The bi-annual comment letter

JFK Facts welcomes comments. We seek to provide a forum for all sides in this important historical issue to air their views. But we do have some guidelines we endeavor to adhere to, especially in the realms of length and content. We feel the need to remind readers from time to time.

Length: comments exceeding 500 words will not be approved (even those very engrossing ones).

Decorum: it’s likely no surprise that comment sections have become the bane of many a website, even for the most innocuous of subjects. Many publishers have decided to forgo them altogether rather than try to police the invective that invariably arises. JFK Facts certainly has had issues with this phenomenon, especially given the subject matter.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we have little patience for rude, condescending or patronizing language, and reserve the right to refuse service to any commenter on that score. That said, moderating is a highly subjective exercise, so things may get by one day that won’t get by the next, etc. We are only human — not algorithms.

The idea is to keep the conversation going, and sometimes we err on the side of allowing that conversation even if it crosses other lines. Truth be told, comment approval comes largely from the gut: that is, we know it when we see it, whether it be tone, language, straying far off topic or simply beating a dead horse. Even then we probably err on allowing too much.

Both sides in this debate have demonstrated that civil discourse is possible. (Jean Davison is a shining example of someone who, even in the face of fierce disagreement, always rises above and just addresses the issues; she doesn’t let it get personal.)  Both sides have also shown how petty and, frankly, juvenile the discourse can get.

If your comment isn’t approved immediately, please be patient. Also, for the handful of you who have the moderators’ email addresses, please refrain from contacting us if you don’t like how we’ve handled something. (You can always talk to us via the comment section.) As we’ve said, this is about continuing the conversation; and while we have our own strong ideas about the subject we make an effort not to take sides when it comes to comments. We see it partly as an exercise in crowd sourcing: we all get to watch while the readers hash it out. And ultimately we have hopefully learned something. But it’s not always a pretty process.

A final observation: we can guess why the majority of readers are here: because they were never comfortable with the official version of how and why the 35th president of the United States was killed. But, we’ve been curious about what motivates the defenders of the official story. A few of them are ever ready to pounce on and smother even the slightest spark of doubt or question of the official story. Are you here to set what you consider to be the record straight? Because of an animus towards people who question the government? What motivates you?

40 thoughts on “The bi-annual comment letter”

  1. Motivation to come here? It’s the best source of open discourse on the subject available on the internet and it addresses the single most important issue that might have an impact on revealing the truth at this point in time. FREETHEFILES.

  2. I think the moderation works well on this site. I don’t see any pressing need for drastic changes and I thank the moderators for keeping comments open and allowing discussions to take place.

    I have two suggestions which might help discussions flow more smoothly.

    1. A notification by email when one of your comments is published.
    2. A notification by email when a comment is published in reply to one of your comments.

    The regularity of posts appearing on this site and the occasional re-posting can make it challenging at times to keep track of the conversations you’re involved in. Hence a simple system of notifications might be helpful.

    On a non-moderation related point, the only other suggestion I have is a mobile responsive design. Having said that, I do understand that time and resources are likely constrained.

  3. Jeff Morley & staff:

    I find the ‘topic agitator’ comments a handy preview of what’s being discussed on other JFK Forums with a reputation as being home bases for a brotherhood of devout ‘Oswald did it’ disciples. This saves me from wasting time visiting those other sites because usually what I find the agitators attacking here at JFK Facts is also gearing up at competing websites. A case in point: Photon’s recent attack on the credibility of Bill Kelly & Ed Primeau’s analysis of the AF-1 audio tape being the victim of editing is just now kicking into gear at McAdams & crew at alt.assassination.jfk when a few days ago there was nothing. As annoying as it is at times I remind myself that this is the way our court system works with both a prosecution & a defense at each other’s throats each step of any trial. If I can keep that thought in mind it doesn’t bother me that agitators post here, in fact I’m beginning to find it healthy. I also keep in mind my suspicion that nothing would make said brotherhood happier than to see Jeff Morley’s efforts crash & burn. Balancing fire is something not everyone is good at & that makes me respect Jeff Morley & his staff all the more for trying.

