Wednesday, 22 April 2009 15:55

Arianna Huffington, Tina Brown and the New Media: Death at an Early Age?

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At the start ... everyone had high hopes for the blogosphere. We believed that without the pervading pressure of corporate sponsorship, without the inevitable ties to government officials at higher levels, this was a great opportunity to return American journalism to the days that the late Angus McKenzie recalled in his book Secrets. ... So far, it hasn't happened, laments Jim DiEugenio.

Readers of this site will recall that in 2008, around this time, I wrote a three part series entitled "An Open Letter to Jane Hamsher and Markos Moulitsas." In that article I lamented the criticisms of those two bloggers about Caroline Kennedy placing her name in nomination to replace Hillary Clinton as senator from New York. I wrote that their rather shallow, melodramatic and unfounded broadsides actually said more about them than it did her. (Click here to read that piece.) Kennedy eventually withdrew from consideration. Governor David Paterson then appointed the upstate Blue Dog Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand to fill the post. I pointed out that the two bloggers goofy outrage had resulted in the appointment of just the kind of GOP-Lite Democrat they were supposed to be opposed to.

Later, some sordid revelations surfaced about what the governor had done in the wake of Kennedy's withdrawal. Paterson told Judy Smith, a political hack on his staff, to start selectively leaking confidential material in order to smear Kennedy. Why? To make it appear that she withdrew because Paterson would not pick her because of ethical problems. When this happened, Hamsher actually used these manufactured smears to attack Kennedy and protect herself against my column! As more objective observers have written, Kennedy dropped out because she felt Paterson was using her to garner media attention for his re-election bid. Smith, a former GOP enforcer, was later forced to resign. Paterson became the subject of an ethics inquiry over the Kennedy smears. Which was later accused of covering up for him. (Click here for that story )

Paterson's handling of this episode was so bad that even Republican Mayor Bloomberg questioned why it had happened. In its aftermath a decline in Paterson's ratings began. It soon became a shocking downward spiral. Less than three months after Kennedy dropped out, Paterson's rating had dipped from 51% to 19% positive. His negatives soared to 78%. (New York Daily News, 3/23/09) Things have gotten so bad that the White House has tried to talk him out of running again. Not just because they think he will lose, but because they think he will bring Gillibrand down with him. And since the Blue Dog Gillibrand has been scarred, the White house has also tried to talk the more liberal Carolyn Maloney out of running against her in the primary. (ibid, 7/3/09) Which tells us that Rahm Emanuel is in charge.

Funny how the New Media's Hamsher and Moulitsas have been hesitant to detail the mess they did so much to cause. They sure flunked that test – all the way down to covering up for Paterson. (For the best article on the Caroline Kennedy affair, click here.)

During that travesty, Arianna Huffington played both ends of the stick. She originally cross-posted Hamsher's first salvo against Kennedy, which was clearly meant as a preemptive strike. It was immortally titled, "Caroline Kennedy: Thanks, But no Thanks". (In light of the above, I would reply with: "Hamsher and Moulitsas: Thanks, But find other jobs.") Huffington also printed a follow-up post Hamsher penned which tried to link Kennedy with, of all people, Joe Lieberman. But Huffington also printed pieces that defended Kennedy. And she ultimately printed a short essay by Sherman Yellen that roundly criticized Paterson's pick of Gillibrand as catering to the worst aspects of the Democratic Blue Dog phenomenon. Yellen compared this choice with John McCain's pick of Sarah Palin. This was accurate and a tonic to Moulitsas who once compared Kennedy with Palin – which shows either how dumb or how off the wall the guy was and is.

This straddling of both sides has been a clear syndrome of Huffington Post, which is the top-rated news/blog for liberals. The key to profitability for that site has been the utilization of free content. And lots of it. This means that the editors there don't seem to really care what goes on the site. As long as it's free, and as long as it either has some kind of celebrity attached to it, or it addresses a topic with name recognition. (Which the editors like to play up with either visuals or flashy headings.)


Edward Epstein has something of a name as a writer, and the JFK assassination certainly is a topic with high recognition quality. Epstein began his career in 1966 with the book Inquest, a study of the make-up and process of the Warren Commission. One of the underlying themes of the book is that although the Commission was not an in-depth, exhaustive investigation, it was not really a conscious cover-up. The Commissioners were misled by not having certain pieces of evidence available, by having to hew to an unrealistic timeline, and not being fully informed by agencies like the FBI and CIA. The book tried to picture the Commission as performing something like a benign political palliative.

