CTKAformerly published Probe Magazine.
Most of the articles on this site first appeared in Probe.
If you would like to submit an article to be considered
for publication on this site, please send mail to us at here.
Jim DiEugenio's Upcoming appearances and radio Interviews:
April 13th, Barnes and Noble, Metro Pointe,
901 B South Coast Drive Ste 150, Costa Mesa,
May 4th, Barnes
and Noble, Orange Town & Country
791 South Main Street Suite 100,
NEW DATE! May 18th, Barnes
and Noble Bookstore in Manhattan Gateway Shopping Center 1800 Rosecrans
Avenue Building B, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
310-725-7025, 12-4 PM
October 16-19th Passing the Torch
Conference, at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh
November 21-24, November
in Dallas, at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas
The French Connection, by
Peter Kross Review
by Seamus Coogan
on Lunch with Arlen Specter on January 4, 2012
By Vincent Salandria
1: Review of Peter Janney’s "Mary’s Mosaic"
By Lisa Pease
2: Entering Peter Janney’s World of Fantasy
By James DiEugenio
Awful Grace of God, Religious Terrorism, White Supremacy
and the Unsolved Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Martin Hay
KENNEDY & ME: A Very Good Book With A Few Pages of Trouble
by Vince Palamara
Jim DiEugenio analyzes and summarizes Larry Hancock's
interesting and unique new book Nexus:
The CIA and Political Assassination
Jim DiEugenio reviews the work
of Chris Matthews on the life and death of President Kennedy,
including his latest biography, "Jack Kennedy: Elusive hero".
Reviews of John McAdams' book JFK
Assassination Logic by:
IN DALLAS: LBJ, the Pearl Street Mafia, and the Murder of President
Reviewed by William Davy
a DVD Robert Kennedy documentary produced,
written and directed by Massimo Mazzucco. Reviewed by Jim DiEugenio
Connally Bullet Powerful evidence that Connally was
hit by a bullet from a different assassin, by Robert Harris
those who were in and around Dealey Plaza that
day and those who made a career of the case afterwards.
Joseph Green on the late Manning
Marable's new full scale biography of Malcolm X.
and the Majestic Papers: The History of a Hoax by Seamus
- and -
and the Conspiracy to Kill Kennedy: A Coalescence of InterestsSeamus Coogan
on Joseph Farrell's new book
No Evil: Social Constructivism and the Forensic Evidence in the
by Donald Byron Thomas
Comprehensive Review by David Mantik of
Wikipedia? by JP Mroz and Jim DiEugenio (3 part series)
Sirhan and the RFK Assassination
Part I: The Grand Illusion Part
II: Rubik's Cube by Lisa Pease
is Anton Batey?
CTKA takes a close look at a most curious radio host who is a JFK
denier, Chomskyite, and yet happens to be in league with John McAdams
and David Von Pein. Yep, its all true.
Reviews of Douglas Horne's multi-volume study
of the declassified medical evidence in the JFK case. Reviewed
Jim DiEugenio, David Mantik and Gary Aguilar.
Exclusive excerpts from Mitchell Warriner's long
awaited new book on
the Jim Garrison investigation
A Review of John McAdams’ JFK Assassination Logic:
to Think About Claims of Conspiracy
By Frank Cassano
I must admit that I was flattered when Jim DiEugenio asked me if I would
provide a review of John McAdams’ latest published piece of horse …oops, I
mean his book. But once I finally made my way through it, I felt drained,
empty, discouraged about the human condition in general, and of the hopeless
plight of shameless propagandists in particular. I felt like I’d just been
robbed of precious hours of my life. Hours that I will never get back again.
That’s why I believe that everybody who reads this mess should band together
and enter into a class-action suit against John McAdams. The charge? Theft.
We demand those hours back, John.
Once I began reading, I emailed Jim that one can’t review something this
bad. How can one review disinformation, omissions, half-truths, and innuendoes?
It can’t be done. And since McAdams likes to base most of his arguments on
a false premise, you end up having to review something that begins and ends
with distortions. This is not a book. It’s a campaign.
Take the liner notes, for example: “This book gets in
the thick of all the contradictory evidence and presents an intriguing puzzle
to be solved." Yep,
McAdams sure piles it on thick, alright. “The solution, in each case, involves
using intellectual tools [my emphasis].” Now, if you flip to the
back cover, you’ll see endorsements from Dave Reitzes and Gary Mack. I have
to admit that, for once, McAdams finally comes clean and hits a bull’s-eye
here; because between himself, Reitzes, and Mack…we do indeed have three of
the biggest tools ever involved in the JFK assassination case.
McAdams even cites Mack as a source of “sanity.” It’s
interesting how he keeps referring to Gary Mack as a “conspiracist researcher”.
Come on, John…Gary Mack — a conspiracist? Since when? Certainly not since he took on his
six-figure position as Head Ringmaster at the Sixth Floor Big Top Circus.
What with their belief in the "Single Bullet Theory" and their bookstore
featuring tomes like Case
Or how about this passage from the Preface: “While I
can’t deal with the vast array of minor issues surrounding the assassination,
there is one big issue that I won’t cover: Lee Harvey Oswald’s character
or personality. It’s certainly possible to paint a compelling picture of
Oswald "the striver"
who wanted to be somebody important; of Oswald "the violent fellow" who
beat his wife and shot at another person, Gen. Edwin Walker; of Oswald
"the actor" who liked to play spy games; of Oswald "the deceiver" who lied
quite readily when it served his purposes; and of Oswald "the callow Marxist"
who became enamored of the Soviet Union and later, when he was disillusioned
with Russia, of Fidel Castro’s Cuba.
And, most importantly, I won’t deal with Oswald the loner and malcontent.”
Thanks for not talking about those things, John.
Allow me to highlight some of the lowlights of this “book”.