  4. As someone who has been in the middle of the JFK internet wars for a decade, I highly suggest you adjust your policy regarding anonymity, and number of posts.

    You need to make everyone accountable for their comments. The light that is has already attracted a couple of moths who are more than willing to chime in on every thread, whether they have anything to add or not. Anyone posting more than, let’s say a comment a week, should be required to use their real name.

    Similarly, you should put a limit on how many posts one person can make per day.

  5. If I could use the following example:

    Comment made by Photon: (note the references to ‘board certifications, gold standard, and {credentialing}’)

    Photon says: “The body was not removed illegally. The local D.A. authorized the removal and Earl Rose accepted his authority to do so. If you do not believe that board certification of physicians is the gold standard for establishing expertise there is little point in engaging you further on this topic as you obviously do not understand modern medical education and credentialing.”

    Fact: following is a quote including in a statement made by Mayor Earle Cabell in 1967:

    “The other legal obstacle to the removal of the body from the premises and from the state was the fact that state law prohibits the removal of a body from the state where death was due to violent causes without a release signed by either the Governor of the state, the Lieutenant Governor in his absence, the Attorney General of the state or after a coroner’s inquest. The reasoning behind this law, I believe, is obvious to any rational or intelligent person.”

    Cabell continues:

    “Upon being summoned to the conference, the situation was explained and I asked Dr. Rose if he felt that he could conscientiously revert to the older statutes which were still in effect in the smaller communities of the state where there is no Medical Examiner, and accept a release by a qualified Justice of the Peace. I further informed him that I would assume full responsibility for such action on his part.”

    note: President John F. Kennedy had recently fired Dallas Mayor Earle Cabell’s brother, Charles P. Cabell (Deputy Dir. or Operations at the CIA) for his involvement in the failure of the Bay of Pigs operation.

    1. The purpose of presenting the above example was 3 fold:

      1) credentials are relative and to consistently revert to a subjective argument about them without acknowledging it as such is little more than a distraction and often times serves as a smoke screen … were it a one off or even two, three, four off, it could be overlooked, but moderators recognize patterns and this is one that needs to be moderated. Credentials are not an argument. Facts are. Professional opinions relating to eyewitness reliability is not an argument. Facts are.

      2) comments relating to the legality of Kennedy’s body being removed from Dallas, if they are deliberately misleading or erroneous should be vetted under the goals defined by jfkfacts … “we will fact check…” Readers should not be under the impression that fact checking is occurring on this site when in fact only commenters, sticking their necks out – expending time and energy – are carrying that heavy load.

      3) in the instance of the removal of Kennedy’s body from Dallas, a challenge to Photon’s claim currently sits in limbo … by the time it clears customs, Photon’s assertion will have settled into the psyche of the new student.

      1. Right on, Leslie.

        Your point #3 resonates with me. Why should moderators block an accurate challenge to a comment?

        Your second point resonates with me. There is no serious fact checking of comments here; or checking of claims of science, medicine, etc. My feeling is that all that vetting should be left to a free exchange of comments. Readers here, not moderators, should form individual judgments on what’s likely true and what’s likely false.

        Your first point, about credentials, is important. I’ve learned that credentials are often a distraction and meaningless. What counts heavily is knowledge based on experience and good common sense. When it comes to professional expertise, that’s especially true. The proof is always in the pudding.

      2. a challenge to Photon’s claim currently sits in limbo …

        A fair number of my posts end up in limbo.

        I think this is simply a moderator’s oversight, since when I resubmit them they are approved.

        1. John, what is of potential significance is that my comment has now been posted on the original thread (fairly buried but there nonetheless), and the same comment appears currently on this thread, yet I do not get a response from Photon. Obviously it is everyone’s prerogative to abandon a debate, but this pertains to the removal of Kennedy’s body from Dallas so I’m somewhat surprised. I’m open to being corrected.

          1. Leslie,

            I agree with you. Kennedy’a body was removed from Parkland Hospital contrary to Texas law.

            You ask for a rational response from McAcadams or photon. I would too. Given Kennedy’s murder was a violation of Texas and not federal law.