Volumes by Mark Lane and Sylvia Meagher, which followed Epstein's, undermined Inquest by indicating that the Commission did understand that it was partaking in a deception. So in retrospect, his first writing performance indicated that there was more to Epstein than met the eye.

This was confirmed the next year. FBI informant Lawrence Schiller had co-written a book called The Scavengers and Critics of the Warren Report. This book was the first attempt to ridicule and caricature them as odd creatures not deserving to be listened to or heard. It had an accompanying LP record called The Controversy. Epstein can be heard on this album joining in on the lambasting.

If anyone maintained doubts about where Epstein now was, they dissipated in 1968. He published a long hit piece on Jim Garrison, which would later be issued as a book called Counterplot. According to Garrison's chief investigator, Epstein had spent all of 48 hours doing research in New Orleans. (Probe Vol. 7 No. 1 p. 15) So where did the author get his information? Documents declassified by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) reveal that Epstein had been in contact with Clay Shaw's lawyers – Bill and Ed Wegmann – quite often. He was also in contact with the lawyer for both Jack Ruby and Gordon Novel, a man named Elmer Gertz. The work of the ARRB shows just how close Shaw's lawyers were with the CIA and FBI. (See the essay "The Obstruction of Garrison" in The Assassinations ed. by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease.) So it is not at all surprising that within one week of publication, Epstein's hit piece was being circulated worldwide by the CIA to all station chiefs. (CIA Memo numbered 1127-987)

In 1971, Epstein showed he was an equal opportunity pimp: he now helped the FBI. He wrote an essay that argued that the Bureau had not really killed 28 Black Panthers as their attorney Charles Garry had argued. He added that, contrary to what observers thought, there really was no scheme by the FBI to liquidate the Panthers. He argued this on television with Garry. (FBI memo of 1/20/76) This phony tenet was exploded when the Church Committee exposed the FBI's illegal COINTELPRO programs, one of which was directly aimed at the Panthers. The declassified record today shows that the FBI – working with state and local authorities – did all they could to destroy the Panthers, including coordinating violent action against their leaders. The most famous instance being the murder of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in Chicago. (Anthony Summers, Official and Confidential, p. 384)

If anyone – like the editors at Huffington Post – needed more evidence about who Epstein was, it arrived in 1978 in the form of a book called Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald. The sub-title is the giveaway. Because the last thing you will find here is anything about Oswald's covert life. Nothing about his activities in the Civil Air Patrol with David Ferrie. Little suspicion about how he got out of the Marines so quickly over a phony family injury to is mother. No questions about how he just happened to meet Marina Oswald right after another ersatz defector had. Nothing about Oswald in the Clinton-Jackson area with Ferrie and Clay Shaw etc. etc. etc. You get the idea.

At the time, many felt the book was another Epstein put up job. They were right. Again, the ARRB was helpful in proving this. In 1976, Kenneth Gilmore, Managing Editor of Reader's Digest, got in contact with the FBI about their upcoming serialization of the book. The memo reads that "Gilmore said that the book will be a definitive, factual work which will evaluate, and hopefully put to rest, recurring myths surrounding the Kennedy assassination." (Probe, op cit) Gilmore was requesting that the FBI give Epstein as much aid and documentation as possible to help with the book. Since the Bureau had been covering up the true circumstances of Kennedy's murder from about the first day, they obliged. (Click here for proof this was the case.) Clarence Kelley, FBI Director at the time, gave the visit his blessing. (FBI Memo of 4/5/76)

The timing of this contact and the beginning of Epstein's research is interesting and relevant. The Zapruder film had first been shown on national television in 1975 and created a public furor. Three bills were then drafted in Congress to reopen the JFK case. The HSCA was about to be formed. Knowing Epstein's history of fronting for the FBI and CIA, it is safe to say he was trying to get the jump on the formation of the committee.

