one from South Dakota Community College; ergo, only a Yalie interested in the Kennedy assassination (if only we could find one) can be trusted, regardless of the drivel they produce?

      With reference to CTKA, one cannot help but reflect on the exchange last October on this site involving in particular Lisa Pease. While the debate appeared to be somewhat congenial (Pease later insisted that she and Morley had a nice exchange in Dallas on 11/22), the undertow and outcome were less than satisfactory for those of us that advocate strongly that Lee Harvey Oswald was set up as a patsy. If I understand what Jeff Morley was arguing at the time, it was simply that the CIA was guilty of nothing more than malfeasance or misfeasance – a failure to stop Oswald in Dallas.

      It would be worrisome indeed if this particular and albeit somewhat veiled attack on Jim DiEugenio resulted in yet another high profile (via Jeff Morley/jfkfacts) derision of the long-term efforts of CTKA. Watch for patterns.

      We should all be concerned that momentum is building to establish a Citizens version of the Warren Commission.

      1. “Americans are conditioned to look to the very academic system that has covered up the assassination for five decades.”

        The academic system has been covering up the assassination for decades? How do you arrive at that conclusion?

        “We should all be concerned that momentum is building to establish a Citizens version of the Warren Commission.”

        I really don’t see a lot of evidence to support this claim.

        1. “The academic system has been covering up the assassination for decades? How do you arrive at that conclusion?”

          If you can cite for me in broad terms the estimated number of academic publications that insist that we still do not know the truth behind the assassination, I will withdraw that statement.

          “I really don’t see a lot of evidence to support this claim.”

          I base my concerns on the reactions I read on this site to the proposal that a consensus be reached among certain select researchers. And I have a sense the proposal is gaining momentum among popular researchers behind the scenes as I do not read any in that community speaking out on this site.

          As I have said elsewhere, I do not believe a murder case can be resolved by consensus; that is precisely what the Warren Commission presented the nation, and it has failed to put the issue to rest. I advocate for a criminal trial by jury, albeit perhaps posthumous.

          1. “If you can cite for me in broad terms the estimated number of academic publications that insist that we still do not know the truth behind the assassination, I will withdraw that statement.”

            That’s not really the point I was making, however, off the top of my head i’d guess it would have to close to, if not, zero. Publications aside, no doubt there are academics who hold opposing views.

            Is that really a “cover up” though? I struggle to believe that’s the case. If you’re referring to some kind of active suppression of dissenting views or collusion to avoid the topic I’m really not sure that is an accurate depiction of the situation.

            I understand it’s the norm in conspiracy theorist circles to assume that the absence of discussion automatically equates to some form of oppression, but I don’t necessarily think that’s true.

            “As I have said elsewhere, I do not believe a murder case can be resolved by consensus; that is precisely what the Warren Commission presented the nation, and it has failed to put the issue to rest. I advocate for a criminal trial by jury, albeit perhaps posthumous.”

            I’m not sure the case will ever be settled to the satisfaction of conspiracy theorists or how that could actually be achieved.

            The question of investigations, trials, and so on, aside, a useful step for all involved at this point in time would be the release of the remaining withheld documents. Whether that might lead to anything else is hard to say.

          2. Could it be that serious researchers at academic institutions with advanced degrees and evidence of scholarship and real qualifications have found no credible evidence to support the conspiracy viewpoint?
            If you have cancer, who do you want to treat it- a board- certified oncologist or your plumber who claims to be an expert in the subject because he wrote something that was posted online?

          3. The cover up in my view began with the allegation that Lee Harvey Oswald alone shot President Kennedy: ergo, any who espouse that theory, from the Warren Commission to the plumber, participate in the cover up, in my view, witting or not.

            There were and are mountains of contradictions in the evidence against Oswald, and anyone serious about the investigation would revisit the entire case in light of new research, This effort should include credentialed academicians.

            The argument that because no other assailants have been identified is proof that Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president is simply absurd, and goes against the grain of our justice system.

            Photon, consider you were being accused of the crime. Would you accept a guilty verdict based on “well Photon, we just couldn’t find anyone else that was guilty, so you’re it.” Also, you live in an isolated world if you have such disdain for the common man’s intellect and or contribution to our society which in this case, includes a search for the truth behind the assassination of our president.

          4. ” . . . how that could actually be achieved.”

            D. Olmens: Perhaps that would be a worthwhile exercise, to consider specifically, and seriously how that might be achieved.

