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Monday, 01 September 2008 15:43

David Kaiser, The Road to Dallas

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The Road to Dallas is a methodically bad book. And as you read it you pick up on the method in its badness. And then at the end you comprehend the reason for it all, writes Jim DiEugenio.


The Road to Dallas is a methodically bad book. And as you read it you pick up on the method in its badness. And then at the end you comprehend the reason for it all.

Author David Kaiser begins the tome with a canard. In his introduction he says that this book is the first by a historian who has researched the "available archives". (p. 7) If what he means by this are the releases of the Assassination Records Review Board, then he must think that fellow historians John Newman, Michael Kurtz, and Gerald McKnight are non-entities. They all wrote books based either largely, or in part, on the releases of the ARRB. And their works were all published before this book was. Kaiser then writes this sentence: "Partly because of the evidentiary excesses or deficiencies of so many other authors, I have written this book not only to show what happened but to make clear how we know it." (Ibid) As we shall see, Kaiser's own excesses and deficiencies as a historian prevented him from doing any such thing. And the last thing this book does is bring us any closer to what really happened in Dallas.

There are other revealing passages that raised my antennae in this introduction. For instance, he states that the famous incident at Sylvia Odio's apartment was a key to the assassination. He then names the three men who visited her. This "identification" is quite strained and dubious but the certainty with which it is made gave me even more pause about what he was up to. (I will explain that later. But my pause was well taken.) He also states that unbeknownst to the authors of the Inspector General's Report on the CIA/Mafia plots to kill Castro, Carlos Marcello was actually involved in them. He says he has new evidence on this. We will discuss his "new evidence" about these plots later. (p. 3) On the same page as he writes the above, he then states with certainty that the CIA had nothing to do with the assassination. And, of course, the Garrison inquiry gets labeled a "farce" (p.6)

But that's not all Kaiser is certain about. He knows who actually was responsible for the crime: the Mafia Dons, Sam Giancana, Santo Trafficante, and Carlos Marcello, had JFK killed. And as with all these Mob did it tomes, the reason was to stop RFK's war on the Mafia. Oswald was their instrument to kill Kennedy, and he did it for money. (As will be revealed, the way Kaiser cinches the financial argument is nothing if not bizarre.) How does he know Oswald killed Kennedy? Well the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) convincingly demonstrated that fact. (p.7) And he concludes this introduction by calling FBI agent Jim Hosty a dogged investigator who never quite caught up to Oswald. He then praises the FBI, the HSCA, and the CIA operatives who believed America deserved the truth. (I don't know how he left out Mom and apple pie.)

There is one part of this introduction that raised my antennae to telephone line height. In describing and praising the work of the ARRB, he writes that the Board was "led by historian Anna K. Nelson". (p. 6) It was not. As anyone who followed it knew, Judge John Tunheim led the Board. (Known as Jack to his friends, which evidently, Kaiser is not.) As I read that I thought, "How could a guy who considers himself a serious historian make such a mistake? Maybe there's more to it." When I finished the volume I found out there was. And this ends up being the most interesting part of a boring, specious, and stultifying book.

II

Kaiser divides the book into three main sections. The first part is entitled "Criminals, Cubans, Kennedys, and the CIA." This is all about the Castro revolution and the American reaction to it from Eisenhower through Kennedy. It is a story that has been told scores of times in the literature. And once you understand what Kaiser is up to here-which does not take very long-it becomes insufferably dull and predictable.

Kaiser's agenda here is the same as Gus Russo's or Max Holland's. In fact, if someone gave this chapter to me in typed form with no name on it, I would have guessed that one of those two guys wrote it. He begins with the Kefauver Committee and RFK getting involved with the crusade against organized crime. He then extends it to the Mafia's holdings in Cuba and their ties to alternating Presidents Fulgencio Batista and Carlos Prio. Then comes Castro's revolution, which alters all that, kicks them off the island, and that leads to the Mob's desire to get back into Cuba.

The story is banal. First, it is almost a half-century-old. Second, people like John Davis, Dan Moldea, Robert Blakey, Dick Billings, David Scheim, Lamar Waldron, Thom Hartmann, and Frank Ragano have all been down the road before. Kaiser has no problem using most of these authors. But what he does is make it just all more extreme. For instance, did you know that Eva Grant, Ruby's sister, was part of the Capone Gang? (p. 15) How about Marguerite Oswald? She had mob ties too. (p. 17) This last bit of info he gets from the notoriously unreliable Hoover acolyte Aaron Kohn. Kohn has been exposed as a compromised source too many times to enumerate here. But just let me add this: ace archives researcher Peter Vea told me that he found documents in the ARRB collection that reveal that it was Kohn who was the impetus for the frame up of Jim Garrison on those phony kickback and tax charges. But if you consider the Garrison inquiry a "farce" then you don't mind using someone who frames an innocent man as a source. (Which, as we shall see, Kaiser has no problem doing.)