Years later, in 1992, Epstein revealed in the introduction to a reissue of the book that Reader' Digest had promised him extraordinary access to Yuri Nosenko. This was the KGB defector who had given the CIA information about Oswald's non-recruitment by the Soviets while he was in Russia. This probably came about because a senior editor at Reader's Digest, John Barron, had been a close friend of CIA Mexico City station chief Winston Scott. (Probe, op cit, p. 24)

Epstein's chief source for the book was James Angleton, the CIA's counter-intelligence chief for over 20 years. (Jerry Policoff called Angleton one evening and he confirmed this was so.) Angleton's infamous reign included the assassination of President Kennedy and the later imprisonment of Nosenko. Legend was budgeted at two million dollars. Epstein got an advance of half a million. He was also furnished with a research staff. (Probe, ibid)

Although the book is amorphous to read, it seems to say that the Soviets made a pitch to Oswald when he was with the Marines in Japan. They convinced him to defect to Russia in 1959. Oswald had good information on the U-2. In return, he was given a nice apartment and job. The Russians then directed him to return and they gave him an undisclosed mission in Texas. But the book implies that in 1963, Oswald abandoned his KGB sponsors and moved toward Cuba. This seems to have provoked him to kill Kennedy. In order to detract suspicion from any involvement, the KGB sent Nosenko over to say they had never employed Oswald. The book says that, unfortunately, the Agency ultimately bought into Nosenko. The last part clearly shows the influence of Angleton since he was the one who pushed the Agency to imprison and torture Nosenko. CIA Director Bill Colby disagreed. He, and many others, thought Nosenko was genuine. For as Director Bill Colby asked: If Nosenko was sent over by the KGB to trick the CIA about Oswald, why had he tried to defect before the assassination.

How bad was Epstein's approach to the book? When Jim Marrs interviewed a woman who was involved in the making of the volume, he asked her why Epstein never went into Oswald's ties to the CIA. Which, he correctly added, were at least as obvious as his ties to the KGB. She replied that they were advised to avoid that area. Billy Lord was a traveler on board the ship Marion Lykes, the boat that he and Oswald took to Europe in 1959. After a preliminary meeting with Epstein, and one with his staff, Lord refused any more contacts. He said that Epstein is "a critic of anyone who criticizes the Warren Commission." Because of this Lord was reluctant to deal with him further and suspected "he may be an agent for, or otherwise connected, with the CIA." (Probe, ibid, p. 26)

The releases of the ARRB tell us why Angleton wanted to use Epstein as a mouthpiece. As John Newman notes in Oswald and the CIA, when Oswald defected to Russia, the State Department properly notified the authorities in the USA. That notification was quickly filed in the right place at the offices of the FBI and the Navy. But it was not posted at the CIA for 31 days. And when it was finally filed, it was filed in the wrong place. Instead of going to the Soviet Russia division, it was filed in Angleton's CI/SIG unit. (See pgs. 25-27) This was a special shop that protected the CIA from penetration agents. Newman's book demonstrates that it was Angleton who was likely running Oswald as a counter-intelligence agent. And in the 2008 reissue of the book, Newman named Angleton as the designer of the plot. (p. 637) In other words, through Epstein, Angleton was concealing who Oswald was, and who manipulated him.

Perhaps the most intriguing fact about this deception was Epstein's association with George DeMohrenschildt. DeMohrenschildt, nicknamed the Baron, takes up a lot of space in Legend. Because of his Russian roots, Epstein tries to insinuate that somehow he was the Russian agent guiding Oswald in his Mission from Moscow. Today, most researchers look at the Baron the other way: He was assigned by Dallas CIA station chief J. Walton Moore to approach Oswald upon his return from Russia. As he put it, "I would never have contacted Oswald in a million years if Moore had not sanctioned it." (JFK and the Unspeakable, by James Douglass, p. 47) The Baron then introduced Oswald to the White Russian community in the Dallas area. More importantly, he connected Marina and Lee with Ruth and Michael Paine. Once that was accomplished, he slinked off-stage. But the Paines stayed closely involved with Oswald up until and after the assassination.

On March 29, 1977, the Baron was found dead from a shotgun blast in Palm Beach. He had been staying with his daughter Alexandra at a Florida estate owned by Alexandra's aunt. Two things happened before he died.. Gaeton Fonzi of the HSCA had been to the home to serve notice that the Committee wanted to talk to him. Second, DeMohrenschildt had just returned from an interview with Epstein at his hotel, about 12 miles away.

At the time of his death, there were few surviving witnesses more important than George DeMohrenschildt. For one, he could have told the HSCA about the reports that he was filing about Oswald with military intelligence. All of it was of a prejudicial nature. Why? (The Man Who Knew Too Much, by Dick Russell, p. 456, 2003 edition) He could have answered questions about his 1963 relationship with Dorothe Matlack. She was the military intelligence officer who the Baron met with after Oswald left for New Orleans in April. Did she and the CIA help arrange a $285,000 oil exploration contract with the Haitian government for him and his partner Clemard Charles? (Douglass, p. 48) In May, the Baron departed for Haiti. Was the money a payoff for his Oswald assignment? Did DeMohrenschildt also arrange for Oswald's job at Jaggers-Chiles-Stovall after Lee returned from Russia? It seems odd that a Marxist defector would be working at a shop doing Defense Department assignments. One of which was reportedly map-making the U-2 overflights during the Cuban Missile Crisis. (ibid) These are all intriguing queries that the Baron never got to answer.

