RE:: "**** strikes out!" [Editor's note: In a previous post (not included here), I suggested that the differences between us be settled on the basis of an objective evaluation of ASSASSINATION SCIENCE and MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA, which Josiah Thompson had repeatly attacked in the course of his ongoing verbal assaults upon me. It was fascinating to me that, in the course of offer- ing his response, he committed several informal fal- lacies and abused logic and language in ways that, I thought, strongly reinforced my critique of him.] RE:: RE:: By all means, let us "consider these books!" -- Josiah Thompson Posted by Jim Fetzer , Thu, Jan 04, 2001, 00:52:52 A common technique of disinformation is to plant reports, stories, and reviews that distort and misrepresent a tar- get, so that others engaged in the same activity can cite them as though they were authoritative. That has clearly occurred in this case. The MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL review of ASSASSINATION SCIENCE, for example, is an obvious, even classic, hatchet job to take out the book. It discusses only the old news (about Charles Crenshaw's lawsuit against JAMA) and none of the new news (about the fabrication of the X-rays or the substitution of someone else's brain for that of JFK, not to mention evidence of the alteration of the Zapruder film). This is a standard technique of disinformation--ignore everything that might hurt you and focus only on what doesn't do further damage. I therefore included it on my web site on the DISINFORM- ATION page as an example of disinformation of Type IV. I have cited the URL to that page below, which includes the letter I sent to the editors of the paper at the time. I invite everyone who wants to evaluate Josiah Thompson's response to my post to take a look. This case is telling. He offers only elliptical quotes from THE HUMANTIST, but they certainly appear to be drivel. He overlooks other reviews in "the print media", including a very favorable review from THE PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE (below), which suggests that his research has been less than thorough. He also misdirects your attention through his selective editing of the PUBLISHERS WEEKLY reviews of both books. In fact, relatively few books are selected for review by PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, which gives them special prominence. I have included excerpts from PW's review of ASSASSINATION SCIENCE on, where it--and numerous "reader's reviews"--are easily accessible. You will find that PW had much more to say about the book than Josiah Thompson reports. Here is its review of ASSASSINATION SCIENCE: "This is an extremely technical book on aspects of the Kennedy assassination and therefore probably for buffs only, though the accumulation of carefully researched detail will impress those with an open mind. Fetzer, a professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota, takes the position that thorough and disinterested scientific research cannot but conclude that more than one assassin was involved. He asserts that attempts were made to falsify the president's autopsy records, and that the Zapruder film of the assassination was tampered with when it was in government hands, both in an effort to eliminate evidence of a second shooter. He offers detailed papers by, among others, Charles Crenshaw, the doctor who treated the president immediately before he died, and by David Livingston, a brain surgeon [NOTE: here the author conflates the names of David Mantik and Robert B. Livingston], and bitterly attacks the Journal of the American Medical Association, which, he charges, became an apologist for the lone assassin theory. The discussion of the Zapruder film is especially noteworthy, and the book is marred only by reproductions of Fetzer's many letters of protest to the Justice Department, the New York Times and everyone else he felt distorted the truth" (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, 13 October 1997). I find it fascinating that Josiah Thompson extracted the only negative sentence from this review and discarded the rest. It makes you wonder why. Could it be that it does not support his claim the book is some kind of dogshit? And if it is some kind of dogshit, then why have leading experts on the assassination, including Cyril H. Wecht, Davis S. Lifton, and Peter Dale Scott, among others, of- fered their endorsements for publication on the cover? Anyone who has a copy of the book can read what these experts have had to say about the book. As I read them, they appear very favorable to ASSASSINATION SCIENCE. Indeed, I thought that they captured the book to a tee. Should what they have to say for publication not count? Josiah Thompson apparently grants them no credibility. An even more interesting set of readers reviews may also be found for MURDER, whose jacket carries endorsements from Michael Parenti, Cyril H. Wecht, Michael L. Kurtz, Stewart Galanor, and Kerry Walters. Read what they say about MURDER. Their words are right there on the book for pubic reading. Kind of suggests that they believe what they say if they are allowing its publication. Do you think that what they have to say here should count? Or are Josiah's remarks so powerful, so seductive, so incisive that they discount everything others have said? Even the quotes that are found on the covers of both of these books put the lie to his distortions and complaints. You can read them by yourself and judge them for yourself. Here is PW's complete review of MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA: "A compendium of recent thought and discovery about the Kennedy assassination, this volume makes a case for offic- ial malfeasance and against the 'lone gunman' explanation. Fetzer (ASSASSINATION SCIENCE), a professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, sets the tone for an in-depth revisionist history in his prologue, in which he makes note of what he views as 16 'smoking guns' in the Warren Report and questions the veracity of the JFK autopsy photographs and tissue samples, and even the Zapruder film. Most contributors explore these topics in detail, aided by Ira Wood's precisely detailed '22 November 1963: A Chron- ology'. In provocative essays, Dougas Weldon explores tan- gled vehicle-related evidence that he concludes indicates that JFK was shot through the throat from in front of the car rather than from behind; Vincent Palamara names several Secret Service agents who he believes may have been com- promised; and Fetzer discusses the little-seen 'Assassin- ation File' of former Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry. Al- so included is Bertrand Russell's acid 1964 assessment of what he viewed as a nascent coverup. With much discus- sion of alleged manipulation of