            “The question of investigations, trials, and so on, aside, a useful step for all involved at this point in time would be the release of the remaining withheld documents. Whether that might lead to anything else is hard to say.”

            I agree, but as I said in another comment, the very act itself will have ramifications.

    4. James DiEugenio:
      There is no need for you to list your resume or degrees here or anywehere. As lawyers like to say – res ipsa loquiter -the thing(s) speaks for itself. Your reviews of the literature and your two books DESTINY and RECLAIMING speak eloquently of your intelligence, scholarship, writing style and ability to provide historical context.
      I am not alone in thinking you a public intellectual of the highest grade and since the deaths of Vidal and Buckley and Mailer, Sontag and others, we have missed capable voices. Legions of historians, lawyers,corporate communication officers and editors from all fields could learn about writing by reading your work.

      Your dedication to reaching a wide audience by writing clearly and contexually while speaking publically, seems far superior as a life and work choice, than joining the underemploued PhDs who publish books no one reads in order to stay stay employed.At least to me.

      All the pedigreed crowd did was to “lay the dust” as McCloy said. James Reston – sitting in Virginia – solved the case over the weekend. Hey! He’s with the NY Times!! Carl Berststein’s great Rolling Stone article on Project Mockingbird should have shut down the pedigree express, but prejudice is hard to let go.
      So called historians like Manchester or Dalleck or Reeves–competent on many points of the JFK years, miss his death by a mile. David Talbot’s book provides a missing context the others shirked. James Douglas’ book–scholarly, logical, well written, will, along with authors like you – will be the historians the future will read. Now THAT’S a lot better legacy than kissing a lot of a– to climb the tenure polr, rh?

    5. Why does your Dusquesne Conference biography list you as an ” economics and history teacher” ?
      Do you have a degree in economics? A teaching certificate? You like to claim that the Single Bullet Theory is completely fictitious , yet where is your background in ballistics, physics and medicine to impeach that theory that has been supported by degreed experts in those fields?
      For instance, Luis Alvarez was a Nobel Prize winning physicist and expert in the motion of matter and one of the most brilliant men ever produced by this country. Why should I ignore his reason why JFK’s head moved back after the round passed through Kennedy’s skull and accept your version when I don’t see any evidence that you took any courses in ballistics or even elementary physics- kinematics ? Why should I accept your interpretation of the autopsy when aside from Dr. Wecht you would be hard- pressed to find other forensic pathologists who disagree with the findings? As you have never even seen an autopsy how would you even know what the procedures were?

      1. What qualifies you, Bugliosi, Posner, John McAdams and others to speak authoritatively on the Medical or ballistics evidence?

        If you’re arguing that people should stick to their areas of expertise, doesn’t that rule out most of the stuff written by pro-Warren Report authors?

        The SBT is plausible under certain conditions. The problem is, the doubt surrounding the locations of the wounds, the photographic evidence, the James Tague wound, and the condition of CE399 suggest that the conditions which make the SBT plausible may not have been present on 11/22/63.

        It doesn’t take a forensic scientist or medical professional to recognize these problems or notice the inability of experts over the past 50 years to reconcile the problems with the evidence.

      2. Alvarez spent his career being employed by the military-industrial complex. No one had ever head of such nonsense as the “jet effect” before he developed it.

        Watch this video starting at 8:10 and see if the jet effect happens on real human heads:

        1. Can you give a single example of Luis Alvarez working for the Military Industrial Complex?
          Your very violent video shows NECK shots, the standard method of Japanese executions that didn’t use a sword.

          1. And if they’re being shot in the neck, where is all the brain matter coming from? You can see it flying up and forward.

            Why would anyone execute a person by shooting them in the neck? The Japanese cut heads off with swords; they didn’t shoot them in the neck.

        2. Ramon F Herrera

          “No one had ever head of such nonsense as the “jet effect” before he developed it. ”

          Actually, the jet effect is real, but it only happens under very specific conditions.

          For starters, a human head is not a melon.

          The jet effect has been widely discredited and the LN’s only refuge is the “neurological damage”.

  21. Overall, Shenon’s book struck me as not an honest or thorough piece of investigative journalism. Time and again, he discusses issues that have long been intensely controversial, without any reference to the controversy. In many places, he seems to have just uncritically copied down some exculpatory just-so stories told by the younger Warren Commission lawyers who were his main sources. That isn’t journalism, it’s stenography. Since he’s chosen not to defend his conclusions with any depth or rigor, as a result his interpretations of many events don’t carry much weight. It just feels like a stage magician forcing his chosen card.