Although DeMohrenschildt's death was ruled a suicide, the evidence presented at the inquest does not make that verdict altogether convincing. Those who have seen the autopsy photos say that, although DeMohrenschildt was supposed to have stuck a rifle in his mouth, there is no blasted out back of the skull. As Jerry Rose pointed out in The Third Decade (Vol. 1 No. 1), although the maid and cook were in the kitchen directly below DeMohrenschildt's room, neither of them heard the shotgun blast explosion. Rose also points out that the position of the rifle post-mortem, is weird. It was trigger side up, the barrel resting at his feet, the butt to his left, and the general direction was parallel to the chair he sat in. As Rose writes, "to the layman's eye it will appear ... that the rifle was placed in that position by a living person." These and other oddities brought out by Rose, suggest foul play.

One other point needs to be made in this regard. In November of 1977, Mark Lane wrote an article for Gallery. It was based on his attendance at the inquest. He wrote that Alexandra's aunt told the maid to tape record her favorite soap opera while she was gone. The tape carried the sound of the program and the shotgun blast. The servants had testified that there was an alarm system installed which caused a bell to ring when someone entered. It rang whenever an outside door or window was opened. When the tape played, just after a commercial, a gentle bell was heard, and then the shotgun blast. Did someone enter the house right before the shooting? Was this person involved in the death? The HSCA should have explored that matter thoroughly. It did not.

Despite all these oddities in the evidence, Epstein, who the Baron had just seen, did not testify at the inquest. He had been staying at the five-star Breakers Hotel. He was paying DeMohrenschildt three thousand dollars for four days of interviews. Lane interviewed David Bludworth, the US attorney on the case. Bludworth said that although Epstein was paying George handsomely for the interview, he let the Baron go after a very short period of time. He commented to Lane: "Why do you think that was?" Bludworth said he knew the long distance calls made from the area and he knew whom Epstein had called. He had also questioned Epstein on the matter. Epstein said he had taken no notes or tape recordings of the DeMohrenschildt interview. Bludworth told Lane he thought this was a lie. Why pay him all that money then? Bludworth continued by adding that DeMohrenschildt left in a car rented by Epstein. But only after Epstein showed him a document indicating that he may be taken back to Parkland Hospital and given electroshock treatments. Bludworth closed with, "You know, DeMohrenschildt was deathly afraid of those treatments. They can wreck your mind. DeMohrenschildt was terrified of being sent back there. One hour later, he was dead."


The above is necessary background for the following sad disclosure: On the 2009 anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination, Epstein did a relatively long article about Oswald for the New Media's Huffington Post. The editors provided no background to the reader about who Epstein was i.e. his long association with the FBI or the notorious Angleton.

Apparently, they weren't even aware that the CIA did an internal study that discounted Epstein's credibility. Cleveland Cram worked for the Agency from 1949-1975. He was asked to return to do two internal histories. One was a multi-volume study of the counterintelligence unit under Angleton. The other was a smaller study called "Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature." In the latter, Cram reviewed several books about the CIA which were leaked to writers from former employees. Cram appraised books by David Martin, David Wise and Tom Mangold as valuable and accurate. (p. 66) In fact, he thought the Agency was lucky that Martin's book about Bill Harvey and Angleton was not popular, because it was quite unattractively accurate. He was critical of the work of Thomas Powers, biographer of Richard Helms. But he was even more critical of Epstein. In fact, he makes it clear that Epstein was part of a disinformation campaign constructed by Angleton. Cram knew what he was talking about. What started out as a one-year study of Angleton ended up taking six years. As Cram was allowed access to all that was left of Angleton's work product.

