Sunday, May 20, 2007

Only Fools

Vincent Bugliosi's latest self-promoting screed on criminal justice is out, this time making money off JFK's assassination rather than the tragedies of Sharon Tate and Nicole Brown. No, I'm not going to link to it. He's the prototype of the self-inflated, overzealous prosecutor put on earth specially by God to save Him from having to sort out the "bad guys" from the "good guys." This time, he's put together the classic DA case of "weak point, pound pulpit" with an over-thousand page recap of the equally massive and equally flawed Warren Report. Also in classic DA style, he attacks critics and their evidence and views as if that proves his case. It doesn't. Because there have truly been lunatics out there in the analysis of JFK's assassination, that doesn't mean all the critics are equally crazy or crazy at all. As I said, it's an old prosecutor trick to lump all together to discredit the valid. And unfortunately from the idiotic reviews I've read in the NY Times, Boston Globe, and LA Times, it's impressed the credulous and ahistorical once again. (No, I'm not linking to them either. Nonsense, bad nonsense, has no right to distribution.)

Let's remember a point I've made here in the past. The "educated" among us are taught early and often that "conspiracies don't exist" and that anyone who believes that people with or wanting power would do illegal things and try to cover them up is a (oooohhhh) "conspiratist." In the "educated" world, Watergate, Iran-Contra, Iraq, the US attorney scandal (well, actually, anything the Busheviks have done) could never have happened, and it's this "we're all good people who would never shaft people for power" BS that's gotten the Dems and the nation into the crappy position we're now in. In Bugliosi's world, any conspiracy that might happen only started with Watergate, apparently. Our government before then would never look on something that happened and decide to slant investigations and cover up evidence to protect the American people from knowledge, especially knowledge of bureaucratic failure to protect a president.

If you should choose to read this garbage, keep in mind that the evidence Bugliosi uses to support his position comes from a Warren Commission which never knew certain things. One, that Nicolas Katzenbach (who ran DOJ in RFK's breakdown after the killing) and Bill Moyers (LBJ's aide) virtually immediately had a memo specifically requiring that the American people be convinced of Oswald's guilt and that he was the only one responsible (ostensibly because they really thought Castro was behind it and it would start WWIII). It was from that that everything else derived. Two, that the FBI had been supervising Oswald (to the point that Oswald showed up at their offices prior to the assassination and left a note to the agent in charge to tell him to back off) and had nevertheless allowed a presidential motorcade pass directly by the place where this (suspectly) Castro supporter and defector to the USSR worked. Three, that Jack Ruby was a long-time bagman for the Mafia running their clubs in Dallas. Four, that the administration had partnered with the Mafia to rid Cuba of Castro and then backed off, pissing off both the Mafia and the CIA zealots who saw it as a betrayal of the highest order. Had any or all of these points been presented to the Warren Commission, it's doubtful that it would have relied on the evidence it did, disregarded the evidence not supportive of the Katzenbach-Moyers memo, and reached the conclusions that Bugliosi now sees as engraved in stone and worthy of this megaphone he published (once again with absolutely no word from the defendant who NEVER GOT TO DEFEND HIMSELF). Why am I so sure the Commission wouldn't have been so quick to the trigger? Because two of the people who did know most or all of these things--RFK and LBJ--both went to their graves convinced that there was more than just Oswald behind it.

No one who understands the history of power or of bureaucracies could accept that the Warren Report tells us what happened that day in Dallas. And no one who knows the ways and mindset of prosecutors could accept it or Bugliosi. We know well that once law enforcement zones in on a suspect, all evidence and investigation goes with the assumption and perspective of building the case, coloring all questioning and acceptance of evidence, not finding the truth. Look at all the guys who've been released from prison on DNA evidence lately. Not just that they were falsely convicted based on prosecutors' briefs that were likely not as prejudiced as the Warren Report, but that the prosecutors and law enforcers subsequently spend so little time going back and trying to find who really did it, if they even accept that they've made a mistake at all. Bugliosi has always been a glory-seeking prototype of the worst kind of DA, and it's clear he hasn't gotten over the fact that his "win" in a mock trial of Oswald decades ago didn't settle the case (again, because the defendant had no voice and the FBI stood behind the evidence against Oswald). What an ego.

Here's a classic example of how his "experience" and perspective color his analysis of the assassination. According to him, anyone who believes that Jack Ruby, the neurotic blowhard manager of Mafia clubs who killed Oswald simply because he was overwhelmed with grief about the killing of a president no one had ever heard him express anything good about before and his worry that the poor widow would have to come to Dallas to testify (good God, how naive do you have to be to believe a ridiculous story like this?), had anything to do with the grudge of the Mafia leaders who had been humiliated by the Kennedy brothers is a conspiracy nut. "Ruby, he writes, was 'close to law enforcement, emotionally volatile and erratic in his behavior, and someone who couldn't keep a secret, all of which would automatically disqualify him as a Mafia hit man.'" (From one of the idiot reviews.) Or maybe he wasn't close to law enforcement, just bagging cops to protect his strip clubs, was in debt to the Mafia bosses and reacting predictably when one is in such a situation, and maybe he CAN keep secrets if HE WAS ASSOCIATED WITH THE MAFIA FOR THREE DECADES AND NOT DEAD OR IN PRISON YET. If you've already decided your case, you come up with the Bugliosi and Warren Report picture of Ruby. If you haven't, there are multiple other interpretations of what he did, and none of them support the "Oswald acted alone" case. Yet the idiot reviewer from which this quote is pulled used it as an example of Bugliosi's "cogency." My ass. What an ego that reviewer has as well.

The truth about JFK's assassination right now is that we're never going to know the truth. It's all just guesses because the investigators and the Commission had agendas that paid for obscuring everything from the American people. What do I think happened? I think Oswald was part of the "rogue" culture of "America protectors" whose existence needed to be kept from the public after they went off the reservation with their Mafia partners and killed a president. I think Oswald was part of it (why else have him killed?) but was he a plant or a participant, I don't know. I do know that, once JFK was dead, the bureaucratic impulse was, as always, to ensure asses were covered and that the "expertise" and authority of officialdom had to be reinforced in every way. I don't believe the FBI or CIA "killed" him, but I do believe it was in their and others' interest to come up with "Oswald acted alone" as THE answer. I also know no other "assassin" or wannabe in our history took the worst possible shots at their targets, yet Oswald, never a marksman, used a clumsy rifle with a bad scope to fire at JFK not when he was right in front of him but at the farthest point and speeding up. The Warren Report came up with its famous theories, some folks have shown that those theories are theoretically possible, and Bugliosi claims that solves the case. How inconvenient for him (and the reviewers lauding his "cogency") that new evidence was presented this very week on the bullet fragments that raise even more questions about whether one or two or more guns were used. Can I prove anything I believe about this? Never in a million years. Not now. That chance was passed up when the Katzenbach-Moyers memo went out.

That won't stop the "educated" from using this doorstop as "proof" that those crazy conspiratists have gotten their comeuppance. You already see it in their triumphant hoo-yahs in these reviews. They're just as self-impressed and clueless as Bugliosi. The truth is that the Warren Report was fundamentally flawed not just in its "evidence" but in the entire context in which it was done. Anyone using it to bolster a case about the assassination is running games, although, in fairness, their own myopic and faith-based views that authorities never have any other fish to fry than truth in presenting reports to the public and that prosecutor briefs are always and everywhere the TRUTH may actually have them believing their own mirrors. But here's the final truth of the JFK assassination. ANYONE who tells you they "know" . . . is a fool.

Add to Technorati Favorites