Wednesday, June 18, 2003
Dezinformatsiya (The Power of Disinformation)
The Lie That Linked CIA to the Kennedy Assassination by Max Holland : This makes for interesting reading as a follow up to Sunday's post about conspiracy theories and JFK in particular. It follows the theory from its origins in the infamous Italian newspaper, Paese Sera (a known Soviet propaganda outlet), and Jim Garrison's own investigation into JFK's assassination. Interestingly enough, the merits of both the story and the investigation were highly dubious, but they both appeared around the same time, and tended to feed upon each other lending a perceived credibility to both. Garrison's investigation was drawing massive criticism from the public, but when he leaked Paese Sera's story to a local newspaper, his troubles disappeared as fresh accusations of wrongdoing in the CIA spread throughout the world (which only served to blunt the criticism of Garrison's probe). "The impression left was that Garrison was being put under siege because he dared to tell the truth."
The CIA, though deeply concerned by these happenings, was more or less compelled to keep their mouth shut during the entire affair. Its debatable whether or not this was a wise thing to do, but, as CIA chief Ray Rocca noted, the "impact of such charges... will not depend principally upon their veracity or credibility but rather upon their timeliness and the extent of press coverage." By the time the case against Clay Shaw went to trial in January of 1969, the CIA's apprehension was palpable. In the end, the trial was a bit anti-climactic. The CIA wasn't even mentioned during the trial.
Garrison's pursuit of Shaw was now widely regarded as a legal farce and a fraud. The episode had even precipitated a bitter split among the many critics of the Warren Commission report on the assassination, nearly all of whom had flocked to Garrison's side in 1967. Now many of them considered the Orleans Parish DA to be the Joe McCarthy of their cause. Just as the Wisconsin senator disgraced anti-Communism by making reckless charges that ruined innocent peoples' lives, they believed that Garrison had irrevocably set back the case against the Warren Report by persecuting an innocent man.Which is sort of the point I was making on Sunday (Oliver Stone was attempting to convince us that we should not trust the government, but he chose such a flimsy example that he ultimately hurt his cause). You'd think the story would end there, but it didn't. Garrison never really gave up, and even after some further unsuccessful legal wrangling, actually saw some success:
An abject failure in courts of law, Garrison's probe achieved a latent triumph in the court of public opinion. The DA's message became part and parcel of what has been called "the enduring power of the 1960s in the national imagination."In 1988, Garrison was finally able to get his memoir published, and in it, he outlined his conspiracy theory, CIA connection and all. It found its way into the hands of Oliver Stone, and the rest is history. The film was very popular and created a public clamor for millions of pages of documents that had been "suppressed" as part of the government's alleged massive cover-up. In 1992, the President�John F. Kennedy Records Collection Act was passed, releasing a surprising amount of records relating to the assassination. Stone likes to claim that his film is solely responsible for that legislation, but its worth noting that the "coincidental end of the Cold War also played a critical role in the enactment and implementation of the 1992 law." Stone also likes to claim that the records prove that there was a cover up, but, as Holland concludes, that's really not the case:
Far from validating the film's hero, the new documents have finally lifted the lid on the disinformation that was at the core of Jim Garrison's unrelenting probe. The declassified CIA records document that everything in the Paese Sera story was a lie, and, simultaneously, reveal the genuine nature and duration of Clay Shaw's innocuous link to the CIA. These same records explain why the CIA never responded appropriately to the disinformation, as it had in Helms's 1961 Senate testimony and would later do in swift response to such schemes in the 1980s. Finally, the personal files turned over by Garrison's family underline the profound impact that one newspaper clipping had on a mendacious district attorney adept at manipulating the Zeitgeist of the late 1960s.The shame of it all is that the Warren Commission Report really isn't satisfactory, and the overzealous conspiracy theory forwarded by Garrison and Stone was far enough off course to discredit the case against the Warren Report.
Of course you should know all of this is a lie, as the article I'm referencing is coming from the CIA itself, and they are, by default, lying. Right?
Copyright © 1999 - 2012 by Mark Ciocco.