    Contrast this with DiEugenio, who frequently includes extended digressions in his work, which serve to fill out the backgrounds of the topics he’s discussing. This tends to bring the nature of the controversies into clearer focus. I don’t always agree with DiEugenio’s conclusions. But at least he explains the controversies in enough detail so that I can refer to dissenting work and weigh his views against my own–even when I feel he may be overly strident in his own argumentation. By contrast, if Shenon were your only source, you wouldn’t even know which topics are contentious.

    The problem, then, isn’t that Shenon reaches conclusions I disagree with, but that he doesn’t seem to have bothered considering alternative interpretations with enough care to make his own views compelling. Despite the atmospherics of conspiracy and a handful of minor revelations, his book is one-sided, hit-and-run hack journalism. Ironically, the main thing that I got out of it was that the Warren Commission had absolutely no idea what was going on–and wasn’t terribly curious to find out. And neither, it seems, was Shenon. If this is the best that a professional reporter can come up with in this day and age, its no wonder that newspapers are dying. I’ll take a good committed outsider like DiEugenio over Shenon and his constricted, inside-the-beltway mindset any day of the week.

  22. I believe Jim DiEugenio has earned the right to be placed in the international treasure category with his critical work on the JFK murder case. In each of his reviews & critiques I obtain an education because Jim will not only call an author out for doing sloppy research but will correct it. This saves me the misery of stumbling through the work on my own & I appreciate it immensely, so does my wallet.

    Mr. DiEugenio’s latest online essay spells out what JFK authors should avoid if they want a favorable review from him. As a historian, he has the bar set extremely high; he wouldn’t be a good historian if he didn’t do so. The media avoids him as if he has a contagious, deadly disease because he reeks of knowledge & truth in my opinion. With all the propaganda broadcast on TV a couple months & more to come in September with the 50th anniversary of the Warren Report ago Jim’s plate if pretty full this year.

    1. Jim DiEugenio is not a historian. He is a single topic writer with a lot of opinions. His work is neither widely read nor widely published. He may be many things, but he’s not a historian.

      “DiEugenio’s latest online essay spells out what JFK authors should avoid if they want a favorable review from him. As a historian…”

      That, right there, is pretty much everything that’s wrong with DiEugenio’s work. Tell him what he wants to hear and he’ll agree with you. That’s not a historian.

      “The media avoids him as if he has a contagious, deadly disease because he reeks of knowledge & truth in my opinion.”

      The media avoids DiEugenio because he has no credibility, has no idea what he’s talking about and his work is hopelessly unbalanced.

      1. I think JD’s approach has some faults (getting way too personal, etc), and I’m not sure I’d put any of his books on my personal top 10 list (though Destiny Betrayed is pretty good, and I like his ctka site). But the fact that he’s not a historian is hardly one of his faults! The JFK assassination topic is a massive indictment of the History profession generally.

        Some in the media may find him prickly, but the media in general avoids this whole subject, for reasons we’ve discussed ad nauseum. It has little at all to do with JD.

      2. Does the media pay any attention to Gerald McKnight, Professor Emeritus of History at Hood College? No. How much more “credibility” does he need for them to treat his book BREACH OF TRUST seriously? Does he need to belong to an Ivy League university or write a column for a corporate media outlet?

        The elitist attitude that you and other defenders of official history have is one of the reasons why more and more Americans aren’t listening to it anymore. The elite opinion makers are the ones who have no credibility.

        History does not belong only to professionals who have a degree on their wall. I’ve been studying history most of my 46 years. It is a field open to anyone who can read and think for themselves. Some of the “professional” historians are shameful plagiarists with agendas to push, their books are filled with errors and omissions, and they are little more than re-writes of other historians’ works.

        1. Would you want the guy replacing your hip to have a degree in Medicine or Osteopathy or to have a degree in Dentristry?

          1. What? Do you really think that’s the same thing, Photon? Studying history is really in the same league as performing surgery on people?

          2. Apples and oranges.

            Anyone can write a book on any topic. If the book isn’t academically or factually sound, it will not hold up under critical and professional scrutiny. So far I’ve seen plenty of attacks on DiEugenio’s personality and educational background but no attempts to point out where he has been factually wrong in stuff he’s written. Which makes your criticism seem shallow.