Chapter 1: The Frailty of Witness Testimony
Just check out some of the headings in this chapter. “WACKY WITNESSES”; “FALSE
RECOLLECTIONS”; “BEWARE OF AD HOC ASSUMPTIONS”; “ABSURD THEORIES”; “INTERPRETING
WITNESS TESTIMONY: JUST WHAT DID THE WITNESS SAY”. In his plan to show how
inaccurate people’s recollections are, McAdams presents a litany of important-sounding
words like “science,” “data,” “outlier,” “model,” “noise,” and “signal”. Let
me put this into plain English for you. Basically, it comes down to this:
John McAdams and his co-propagandists are correct about the JFK assassination.
Everybody else is unreliable and/or nutty. Simple enough for you?
As an example of an “Ad Hoc Assumption,” McAdams cites
the Chicago plot. Well, sort of. You see, if you can believe it, he never
actually mentions Abraham Bolden — the man who just happened to be
the central character in the whole event. Does McAdams not know who Abraham
Bolden is? Maybe McAdams should put down his copy of Posner and start paying
attention to facts for a change. For how one can deal with the Chicago Plot
and never mention Bolden is a trick even Posner would have difficulty with.
For without the heroic Bolden we likely would have never heard of the Chicago
Plot. And this is the guy who titles his book how to think logically about
claims of conspiracy. Talk about chutzpah.
Realistically, I think the reason McAdams brought the whole thing up was
so that he could take advantage of a cheap opportunity to slam author James
Douglas, who discussed that topic in his laudable book, JFK and the Unspeakable. (McAdams’
book, on the other hand, is more like JFK and the Unconscionable.)
Chapter 2: Problems of Memory
Hey, wait a minute -- am I reading John McAdams’ book here, or watching a
Michael Shermer slide presentation? In his “Preface” McAdams even slips in
mention of Bigfoot and UFO’s -- two of Shermer’s favorite diversions. McAdams
uses this chapter to further lay the groundwork on his theory about how people
commonly “misremember” events, or “connect the dots incorrectly”.
McAdams’ strategy is not a new one -- it involves attacking all of the witnesses;
they are either weird, shady, unreliable, unqualified, possess bad memories…or
are crazy. Or liars. Everyone else must have “misremembered”. Thank goodness
we have the likes of McAdams, Mack, Reitzes, and Dave Perry to set us straight
on the facts. After all, you would never, ever, ever see someone of Gary Mack’s
unimpeachable integrity put out a TV re-creation of the assassination which
places Jackie in the wrong position in the limousine, would you? Oops, I guess
for Inside the Target Car Mack must have “misremembered” where Jackie
Speaking of “misremembering”…I suppose McAdams misremembered his real name
when he was seen carousing around the 1995 COPA Conference using the assumed
name of “Paul Nolan: Jet Propulsion Expert”?
McAdams is a master of omissions. For example, he might well mention the
name of autopsy technician Paul O’Connor. O’Connor was the autopsy technician
whose task it was to remove the president’s brain. But what he’ll neglect
to mention is that O’Connor found there was no brain present.
Likewise, he might well mention the name of Jean Hill. Jean Hill and Mary
Moorman were snapping Polaroids in Dealey Plaza -- photos that were aggressively
snatched from Hill’s coat pocket by an “agent” (who instinctively picked the
correct pocket).. The photos were eventually returned to her. Well, sort of.
One of the photos taken by Hill and Moorman was a shot aimed at the TSBD.
When this photo was returned, all of the background had been scratched out
obliterating any and all details which might have been revealed in the building.
On page 31, paragraph 1, McAdams quotes the Warren Commission thusly: “Meanwhile,
Oswald had received his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle from Klein’s Sporting Goods
with the scope already mounted.” Thus the author tells us two things. First,
even though the Warren Report has been thoroughly and completely discredited
in every aspect, he still uses it as if it is credible. Second, that he will
ignore all the holes punched in that sorry report in order to not tell the
whole story to the reader. This is a perfect example. The problem with the
quote is a rather serious one: according to the HSCA testimony of Mitchell
Westra (2/20/78), a Klein’s gunsmith, Klein’s did not mount scopes on that
model of rifle. (McAdams must have misremembered…or connected the dots incorrectly…or
relied on the dubious information provided by unreliable witnesses.
Further down the page, McAdams comments on the veracity of one “Mrs. Gertrude
Hunter”. McAdams says of Hunter: “Finally, since her family members were aware
of her tall tales, ‘they normally pay no attention to her’.” Hmm…he said practically
the same thing about witness, Ed Hoffman. Sounds like Mrs. Gertrude Hunter
and Ed Hoffman must come from the same family! The “reliable source” that
McAdams references here? Are you sitting down: Ruth
Paine. (Actually, citing
Ruth Paine as a reliable source is much better than who he usually relies
on throughout the course of this book: the Warren Commission.)
To go through this book and count all of its individual inconsistencies would
be akin to swimming through the Atlantic and keeping tabs on all the spineless
jellyfish floating around. It’s no secret that the JFK case is rife with disinformation,
red herrings, or false witnesses (“plants”). McAdams himself just happens
to be a prime source of the disinformation. In other words, this book is more
of the same old, same old. Did anybody really expect anything different? I
What this book actually is is an admission on McAdams’ part that he has grown
weary of debating people like Jim DiEugenio and Tom Rossley. Why bother with
such hard work when you can simply write down your smoke screen and cart it
out unchallenged by such nuisances as a moderator…or fact-checking. It actually
is nothing more than a published version of the alt.conspiracy.jfk website.
In other words, the good professor couldn’t muster the energy or resources
to really do some new work to sustain his old arguments.
Chapter 4: Witnesses Who Are Just Too Good.
Sounds like a pretty fair-minded and even-handed chapter title to me. Don’t
forget -- McAdams assures us at the beginning of the book that he is simply
here to provide a public service by acting as an arbiter of truth and justice.