  6. From the beginning of this website and until around the anniversary I was very proud to use, read and promote JFKFacts. I was even one of the early ones who donated money to start the site. However, along with some things leslie talk about I look to and promoted this site because it was the place to get facts. With some of the folks who write here, (moderators know who they are) their goal is to destroy the website, the people who write comments and the truth about the conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy. So make sure the truth is being written about or I’m off of here and I’ll encourage the people I brought to get off of here.

  7. we’ve been curious about what motivates the defenders of the official story.

    Questioning the motives of people who don’t agree there was a conspiracy is not a way of encouraging productive dialogue.

    I’m sure you are aware of all the various ad hominem arguments that can be directed toward conspiracists. What’s sauce for the goose, and all that.

    ever ready to pounce on and smother even the slightest spark of doubt or question of the official story

    Is doubt somehow good, in the absence of evidence? The issue should be evidence.

    You are right that merely scoffing at conspiracies is not productive.

    But then, merely bloviating about the evils of the “official story” or how the Warren Commission was a “cover up” is not productive either.

    1. Dear John. At the risk of violating Mr. Morley’s request, most of the people who read this website believe the Warren Omission is in fact the Warren Fairy tale. They not only ignored testimony, statements, and facts but created lies to obfuscate the Truth. I.E. the fact Arlen Specter created the single bullet “theory” (a “factoid”) with the assistance of Gerald Ford’s movement of the back wound from the 3rd thoracic vertebrae to the neck as one example.

        1. Just look at the picture of the coat and shirt in the National Archives and don’t give me the junk science about bunching up. They are not factoids they are evidence.

        2. “The “Ford moving the wound” thing is a factoid:”

          Factoids, you’ve told us, are invented facts. Something made up. What’s made up about Gerald Ford’s formerly secret editing, which changed text from describing the back wound in the upper-most back to describing the back wound in the back of the base of the neck? Ford made such edit; documentary proof of the edit exists.

          “Ford doubtless thought he was correcting the draft.”

          When his edit (or deception, if one prefers) was revealed late in Ford’s life, he averred he wasn’t trying to re-write history, just to make the meaning of the draft more clear. This was a lie. His edit changed the plain meaning of the draft

          “The autopsy photos are the best evidence of where the wound was, and it was at T1, fully consistent with the Single Bullet Theory.”

          Wrong. In law, there is the “Best Evidence Rule”, which goes like this: Concerning a given matter, courts demand the best available evidence of the matter. The autopsy photos aren’t best evidence; they’re not even evidence. Nor could they be admitted into evidence, given that the HSCA could not match them to the Navy camera known to have taken the autopsy photos. What would be “best evidence” in a trial of Oswald would be Burkeley’s Death Certificate, which says T3. The Death Certificate comes in as best evidence as to back wound location because it is an official government record fully authenticated.

          1. When his edit (or deception, if one prefers) was revealed late in Ford’s life, he averred he wasn’t trying to re-write history, just to make the meaning of the draft more clear. This was a lie. His edit changed the plain meaning of the draft

            You’re ignoring the fact that the draft said “A bullet had entered his back at a point slightly above the shoulder to the right of the spine.”

            Above the shoulder would be in the neck.

            Add to that they fact that Ford had seen the Rydberg drawing.

            As for your “couldn’t match the camera” argument, it’s irrelevant. Apparently the lens had been changed, but the key thing is that the authentication of the photos had nothing to do with matching them to the camera. They were matched to the body of JFK, based on pre-mortem photos.

            Then, of course, the autopsy put the wound 14 cm. below the right mastoid process, and said the passage of the bullet was “suprascapular” and “supraclavicular.” And the lung was not collapsed.

            All that’s consistent with the SBT.

            But you ignore it all and latch onto the one piece of convenient evidence.

          2. The term “factoid” has been around for decades and has been interpreted in different ways. Some use the word (perhaps incorrectly) to denote a small, insignificant fact – a trivial fact, but a fact nonetheless – within a larger story. Example: many years ago I knew a bunch of quail hunters who used the term “factoid” to describe factual quail behavior. In a sense they were saying, “We know these little facts about quail that most people don’t”. The reason I bring it up is because the term isn’t particularly precise.