Two other points should be made about the Cram study. Like many documents declassified by the ARRB, Cram didn't think his work would see the light of day. (The Angleton volumes are still classified.) Second, after his painstaking review, he came to the conclusion that Angleton did not fool Epstein. He believed Epstein was a willing and witting accomplice in Angleton's plan to deceive the American public through the then wildly popular Reader's Digest. In fact, Cram also concluded that former Angleton staffers Scotty Miler and John Bagley aided Epstein. (Miler figures in Mark Lane's Plausible Denial as trying to give E. Howard Hunt an alibi he doesn't have for November 22, 1963) Cram ended referring to Legend as "propaganda for Angleton and essentially dishonest." (p. 60)

The title of Epstein's Huffpo piece was "Annals of Unsolved Crime: The Oswald Mystery". Which is deceptive right off the bat. Because at the start, through some slick card dealing, Epstein solves the crime. Oswald is the murderer of both President Kennedy and patrolman J. D. Tippit. Epstein begins by asking the reader to ignore the "questions about bullets, trajectories, wounds, time sequences and inconsistent testimony that has surrounded the assassination of President John F. Kennedy". In other words, the evidence is not important. What, pray tell, is? Well, the guy who's true identity Epstein has been hard at work trying to conceal for a good part of his life: Lee Oswald. After the set-up comes this: "His rifle, which fired the fatal bullet into the president, was found in the sniper's nest at the Texas Book Depository." Actually there are three deceptions in that one sentence. First, we don't know if that rifle belonged to Oswald. I reviewed all the questions about the ordering of the rifle in the first part of my review of Reclaiming History. Also, with the new work on Buell Frazier, it is an open question if Oswald ever carried either the paper package or the rifle into the Depository. (See Part 6 of that review, Sections 2 and 3) That is also a funny "fatal bullet" Epstein says Oswald fired. As it entered JFK's head, it split into three parts. The head and tail hurtled through Kennedy's skull. But the middle part somehow stopped dead at the rear of the skull. Did the tail of the bullet magically elevate to jump over the middle and end up in the front seat? (See review of Reclaiming History, Part 4, Sections 5 and 6.) Finally, was this the first rifle found in the so-called sniper's lair? Because at least three witnesses reported finding a Mauser there first.

From here, Epstein goes on to write that Oswald's palm print was found on the rifle: without saying when it was found. It was not found after the rifle was dusted in Dallas, or sent to Washington to be examined by the FBI. It was found after it was finally returned to Dallas-after being examined twice. This palmprint card was returned to the FBI on November 29th. A week after the murder. (Sylvia Meagher, Accessories After the Fact, p. 123)

Another lie quickly follows. Angleton's acolyte writes that Oswald bought the ammunition. The FBI did an investigation of all the gun shops in Dallas. No one recalled selling Oswald the ammo. (Meagher, p. 114) And no such ammo boxes were found in his possessions. (Meagher, ibid) Epstein goes on to write that Oswald's cartridge cases were found near the body of slain policeman J. D. Tippit. He doesn't say that the cases did not have the initials of Officer J. M. Poe on them. And they should have since he marked them. (Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt, pgs. 153-54) He also does not tell the reader that the cases do not match the bullets. Two of the cases are Winchesters and two are Remingtons. Three of the bullets were Winchesters while one was a Remington. (Hurt, p. 152) Further, Epstein does not reveal that the cases did not show up on the first day evidence report made at the scene of the crime. It took six days for them to appear in the evidence summary. (ibid, p. 155) Maybe because the cases originally reported at the scene were from an automatic, but the handgun attributed to Oswald was a revolver? (ibid)

If my case rested on evidence like this, I wouldn't' want to argue about it either. Because I would lose. Yet the people at Huffington Post had no problem printing this piece of slime penned by a slime artist and designed to confuse matters on the anniversary of President Kennedy's death. The New Media sure looks like the Old Media doesn't it?


But that wasn't enough for the liberal Huffpo. They also printed an article about one Hany Farid. Farid runs the Image Science Laboratory at Dartmouth. He claims to have solved a great mystery about the famous backyard photos of Lee Harvey Oswald. He says that it is possible to duplicate the weird shadow pattern in the photos and make them originate from just one light source. Even though some have said there had to be two. How did he solve this puzzling problem? The same way that Dale Myers and Gerald Posner explained away the Single Bullet Theory. Farid used the ever-helpful computer simulation. Did anyone tell the professor that, in 1963, people did not have personal computers or photographic software? That a real duplicating experiment would have had to been done using the technology that was extant in 1963? Further, according to the article in Science Daily (11/6/09), Farid is an authority on digital imaging. This is a different technology than the old style chemical process used in sixties cameras.