          3. Uh, Photon, if I were having hip replacement surgery, I wouldn’t want an osteopath performing it. The dentist actually would be a better bet, especially if he’s an oral surgeon (remember how I enlightened you on that subject a number of weeks ago?). I assume you meant to say “Orthopedics.”

            Not doing Old PBK all that proud in this comment thread, I must say. 😉

          4. Hold it Paul. (Back to why I call him that later.)

            Isn’t JFK’s murder part of modern American History? Isn’t that may area of study? Are you saying it would be better if my field was the history of Germany? Or colonial US History? Or maybe Renaissance history?

            Now, why do I have to make such elementary school distinctions? Because I have been alerted that my suspicions were correct. Photon is actually Paul May. And he has been exposed as such both here and on JFK Murder Solved. The reason is that Paul May is an “Oswald did it” zealot who goes around the web making snide remarks about me anywhere I post e.g. Consortium News, etc. He has been overexposed which is why he uses a false name. In other words, once you see his real name, you understand everything that will follow. If I had known this at the start, I would never have even bothered to reply.

          5. I’ve heard more nonsense than I can recall in years of following JFK assassination research, but “Photon’s” questioning of Jim’s educational background nearly takes the cake. Is he implying that we would have to believe Jim if he had been graduated magna instead of summa? And what universities exactly would make the list of those qualified to provide sufficiently “trained” scholars? Yale, which produced George W. Bush? An intelligent reader assesses works of history on the basis of their treatment of material he knows to be fact, the quality of the sources consulted, and the relationship of his productions to other highly-regarded works on the topic — not whether the author has six doctorates from Harvard.

      3. D. Olmens,

        Jeff has given you freedom to write here, which is his prerogative.

        I ask that you attack DiEugenio’s research and conclusions head on rather than attacking him as a person.

        I’m open minded, but I like a fair fight.

      4. What a damn disgraceful thing to say about Mr di Eugenio. “His work is neither widely read nor widely published”. Never in the wide world! A “conspiracy theorist” whose work never gets read nor published? Who’d have thought it? You’re kidding me, right\?

      5. Can you please look at my essay, “JFK’s Embrace of Third World Nationalism”?

        Please show me anyone who has written anything like that e.g. Kurtz, McKnight, Newman?

        It is not about he assassination at all.

        Also, take a look at all essays and critiques I did for Bob Parry, including his book.

        There goes your single topic.

        My stuff is not well read? How do you have access to the stats for my site and Bob Parry’s site?

        Your last comment avoids the fact that at the anniversary, I had five invitation to be on the MSM, including KABC and KTLA in LA. I decided to go to Dallas instead. My agent was not happy.

        Again, we should use less invective and more primary sourcing here.

        1. “Can you please look at my essay, “JFK’s Embrace of Third World Nationalism”? Please show me anyone who has written anything like that e.g. Kurtz, McKnight, Newman? It is not about he assassination at all.”

          To say it’s “off topic” is a bit of a stretch. It’s essentially the same situation as conspiracy theorists returning again and again to the question of JFK withdrawing from Vietnam. The military-industrial complex theories for example do not make sense if you don’t view JFK, his actions and beliefs in a particular way. That essay is just more of the same, it’s an attempt to bolster a particular view of JFK because in turn it lends weight to conspiracy theories about the assassination. It’s transparently obvious what you’re trying to do there.

          “My stuff is not well read? How do you have access to the stats for my site and Bob Parry’s site?”

          Website analytics is the metric you’d prefer to use to measure the width of your audience? I’m not sure that’s the best way to get a sense of the bigger picture. Looking at this a bit more broadly, how is your work viewed outside of conspiracy theorist circles? I’m yet to come across any of your writing on a non-assassination related topic in a non-conspiracy theorist context.

          “Your last comment avoids the fact that at the anniversary, I had five invitation to be on the MSM, including KABC and KTLA in LA. I decided to go to Dallas instead. My agent was not happy.”

          Although perfectly understandable, that is a shame, because I would have been interested to see how your views were received and responded to on the MSM. The quantity of offers also seems to rather contradict the frequent and enduring claims of conspiracy theorists that they’re shut out of the MSM.

          “Again, we should use less invective and more primary sourcing here.”