Interestingly, Kaiser introduces the testimony of John Martino in Chapter Two. Now, as I noted with Larry Hancock's book, Martino allegedly stated that Oswald was a patsy who would be framed by the anti-Castro Cubans. So this was fitting enough for Hancock's book, which postulates a CIA/Mafia plot. But its not fitting here. Kaiser postulates no such thing. As I noted, he has Oswald killing Kennedy. And the main plotters are the mobsters named above. So precisely how does the Martino story fit into his scenario? This is something he never explains or confronts. Further, he does not explain how Martino's story expanded toward the end of his life. In 1975 Martino told a reporter for Newsday that he had met Oswald in the weeks leading up to the assassination. It was in Key Biscayne, where there is no evidence Oswald was at the time.

What is Kaiser's new evidence that Marcello and, perhaps Hoffa, were in on the CIA/Mafia plots to kill Castro? Well, like Lamar Waldron, it appears to come mainly from Dan Moldea's dubious book, The Hoffa Wars. In my long review of Ultimate Sacrifice I discussed how dangerous it was to use Moldea's book. Evidently, Kaiser did not read it, or if he did, he didn't care. He even trots out that thoroughly discredited serial liar Ed Partin more than once. (Beginning on page 39) He notes that Partin had trouble passing his first polygraph test for Walter Sheridan. But, he adds, he passed his second one. (pgs. 132-133) What he does not reveal is that the second test was proved to be rigged by a panel of polygraph technicians. And the two men who administered it were later indicted for fraud. (The prurient reader can check my review of Ultimate Sacrifice, Section 2, paragraph 4, for more details on Moldea, Partin, and this test.)

Like Waldron, Kaiser also tries to critique the Inspector General report on the CIA/Mafia plots. Again, he trots out Moldea for this. In his book on Hoffa, Moldea quoted a brief magazine snippet about a mobster named Bufalino. There was a mention that he claimed to be part of the plots. On this diaphanous piece of evidence, Kaiser now says that the Inspector General Report was faulty. What else does he use in this attempt? Are you ready? The testimony of CIA officers like Sam Halpern. Yet Halpern was already discredited as unreliable by David Talbot in his book Brothers. (See Talbot, p. 123) Talbot showed that Halpern actually used a dead man to, of all things, tie RFK to the Mob.

Kaiser wants to do this because he wants to insert the Kennedys, especially RFK, into the plots to kill Castro. So he actually presents a thug like Halpern as "most forthcoming". (p. 100) But yet, if he was so forthcoming, why didn't Halpern spill his guts about RFK's involvement in 1967 to the original writers of the IG Report? He had a perfect opportunity since he is listed as an interview subject for their work. Kaiser does not tell the reader about this. So he doesn't have to explain it. He therefore can present Halpern as "forthcoming".

What Kaiser does with the testimony of Senator George Smathers on this issue is even worse. He begins his paragraph on the matter by saying that Kennedy was probably informed in advance of the plots against both Castro and Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic. (Trujillo was killed in late May of 1961.) This statement follows: "In early 1961 the President asked Florida Senator George Smathers ... for his opinion of the reaction in Latin America if Castro were assassinated. When Smathers ... strongly disapproved of the idea, Kennedy said he agreed with him. ( Kaiser, p. 78) He sources this to the Church Committee book entitled Alleged Assassination Plots. What he leaves out is that Smathers was a CIA asset who was involved with the funding for Eladio Del Valle, David Ferrie's friend who was murdered in Miami the same day Ferrie died--with Jim Garrison about to indict Ferrie as a conspirator in the Kennedy assassination. Kaiser also leaves out the fact that when the subject was brought up in his presence, Kennedy got so furious he smashed a dinner plate and told Smathers he did not want to hear of such things again. (Alleged Assassination Plots, p. 124) Now, why would Kennedy bring up a subject that he was so opposed to that he would get violent about it? Because, as Kaiser implies, he didn't bring it up. The CIA asset Smathers was pushing it on him. By leaving out Kennedy smashing the plate, Kaiser can 1.) Suggest it was the other way around, and 2.) Ignore how violently JFK was opposed to such things.