And who does he go after in this chapter? Only what many consider to be some
of the most important players in the entire case: Jean Hill, Roger Craig,
Dr. Charles Crenshaw, and Madeleine Brown. (He also goes after Judy Baker,
but Ms. Baker, whatever her story, was not a key player, and I therefore won’t
waste any time on her for the purposes of this review.)
After an almost two-page long assassination of Jean Hill’s character, integrity,
and memory, he then goes on to add insult to injury by claiming that Hill
says she saw a “little dog” in the presidential limousine. McAdams volunteers
that there was a bouquet of flowers present between the President
and Mrs. Kennedy that Hill might easily have mistaken for a dog: “a small
poodle perhaps”. In fact, when John and Jackie arrived at Love Field, an
adoring admirer gave Jackie a doll which was a replica of “Lambchop” — of
“Shari Lewis and Lambchop” fame. This doll rode beside Mrs. Kennedy during
the entire motorcade.
This was the “doll” that Hill saw. But surely McAdams must have known this,
right? If not, he must have misremembered. Is it conceivable that Gary Mack
-- McAdams’ “voice of sanity” -- wouldn’t have known this either? Perhaps
Mack misremembered too. And so did Reitzes? No they did not. McAdams is just
exercising his noted propaganda technique of keeping crucial facts from the
reader in order to bamboozle him about a certain issue or witness.
Maybe Mack misremembered the presence of the doll at the precise time he
also forgot Jackie’s location in the limousine for his “JFK and the Target
Car”? A curious deja vu strikes me about McAdams’ mention of this “little
dog”. In fact, this is the second time I’ve seen that “little dog” reference
thrown at me.
To show you how old this canard about Hill is, consider
this. I first began trolling the dreaded IMDb website a few years back in
order to compile research on the astounding level of disinformation that
exists in the JFK case — and
particularly at the site for the movie “JFK”. One of the first of the many
disinfo artists I would eventually encounter posed to me the following
question in his campaign of (attempted) deception. He wrote something to
the effect of: “Did you know that Jean Hill said she saw a little dog in
the limousine? A dog! That’s ridiculous! Everybody knows that there was
no dog in the limousine! Surely Hill is a nut.”
Hmmm…now, you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you, Mr. McAdams?
Most new books on the assassination strive to offer something new. This book
simply attacks each and every important witness, or piece of evidence that
points to a conspiracy. To sharks like John McAdams, these people are an easy
meal. Many are women, most are average citizens without much money or legal
recourse. And even though many have since passed on, they are still a staple
menu item for scavengers like John McAdams and his crew.
McAdams begins his section on Roger Craig with the sentence: “Roger Craig
was everywhere in the wake of the assassination.” Is this supposed to be sarcasm,
John? Craig had two important pieces of evidence to testify to: 1.) Seeing
a man who looked like Oswald escape the Depository and jump in to a Rambler,
and 2.) Being on the sixth floor when the alleged murder rifle was found.
So according to the author, being outside and inside the Texas School Book
Depository is being “everywhere”. McAdams then goes on to make reference to
“anal-retentive conspirators”. What McAdams neglects to point out is that
Roger Craig was elected the Dallas Sheriff’s Department “Officer of the Year”
in 1960. Seymour Weitzman -- the deputy who recognized that the rifle was
a Mauser -- just happened to have operated a sporting goods store, and was
very familiar with weapons (a fact which McAdams omits).
How does McAdams explain Roger Craig’s testimony? “Given previous discussions
regarding witness testimony, Craig’s claim to have seen Oswald run down the
grassy slope and get into the Rambler could easily be an honest misperception…Thus
Craig may have put two and two together but come up with the mistaken conclusion.”
There’s McAdams dazzling us with his how-the-brain-makes-mistakes wizardry
again. Shades of Michael Shermer all over again. Like Shermer, what the author
leaves out is that 1.) This testimony is partly corroborated, and 2.) There
are photos now that seem to bear this out. (See the CD to John Armstrong’s Harvey
The author on Charles Crenshaw: “Charles Crenshaw was one of the many doctors
in Emergency Room (ER) One at Parkland Hospital who worked to save President
Kennedy’s life. Although a junior and bit player, he was indeed there.
Thus, especially if one believes that physicians are particularly sober
and reliable people, he should have been a good witness.” (Italics
Well, thank goodness the doctor was indeed there. The part about Crenshaw
being “only a junior and bit player” is another McAdams attempt at cheap discreditation.
I’m having a hard time keeping up the façade of providing an honest review
of an honest book for the simple reason that this is not an honest book. And
I’m only on page 69! So why does McAdams attack Crenshaw? Because Crenshaw
noted a couple of disturbing things.
When treating Kennedy he noticed a small bullet hole of entrance to the front
of Kennedy’s throat; when treating Oswald, he said that none other than newly
sworn in President Lyndon Johnson phoned him in the operating room. Johnson
demanded from Crenshaw that he obtain a “death-bed” confession from the mortally
wounded Oswald. Of course, Oswald would never again regain consciousness and
such a confession would never be obtained. Crenshaw’s story is corroborated
by the switchboard operator, Phyllis Bartlett, who received LBJ’s call and
directed it into the room where Crenshaw was administering to Oswald. McAdams
doesn’t mention this.
McAdams then again practices his “misremembering” when he fails to tell readers
that Madeleine Brown’s story of a big party at the home of Clint Murchison
the night before the assassination was in fact corroborated by cook and seamstress,
May Newman. Newman even conversed about the event with one of the chauffeurs.
McAdams’ summation of Madeleine Brown (and others like her): “To a degree,
they may have been manipulated by conspiracy researchers who asked leading
questions and gave subtle clues as to what sort of testimony worked in gaining
credibility and further interest. To maintain that interest, of course, it’s
desirable to give better and better testimony.”