          Have you ever listened to yourself on BlackOpRadio? I understand it’s a pro-conspiracy context, a relaxed and informal setting, and there might be an opportunity to get a bit over-enthusiastic at times, but even so…

          1. Please do not say that my “JFK’s Embrace of Third World Nationalism” was about Vietnam. Because then I will think you did not read it.

            It was not about Vietnam. It was about its title. And it concentrated on places like Africa, Egypt, the Middle East and Laos. With a wide variety of sources. Again, you should use less invective and more primary sourcing.

            The Consortium is not at all related to JFK Assassination theories. And I am published there regularly on a wide variety of topics, which apparently you are not familiar with. Again, you should check on this before writing.

            You want to have it both ways. Now, you say that because I was invited on a few places at the 50th, the critics are not shut out of the MSM. Again, you have apparently not read Pat Speer’s article The Onslaught at You should. It is a micro study of exactly what happened at the time. If not, you are guilty of doing the same thing you say our side does.

            As per your last comment, I think it comes more from you just having to listen to all that info you do not really like. Even if its accurate.

        2. Were KABC and KTLA going to give you an honorarium ?
          I am sure that your message would have gotten out to more people had you been seen on TV in LA than to a handful of true believers willing to pay to see you.
          Isn’t your agent’s comment a confirmation of D. Olmens’ point?

          1. Nathaniel Heidenheimer

            KTLA honorarium’s are reserved for former Chiefs of Police LAPD. No wait that would be news-anchor. I allude to the transformation of Tom Reddin between 1968-and 1969. His metamorphosis was,perhaps forshadowed by an awfully curious cover story on Tom in the July 19th 1968 cover story.

            Interesting time for the world’s only journalistic depiction of the LAPD as liberal. A sense of conflict of interest like that might suggest the range of KTLA honoraria.

  23. Let’s say it becomes clear from now hidden CIA files that the CIA was monitoring, maybe even manipulating, Oswald in the last year, months, or weeks of his life.

    As I understand, Shenon believes it’s most important for the American people to know what the CIA and FBI knew about Oswald. I understand you agree, Jeff.

    Well, if it becomes clear from the now-secret files that the CIA was in fact paying very close attention to Oswald, that pretty much would get the CIA as an organization off the hook for the assassination. What tends to incriminate the CIA today is what’s known. In particular, the Joannides cover-up and the Mexico City deception. (Deception, because there is no unequivocal set of facts that place Oswald in Mexico City in late September-early October 1963; just some murky and highly suspicious hints.)

    What the secret files likely would suggest, in my estimation, is what many Warren Critics have posited: that Oswald, who apparently was easily manipulated, was lured off track and set up by a rogue CIA officer; a CIA operative thoroughly knowledgeable in CIA agent handling methods.

  24. With all due respect Jeff i do not agree with you.
    If we all agree that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and someone comes along and tries to pursuade us that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, should we be kind to him just because he fas a different analyis of the fact than we, or should we point him his error and send him back to school to study again?
    Would you ever be able to pursuade people who think different than us? Not in a million years because they have an agenda.
    PS. Photon you can do better than this,instead of smearing DiEugenio’s character and personality try to present some real arguments, you are intelligent enough.This is an old trick, does not work anymore.

    1. Yes, but if the CIA made it look like the sun set in the East one day and entire the US government agreed and if you suffered personal and professional repercussions for challenging it, well then…

      I just think Jeff needs to make solving the JFK assassination a Kickstarter project. Crowd-fund this puppy! I guarantee you his credibility in the case will draw thousands of donations.

  25. The problem is Shenon’s inability to realize that the ballistic and forensic evidence in this case is totally untrustworthy. To accept it as kosher means putting your faith in J. Edgar Hoover, the Dallas police and others that no one in his right mind should trust. Look how many people were framed during the term of Dallas DA Henry Wade:

    “No other county in America — and almost no state, for that matter — has freed more innocent people from prison in recent years than Dallas County, where Wade was DA from 1951 through 1986.”

    It’s a paradigm shift that most people in the mainstream media either can’t or won’t make – in other countries, a person might be framed for killing a head of state, but it can’t happen here! As long as a person labors under the misapprehension that Oswald was the assassin, they will never understand what really happened.