But that did not stop Huffpo from running their news summary of this story in advance of the 2009 anniversary. Or from Farid declaring, "Those who believe that there was a broader conspiracy can no longer point to this photo as possible evidence." (ibid)

Farid's great discovery lasted about a week. It turns out that apparently the Dartmouth bigwig conducted his experiment using just one of the photos. This is startling since there could be no comparison and contrast sets done with the others. Which scientifically, leaves a large hole in his methodology. Because today there are four of the photos: the two printed in the Warren Commission, the Roscoe White version, and the one surfaced by George DeMohrenschildt. It's hard to believe Farid did not know this. Also, if the original light source was the sun, how could one possibly duplicate that natural effect with a computer? Further, in a critique done by Jim Marrs and Jim Fetzer at OPEd News (11/18/09), it appears that the Farid study was also limited by the fact he did not do a full figure duplication. He only modeled the head and shoulder areas of Oswald. And by only using the one photo he eliminated a problem in comparison that the authors point out: Oswald's face is tilted in different directions in the photos. But the V-shaped shadow under the nose does not vary.

To show just how eager he was to make his above dubious declaration, Farid apparently does not know that besides not doing a comparison study, the shadows are only one of many problems with the photos. To mention just three others, there is the problem of comparing the relative heights and lengths of Oswald versus the rifle and the two papers he has in his hands; plus the problem of the line across the top of his chin; and the fact that the square chin in the photo is not like Oswald's rather pointed chin. (For two interesting studies of the photos click here and here.)

As should have been expected, it turns out that besides specializing in digital imaging, Farid has done work for the FBI. He defends them in court when they are accused of doctoring images. (NY Times, 10/2/07) But there is something even worse underneath it all.

Informed observers understand that Robert Blakey had an agenda when he took over as Chief Counsel of the HSCA. If he found a conspiracy, he wanted to make it small and limit it to the Cosa Nostra. But second, he wanted to do all he could to discredit the critics who had helped reopen the case and who he had little use for. According to Jerry Policoff, Blakey actually assigned a staffer to find errors in the critical studies of the Warren Commission. Then, when the Final Report was being written, almost everyone was dismissed except Blakey, Dick Billings (who also favored a Mob-did-it scenario) and two other trusted aides. After the report and the 12 volumes on the JFK case were released, Blakey filed away in the National Archives much more material than the Warren Commission did.

If one reads the section in HSCA Volume VI dealing with the backyard photos, one will see that whoever wrote it was out to debunk the critics and support the Commission. For instance, the author writes that the rifle and revolver in the pictures of Oswald were mailed to him on March 20th. There are no questions raised about those assertions, which today are highly questionable. (See Harvey and Lee, by John Armstrong, pgs 437-484) To explain the horizontal line at the top of the chin, the report tries to say that the line was a water spot. It then says that Oswald quite clearly had a natural line running across his chin. (Para 408) Oh really? I won't even quote the ludicrous explanation they used to explain away the different chins. (Those interested can read para 410) The report does not even try to explain the strange provenance of the Imperial Reflex camera, allegedly used to take the photos. Why did the police or the FBI not find it until weeks after the assassination? Ruth Paine had the Imperial Reflex camera and gave it, not to the FBI or the police, but to Robert Oswald. No details on how the Imperial Reflex then replaced the Stereo Realist as the American camera in evidence, yet Marina still insisted that the Stereo Realist was the American camera Lee owned. (WC Exhibit 1155) Or how Marina eventually changed her story about the Stereo Realist camera being Oswald's, and finally Ruth Paine claiming that that camera was hers all along. (WC Vol. 1, p. 118) All very interesting. Yet none of it is in the HSCA report.

Something else one will not find in the HSCA volumes is a study called "Report on Fake Photography Project" by a man named David Eisendrath. Eisendrath was a consultant to the HSCA. His report was submitted to the committee in November of 1978, right before Blakey and Billings released everyone and started on the final report. Eisendrath was a photographer and lecturer "known for his understanding of photographic principles and techniques." (NY Times, 5/5/88) He worked in the field for over 50 years. His columns appeared in several photographic magazines and he was "admired for conveying often abstruse subject matter understandably." (ibid) He was a member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers, the Society of Photographic Scientists and Engineers, and he was a fellow of the Photographic Society of America.

In 1978, Eisendrath wrote a letter to Mickey Goldsmith, counsel for the HSCA. Referring to his report, he said: "I have already written to you about the photogrammetry of the backyard pictures and after several re-readings still feel that this should be re-edited, re-calculated or destroyed. It's a bombshell and should not be published in its present form." It was not destroyed. But why was Eisendrath so worried about the report being published? Because according to John Hunt, Eisendrath's job was to prepare fake versions of the backyard photos using three different methods. Knowing they were fakes, the panel issued detailed reports on how they were forged. Guess what? They gave the wrong reasons for detecting forgery. Eisendrath's report spelled out how they were fooled.