Question for the author: What “conspiracy researcher” existed on the 22nd
when Craig came into police HQ and said he saw the arrested man, namely Oswald,
jumping into a car in Dealey Plaza?
Further on in this chapter, on page 75, under the innocuously-titled heading:
“WHY DOES ANYBODY BELIEVE THESE PEOPLE?”, the author says: “But the majority
of people who watch movies like JFK, read conspiracy books available
at chain bookstores, or view purported documentaries such as The Men Who
Killed Kennedy on television are not seasoned and knowledgeable researchers.
Thus they are exposed to these bogus accounts but not to their debunking.
And increasingly, sober and knowledgeable conspiracy-oriented researchers
find themselves allied with lone assassin theorists in unmasking such witnesses
to both the hard-core believers, who will accept them, and the innocent neophytes.”
There’s McAdams using that word “sober” again. Leave it to McAdams and Mack
to “debunk” things honestly for the rest of us; McAdams with his bogus website…and
Mack with his bogus museum and TV shows. Combined, the awesome forces of these
two beacons of truth, justice, and the American way is not unlike the raw,
unleashed powers of a dynamic super-hero…“Mack-Adams!”
Oh, and how does McAdams end this chapter? With mention of the Holocaust.
Subtle touch, there, John. The apt comparison today though would be this:
With the releases of the ARRB, to deny a conspiracy in the JFK case should
group one with those who deny the Holocaust.
And this guy is a college teacher?
Chapter 5: Bogus Quoting, Stripping Context, Misleading Readers.
Nice title John, but shouldn’t you have reserved it for your autobiography?
In his preface, McAdams says the following: “Everybody knows that writers,
newscasters, and producers of documentaries can mislead their audiences by
leaving out certain information…” (John, I especially like the lat four words
there.) In the second paragraph of Chapter 5, he elaborates. “Everybody knows
and pretty much accepts that advocates selectively present information that
serves their purposes, but it’s all too easy to forget that book authors and
video producers are advocates too. And it is sometimes hard to grasp how radically
selective advocates are prone to be. An author would not present the testimony
of a witness and willfully omit parts that show the witness to be insane,
would he? A director of a documentary would not produce something that puffs
witness accounts she knows to be contradicted by reliable evidence, would
Yes, he or she would”
Hear, hear, John! Right off the bat I can think of two “authors” and “producers
of television documentaries” who come to mind.
McAdams’ next target is Jack Ruby -- specifically about how Ruby tried and
tried in vain to be taken out of Dallas so that he could give a full accounting
of his inclusion in the plot to kill President Kennedy…and Oswald. How does
McAdams describe Ruby? “Ruby’s addled brain seemed to go from obsession to
obsession…We have to remember that many thoughts were going through Jack Ruby’s
addled brain.” McAdams goes on to add that Ruby was a “huge sycophant,” a
“wannabe,” and a “hapless schlub.” Again, this indicates just how much McAdams
is caught in a time warp. These are the kinds of words that were used to discount
Ruby by pro Warren Report authors in the sixties and seventies e.g. Ovid Demaris.
This was all later dispelled by the work of Seth Kantor and the House Select
Committee on Assassinations. Today we know that Ruby had telling and important
links to the Mafia, the Dallas Police, and the CIA. And that an Oswald double
was looking for Ruby the night before the assassination! (Armstrong, p. 789)
In the face of all this new information, the above is McAdams’ scientific
way of painting an unbiased, accurate picture of a person so that others can
judge his/her testimony fairly and objectively.
Chapter 6: Probability: Things That Defy The Odds.
It is well known that Guy Banister’s office was located at 544 Camp Street
in New Orleans. David Ferrie also happened to be a frequent visitor. Leaflets
handed out by Oswald were stamped with that 544 Camp Street address. The building
was located on the corner of Camp and Lafayette Streets.
How does McAdams try and wiggle his way out of this one? He says that Banister’s
office was only accessible if you entered from the Lafayette Street entrance,
number 531. According to McAdams, the fact that they were the same, exact,
identical building is merely a complete coincidence and not in any way related.
Oswald must have simply picked that building at random when searching
for an address to stamp on his leaflets! No joke. We are supposed to forget
about all the people who saw him inside Banister’s office.
At the time, Oswald worked at the Reilly Coffee Company, not far from the
Camp Street building. Or, rather, according to McAdams, he was “employed”
there, since he “reportedly did little work”. (But John, I thought you made
it clear that you weren’t going to pick on Oswald!)
On Bannister and Ferrie: “No doubt, the men seem extremely sinister to people
steeped in the conspiracy literature and to people who have seen the move JFK or
documentaries like The Men Who Killed Kennedy. But how the men have
been portrayed stems from their (rather slight) connection with Oswald and
his use of their address.”
Rather slight? That reminds me of filmmaker Robert Stone referring
to the “magic bullet” as being “not quite so pristine”. McAdams then
begins to bail out the pair by doing nothing less than the equivalent of breaking
out a string quartet. “Banister and Ferrie were not, in fact, terribly sinister
people.” (Can you hear those violins?) But what about all of the sightings
of Ferrie and Oswald together? “They all lacked credibility.” But here’s my
favorite. There is a photo of Oswald and Ferrie standing mere feet away from
each other when both were members of the Civil Air Patrol. McAdams’ explanation?
“The photo doesn’t prove that they ever met or talked to each other, but only
that they were in the organization at the same time.”
This points out a recurrent technique that McAdams uses: he steals without
accreditation. That above silly rejoinder is taken straight from Pat Lambert’s
book, False Witness. Some other examples of this pattern: McAdams
using the Chris Mills essay “Flight of Fancy” to explain Oswald’s flight
from London to Helsinki—without telling the reader that Mills’ essay was
labeled as fanciful. Or his use of the word “factoids”. This is stolen
from a debate at the time that JFK came
out with Fletcher Prouty and Dan Moldea among others. The moderator used the
word to label facts that he felt were tangential to the actual murder case.