            Mr. McAdams’ usage implies that a factoid is kind of a myth rather than a fact. To highlight the confusion caused by such an imprecise, frivolous term, here’s some verbatim text from McAdams’ link:

            “A bullet had entered his back at a point slightly above the shoulder to the right of the spine.” Ford’s edits changed the sentence to, “A bullet had entered the back of his neck at a point to the right of the spine.”

            Ford’s wound-moving edit is simply a FACT not a myth. Any literate person can read the two sentences cited above. The “back of his neck” is misleading because there is absolutely no evidence that JFK was wounded there. McAdams goes on to ask whether Ford’s edit was “sinister”. That’s another topic. The location of the BACK wound is controversial only for those who refuse to believe the evidence. There are holes in JFK’s shirt and jacket, among other solid evidence, that make Ford’s “neck wound” edit completely indefensible.

          3. Re John McAdams:

            The back wound was a shallow wound around T3 or T4.

            I believe this, but so what. You may be right, a bullet hit JFK’s skull from behind. I think you believe this.

            If a bullet hit JFK’s skull from behind, was it the only bullet to hit JFK’s skull?

            Photos and x-rays suggest an entry wound in the right part of the upper skull.

          4. McAdams goes on to ask whether Ford’s edit was “sinister”. That’s another topic.

            No, it’s not. The whole claim of conspiracists is that Ford intentionally lied about the wound to make the description consistent with the Single Bullet Theory.

            Are you admitting that’s not true?

        3. John..if Ford’s wound movement was a factoid, he certainly didn’t give that impression in a press interview he had after his Presidency. He was asked why he moved the wound to a different location, and he said “for the sake of accuracy”. Therefore, he is admitting he did it.

    2. Motivation is a fair question. Especially those who spend an enormous amount of time and energy online defending the official story.

      I’m interested in knowing, John, how you first became interested in this subject and what inspired you to devote yourself to “debunking” conspiracy theories.

      1. Claiming that the “motivation” of LGTs is somehow suspect is no better than claiming that conspiracists are somehow motivated by an irrational mental compulsion.

        Want to be ad hominem? Both sides can play that game.

    3. John, you recently made a comment about the motives of conspiracy theorists, which demonstrated that you see this as a liberal vs conservative issue. It certainly sounds as if you are motivated by taking the “conservative” side of the argument, which doesn’t make me think you care about evidence as much as you care about the politics of the assassination.

      Adding to that conclusion is that you fight every piece of evidence that doesn’t support your conclusion. I’d be much more sympathetic to your views if you conceded that — no matter what conclusion you come to — there are a huge amount of contradictions in the testimony and evidence that does not support certainty about anything.

      1. there are a huge amount of contradictions in the testimony and evidence that does not support certainty about anything

        You should read my book, where I talk a lot about contradictions in the evidence.

        But contradictions are normal in an criminal case, and in the historical record of any event. They don’t prove conspiracy.

        Some evidence is a lot more reliable than other evidence, and this is the evidence one should use to draw a conclusion.

        1. In the aftermath of the Warren Report, what evolved and continues fifty years later, including what unfolds on this site daily, is tantamount to the defense being challenged to present their legal case AFTER an appointed committee, not a judge, not a jury, has determined the guilt of their client; or prosecutors that seek to bring to trial the conspirators behind the assassination are hamstrung by those that insist that because Oswald’s trial took place prior to their presenting a fully developed case, they must abort their case. The masterminds behind the conspiracy never saw a courtroom. Oswald is dead. All very tidy.

          1. Well said.

            One point about using real names — I’ve emailed Jeff and bought his book. He knows my name.

            However, today every prospective employer be considered extreme by highly will take a look at your online presence. My comments here could easily be construed as extreme by conservative HR folks. I don’t need that to hamstringing any future career move.

            Self-preservation, not subterfuge.

        2. Contradictions in the prosecution’s case can taint what is ostensibly ‘hard’ or ‘reliable’ evidence, and therefore raise reasonable doubt in favor of the defendant.