If not for the ARRB, this report would be unknown today. Because Blakey knew it rendered futile and pretentious the whole methodology of how the HSCA proclaimed the backyard photos of Oswald as genuine. This internal exercise proved that the HSCA panel could not properly detect photographic forgery. Eisendrath understood that. He also understood the culture of the HSCA-that the American public had to be protected from the truth – and he was playing the good patriot. Blakey did his best to bury the report for fifty years. If not for the ARRB, it would have worked.

This declassified report reveals a cover-up inside a cover-up. That's a real story for Huffpo. Hold your breath until they run it.


The Daily Beast is another combination news/blog. It is backed by former movie executive Barry Diller and run by none other than Tina Brown. Brown was born in England and rose to youthful prominence as a tabloid editor there. She was a social climber who understood you had to know powerful people to get ahead. She cultivated what she called "contacts", not friends. She associated with people like actor Dudley Moore and writer Martin Amis. She eventually wed Harold Evans of the Sunday Times. They were married at the home of Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn. Which, of course, tells you a lot.

In 1984, after Si Newhouse decided to revive the magazine, she became editor of Vanity Fair. She began that magazine's present obeisance to Hollywood, and its habit of putting movie stars on the cover. Because of his Hollywood connections-he had been a movie producer – she also hired the reprehensible Dominick Dunne. Whatever relationship to and training in the canons of journalism Dunne had were extremely well hidden. But, as one commentator has written, Brown was not really about journalism. As previously noted, she was a social climber who knew about power: "Brown had an instinct and an unrestrained affection for power, and she set about glamorizing it, whether in politics, Hollywood, business, or crime." Her idea was that a magazine could borrow celebrity power to increase its own. (New York Magazine, 5/31/09)

In 1992, Brown went to another Newhouse magazine, The New Yorker. She did there roughly what she had at Vanity Fair. She brought in Richard Avedon as the first staff photographer. The magazine now had more color photography and less type per page. She also increased the coverage of celebrities and rich fat cats. Eventually Brown let go of 79 writers while hiring 50 new ones. Many contributors, like Renata Adler, came to believe that Brown had turned a distinguished literary weekly journal-which at one time published the likes of Nabokov, Hersey, Cheever, Salinger, O'Hara, and Roth – into something a bit more literary and high-faluting than People Weekly.

In 1998, Brown left The New Yorker and started Talk magazine. This time, her employer actually was from Hollywood: Harvey Weinstein of Miramax studios. This was Brown's first failure. It was so bad it ended up resembling a Mad magazine parody of what Brown would produce left on her own, without guidelines or supervision. It was essentially a grab bag of celebrity glitz, gas and frill – lacking substance, meaning or reason d'Ítre. Talk had the weight and gravitas of a helium balloon. Due to huge losses, Weinstein pulled the plug in 2002.

After writing a book on Princess Diana, and hosting a talk show for CNBC, she teamed with Diller to launch The Daily Beast. She proclaimed about her latest venture, "I want this to be a speedy read that captures the zeitgeist. We'll be smart and opinionated, looking to help cut through the volume with a keen sensibility. We're aiming for a curious, upscale and global audience who love politics, news, and the media world." (USA Today, 10/6/08) Nothing in there about an alternative web media to counter the failure of the MSM to deal with the sorry state that America has fallen into. If that's what you want, you came to the wrong person.

The value of Brown and Daily Beast is epitomized by the hiring of a rather curious figure as their Chief Investigative Reporter: Gerald Posner. This partly indicates Brown's belief in "contacts". In 1993, after he was approached by Bob Loomis of Random House, Posner wrote his execrable Case Closed. (The Assassinations, edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, p. 369) But it was Brown's husband, Harold Evans, who was then president and publisher of Random House. So it would appear that Brown took a tip from her hubby and hired an investigative reporter who specialized in covering up the murders of John Kennedy and Martin Luther King. For Posner also did a whitewash on the King case with his god-awful Killing the Dream (1998). Also published by Random House, very likely at the request of the CIA friendly Bob Loomis.