McAdams stole the term, and then expanded it to include all evidence exculpatory
of Oswald—period. That is even the mismatching of shells and bullets in the
Jim Garrison doesn’t fare much better. According to McAdams, the fact that
Clay Shaw was gay was a “big factor in Garrison’s belief that Clay Shaw was
a conspirator.” McAdams must know something the rest of the world doesn’t.
If so, I wish he’d ante it up. The way that Garrison got onto Shaw is clear.
He wanted to know who called Dean Andrews the night of the assassination and
asked him to go to Dallas to defend Oswald. Most people would consider that
rather relevant and important information. Andrews knew that ‘Clay Bertrand’
was a pseudonym. But he would not tell anyone who asked him—and this included
Garrison, Tony Summers, and Mark Lane—what the man’s real name was. He told
all of them that he feared bodily harm if he did divulge that information.
So Garrison sent his investigators into the French Quarter to try and find
whom Bertrand actually was. If you go through his files—something McAdams
has not done—you will see that they found about eleven sources that pegged
Shaw as Bertrand. It later turned out that even the FBI knew this, and that
Shaw’s name popped up in their own inquiry in December of 1963! (William Davy, Let
Justice Be Done, pgs. 191-94)
Garrison’s investigation also succeeded in uncovering a phone call that was
placed by the attorney of Carlos Marcello to a female acquaintance of Jack
Ruby’s, Jean Aase (Jean West). West accompanied another associate of Ruby’s,
Lawrence Meyers, to Dallas on November 20, where they all met at Ruby’s
Carousel Club. However, according to one of McAdams’ staunchest and most reliable
“researchers,” the origin of this call is “far from clear.” The “researcher”
in question? Dave Reitzes. Par for the course for this book.
Chapter 7: More On Defying The Odds: The Mysterious Deaths.
What McAdams does here is to base an entire chapter on what was one researcher’s
own personal figure of 103 so-called “suspicious” deaths surrounding the JFK
case. According to McAdams’ rationale, why would the conspirators have stopped
at 103? Why not go for a thousand? Or a million? Nobody can ever know for
sure the number of people who were sacrificed in order to maintain the cover-up.
But even if it were only one person that died, that would have been one too
many. Of course, it wasn’t just one. Many, many people met untimely deaths
as the direct result of what happened on November 22, 1963. Naturally, he
doesn’t mention each and every person who is on the list…he doesn’t have the
time to get into all of them.
McAdams then provides his own list of other people who were in some way involved
in the case, and poses the question: Why weren’t these people killed?
Why wasn’t this person killed? Or that person? Or, how about that other person?
Surely, the conspirators wouldn’t have left all of them alive if the information
they possessed was considered somehow “dangerous,” would they?
Consider what the author is suggesting: That somehow it is supposed to be
odd that some people were left alive with valuable counter-information about
the JFK case! In other words, if those nutty conspiracy theorists are right,
well heck, the CIA or FBI should have killed every single one of those contrary
Uh professor, wouldn’t that be kind of giving the game away? Kind of high
risk as they say.
But anyone who does not find the circumstances of the deaths of say David
Ferrie, George DeMohrenschildt, William Sullivan, Sam Giancana, John Roselli,
and Dorothy Kilgallen rather odd and curious, well, then I would say they
don’t know how to think about conspiracies. (Click here for an interesting
piece on the Kilgallen case http://www.midtod.com/new/articles/7_14_07_Dorothy.html)
Chapter 8: Did People Know It Was Going To Happen?
There are numerous instances of people who claimed foreknowledge of the JFK
assassination. If a person can predict an event which involves other people,
and which turns out to be true, days before it happens, that person is either
clairvoyant…or they have inside information of a conspiracy. At least that
has been my experience. Of course, I could have connected the dots incorrectly…or
Joseph Milteer is one such person. Milteer was taped telling a police informant,
William Somersett, that JFK would be assassinated in Miami during his visit
to the city in the upcoming weeks. He gave information which so closely mirrored
the actual killing that it was chilling in its similarity. He said the President
would be shot from an office building overlooking the motorcade; that a high-powered
rifle would be used; that the rifle would be disassembled and taken up in
pieces; that a patsy would be picked up soon afterwards to throw off the public;
and that the plot was currently in the works.
Pretty good description of what ultimately unfolded in Dealey Plaza, right?
On Milteer: “Where Milteer is concerned, he described the most generic assassination
scenario possible: ‘From an office building with a high-powered rifle.’ He
later added that what Milteer had provided was an “unspecific scenario”.
Unspecific scenario? Generic assassination? Can the man be serious? When
other time in American history has such a murder scene been promulgated?
What does McAdams say of the police informant, William Somersett? According
to McAdams, federal authorities had decided that Somersett was “’unreliable,’”
having “’been described as overenthusiastic, prone to exaggeration, and mentally
unstable.’” Further, according to McAdams: “They also determined he had ‘furnished
information bordering on the fantastic, which investigation failed to corroborate.’”
Uh John, this info was in FBI hands prior to the assassination. Yet they
did nothing to act on it. Therefore, don’t you think they are trying to smear
the messenger for making them look bad and allowing the president to be killed?
I mean did not J. Edgar Hoover do that kind of thing many times? Yet, John,
it wasn’t Somersett who painted the assassination scenario on tape for all
to hear. It was Milteer. McAdams leaves both those pertinent facts out.
Then there’s Rose Cheramie. Cheramie claimed to have heard two men scheming
about a plot to kill President Kennedy. She was thrown out of a car, and later
recalled her account to both a state trooper and to hospital personnel. Here’s
how the ever objective, non-advocate McAdams introduces her. “Rose Cheramie
was a prostitute with a long arrest record.” Again, McAdams is hard at work
killing the messenger.
