Monday, June 15, 2015

Max the Hack is Back

Max Holland on Sidney Blumenthal and “Government by Gunplay”

Washington Reloaded  - Mad Max the Highbrow Hack is Back

– Bill Kelly

After Max Holland was given a free press pass to cover the first COPA – Coalition On Political Assassination conference for the Nation, and then totally bashed it, COPA director John Judge told him that whoever is paying him to write such trash could pay his way the next time, and then Holland did the same thing to a conference by the Assassinations Archives Research Center (AARC).

After viciously attacking COPA and the AARC Max is back throwing darts at Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal for being a conspiracy buff for editing a serious anthology on the subject of political assassination.

While we should hear more from Blumenthal when he testifies next week before the Get Hilary Congressional Committee investigating the Benghazi attack. As a former presidential advisor, I would like to know what Blumenthal advised the president about political assassinations when Clinton was appointing the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB).

It would also be interesting to know what Bill Clinton and President Obama discussed when they visited President Kennedy’s grave together on November 20, 2013.

At his Washington Decoded blog Max Holland tries to belittle Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal by
calling him “Grassy Knoll Sid” because he once was associated with the Assassination Information Bureau in Boston and co-edited the anthology “Government by Gunplay,” which includes the work of Peter Dale Scott, William Turner, Jeff Gerth, Carl Oglesby, Jerry Policoff, Phil Agee, Robert Groden, L. Fletcher Prouty and Allard Lowenstein, who himself was assassinated.

As Holland acknowledges, that book is “thoughtful, informed and well written” and contributed to the rational for establishing the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA).  But Holland further describes “Government by Gunplay” as “almost indistinguishable from the slew of Soviet disinformation tracts about the assassination published from the 1960s to the 1980s.”

As a source for this claim Holland cites Armand Moss’s book “Disinformation, Misinformation, and the ‘Conspiracy’ to Kill JFK Exposed” (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1987), though Holland himself has been the source of some of the disinformation about the assassination, especially his piece “The Lie that Ties the CIA to the JFK Assassination” and his book “The JFK Assassination Tapes,” both of which contain easily disputed propaganda and disinformation that muddies the JFK assassination story.

Holland would have you believe all this conspiracy nonsense is Soviet disinformation, but it is more telling if you look at it closely. Most of the sources for Soviet disinformation about the JFK assassination stem back to one man – Vasili Mitrokhin, a former KGB archivist and defector.

Look at what Mitrokhin says is Soviet disinformation - the Dear Mr. Hunt note, KGB financed books by Thomas Buchanan and Mark Lane, the original European news report on PERMINDEX - an alleged CIA front company Clay Shaw was affiliated with, and the idea the assassination was a conspiracy of Texaa oilmen as promoted by French Intelligence in the book Fairwell America.

Mitrokin established his bonafides by dropping a dime on former NSA clerk Robert Lipka, who at his arrangement said he saw NSA documents that identified JFK's true assassin. As he was being led out a reporter asked what the name was and Lipka replied - Luis Angel Castilo.
 [ http://jfkcountercoup.blogspot.com/2008/01/luis-angel-castillo.html  ]

Mitrokin is himself spawning Soviet disinformation, but it isn't the Soviets we have to worry about when it comes to disinformation, it's our own government.

It was not the Soviets who compromised and derailed the HSCA investigation, it was the CIA, which assigned the same agent who worked closely with the anti-Castro Cuban DRE, with which the accused assassin had contact, to scuttle the HSCA investigation.

It is not Blumenthal who is wrong about JFK’s accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald being described as a government agent or about the peculiar details of the murder at Dealey Plaza. It is Holland who is wrong about Oswald being a deranged loner and for promoting the totally discredited idea that “the Warren Commission was an exhaustive investigation carried to its utmost limits.”

At my request Holland attended my October 2013 Air Force One radio tapes presentation at the Wecht Conference in Pittsburgh [ http://jfkcountercoup.blogsdpot.com/2013/10/from-program-cyril-h.html  ]

There I mentioned his book "The JFK Assassination Tapes," which intentionally leaves out significant portions of the tape transcripts. Most notably is the absence of the frequent references to “Liberty Station” – the radio relay center at Collins Radio, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  These references to “Liberty Station” served as the basis for much of my research on Collins Radio that I have posted and published over the years.

[ http://jfkcountercoup.blogspot.com/2012/02/collins-radio-connections-to.html  /   http://jfkcountercoup.blogspot.com/2008/01/collins-radio-connections.html ]

Although not everyone who supports the Warren Commission is a CIA asset or disinformation agent, some can safely be put into the same category as other ostensible journalists whose CIA covers have been blown – Hugh Aynesworth, Priscilla Johnson McMillan and Brian Latell.  As for Holland, he acknowledges receiving financial support from the J. Anthony Lucas Foundation, which replaced the Columbia-Catherwood Award after the Cummins Catherwood’s Foundation was exposed as a CIA conduit for covert action funds by David Wise and Thomas Ross in their book “The Invisible Government.” 

[More on Catherwood - http://jfkcountercoup.blogspot.com/2008/01/catherwood-fund.html ]

Holland was also affiliated with the Miller Center in Virginia, where Philip Zelikow worked before he became the Executive Director for the 911 Commission despite apparent conflicts of interest, and it was Zelikow who kept key information from the commissioners and out of their final report. The Miller Center is also associated with the Scrips Howard News Service, a convenient outlet for many CIA and NSA “leaks,” including the March 1980 report that “Castro was going to try to kill President Reagan just like he killed JFK.”

