Up in Medecino County

The Anderson Valley Advertiser in northern California picked up my Miami Herald piece on where to find the JFK smoking guns. It brought back happy memories of reading Alex Cockburn.

Cockburn, a British expat, wrote Beat the Devil, a terrific column for The Nation, in the 1980s. A good communist, Cockburn escaped the clutches of New York high society (which he rather enjoyed) for the more laidback vibe of Medecino County. When it came to the Cold War he could be lamentably Stalinist like his fellow class traitor Kim Philby. He was also mercilessly accurate about respectable war criminals like Jeanne Kirkpatrick and convicted felons like Elliot Abrams. As a rogue, Cockburn might not thrive on social media, a platform more congenial to divas (eg Glenn Greenwald). But he would be viciously funny about the absurdities of the secrecy state. Which is why I’m glad to be reprinted up that way.

2 thoughts on “Up in Medecino County”

  1. After my honorable discharge from both the military and my Intelligence related MOS during the 1980s, I spent a great part of my life up in Mendocino County. I remember the Andersen Valley Advertiser well. It in fact ran a series of articles on the JFK assassination when the Oliver Stone movie came out. However as a Libertarian, I’m not a fan of Alex Cockburn. That said, he did take a lot of the gloss off the Reagan / Bush Establishment back then.

  2. In the ’90s, “The Nation’s” in-house assassinations experts were two “Warrenistas,” Alexander Cockburn and Max Holland. (Skeptics like Peter Dale Scott and John Newman, whose credentials in the JFK case far exceeded those of Cockburn and Holland, were restricted to limited responses on the letters-to-the-editor page.)

    Cockburn claimed that Kennedy “always acted within the terms of [establishment] institutions and that, against [Oliver Stone’s film JFK’s] assertions, there is no evidence to the contrary … The public record shows JFK was always hawkish.” (ref. 2) Thus, “whether JFK was killed by a lone assassin or by a conspiracy has as much to do with the subsequent contours of American politics as if he had tripped over one of Caroline’s dolls and broken his neck in the White House nursery.”3 (Sources available here: https://www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/max-holland-rescues-the-warren-commission-and-the-nation

    As we now know, Cockburn had it exactly wrong. The “subsequent contours” of American politics and history would have been decidedly different had Kennedy not been murdered.

    I bear Alex no malice. I loved his writing style and agreed with most of what he wrote. In fact, he was my patient once upon a time. I just don’t think he knew what we now know, nor even what people like Peter Scott, John Newman, Oliver Stone, and others knew then, particularly as pertains to JFK and Vietnam .

    Gary L. Aguilar, MD

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top