Further, her credibility problems are “massive”; she made “a series of ridiculous
statements”; she had a history of providing “information” to various law enforcement
agencies. McAdams then goes on an incredible and lengthy character attack
on Cheramie. She was arrested many times on differing charges, used myriad
aliases, and tried to take her own life.
Who does McAdams defer to on this issue? You guessed it, his so-called New
Orleans/Garrison expert, Dave Reitzes. If a witness’ value in this case can
be measured by the ferocity of the attack upon him or her by Warren Commission
diehards, then McAdams and Reitzes understand just how important Cheramie
is to the JFK case. The character and credibility assault goes on for about
two pages. Some of it is just silly. For instance, McAdams repeats the John
Davis tenet that Cheramie told someone the two men she was with were “Italians
or resembled Italians.” He then mentions that the HSCA found out that a Garrison
investigator located the bar she attended with them and the bartender identified
one of the men as a Hispanic. If you can believe it, McAdams then uses this
to attack Cheramie. As if a person of Italian heritage has never been confused
with being Hispanic! (And one should note here, for a professor, McAdams is
really poor at checking original sources. The newly declassified files on
the Cheramie case reveal that she was not thrown out of a car. She got into
an argument at the saloon she was in with the two men and they forcibly abandoned
her there. See the HSCA deposition of Officer Francis Fruge of 4/18/78))
He then tries another technique. He says that there were dozens of threats
against Kennedy at the time. So the essence of her story really does not matter
much since, again, it’s not detailed enough. (Note here the inconsistency
with his attack on Milteer.) He can say this because he does not mention the
second man with Cheramie—Emilio Santana—and does not describe the first man
with her, Sergio Arcacha Smith. They were not just “Hispanic”. They were anti
Castro Cuban exiles living in New Orleans in 1961 and 1962. Smith and Santana
were closely involved with the CIA and Smith worked on the Bay of Pigs operation.
Smith had reportedly moved to Dallas at the time of the assassination. Further,
they were both suspects in the Garrison investigation. And Smith was a suspect
in the investigation of Richard Case Nagell. (Which we will soon discuss.)
So by not informing the reader of this, McAdams leaves out the fact that the
Cheramie’s testimony provides a link between the setting up of Oswald in New
Orleans in the summer of 1963 and the denouement of that plot in Dallas in
November. Further, the unadulterated record, as uncovered by the House Select
Committee on Assassinations, does not support the charge of her just handing
out “information”. The information she gave out on her last case, when she
heard the two men discussing the death of Kennedy, all this checked out as
accurate. (The Assassinations, edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa
Pease, p. 227) Further, more than one person vouched for the so-called “ridiculous
statements” she made about the impending murder of President Kennedy. The
list of corroborators included doctors, nurses and interns. (ibid, pgs. 226-27)
So in other words, as pertains to the facts of this case, what McAdams and
Reitzes do here is in the worst tradition of advocacy journalism. They raise
a chorus of sound and fury that is, at best, tangential, at worst, superfluous.
In other words, none of it alters the fact that she heard that Kennedy would
be killed in advance of the murder and that there were multiple sources for
that. The two then eliminate the part of the declassified record that actually is important
in forensic terms and gives her testimony a valuable context. Namely that
the anti Castro Cubans hated Kennedy, and these two were in league with the
CIA, which is a (the?) prime suspect in the conspiracy.
And let us end this discussion with what most people would consider a rather
important piece of testimony. State Trooper Fruge, who first encountered Cheramie
and then was recalled by Jim Garrison, posed a rather pertinent query to the
HSCA. He asked them if they had discovered the maps of the Dealey Plaza sewer
system that Smith had in his apartment in Dallas in 1963. (ibid, p. 237) Does
it get any more corroborative or suspicious than that?
And finally, there’s the case of Richard Case Nagell. Nagell was a former
military man who ended up being a double agent, working for both the KGB and
the CIA. While working for both agencies, he uncovered a plot to assassinate
the president. He went to numerous locales in his quest: including Los Angeles,
Miami and finally New Orleans. The plot he eventually discovered was, well,
kind of similar to Garrison’s concept. It involved Guy Bannister, Sergio Arcacha
Smith, David Ferrie, and Clay Shaw. And it featured an Oswald double named
Leon Oswald. He said he had a tape of Smith and Carlos Quiroga manipulating
Oswald in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. (ibid) Nagell was told by the
KGB to warn Lee Harvey Oswald of this. Why? Because they had heard of such
a plot brewing in Mexico City and they strongly suspected that the conspirators
would try and pin the blame on the Russians. Which of course ended up being
a correct assumption. Eventually, fearing for his safety as a result of being
involved with such a plot, he managed to get himself arrested by entering
a bank and shooting bullets into the ceiling. He then patiently waited until
the police came to take him away, thereby removing himself to the safety of
a jail cell.
Says McAdams of Nagell: “A secret internal CIA document describes him as
‘a crank’ because he is mentally deranged’ and noted he never worked for the
Are you all starting to get the picture now? As I noted in my review of Chapter
2, according to John McAdams, everybody who ever figured in the JFK assassination
who had evidence that pointed to a conspiracy is either insane, crazy, unqualified,
shady, bogus, criminal, a prostitute, a drug addict, or a liar. This includes
doctors, surgeons, nurses, decorated policemen and military personnel, and
even average mothers and fathers who just happened to take their small children
to see a presidential motorcade.
Yawn. Sure John.
Chapter 9: Signal And Noise: Seeing Things in Photos
McAdams says he saw the guys on the TV show Mythbusters shoot a
bullet into a dummy. The dummy moved back only a couple of inches and then
fell to the ground.
McAdams’ conclusion? “Thus it seems that any movement ‘back and to the left’
actually proves nothing.”