[ http://jfkcountercoup2.blogspot.com/2015/04/castro-to-kill-reagan-like-he-did-jfk.html  ]

It is not Soviet disinformation that is keeping the truth about the assassination from being understood, it is the CIA’s major disinformation campaign to blame the assassination on Castro Cuban Commies, the original cover story for the Dealey Plaza operation.  That is also the fallback cover-up position for those, like Holland, once the deranged lone nut scenario is considered untenable, as it clearly has become to most people.

Max and I actually share some common background, both having attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, an attribute we also share with Ruth Hyde Paine, Coretta King and Rod Serling.

We also received research  grant support from the Fund for Constitutional Government Investigative Journalism Project, though my $3,000 I stretched out pales in comparison to the six figures he got from the Lucas-CIA and Knopf advance for a promised 600 page narrative history of the Warren Commission that has yet to see print. With such a hefty budget to work with Holland could afford to have a professional transcribe the Air Force One tapes that he selectively used while I transcribed the tapes myself and posted them on line for anyone to use.

[ http://jfkcountercoup2.blogspot.com/2012/05/air-force-one-tapes-combined-annotated.html ]

Another source of Max Holland’s funding for his research, as he himself admits, is the CIA’s Studies in Intelligence Award, as well as the German venetian blind company Hunter-Douglas - now how shady are they?

Max Holland is a highbrow hack who writes what he is paid to write, and he acknowledges who his directors are, which explains why he writes propaganda in such an eloquent and academic style, complete with footnotes.

One of the contributors to the “Government by Gunplay” anthology, Peter Dale Scott, has also responded to Holland’s Washington Decoded blog about Blumenthal.


Peter Dale Scott writes:

Every day, for about twenty years, I have said metta (i.e. wished well) for Max Holland. I do so because of a 19-page review Holland wrote in 1994 of my book Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (Max Holland, “After Thirty Years: Making Sense of the Assassination,” Reviews in American History 22 (1994) 191-209). His “review” was rich in adjectival rebuttal (“bogus,” paranoid,” ”impenetrable”), and closed with a reference to “palpable, cunningly manufactured falsehoods.” It quoted lavishly from many other authors, notably Gerald Posner and Jacob Cohen. But unlike any other review I have ever read in this academic journal, it did not have space in 19 pages for a single quote from my book which he was attacking, let alone a discussion of one.

It has suddenly become relevant again to quote one paragraph of my reply, which for a time was published in the same journal (and is still viewable at mcadams.posc.mu.edu/scott_reply.htm):

Surely it is gross intellectual cowardice to allege or imply falsehoods without supporting this accusation. One might have thought that in a 19-page attack on my "opaque prose" and "fevered imagination" (p. 191), there would be at least a paragraph dealing with what I had actually written. I can actually find only one dependent clause on the penultimate page, referring to "the fantasy that Kennedy was on the verge of pulling out from South Vietnam" (p. 208). Even this is not very close to what I actually wrote: "that in late 1963 Kennedy had authorized an initial withdrawal of... troops... to be substantially completed by the end of 1965" (Deep Politics, p. 24). I went on to note how "time after time... critics, from Leslie Gelb in the Times to Alexander Cockburn in the Nation, have replaced this verifiable issue of fact by an unverifiable one: whether or not JFK would have pulled the United States out of Vietnam" (pp. 25-26). Holland, a long-time Nation editor, has, you will note, once again resorted to this simple trick of devious substitution.

In the years since, I thought that maybe Holland had changed. His co-edited anthology, The Presidential Recordings: Lyndon B. Johnson: The Kennedy Assassination and the Transfer of Power, was justly characterized by Booklist as ‘a riveting and very important contribution,” one I have made use of myself.
But the old Max is back, with a new adjectival onslaught and accusation of falsehoods. This time his primary target is Sid Blumenthal, Hilary Clinton’s assistant whom he calls ““Grassy Knoll” Sid: Hillary’s Personal Conspiracy Theorist” (http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/2015/06/blumenthal.html). This leads to an attack on Blumenthal’s 1976 co-edited anthology, Government by Gunplay: assassination conspiracy theories from Dallas to today.

Once again, Holland offers a sweeping dismissal without argument. In his words, “The misrepresentations, distortions, and falsehoods that Blumenthal either wrote or associated himself with are so numerous and stupendous they defy listing.”

It is true that this time, in contrast to his 1994 review, the charge of falsehoods is followed by four very brief quotes from the book, the first of which I suspect may be from my own essay there. In Holland’s summary, “Lee Harvey Oswald, ‘supposedly involved’ with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, was ‘almost certainly a United States intelligence operative.’” (I no longer own the book, but I develop two whole chapters in Deep Politics to substantiating the claim that Oswald was both a government informant and an agent.)

All four of the quotes from the book are claims distasteful to Holland. None can be decisively proven, but by the same token they cannot be decisively disproven; therefore they cannot be considered falsehoods. Most of them, such as the claim that the single-bullet theory is “incredible on its face,” or that the Warren Report was “a whitewash,” would I think elicit more agreement than disagreement among serious students of the case.

I shall continue to say metta for Max Holland – he needs it. But to accuse books of falsehoods without supplying examples is a habit he should get rid of, before someone (it won’t be me) seeks legal remedy.

http://www.peterdalescott.net

2 comments:

gerald campeau said...

Excellent work Bill

Robert Truitt said...

I agree, excellent work on, "Max the Hack is Back".