Kaiser also leaves out other interesting Smathers testimony, some of it relating to Trujillo. In 1971, Smathers said that Kennedy seemed "horrified" at the idea of political assassination. Smathers related that JFK had told him "the CIA frequently did things he didn't know about, and he was unhappy about it." The president characterized the CIA as "almost autonomous". In that regard, he told Smathers that he believed the CIA had arranged to have Diem and Trujillo killed. Smathers said, "He was pretty well shocked about that." Kennedy concluded that he wanted "to get control of what the CIA was doing." (The Assassinations, p. 329) Now, if Kennedy had been informed of the Trujillo assassination in advance, why would he be shocked about it? And why would he then be unhappy and trying to get control of the Agency?

The capper in Kaiser's almost mad attempt in this regard is his characterization of the famous Hoover memorandum of May of 1962. This occurred after both Hoover and RFK had discovered the CIA/Mafia plots by accident and both of them had investigations done on the matter. They met and Hoover wrote a memo on the meeting. The memo says that Hoover expressed shock at the CIA/Mafia association in view of the bad character of Robert Maheu and the "horrible judgment in using a man of Giancana's background for such a project. The Attorney General shared the same views." (The CIA had used its asset Maheu to approach mobster Sam Giancana about killing Castro for them.) What Kaiser does with this memo is slightly astonishing. (p. 106) He actually tries to argue that the mentioning of the bad character and background of Maheu and Giancana means that RFK objected to only the people used, not the actual plotting! Is Kaiser saying here what I think he is? Is he trying to say that if the CIA used an ethnic group RFK favored, like say Native Americans, Bobby Kennedy would have been overjoyed by the discovery of the murder plots? That is what I think he is saying. So according to Kaiser's implication, RFK should have said: "Can we get any such work for Cesar Chavez's Chicano friends in East LA? Can we bump off anyone out there?"

Further, Kaiser leaves out the record of the original CIA briefer to RFK. In describing RFK's reaction to this news, the man wrote: "If you have seen Mr. Kennedy's eyes get steely and his jaw set and his voice get low and precise, you get a definite feeling of unhappiness." (The Assassinations, p. 327) So here there is no record of him being upset about just the use of Maheu or Giancana. He is upset in general. (Recall, the memo Kaiser wants to use was written by Hoover.) This is why the IG Report states about this briefing, that it was restricted to the first phase of the Castro plots only. And these had ended a year before. It then adds: "Phase Two was already underway at the time of the briefing, but Kennedy was not told of it." (Ibid) In other words, as Kennedy was being briefed and made aware of the first plots, the CIA had already extended them into another phase-- without telling him at this briefing. And Kaiser leaves this out!

Did I say Gus Russo or Max Holland could have written this section? Too mild. In his distortion, editing and ignoring of evidence, it actually approaches the work of the demonic Seymour Hersh in his infamous The Dark Side of Camelot.

III

The second section of the book is about Lee Harvey Oswald. To say that the portrait he draws is a curious one really does not do it justice. What appears to have happened is that Kaiser understands that the "lonely sociopath" portrait of Oswald is difficult to make fly today. So he keeps the latter part, and tries to amend the former part. He admits it is odd that an alleged communist like Oswald would have ties to conservatives like George DeMohrenschildt in Dallas and Guy Banister in New Orleans. So he says that the best way to explain this paradox is that Oswald was some kind of undercover agent. But he then goes into a limited hangout mode. Oswald was not really working for the Central Intelligence Agency as an agent provocateur. Kaiser writes that " ... it is far more likely that he embarked upon his career as a provocateur under unofficial supervision." (p. 172, emphasis added) In other words, he doesn't want him to be a real government agent.

He tries to make this more palatable by curtailing his portrait of Oswald. He begins his chronicle of the man with his return from Russia. Which conveniently leaves a lot out. For example, his enlistment in the Marines where he listened to Russian records and subscribed to communist newspapers. His language training at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. His technical training as a radar operator, which would give his defection to Russia some value to the KGB. His stationing at Atsugi air base in Japan, a huge CIA center and home of the U-2. His application for a hardship discharge although his mother was not actually enduring a hardship and he only stayed with her a few days when he got out of the service. His application and payment to Albert Schweitzer College in Switzerland, a college so obscure that neither the FBI in Paris or the Swiss federal police knew about it. His flight into Russia from Helsinki, when there were no commercial flights scheduled. His quite suspicious denouncement in Moscow of the United States. The fact that the KGB did not buy into this "defection" and shipped him 400 miles away to Minsk, where he was spied on and surveilled by Russian agents.

