("Quid coniuratio est?")
DAVE EMORY -- JULY 5, 1992
Observations on America's 216th Birthday
DAVE EMORY [continues]:
And it is unfortunate that this is the case. Because I think, frankly, not only the mainstream media and mainstream intellectual culture, but also the "progressive" community -- I usually call it "the so-called 'progressive' community" -- has basically clung to this untenable position of intellectual orthodoxy to everyone's peril.
I received a letter a couple of weeks ago from a listener. It was actually a copy of a letter from professor Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Chomsky is something of a deity on the American "left". And Chomsky has done some very, very good work.
However he also has taken some very destructive intellectual positions. And with the permission of this listener (a very supportive listener), I'm gonna read you a couple of paragraphs from this Chomsky letter. (And again, this individual in question is a good friend of Noam Chomsky's and a professional colleague.) Because I think it illustrates the destructiveness of intellectual orthodoxy and the unwillingness on the part of not only more reactionary people and mainstream people, but it demonstrates the unwillingness of the "progressive" political community to deal with documented political reality.
In his book, Heartland, comedian Mort Sahl, one of the early critics of the Warren Commission, asks the question: "How many lies can you allow yourself to believe, before you belong to the lie?" And in the speech, or in the talk by George Bernard Shaw that you heard, he talked about what one must do if one wishes to be intellectually and personally popular -- you have to conform. If you're a sixth-form student in the 15th century and you are aware of Copernicus and Leonardo DaVinci, if you said that, in fact, the earth revolved around the sun rather than the other way around, you would be burned as a heretic. If, on the other hand, you said that the sun, the planets, and the stars revolved around the earth in perfect circles or in perfect spheres, because the circle is a perfect figure and thereby reflects the perfection of the Creator, and the proof of this was that Joshua was able to make the sun stand still in the sky -- as George Bernard Shaw noted, you would be deemed a marvel of Aristotelian... a young marvel of Aristotelian science.
Well, just such intellectual orthodoxy has victimized us. And by way of offering some constructive criticism, not just... And by the way, I want to emphasize I'm not singling out Noam Chomsky. His intellectual shortcomings, I think, are shared by a great many other people. And rather than viewing this as a personal indictment (although I have many criticisms of him), rather I think this exemplifies a sort of intellectual and political orthodoxy which has brought us, to a large extent, to our very, very sorry state.
In this particular letter to a colleague, Chomsky writes,
About JFK and the Vietnam pullout: the theory hasn't a leg to stand on. What minimal credibility it might have had is undermined by the documents that have appeared in a flood in the past few years. On Cuba policy, Kennedy continued the dual-track: testing the waters in terror; LBJ cancelled the terror. The "no invasion" deal was largely fraud. Kennedy promised nothing. The Test Ban Treaty merely regularized testing by JFK... standards Reagan was an anti-nuclear activist.
These are all fairy tales, in my opinion. You can make a much better case that the right wing should have tried to assassinate Johnson or Reagan or Nixon. In my view, the left is caught up in fantasies rather similar to the Ross Perot fantasies -- a kind of cargo cult -- perhaps not surprising under the current conditions of disillusionment and marginalization, but dangerous and unfortunate nonetheless.
Kennedy was a gangster, and the right wing knew it. Apart from kooky elements that regard Nixon and Reagan as closet commies, there were no notable elements that might have been involved in assassinating Kennedy for political reasons, as far as I can see.
(That last sentence again, 'cause it's a real doozie:)
Apart from kooky elements that regard Nixon and Reagan as closet commies, there were no notable elements that might have been involved in assassinating Kennedy for political reasons, as far as I can see.
(And then professor Chomsky goes on to say,)
As for the assassination, I haven't been through the masses of details. But I have seen enough to convince me that much of the conspiracy story is based on very dubious evidence. If you took a physics experiment and subjected it to close scrutiny, you'd find all kinds of patchwork and scotch-tape to make things work. If you take something as messy as this, you'll find tons of such things. By such logic, one could probably "demonstrate" that Hinckley's attempt to assassinate Reagan was a CIA plot covered up by the establishment.
I'm gonna write something about the foreign policy side of this; already had something brief in Lies Of Our Times. I've decided to keep away from the assassination issue, however: first, I don't think it is of any more importance than the latest murder in Roxbury; second, it's like having a discussion with religious maniacs -- facts and arguments just don't matter. Not worth it.
(And then he gives his regards.)
Well this is... Not only everything Chomsky here, is not only demonstrably false from the political record (his disclaimers to the contrary notwithstanding), but much of it is, I think, frankly, quite hypocritical from an intellectual standpoint.
Let's take what he says here a piece at a time.