Like Epstein, Posner was up to his old tricks at the anniversary. For Daily Beast he did a review of the TV special called The Lost JFK Tapes. He wrote that watching the immediate reactions of people involved reminded him of the work he had done reviewing film footage for Case Closed. He wrote, "They made it clear how the seeds for conspiracy mongering was laid that very day. Ear witnesses heard shots from different directions at Dealey Plaza. Eyewitnesses had accounts that varied about when the president seemed to be struck by bullets." He called these first impressions "flashbulb memories" that are subject to change, especially during famous events. For as we watch the event and talk to others the new information melds together "with our own memory and changes the way we recall the event." In other words, the eyewitnesses in Dealey Plaza somehow got it wrong by running up the grassy knoll when they heard the shots from there. Yawn.

As I noted in my previous series on Hamsher and Moulitsas, at the start – around 2003 – everyone had high hopes for the blogosphere. We believed that without the pervading pressure of corporate sponsorship, without the inevitable ties to government officials at higher levels, this was a great opportunity to return American journalism to the days that the late Angus McKenzie recalled in his book Secrets. The days of sixties and seventies alternative journalism, hallmarked by Ramparts and the LA Free Press. So far, it hasn't happened. If one cannot feel free to deal with the bÍte noire of modern American history – the assassinations of the sixties which altered the face of America – what can you be trusted with? And how are you fundamentally different than the MSM? To me, the difference would be at the margins. I mean, Huffpo and Talking Points Memo now want to send correspondents to the White House press room. Why? If there is one thing we have learned from the MSM its that the story is not in the press room. That place is a time and space filler that is meant to indoctrinate reporters into the "conventional wisdom" of the Beltway. Which, more often than not, isn't what is actually happening.

The other syndrome being handed over from the MSM to the blogosphere is the fear of the "C" word: Conspiracy. Posner's presence epitomizes this. In fact, people like Moulitsas and Huffington have sent down orders to discourage visitor postings on things like voter fraud and 9-11. This is ridiculous. Vote fraud in not a marginal issue. Nor is it up for debate. It pervades our present political reality. In the year 2000, a conspiracy took place in broad daylight. Right under the nose of the MSM, Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris stole an election in Florida. They took it from Al Gore and gave it to Jeb's brother, the overgrown frat boy. This turned into one of the true catastrophes of the post-war era. For Jeb's brother turned out to be one of the worst, if not the worst, president in history. Not one newspaper, TV station, or radio network launched any kind of field investigation into what really happened down there. Yet, within 24 hours, I knew what had happened. When the networks called the Florida election for Gore, then switched to Bush, then declared a toss-up, I knew something was up. If I knew it, then hundreds of thousands did also. Yet, to name one example, the late Tim Russert didn't?

But then how did Greg Palast know? Palast is a British journalist who immediately smelled a rat. He spent months investigating how the plot worked and he exposed it in the pages of his book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (See pgs. 11-81 of that book for a true piece of investigative reporting). Reading the results of that inquiry, several people should have been indicted. Nobody was. Harris did not go to trial. With the help of the MSM, she went to Congress.

We all know what happened to the rest of us: the phony war in Iraq, with hundreds of billions dumped there, along with hundreds of thousands dead Iraqis; the cover-up of Plamegate; the Wall Street collapse, and the disappearing two trillion dollars that went with it; the punctured real estate bubble and the billions lost there; and the stealing of another election in Ohio in 2004. That heist was also covered up by the MSM. And it took Robert Kennedy Jr. two years to expose what actually happened in 2006 in the Rolling Stone. In other words, rather than expose a conspiracy, the MSM would rather see the country go to hell. To them, that's better than being called a Conspiracy Theorist. Even if there was a conspiracy. This is what the USA and the MSM have become: A lawless state, in which criminal conspiracies run rampant while the Powers That Be cry, "You silly conspiracy theorist, you probably believe in alien abductions too!"

It's all a diversion, orchestrated with the help of those who commit the crimes. Many hoped that the blogosphere would call a halt to it and end the carnival of decline. With these most recent indications, that won't be the case. Huffington, Hamsher, Moulitsas, and Brown like being on TV and part of the Media Establishment. They don't have the guts or instincts to build their own independent alternative. They don't believe in investigating crimes of state. That could lead to uncovering a conspiracy. So like their predecessors, they provide safe haven for cover-up artists like Epstein and Posner. The more things change ...

Katherine Harris, you can rest easy. With these people in charge, you will never be held accountable for the awful crime you visited on your nation.

Last modified on Wednesday, 29 August 2018 12:37
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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