By beginning where he does with Oswald, Kaiser can leave all the above out. He appears to do this so he can deny that Oswald was in any way a CIA operative. Which he does this way: "Oswald's activities fall squarely into a larger pattern of FBI and private right-wing attempts to discredit communist fronts ... " (p. 191) And this is what I mean about the book being methodically bad. If Oswald was primarily working for the FBI, why would Hoover have to launch a five-month investigation for Albert Schweitzer College? You mean he didn't know where his own operative had been headed? As I discussed in my review of A Certain Arrogance, the main American backer of that college was a primary stockholder in Southern Air Transport, a CIA shell company. But if you don't tell your reader any of this then you don't have to explain the dichotomies and non-sequitirs. And I should add here that the private company that Kaiser says Oswald may have worked for was the Information Council of the Americas, (INCA) Yet this would only explain Oswald's activities in the summer of 1963, and secondly, INCA's Truth Tapes were recycled into Latin America by Ted Shackley and the CIA.

Another problem for Kaiser in this regard is David Ferrie, Clay Shaw and Guy Banister. These three men are all clearly associated with the CIA. He solves the Shaw problem by minimizing the Clinton-Jackson incident, spending about 2 _ pages on it. He then tries to present it as an FBI COINTELPRO operation. As Bill Davy has noted, this interpretation has some serious problems to it. First, the FBI operations against these types of groups were not formally begun until 1967. (Let Justice Be Done, p. 107) Second, the whole episode ends not in Clinton with the voter registration drive, but in Jackson, with Oswald applying for a job at a mental hospital. But if you skimp the incident, you can ignore these important factual points. As for Ferrie and Banister, Kaiser takes another page from Ultimate Sacrifice (a book which he condemns) by presenting them as being employees of Carlos Marcello. He actually says that "Ferrie took a vacation at the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion, but nothing is really known about what he was doing." (p. 199) Evidently, Kaiser didn't read Davy's book. Ferrie was training Cubans for the Bay of Pigs at the Belle Chasse Naval Station just south of New Orleans. Equipment for the camp was coming in through the State Department and CIA through Ferrie's good friend Sergio Arcacha Smith. There were about three hundred Cubans trained there over a six-week period. One group was trained as a strike force assault battalion before being sent to Guatemala for the ill-fated Bay of Pigs operation. They were trained in things like demolition, guerilla warfare, and underwater diving. The memo containing this information concludes that "the training was entirely Agency controlled and the training was conducted by Agency personnel." (Davy, p. 30-31) The memo was signed by David Phillips. He should know since he was one of the managers of that debacle. So much for Ferrie not being a CIA agent and being in the exclusive employ of Marcello's lawyer, Wray Gill. As for no one knowing where Ferrie was the day of the Bay of Pigs operation, evidently Kaiser never visited New Orleans or Baton Rouge. If he would have read the papers there he would have learned that Smith's wife told the reporters that Ferrie had been at their house the day of the operation. (Baton Rouge State-Times, 2/27/67) And after the invasion failed, the two friends watched films of the failed operation. (Davy, p. 28) Did Marcello get those films for them? Finally, by his own admission, Ferrie was also employed by the CIA during Operation MONGOOSE. (Ibid) Again, Kaiser methodically ignores all this important and documented information. And much more.

Kaiser devotes a chapter to the famous Odio incident. It's as specious as everything else he does. First off, he tries to state that it actually was Oswald at Sylvia Odio's apartment door. But as everyone who has studied the incident knows, this creates a problem because then one must ask: Who is the guy on his way to Mexico City at right around the same time? Kaiser tries to dodge this dilemma by saying that the incident may have occurred not in late September, but in October. (p. 246) This is strange. In the 1993 PBS Frontline documentary about Oswald, one of the very few good portions of that special was that they featured Odio and other corroborating witnesses to her story. They pinpointed the date as the last week in September, the 25th or 26th. But since Kaiser wants to dodge the question of an imposter, he leaves himself this ridiculous October date as an out.

