Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bug out

It is, as ever, a time of transitions. Christopher Lee has died, and although he probably didn't want to be remembered for playing Dracula, I still consider him the only truly frightening Dracula -- perhaps because he was a real-life badsass who saw an incredible amount of action behind enemy lines during WWII. The public knew him as a great actor; a well-informed few knew him to be an even greater soldier.

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as CEO of Fox News, and will reportedly hand over day-to-day operations to his son James, whom we have discussed in a previous post. The far-rightists consider James Murdoch a traitor: He's on friendly terms with the Clintons and Al Gore, and he has criticized Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. A Roger Ailes/James Murdoch power struggle could get interesting.

But the transition I want to note here is one that hasn't received much attention: The passing of Vincent Bugliosi. He was the prosecutor who gave us the myth of "Helter Skelter," who soon thereafter alienated the public by lying his ass off during his runs for public office, and who established himself, late in life, as the King of the Lone Nutters.

Joe Williams, a JFK assassination scholar (who occasionally comments here as Trojan Joe), offers the following eulogy for Vincent Bugliosi. The words below the asterisks belong to Joe Williams...

* * *

When Vincent Bugliosi died this week at age 80, American justice lost a prosecutor, Charlie Manson lost a promoter and assassinology lost a poseur.

To call Bugliosi a JFK-assassination researcher would be an outright lie, yet he said that his Kennedy book Reclaiming History was the culmination of his life's “work.” Although Bugsy claimed to have spent 30 years trying to confirm that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone nut, there is scant evidence that the celebrated author actually visited Dallas, let alone interviewed the major figures in the case or considered the possibility of conspiracy. And while he was reportedly paid $1 million for his hefty doorstop, he falsely accused real JFK researchers of being profiteers who charged for their autographs.

Bugliosi readily admitted that he was a technophobe and knew nothing about the Internet; but he failed to confess that his massive book was largely ghost-written by Dale Myers and Fred Haines, two of the lesser gadflies in the research community. Myers and the late Haines are thanked in the intro to Reclaiming History, but big-shot Bugliosi hogged the credit, just as he did with Helter Skelter, which was co-written by Curt Gentry. (We won't dawdle here to discuss how Buglisoi bent the Manson case to emphasize the Satanic element and ignore the evidence that the Tate murders were rooted in a botched drug deal involving hairdresser Jay Sebring.)

At 1,500 pages (plus an ancilllary CD-ROM) Bugliosi's Reclaiming History is a massive, baffle-'em-with-bullshit prosecutorial brief, not an objective weighing of the evidence. It overemphasizes circumstantial evidence that implicates Oswald, but it ignores evidence that does not.

Most laughably, Bugliosi, like the Warren Commission, can't concede that Jack Ruby was a mobster. Bugsy even quotes other mobsters who say that Jack was just a wannabe. (As if these were reliable sources!) Truth is, Jack Ruby was an Al Capone flunkie as a teen, was sent to Dallas by Sam Giancana to be the mob's bagman in Dallas, and was in cahoots with the CIA in drug-smuggling and gun-running operations through the pre- and post-Bay of Pigs era. These accusations are supported by numerous witnesses, up to and including Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover.

Just as lone-nut propagandist Gerald Posner (Case Closed) relied on one analysis of a computer simulation to “prove” that the Single Bullet Theory was feasible (without mentioning that the computer company and a mock jury “proved” otherwise), Bugliosi's book relies heavily on two discredited sources: his fudging of a bullet-metal test called Neutron Activation Analysis, which crimefighters including the FBI no longer acknowledge as valid, and a computer simulation of the shooting sequence that was put together by...uncredited co-writer Dale Myers!

Myers' technically impressive cartoon, which has been featured in various mainstream-media broadcasts for the past several years, is so utterly corrupt it doesn't even posit which frame of the Zapruder film represents the first shot. For purposes of the back wound (which was five inches below JFK's shoulders), it uses one frame, which purports to show that Kennedy is leaning forward; for purposes of the Gov. Connally's several wounds (which the Warren report linked to an exit wound in Kennedy's throat), it uses a different frame, to suggest that the president and the governor were aligned.

There's so much fudge factor in Myer's simulation that the shots could have come from either end of the Texas School Book Depository--plus the Dal-Tex building, the County Records Building and even the trunk of the limo.

Yet Myers is a regular visitor to JFK forums (and Amazon comment sections), defending Bugliosi as if he himself hadn't ghost-written the book!

Perhaps the most conspicuous sin of Bugliosi's book is his rude condescension toward the hundreds of credentialed researchers and historians who conclude there was a conspiracy. For hundred of pages Bugliosi labels people with PhDs and decades of field work as "kooks," "loons" and "zanies." He simply can't win the argument without resorting to, well, character assassination.

Here's the kicker: a released email shows that Bugliosi was encouraged and helped to write the book by his friend David Atlee Phillips--a CIA agent who was one of the primary suspects in the case! You can see the chummy letter and read about it at

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

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