John, dummies are not people. And what you just did here is not exactly inscrutable
detective work worthy of getting an audition for Scotland Yard. Why did you
not look for pictures of actual people being shot? Gil Jesus found some. Guess
what? They all went backward from the origin of the shots. Uh, even your friend
Gary Mack’s simulation experiment Inside the Target Car showed this.
But somehow, McAdams can’t bring himself to admit this or do actual legwork.
Which is one reason why hardly anyone in the research community takes him
seriously outside his own forum.
McAdams ends this chapter by saying that unless one possesses a “disciplined
approach” when evaluating photos, or even the sightings and perceptions of
ear witnesses in Dealey Plaza, that “intellectual havoc can ensue.”
Too bad he didn’t take his own advice.
Chapter 12: Too much Evidence of Conspiracy
Several people noticed a bullet hole in the presidential limousine from the
time it sat parked at Parkland Hospital. The bullet passed cleanly through
the windshield from the front. This list includes a reporter, a student nurse,
two motorcycle cops, and others.
On page 193 in a section titled “CAN WE GET BEYOND THE NOISE,” McAdams refers
us to an article by Barb Junkkarinen, Jerry Logan, and Josiah Thompson. He
says this article “destroys the notion that there was a through-and-through
bullet hole in the windshield of the presidential limo. Such a hole would,
as noted, clearly imply a conspiracy, but the evidence is against it.”
What McAdams fails to tell the reader is that the article in question (“Eternal
Return: A Hole Through the Windshield”) doesn’t even mention the name of George
Whittaker Sr.! Whittaker was the glass expert and technician at Ford Motors
in Detroit who worked on the presidential limousine. Whittaker possessed 30
years of experience working with glass, including how glass reacts when hit
by bullets. Whittaker noticed a clear through-and-through bullet hole which
went from front to back. He and his colleagues were ordered to use the windshield
as a template for a replacement windshield. They were then ordered to destroy
the original windshield.
After Whittaker’s death, a signed letter was found among his possessions
where he again made mention of the bullet hole he found that day. What he,
the nurse, and the others saw was a clean bullet hole which penetrated fully
from front to back. It wasn’t a crack. It wasn’t a fragment. It wasn’t a spider-web
Again, McAdams goes on to thank, among others, Dave Perry, and Gary Mack,
who McAdams says has “been a voice of sanity in too many ways to list here.”
Again, this shows the author’s over-reliance on the work of others, his penchant
for cherry picking and his failure to deal with contrary evidence that counters
his ordained agenda.
Chapter 15: Putting Theory into Practice: The Single Bullet Theory
This from the section titled “KENNEDY’S THROAT WOUND” on page 223:
“If the location of Kennedy’s back wound is controversial, both the location
and the nature of the throat wound are subject to controversy. Conspiracists
frequently insist that the throat wound was actually one of entrance. And
they do indeed have some evidence for this. In the first place, the Parkland
doctors seemed to believe that it was an entrance wound…” (Italics
Wait a minute John. I have to stop you, just like I would a thief in the
In 1963, Dallas, Texas led the nation in gun-related crimes. The doctors
at Parkland were extremely experienced with, and knowledgeable about, the
nature of bullet wounds. So if any of them originally said it was an entry
wound, it was an entry wound. And Malcolm Perry, among others, said that in
a press conference the day of the assassination.
What does the author leave out? That this evidence was so devastating to
the official story that 1.) the Secret Service lied to the Warren Commission
about having a transcript of this press conference, and 2.) Secret Service
agent Elmer Moore admitted later that he had badgered Perry into making his
story more equivocal for the Warren Commission. Most people would think this
On page 225 in the section titled “Unqualified Autopsy Doctors” McAdams says
that “Bethesda was chosen as the site of the autopsy by Jackie Kennedy on
the plane returning from Dallas to Washington. The president’s aide, Admiral
Burkley, told her that the autopsy needed to be at a military hospital for
‘security reasons,’ and added, ‘Of course, the President was in the Navy.’
Jackie responded with ‘Of course’ and ‘Bethesda.’’
That hardly sounds like Jackie Kennedy chose the autopsy site. It
sounds like she was simply agreeing with a decision which had already been
On the issue of why Kennedy’s body was whisked out of Dallas for an autopsy
at Bethesda: “But what about the Parkland doctors? Surely they had seen a
lot of gunshot wounds, and their opinions should carry some weight. But actually
no, they carry virtually no weight.”
McAdams then relies on a tried-and-true favorite tactic of his: to paint
the Parkland doctors as a bunch of stumbling, bumbling, incompetent nincompoops
and know-nothings; a veritable staff comprised of Abbott and Costello, The
Three Stooges, Charlie Callas, Jonathan Winters, and Mr. Bean -- all running
around the hospital to the theme song from The Benny Hill Show.
Bethesda it is. We know those “qualified” pathologists are going to do nothing
less than a rip-roaring job on the President in what was to be the autopsy
of the century, right? Well John, it didn’t turn out exactly like that. McAdams
conveniently neglects to inform the reader about just how badly botched that
autopsy was…of how it was performed by inexperienced pathologists…of how it
was directed and controlled, not by medical protocol, but by admirals and
generals shouting out directions of what to do and what not to do.
How bad was it? Michael Baden, a man McAdams bows down to, once wrote that
Kennedy’s autopsy was the exemplar for botched autopsies.
Chapter 16: Thinking about Conspiracy: Putting It All Together
Just listen to McAdams’ opening line. “It’s doubtlessly clear to the reader
by now that I believe Oswald killed Kennedy, and most likely did it by himself.”
Did I read McAdams correctly there? I mean, he was doing such a grand job
of being unbiased, thorough, and impartial that I really hadn’t yet made up
my mind on where he stood.