He then writes another weird sentence. In prefacing this incident, he describes it as, "The event that definitely ties Oswald to anti-Castro Cubans and indicates that he had been recruited to travel to Cuba and assassinate Fidel Castro ... " Oswald had been involved with anti-Castro Cubans throughout his whole stay in New Orleans. Too many to be named here. Jim Garrison had reams of files on most of them. The last part of that sentence is also troublesome. Kaiser repeatedly portrays Oswald's trip to Mexico as a way to get to Cuba. Its like he wants the reader to forget that Oswald, or an imposter, visited the Russian Embassy there also. And the idea was to get a transit visa to Cuba and then go to Russia. Finally, as most good commentators on the Odio incident state, the impression left on Odio was the "loco" Oswald's hatred of Kennedy for betraying the Cubans at the Bay of Pigs. This is the act which one of the three men, Leopoldo, told her that Oswald felt JFK should be killed for. (Accessories After the Fact, by Sylvia Meagher, p. 379)

Finally, and most strange of all, Kaiser concludes that it was Loran Hall and Lawrence Howard with Oswald at Odio's apartment. He bases this on an alleged conversation Hall had with the FBI in which he said he had been in Dallas in September with Howard and a man named William Seymour. And he uses, of all people, the late Gerry Hemming to bolster this. (pgs 258-259) He can do this because he completely ignores the fact that Hemming led author Joan Mellen to two other people as Oswald's two cohorts. For Mellen, Hemming produced Angelo Murgado and Bernardo DeTorres as Leopoldo and Angelo.

Hemming had been part of the International Anti-Communist Brigade with Hall. As Gaeton Fonzi notes in his extraordinary The Last Investigation, the members of this group were famous for giving out disinformation about the JFK case. (Fonzi, p. 114) As Fonzi further notes, Howard later denied being in Dallas. And when Silvia Odio was shown the photos of Hall and Howard, she did not recognize them. Hall later said he fabricated the story. Even later, he told the HSCA he never told the FBI he had been at Odio's apartment. (Ibid, p. 115) Or as Meagher sums it all up: "Subsequent interviews with Loran Hall, Lawrence Howard, Sylvia Odio and Annie Odio resulted in the collapse of the assumption that Hall, Howard and Seymour were the men who had visited Mrs. Odio ..." (Meagher, p. 387)

So why does Kaiser insist on Hall being there? He needs Hall to link the plot to Florida mobster Santo Trafficante. (Kaiser, p. 260) This is revealed on the last page of his chapter on Odio. Not easily deterred, Kaiser is determined to fit that round peg into that square hole.

IV

The last section of the book is called "Converging Paths." It is probably the worst of the three sections, which is saying something. The first two chapters of this section detail Kennedy's Cuban policy after MONGOOSE was terminated. Kaiser opines that there was no dramatic difference between MONGOOSE and what came afterwards. Which is easy for him to do since he never mentions Kennedy's refusal to back Operation Northwoods, the Pentagon's secret plan to create a provocation to invade the island. And like Lamar Waldron he gives short shrift to the back channel set up by Kennedy to establish détente with Castro. He actually says it was going nowhere. (p. 306) Which completely contradicts Bill Attwood, a major participant in the negotiations. As Jim Douglass noted in JFK and the Unspeakable, Attwood wrote he had no doubt that it would have led to a normalization of relations between the two countries.

He mentions Richard Helms' testimony about the discovery of an arms cache in Venezuela in November of 1963. (pgs. 298-99) I discussed this incident in my review of Ultimate Sacrifice. Revealingly, Kaiser leaves out three important aspects to the story. First, Helms went to Bobby Kennedy to announce this important discovery of Castro subverting other countries in South America. Bobby was nonplussed. Helms then went to JFK with this alarming news of Castro exporting revolution. Kennedy told him it was no big deal and gave him a picture of himself. Later, CIA analyst Joseph Smith deduced that the CIA had planted the shipment to create a crisis for the US to invade Cuba.

This incident, and the back channel, if explained fully, completely contradicts his statement about Kennedy's attitude toward Castro. Kaiser writes that Kennedy never accepted the existence of Castro's regime in Cuba and wanted to remove it, even if it meant American intervention. (p. 306) Needless to add, if Kennedy had wanted to remove Castro, he would have sent in the Navy during the Bay of Pigs, or the Marines during the Missile Crisis. Those were perfect opportunities for American intervention and nearly everyone around him would have backed him. In fact, they were encouraging him to do so. He did not. Kaiser never explains why he didn't.

The last three chapters, 15-17, are actually kind of pathetic. In the numerous impersonations of Oswald--for instance at the rifle range with Sterling Wood--all the critics have been wrong for all these years. It was really Oswald. And this helps explain his excellent marksmanship in Dealey Plaza. (p. 342) It was actually Oswald who left a rifle at the gunsmith shop with Dial Ryder. (pgs 349-350) And hold on to your hats. The famous Al Bogard story of an Oswald impersonator at the Lincoln-Mercury car dealership? Well, that was really Oswald. And the money he mentioned he would be coming into, well that was his reward for killing Kennedy. (pgs 350-351) I'm not kidding.