First of all, as far as JFK and the Vietnam pullout, Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, again who drew up the documents, the report I should say, from which Kennedy made his withdrawal decision -- he's confirmed this. Kennedy's secretary of state for far eastern affairs has confirmed this. The brilliant Berkeley researcher, Peter Dale Scott, has written a landmark piece called "The Kennedy Assassination and the Vietnam War," that, and the book The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond. (I have covered that in "The Guns of November -- Part 3".) Plus, the documents themselves have been released. And on paragraph 6, in paragraph 6 on page 2 of NSA-273, it states that "the magnitude and effectiveness of American assistance must not be allowed to fall below the levels in the Diem regime" (operating from memory here, on that). Well when you're talking about magnitude, you're talking about size. The Diem regime ended on November 2nd, 1963, with Diem's assassination. The pullout, the initial pullout of a thousand military police personnel was to have been effected in December of 1963. That cancelled the troop withdrawal -- paragraph 7 refers to the 34A program of covert operations against North Vietnam, which ultimately resulted in the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the whole bloody escalation under Lyndon Baines Johnson. [CN -- I suspect that in these last few sentences, Emory's thoughts have outraced his speech.] There's also a new book called JFK and Vietnam by John Newman(sp?) which has much excellent documentation.
Again, with regard to Cuba: Kennedy cancelled Operation Mongoose in the summer of 1963, a guerrilla warfare program against Castro's Cuba. And Kennedy diplomats, Kennedy administration diplomats, as well as Fidel Castro himself has confirmed the overture. When Castro heard that Kennedy was shot, he was meeting with a French journalist named Jean Daniel(?) and was discussing the deal proposed by Kennedy. And the two "pooh-poohed" the atmospheric test ban treaty. Again, the military opposed that bitterly. It kept nuclear weapons from being tested in the atmosphere, for which we are all very much the better.
And I think the assessment here by Chomsky, "Apart from kooky elements that regard Nixon and Reagan as closet commies, there were no notable elements that might have been involved in assassinating Kennedy for political reasons, as far as I can see." Well that is just demonstrably false. One of the things that the Warren Commission did... And by the way, I would note that the Warren Report itself is blasted into smithereens by the 26 volumes of Warren Commission testimony and exhibits. The Warren Report itself was authored by a fellow named Rudolph August Winnaker(sp?), who was head of the Pentagon's historical department. He was a German-born former OSS agent. I'd also note that the preface, the introduction to the Warren Report, was written by Louie Niser(sp?), who prosecuted the Rosenbergs.
But the Warren Report itself is completely destroyed by the 26 volumes of Warren Commission testimony and exhibits. In an executive session of the Warren Commission they were discussing whether or not to release the 26 volumes of testimony and exhibits, and Allen Dulles -- again, a former CIA director, fired by President Kennedy for lying to him about the Bay of Pigs -- Allen Dulles said, basically, "People don't read anymore. Don't think people read. A few professors will read the record. Most people will read very little." He then went on to say that if you don't release the 26 volumes of testimony and exhibits, then people will accuse you of a cover-up. But if you do release them, but don't index them (which is what they did), then nobody will read them, and away you go. A few professors will read the record. (That, apparently, does not include professor Noam Chomsky.)
Something that I find really grotesque here is Chomsky's admission that he hasn't been through the body of documentation about the Kennedy assassination and this... frankly, an example of "begging the question" where he says,
If you took a physics experiment and subjected it to close scrutiny, you'd find all kinds of patchwork and scotch-tape to make things work. If you take something as messy as this, you'll find tons of such things. By such logic, one could probably demonstrate that Hinckley's attempt to assassinate Reagan was a CIA plot, covered up by the establishment.
There are distinct indications that that may have been the case -- not necessarily saying it was. I refer listeners to the program that I did about George Bush and the assassination of President Reagan, pointing out the numerous connections between the Hinckley family and the Bush family, and some of the odd aspects of John Hinckley's behavior: his membership in the American Nazi party and a number of other indications that that may have been the case. Not that it absolutely was, but there are indications it may have been the case.
The fact of the matter is, there is absolutely, there's a massive body of evidence proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was a conspiracy behind Kennedy's assassination. Again, the badly-compromised House Select Committee on Assassinations found a 95 percent probability of a plot behind Kennedy's assassination, and they recommended to the Department of Justice that, among other things, they begin investigating David Ferrie and the anti-Castro Cubans in the New Orleans area. That was who, David Ferrie was who Jim Garrison was after.
[...to be continued...]
I encourage distribution of "Conspiracy Nation."
Coming to you from Illinois -- "The Land of Skolnick"