  26. The fact that so many believe that DiEugenio is a more competent source than Shenon says volumes about the gullibility of much of the conspiracy community.
    What exactly is DiEugenio’s educational background and what exactly does he do besides “research”? Is he gainfully employed? Does he have a job? For the life of me I don’t see how he can stay solvent without the JFK conspiracy crowd buying up his books and paying his speaker fees, whatever they may be. Having listened to him I find him disconcertingly emotional and at times even delusional – of course that may simply be a personality trait, but he has an unfortunate tendency to ridicule people and perceptions that he does not agree with. Perhaps that is because he has a limited ability to deal with real opposition to his views on a logical basis.
    Of course , Shenon. has a career aside from this topic.

    1. Jim di Eugenio has forgotten more about the JFK assassination than 99& of us will ever know. His educational background is simply irrelevant. He can be as secretive as some other people from the “other side” if he so wishes.

      I have often wondered what some people from the “other side” do for a living, as they seem to be on You Tube at every turn, dispelling the “conspiracy myth”. If they are so comfortable with their “truth”, why not just go away and let us get on with our business?

      1. “Jim di Eugenio has forgotten more about the JFK assassination than 99& of us will ever know. His educational background is simply irrelevant. He can be as secretive as some other people from the “other side” if he so wishes.”

        Forgotten more than most of us will ever know? Every time I hear that argument I’m always puzzled as to why that might be a good thing. In the case of DiEugenio, I think the bit he’s forgotten is how to write something balanced.

        “I have often wondered what some people from the “other side” do for a living, as they seem to be on You Tube at every turn, dispelling the “conspiracy myth”. If they are so comfortable with their “truth”, why not just go away and let us get on with our business?”

        Because you’re wrong. But to give a more detailed reply…

        It’s quite simple really. We’re all contractors employed by the CIA, and in a larger sense the shadow world government. We get paid $10 per comment. Every week, first thing monday morning the local Masonic Lodge Master sends us by email a list of the week’s talking points and recommended responses to circulate. The list of topics and recommended comments varies according to whatever’s in the news so that our comments are always in sync with the line pushed by the mainstream media. That’s it in a nutshell. There are various incentive schemes, employee award programs, and so on, not to mention free membership at the local Masonic Lodge, annual holidays at Roswell and other classified government facilities, but that’s how it all works in general sense. In the past we were required to wear Masonic Robes while posting, but I’m not sure everyone does that anymore. The shadow world government is becoming a bit more relaxed about stuff like that.

        All jokes aside, I would imagine the motivation varies from person to person.

        1. Despite D. Olmens’ snarky answer, here’s Cass Sustein’s very real proposal:

          “Government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action.”

          In 2010, Cass Sustein was head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for the Obama administration.

          Glenn Greenwald discusses it here

          1. It’s not so difficult to imagine intelligence agencies like CIA trying to work the media domestically (Operation Mockingbird) to bend or brainwash the public into complacency. You don’t want dissent from an aroused rabble! That kind of democratic impulse threatens your secretive workings.

            With the decline of newspapers and the scattered influence of television news, as more people turn to the internet and to blogs and websites for information, it’s hardly a stretch of the imagination to think of CIA infiltrating these blogs and chat rooms. As Phillip Agee wrote forty years ago, CIA is VERY GOOD at infiltration of the media. Look at what these agencies do, not at what they say. It’s naive to think they just roll over and die when the public demands accountability of them, something they don’t want.

          2. There was no snark there Bill, that’s your interpretation. It was humour, which doesn’t always translate well on the Internet I will admit.

            In your reply I think the key word is “proposal”. As mentioned in another thread, let’s see some evidence that this became actual policy before we start jumping to conclusions.

    2. No one seems to be questioning Shenon’s competence as a journalist. At most, Shenon is being called dishonest. I haven’t read Shenon’s book so I’ll reserve judgement on whether or not it’s an honest book.

      DiEugenio’s emotional and persuasive writing style is similar to that of Paul Krugman of the NY Times who also is criticized for not being civil towards his peers in the media or the political elite.

      The mood in America today is a high level of distrust and anger towards institutions like the Federal government and mainstream media. While I feel that we can all disagree without being disrespectful towards people who don’t share our views, there’s room for folks like DiEugenio and Krugman who call out the elites when they deserve to be called out.

    3. Are you serious photon? You’re ridiculing JD, are you not? Why don’t you give some factual examples of him being wrong, instead of the ad homenim BS. You keep going on about this, but his educational background is totally irrelevant. He can obviously read and write well, so who cares.

      1. “He can obviously read and write well, so who cares.”