Needless to say, according to Kaiser, Oswald killed Kennedy. How does he know this? The HSCA's scientific tests prove it. He actually uses the Vincent Guinn analysis of the neutron activation test in this regard. And he uses the likes of Ken Rahn and Larry Sturdivan to back Guinn. This test has been thoroughly discredited at length and in depth by two superlative academic studies. (See "Death of the NAA Verdict" on this site's front page.) He also uses the HSCA trajectory test done by Thomas Canning to show that Oswald could have fired the shot that went through both President Kennedy and Governor Connally. He never tells the reader that, strangely, Canning didn't reveal the angle of that bullet in degrees during the entire fifty pages of his HSCA testimony. (The Assassinations, p. 79) Or that Canning moved up the back wound placement from where the medical panel had placed it in order to make that trajectory work. (Ibid) Or that at the time the HSCA placed the first hit of Kennedy, Zapruder frame 189, Oswald would have been firing through the branches of an oak tree. (Ibid. p. 84) And perhaps most devastating to Kaiser, he never quotes the letter Canning wrote to Blakey. It ends with this: "On balance, the entire effort would be justified solely by the strong indication of conspiracy at the Plaza." Thus Kaiser's own expert disproves not just this section, but his entire book.

V

Why would Kaiser lend himself to such a farcical exercise? As I said earlier, the mentioning of Anna Kasten Nelson's name as the chair of the Board set off some alarm bells with me. The bells were ringing by the end of the book. In his Acknowledgements section he gives the game away. On page 494 appear two sentences which encapsulate The Road to Dallas. He writes first that Oliver Stone's film JFK, "did more than anything else to promote the most irresponsible conspiracy theories about the case ... " He then follows that with this, "Professor Anna K. Nelson of American University, a board member, has also been an enthusiastic supporter of this project."

The two institutions of American society which were most rocked by Stone's film were the media and academia. For good reason. The film was a slap in the face to them both. They were the key supporters of the phony Warren Commission story. First, the media accepted it without any analysis. Then, academia let that verdict go unchallenged through the years by posing no serious questions to it in history books or in academic journals. When Stone's film was released almost three decades after the fact, it made them look like silly stiffs.

Next to the late Kermit Hall, Nelson was probably the most outspoken member of the Board in this regard. Two of the four lists that President Clinton chose from to construct the Board were the Organization of American Historians, and the American Historical Association. So Clinton chose from establishment historians. And Nelson clearly had it in for Stone. In a piece she wrote for Chronicle of Higher Education, she attacked his portrait of President Nixon in his film Nixon. In an interview she did for Penthouse (January of 1997) she basically took the line of writers like George Lardner and Walter Pincus: There really was nothing new or revealing in the declassified files. She said "The sense you get in reading all of these documents is that the CIA and FBI were primarily concerned with covering up other kinds of operations." She went on to say that J. Edgar Hoover damaged the Warren Commission's credibility by protecting some CIA and FBI secret operations. She concluded that the reason over two million pages of documents were not revealed was, "It was part of the Cold War culture." (Probe Vol. 4 No. 2)

In another interview she gave to the LA Times (8/20/97), Nelson took a shot at Jim Garrison. Noting a release of what appeared to be a diary of Clay Shaw's, Nelson said that it was "one more step that totally discredits Garrison's trial and, incidentally totally discredits Stone's movie." She apparently forgot that it was Shaw's trial and not Garrison's. (Probe Vol. 5 No. 2) But she then added that although she believes the Warren Commission, she now believes it acted in haste. Although she thinks Oswald killed JFK, "there is likely more to the story." (Ibid) After I wrote the article from which these quotes were pulled I concluded that what these comments proved "is that no one ever got ahead in the academic world by advocating conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination."

Kaiser seems to understand that. And he fulfilled Nelson's wishes. He fills in the "more to the story" but he keeps Oswald as the lone assassin. Along the way, he trashes Stone and Garrison. In fact, if you analyze the book's message it is essentially the inverse of Stone's film. Kaiser is saying that 1.) Oswald killed Kennedy 2.) Any cover-up that ensued was probably because of Oswald's nebulous ties to either INCA or the FBI, and 3.) The Kennedys weren't that great anyway. But as I have proven above, he broke almost every rule of historical scholarship to achieve that agenda.

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 November 2016 22:39
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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