forensic and photographic evidence, the book's overall focus is primarily technical, on what the contributors see as the wealth of evidence of a multiple-shooter assassination, with likely complicity of the Secret Service and other government agencies. This coolly angry dismantling of the theories of the Warren com- mission and lone-gunman supporters like Gerald Posner will be fodder for conspiracy theorists" (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, 28 August 2000, p. 67). Personally, this sounds like a favorable review to me, in striking contrast to the severe thrashing of the book that has come from Josiah Thompson. It certainly doesn't imply there is "only one good chapter". His attack on Vincent Palamara's review, moreover, appears to be completely un- warranted. Anyone who knows Vince recognizes that he is among the most open and honest of all students of the as- sassination. For this guy to impugn his integrity is just a bit too much. Read Vince's review, which I have now made available via my web site below, and judge for yourself. As for Walt Brown, he previously published an ad hominem attack upon me by Josiah Thompson that should never have been published, so I doubt that the reputation of his DEEP POLITICS journal is going to be injured by publishing the Palamara review, which obviously deserved to be published. For a guy who trashes expertise and suggests that all opin- ions are on a par, he doesn't leave much room for anyone who might form a more favorable opinion of the book than does he. His best case against MURDER seems to be some nickle-and-dime complaints about the interpretation of an evidence photograph, where there is at least as much sup- port for my position as there is for any alternative. I am afraid that these minor objections, which are virtually entirely without merit and have almost nothing to do with the central themes of the book, cannot bear the burden he would impose upon them. It is wise for him to withdraw from further discussion of these issues, a task for which he appears singularly unprepared. This exchange has truly become a litmus test for those who think they understand the nature of disinformation. It is an apt illustration that the art of propaganda continues to thrive in 2001! The questions involved here are not subtle at all. Does Josiah Thompson appear to be even remotely rational and objective in discussing MURDER or does he appear to be grasping at straws, trying to find some basis, no matter how feeble, for attacking it? Are his attitudes about the book remotely comparable to those of others who have considered it in detail, including the PW review and the review by Vincent Palamara? Are they supported by expert opinions published on the book? Are his views even in the same ballpark with the vast majority of customer reviews that are found on And, based upon your own familiarity with the book, do you think that what he has been saying about it is even remotely justified? Does he seem to be even remotely qualified to review it? Doesn't that tell you something about what has been going on here? _____________________________________________________ ADDENDUM: A review that Josiah Thompson missed (from THE PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE (Sunday, 31 May 1998), which has a circulation of half a million readers for its Sunday edition. BOOKS SECTION: "Another round of JFK theories" "Assassination Science: Experts Speak Out On The Death Of JFK" Edited by James H. Fetzer. Catfeet Press. By Paul Rosenberg Just mention the word "conspiracy," and a chorus of pundits larger than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will respond, "Oliver Stone!" as if that said it all. Yes, there was the movie "JFK," and then there are books like "Assassination Science: Experts Speak Out on the Death of JFK," edited by James H. Fetzer, a University of Minnesota philosophy professor, author and editor of numerous books on the philosophy of science and related fields. It contains articles by doctors, lawyers and professors, along with researchers who've spent years studying specific aspects of the Kennedy Assassination. This book addresses two major concerns with one eye on the subject, the other on lapses of logic and methodology. First is substantial contradictions in medical evidence, some of which indicates shots fired from in front. This material was gathered in response to articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which claimed to prove the lone-assassin theory. Fetzer and others critique both the articles and JAMA's high-handed stonewalling of the objections raised, including those of Dr. Charles Crenshaw, a doctor attending President Kennedy at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, who eventually sued JAMA for slander. Some early documents from Parkland doctors indicate a head wound inflicted from the front. And David Mantic [sic], who holds a Ph.D. in physics, offers corroborating arguments undermining the credibility of the autopsy pathologists (who had no experience with gunshot victims) with a list of 16 errors or inconsistencies. The second subject is a recent development---questioning the legitimacy of the Zapruder film of the assassination. It's a step even many Warren Commission critics are reluctant to take. Nonetheless, there are numerous eyewitness statements that agree with each other, but not with the film. It's difficult to assess the mass of evidence presented that the film has been altered, but it seems obvious that serious questions have been raised that Warren Report defenders continue to ignore. "Assassination Science" is disturbing for what it reveals about the breakdown of rational discourse, particularly the shoddy reasoning and shabby conduct of powerful Warren Report defenders. The postscript by historian Ronald F. White, which provides a masterful overview of the problems involved, moves well beyond finger-pointing. He focuses on philosophical assump- tions and professional and institutional shortcomings---not least of which is that lawyers, trained to build cases, directed the Warren Commission investigation, establishing a framework fundamentally at odds with scientific inquiry. This isn't an easy book to read, digest or come to terms with. Few questions are answered, many are raised. Given the seriousness of the subject, that's just the way it should be. Paul Rosenberg is a free-lance writer in California [END] Related link:


PART 1: Background and Overview
PART 2: The Disinformation Page
PART 3: The Controversial Post
PART 4: "**** strikes again!"


PART 6: "Not to belabor the obvious . . ."
PART 7: "Consider the evidence"
PART 8: "Over the edge . . "
PART 9: "A Partial Response to Tink"
PART 10: "The one post to read . . ."
PART 13: "This crap has got to stop!"




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