In the section titled “A LARGE CONSPIRACY ISN’T PLAUSIBLE” (Pg, 248), McAdams
says: “The first and most obvious principle is that a very large conspiracy
simply isn’t plausible. It’s simply a matter of probabilities. ..There
are plenty of reasons why a plotter might defect. He might have an attack
of conscience (although if he had much of that he would not have been part
of the plot)….”
Again, this points our just how hackneyed this book is. This is an argument
that Warren Commission defenders have used ad nauseum since the beginning.
It ignores two things that defeat it: 1.) People in this case did talk. To
list just a few: Mafia consort John Martino, CIA advisor Gary Underhill, CIA
agent Richard Case Nagell. Although he does not name them, the HSCA later
found out that the two men who talked in the presence of Cheramie were Emilio
Santana and Sergio Arcacha Smith.
Please note: this indicates a plot between the CIA, the Cuban exiles and
the Mob. In other words, its very similar to what Tony Summers proposed
in his book Conspiracy. You know, that kind of unwieldy plot
that is not plausible.
But secondly, there have been conspiracies and cover-ups that did remain
secret, at least for a time. To name just a few: the plot to assassinate Hitler,
the secret radiation experiments on Americans, the giant conspiracy to run
guns to the Contras while bringing back cocaine to America. This last may
have remained forever secret to Americans if a young Contra volunteer had
not knocked CIA pilot Eugene Hasenfus out of the sky with a shoulder launched
missile launcher. When Hasenfus was captured he had a notebook on him. It
was traced back to the secret Central American CIA Ilopango air base run by
officer Felix Rodriguez. This unraveled a truly colossal conspiracy and cover
up which eventually included the CIA, the Pentagon, President Reagan, Vice-President
Bush, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, several wealthy American
families, and the Mossad.
Are we to believe that a college professor of political science forgot about
all this? Maybe he misremembered?
Let me add one more thing on this stale and trite “Unwieldy plot” issue in
addition to the two points made above. What people like McAdams and Reitzes
like to do is to take the JFK case and consider it in isolation. Therefore,
they leave out say a man like Craig Watkins. Watkins is the first African
American DA in Dallas. Because he was not a member of the country club set
there, he decided to look back at, among others, the prosecutorial techniques
used by the regime run by DA Henry Wade and Will Fritz. The two men responsible
for the JFK case in Dallas in 1963. Testing these so-called “cold cases” with
modern DNA technology, what were the results? Well, it turns out that ramrodding
suspects into convictions with questionable evidence and testimony was rather
par for the course with these two men. So far the Watkins inquiry has released
29 falsely accused convicts from prison on trumped up charges. And the review
is not over yet. So far from being an “unwieldy plot” germane only to the
JFK case, the questionable techniques used to pin the murder on Oswald was
more like Standard Operating Procedure for Fritz and Wade. Laid in this context,
the world view of America is reversed from McAdams Land: America is not all
Mom, Apple Pie and Baseball with Oswald as the Black Hatted Villain. In fact,
it may be just the reverse. For what kind of law enforcement agency puts that
many innocent people behind bars?
But, of course, it’s worse than that. Because the other investigative body
on the JFK case was the FBI. And I think we all know today just how bad J.
Edgar Hoover was in his prosecutorial zeal. All of us except John McAdams.
There have literally been reams of pages in scholarly books that expose how
Hoover framed suspects in high profile cases. And we all know of course that
Hoover detested the Kennedys, especially RFK. And most us know that Oswald
very likely was an FBI informant. Something that Hoover would never ever ant
to reveal since it would permanently mar the image of the Bureau, something
he propagandized the public into thinking was flawless. When we all know today,
it was far from that. All of us except John McAdams.
Therefore, when looked at as the compromised and corrupt bureaucracies they
provenly were, the idea of some “unwieldy plot” disappears. In framing Oswald
the people who investigated the case for the Warren Commission were doing
what was considered by them to be standard in a murder case. And they had
been doing it for years. In fact, to NOT do it would likely get them in trouble
with their superiors. It is incredible that in this day and age Professor
McAdams does not understand this. Yet this is the Ozzie and Harriet world
that he exists in. He seems unaware that as writers like Jim Hougan and Don
DeLillo have pointed out, that ersatz American veneer was shattered on November
In his final page (thank God!), titled “ANY ROOM FOR CONSPIRACY?” guess what
position McAdams takes? Good guess. According to McAdams, choosing the “sensible”
theory (that which sides with Oswald being the lone assassin) “doesn’t allow
you to demonize your political enemies.” (Yep, he forgot about all the character
smears he just used.)
So who wants to demonize anybody? It wasn’t me who wrote a book that tries
to tell mature, intelligent readers that they are incapable of “connecting
the dots” properly, or that they’ve “misremembered” an event, or that they
are all victims of “noise,” or “false memories”.
McAdams likes to warn us about how “noise” clouds our perceptions. He should
know, he’s directly responsible for a great deal of it.
Well, after this debacle who is up for the next whitewash…Gary Mack? Dave
Reitzes? Dave Perry? By the way, what happened to Dave Von Pein? I didn’t
see any mention of him in your book. One thing is for sure -- you needn’t
ask Vincent Bugliosi for his participation in this charade any longer. I have
a hunch that he now realizes what a monumental blunder he committed (both
personally and professionally) by whipping up that doorstop book of his. Bugliosi
asking Jesse Ventura to turn off the camera during his interview on Jesse’s Conspiracy
Theory spoke volumes.
And now…I’m off to take my “little pink dog” for a walk.
Reviews of John McAdams' book
"JFK Assassination Logic" by
The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK,
and Malcolm X
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Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and
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Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics
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by Sherry G. Fiester
Forensics can be a complicated subject,
yet Fiester provides the reader with easily understood, accurate, information.
Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics and the Kennedy Assassination is so
comprehensive in its approach, this work should be used in the instruction
of all new crime scene investigators nationwide. William