        That’s setting the bar pretty low.

        Photon is right though, DiEugenio has no intellectual credentials to back up his work.

        1. I’d say having several books published on this subject is a decent credential, not to mention all the reviews and other content he’s produced. The appeal to credentials is a rather obvious logical fallacy (though I’m pretty sure he does in fact have a college degree). Besides, plenty of well credentialed people have produced absolute drivel on the topic at hand.

          If you want to attack him, attack him for being wrong about something he’s written about. Surely that won’t be hard, right?

        2. He has a degree in Contemporary American History from Cal State.

          I’ll grant you that his academic credentials aren’t very extensive, but I don’t see how that takes away from DiEugenio’s credibility as a writer. He’s obviously spent a great deal of his life researching the Kennedy assassination and can speak more authoritatively on it than most people. I’m certain that he’s spent more time researching the topic than Shenon.

    4. “What exactly is DiEugenio’s educational background and what exactly does he do besides ‘research’? Is he gainfully employed? Does he have a job?. . . Having listened to him I find him disconcertingly emotional and at times even delusional – of course that may simply be a personality trait, but he has an unfortunate tendency to ridicule people and perceptions that he does not agree with.”

      Substitute “Photon” for “DiEugenio,” and we have an excellent description of how most posters at this site probably feel about you. So far as we know, you don’t do anything except post on this website. 😉

      If you want to challenge his bona fides, why don’t you do some research into his background and demonstrate why he’s unqualified to be writing about the Kennedy assassination, instead of posting this empty-minded, drive-by-shooting style attack? Or do a dispassionate explication of something DiEugenio has actually written, and leave out the bile and spittle (if you can). As usual, nothing but ad hominem attacks, not even well-executed.

      1. I am a Phi Beta Kappa with 2 cum laude degrees- I consider educational history significant; its absence suggests that a “researcher” may not know enough about the subject he claims to be an expert about than any other layman.
        DiEugenio has claimed in the past that Governor and Mrs. Connolly were not hit by blood and brain tissue from JFK’s head wound. That is not true and goes to the heart of his inability to accept the true nature of JFK’s wounds.

          1. You are free to contact either of my faculty advisers.

            That is why I named them. Both of those guys dealt with US History, whereas the other profs dealt with European and Russian history when I was there. Paul’s are of concentration was contemporary US history which is why I studied chiefly under him, but also Ron Davis for the economics aspect.

            I gave you more than enough information for that.

        1. Congratulations. If true (where did you acquire those degrees and were they magna or summa), maybe you’d like to explain why your posts are so full of invective and so light on source material. For example, please direct us to where we might find that DiEugenio statement about whether the Connollys were not spattered by blood and brain tissue and also explain why it makes a difference whether they were.

          I have never seen you back up your claims when challenged. Come on, it can’t be that hard! Just pretend your defending a thesis/dissertation.

          1. I graduated summa cum laude.

            But i fail to see where you have made your case for my posts being full of invective and little back up. See, one of the first things you learn under Paul and Ron is how to trace a statement and where it came from.

            You are using something someone else said about me. And its not an objective source. Almost anyone here can tell you that my books are very heavily sourced. In fact, the last two books have a combined 4,000 footnotes. And even though I disagree with VInce Bugliosi, please show me where I used invective against him? I will match the frequency of annotation and the use of primary sources in my books with anyone.

            The specific quote you are using comes from someone else. Therefore, should you not ask him to produce it first?

          2. Dear Jim,

            My comment was directed at Photon, or whatever his name is. Sorry, perhaps I replied to the wrong comment. I’m a big fan of yours, a frequent reader of the terrific material at CTKA, and I apologize if I accidentally clicked on the Reply to one of your comments instead of his. Take a look at my other comments in this thread for an idea of what I think w/r/t this issue.

    5. What about your background? Who are you? At least we know who Jim Di Eugenio is. Can’t say the same about somebody who hides behind a non de plume.

  27. While I agree that there should be more civility overall, I can understand DiEuginio’s frustration with Mainstream Media types like Shenon. Some of those folks deserve to be called out.

    1. Ramon F Herrera

      At the root of all these confrontations and diatribes, we have a simple cause: The lack of information.

      This is specially frustrating to us CTs, since the folks in the other camp -the LNs- are satisfied and not interested in anything new. After all, the WC stated the definite, lasting truth, according to them.

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