  8. Two observations upon reflection:

    First, I agree wholeheartedly about Jean Davison. Jean always is respectful and focused on the issue.

    But, to my point. I observe that certain high-profile commenters slip fluidly through the moderator screen. For example, Bill Kelly, whom I respect, called photon a quack on these pages within the last day or two. I’m pretty sure, based on the comments of mine that have been withheld, that I’d never be published here saying such a thing. Point is, appearance of difference moderation standards for different messengers. Bad practice, in my opinion.

    Second, as to what motivates those who come here “ever ready to pounce on and smother even the slightest spark of doubt or question of the official story.”

    I believe I know the answer. The Warren Report conclusions constitute an extremely fragile story. If even one element of the story (say, the believability of CE-399) is shown to be false, the story crumbles. The whole official story, therefore, every element of it, needs to be fiercely defended by Warren defenders. I can give ground or admit error. They CANNOT. At all.

  9. Thank you for the refresher and for the time you and your team commit to the comments forum. As noted, you are offering a venue for many people that feel passionately about their civic responsibility to aggressively reconsider the official record of the assassination and to seek full disclosure from Our government files on the JFK assassination.

    Special thanks to Peter. Having moderated a rather volatile site in the past, I hope he is being recognized for his skill and patience … it is a thankless task.

    Given that not everyone is sacrificing only their leisure time to participate, perhaps this is an opportunity for commenters, at least me, to seek clarification. states:

    ” JFK Facts ( seeks to become the premier Web destination for hiqh-quality information about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    We will fact-check news stories, blogs, YouTube videos, books, and movies about the JFK assassination …

    ‘with the goal of dispelling confusion and establishing an accurate historical record.'”

    Could this be revisited and either adjusted or re-enforced from time to time? It is frequently confusing when considering the material that is presented by those convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. Fact checking clearly should begin with the Warren Commission Report. If their official line is under the microscope and in fact rejected by many Americans, and if the goal of this site is to dispel confusion and establish an accurate historical record, how are arguments in strong support of not just one aspect of the report, but the overall official record contributing to that stated goal? The less informed in specific areas of the official record are incapable of recognizing the discrepancies and contradictions in facts; therefore, proponents of the Warren Commission or those who prosecute Oswald posthumously are able to propagandize – which does nothing toward uncovering the truth. Tighter guidelines could remedy that potential: examples – curtail the repeated attacks against sources relating to credentials – all credentials are relative; facts sourced from biased websites should be highlighted as such – a new student is vulnerable to slanted arguments; provide a mechanism to announce the impending closure of a particular thread .. exchanges are being abandoned in mid-debate (obviously everyone wants the last word.); seasoned researchers should be required to acknowledge they are fully aware of the discrepancies that have been exposed in the past in their argument – this would require self-policing .. follow the legal protocol as pertains to testimony, rebuttal and/or cross examination. Polite behavior and being a nice person does not always mean that we do the right thing.

    Finally, declare that new material gained through crowd sourcing is protected and under the control of the contributor in order to prevent misuse and or legal complications down the road relating to publishing; hopefully, additional seasoned experts in specific areas of the investigation will be encouraged to participate actively to rebut the official line.

  10. Re moderation:

    I favor a lighter approach.

    There is a high-profile, contentious political blog in which I participate. I’ve even written diaries there. The moderators are quick to BAN if a poster violates very clear site rules on posting. Otherwise, it’s a free-for-all, sometimes involving charges, counter-charges, insults, and the like. There’s lots of agreement and lots of disagreement. The main thing is comments are not moderated. Some comments deemed overly offensive by the moderators simply are not displayed unless you click a button to display them.

    I think this sort of freedom to comment is good. It allows for rapid interchange of complementary or conflicting ideas, which is important for a vibrant and healthy marketplace of ideas.

    1. Jeff,

      Thanks for your nice comment, but if the forum is “for all sides,” why is it puzzling that I’m here? It’s certainly not because of an “animus against those who question the government.” I’m not defending the “official story,” I’m trying to point out, with links to testimony and other evidence, that a great deal of what people “know” about the JFK assassination is in fact untrue.

