by Jim FetzerDuring the past few days, I have been drawn into an extended exchange about the assassination of JFK on a facebook web site that carries the most imposing name, "JFK Assassination Research Bureau".
It certainly sounds impressive, but I have discovered -- through personal experience -- that they do not live up to the impression they convey. This site is not about JFK Truth. If they don't like you, they simply delete you.
With the 50th observance of the death of John Kennedy rapidly approaching, the government is spending millions -- probably tens of millions -- of US taxpayer dollars to keep the public unaware of the facts of the case as we have established them to be, including that the home movies of the assassination, including especially the Zapruder film, were reworked to more closely support the "official account". If the public caught on, the people would be furious that their government has so massively deceived them.
The second most carefully guarded secret is Lee Oswald was caught in the background of a famous photograph taken by AP photographer James "Ike" Altgens. For the government to so grossly frame an innocent man requires a special kind of depravity. And the third is that Oliver Stone's "JFK" inadvertently appears to have minimized the shooters and the shot sequence, where there appear to have been at least six rather than three. But many Americans still do not realize how close Oliver was to the truth.
As I have recently explained, Hany Farid, a professor at Dartmouth College and Jefferson Morley, a news journalist-turned-JFK-expert, have been doing their best to obfuscate these findings, where Farid has in the past attempted to vindicate the authenticity of the "backyard photographs" and, more recently, the Zapruder film; while Morley now moderates the JFKfacts.org web site, which, alas, seems dedicated to distorting the truth rather than revealing it.
If ever a web site was misnamed, Morley's takes the cake. But there are other, less sophisticated but nevertheless public, web sites out there, whose moderators are, like Farid and Morley, in the business of undermining research on JFK and promoting uncertainty with the objective of creating a public mentality according to which, as Marty Schotz so eloquently expressed it, "Everything is believable and nothing is knowable". I was therefore intrigued when Jim Feliciano tipped me off that the JFK ASSASSINATION RESEARCH BUREAU was ripping on me, with the expectation that I might want to respond and set the record straight. He was right and I ventured into this new domain.
In the beginning . . .
When I arrived, I was welcomed by Charles Cliff, who moderates the site under the direction of others, one of whom, Brian Haskins, terminated me. That is their right. If they don't want to discuss and debate the evidence, then there really is no good reason for me to be there. But I initially arrived to debunk attacks that were being made upon me in my absence, where I initially asked Jim to post a response on my behalf and subsequently arrived to post for myself.
I posted a dozen or more comments over the past two days, which were chock full of evidence and argument; but when I arrived this morning to extend the exchange, it had disappeared. The moderator, Charles Cliff, claimed in had happened inadvertently, as follows:
The semi-promising thread initiation
Jim has told me that he liked my piece on Farid and Morley and simply wanted to make it accessible to the members of the forum. He was fairly astonished when the first comment was posted by Charles, since he as the chief moderator was thereby telegraphing that my work was suspect and not to be taken seriously. Jim believes this set the tone, where I was somewhat optimistic because of the posts by Alan L. Kent:
Cliff attacked my association with the OIC
What struck me about this attack was that he offered no reasons to support his dismissal. Ralph Cinque has a blunt manner in discussions and debates, but he has made one of the most important discoveries in the history of JFK research. Alan L. Kent was again the most positive (apart from Jim), but even he did not understand the difference between collecting old studies and inviting authors to compose new studies:
Jim posted a response on my behalf
Since I was preoccupied with other projects and was not sure I wanted to get involved on another forum -- where The Education Forum had taken exception to my defense of Ralph Cinque and my extensive and detailed defenses of the identification of Oswald as Doorman, I composed a rebuttal to the attacks that had already been launched against me and welcomed his posting my specific responses to them on my behalf:
The moderator took exception to Jim's post
Hostile moderators can find endless reasons to object to posts supporting positions with which they just happen to disagree, so I was not really surprised that Charles Cliff, like Charles Drago before him on The Deep Politics Forum -- where Drago objected to my contention that Lyndon was the pivotal player in the assassination of JFK and blocked me from continuing to post there -- would issue complaints of his own:
Freed up, I began posting for myself
So, as soon as I had the chance, I began debunking their claims against me, from Charles' contention that I was "hiding behind others" to Clark Rob's completely absurd claim that I was a "coattail rider" and even to Alan Kent's suggestion that my research was "sloppy", for which no examples were ever produced. But that is the nature of smears: create a negative impression without having to back it up with any evidence!
Then I brought the discussion back to Doorman
The beginning of the end may have been when I returned my discussion to their ignorance of the evidence surrounding the Altgens6, about which Ralph Cinque, Richard Hooke, Clare Kuehn, Larry Rivera and K.D. Ruckman have published so much. These people are so ignorant that they cannot begin to appreciate the importance of collaborative research:
This was my last post. It all took place over just three days, where Jim first alerted me to the attacks on Wednesday, had posted my response on Thursday, and later than day I had published my replies, which apparently was too much for the JFK Assassination Research Bureau. Friday, when I returned to the fray, I had already been taken out. They deleted this thread and buried the arguments that expose them.
For those who want to confirm the gross violation of standards of reasoning, go to the site and check out the (much shorter) thread about Oswald in the Dooway, introduced by Clark Rob. Special pleading by citing only the evidence favorable to your side abounds. No one can begin to understand the case unless they base their reasoning on all the available relevant evidence, which they appear to be committed to avoiding.
Perhaps it's the professor in me. After 35 years offering courses in logic, critical thinking and scientific reasoning, it still bothers me when students of JFK commit the kinds of fallacies -- the ad hominem, special pleading and the straw man -- I spent so many years teaching undergraduates to avoid. And I suppose I should not be surprised that this web site turns out to be supported by Robert Groden and by Jefferson Morley.
Jim Fetzer, a former Marine Corps officer, is McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth and an editor for Veterans Today.