      The misinformation in books and online about this subject is truly mindboggling. That’s what I “pounce on” and try to “smother” — misinformation. Fat chance, though, since JFK myths apparently can never be killed. Thompson debunked the Mauser myth in 1967, yet it still shows up on a regular basis.

      1. Jean,
        “I’m trying to point out, with links to testimony and other evidence, that a great deal of what people “know” about the JFK assassination is in fact untrue.”

        How are facts deemed evidence in this investigation, and who in fact is the arbiter of evidence if not the Warren Commission and later the HSCA? Certainly anyone can argue facts, but witting or not, you can only defend the evidence – as designated by authorized bodies – by defending the Warren Report. Facts implicated Oswald; there is no evidence that proves he was the lone assassin beyond a reasonable doubt.

        If facts of a conspiracy have never been presented to an authorized body of individuals, those facts cannot be referred to as evidence. The reality is that no forum, including this one, is authorized to make that determination.

        That does not preclude you or anyone with an open mind from considering facts that indicate a conspiracy. Yet there is no indication of good faith by anyone on this site convinced of Oswald’s guilt to consider contradictions and discrepancies in the official record let alone circumstantial facts of conspiracy that warrant a re-opening of the official investigation. That is not an honest debate; I think that is an attempt at propagandizing on this site.

        More disturbing and confounding is the selective omission of facts that challenge the evidence presented in the Warren Report that you and others cling to.

        1. Leslie,

          Instead of telling me what “evidence” means (to you), how about consulting a dictionary?

          You say, “… there is no indication of good faith by anyone on this site convinced of Oswald’s guilt to consider contradictions and discrepancies in the official record let alone circumstantial facts of conspiracy that warrant a re-opening of the official investigation. That is not an honest debate; I think that is an attempt at propagandizing on this site.”

          As usual, you hurl insults and give no specifics. What “contradictions and discrepancies” have I ignored? What “selective omission of facts that challenge the evidence presented in the Warren Report” are you talking about? Be specific.

          1. Jean, I apologize if you read my challenge as an insult; it is not intended as such. If in fact you are here in good faith perhaps I am simply overlooking it.

            An instance: Howard Brennan’s testimony would quite possibly not even be admissible in court, but if allowed, I for one as a juror would never apply it along with whatever you argue converges as proof that Oswald was in a window, let alone with a rifle. In good faith, are you open to what that would do to the case against Oswald? Even if he is known to have been in the building, to have been alleged to have brought a rifle into the building, and maybe to have been on the 6th floor and maybe not, what else places him in that window with a rifle but Brennan? Nothing that, I, as a juror can see. In good faith, can you accept that the tampering with evidence that took place in the immediate aftermath on the 6th Floor would also cause any juror to question the chain of custody of the rifle, the shell casings, the boxes, etc. Without solid trust in that evidence, I would not vote to convict Oswald as having held the rifle that was fired less than an hour earlier.

            Now in good faith, I am open to your convincing me, the juror, otherwise.

          2. Jean, relating to other contradictions, discrepancies and omission: a new student would need to understand how the Warren Commission proceeded. For instance: when discussing the testimony of Victoria Adams – you failed to mention that Sandra Styles was with her on the stairs but that the Warren Commission chose not to call Styles as a witness. A new student would not know to consider that there might have been discrepancies in the two women’s recollections, and might then begin to see the pattern in Warren Commission procedures. You focus on Oswald’s personality and history of instability but omit discussion of the role that numerous players had in his life – do you believe that their influence was peripheral to the assassination? Should not the manipulation of Oswald’s weaknesses and instability be considered.

        2. Yet there is no indication of good faith by anyone on this site convinced of Oswald’s guilt to consider contradictions and discrepancies in the official record let alone circumstantial facts of conspiracy that warrant a re-opening of the official investigation.

          This, of course, is merely an ad hominem argument.

          I could just as well say that there is no indication of good faith by those who repeat conspiracy factoids, and get huffy when they are challenged.

          1. John, the discussion is about ‘good faith,’ which applies to everyone participating, and my comment is in no way an attack on the person but a challenge and in fact, a question. Are you here in good faith?

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