Monday, November 21, 2011



A note to readers: Normally, I post my book reviews only on another site of mine, Chuckman’s Miscellanea of Words, but because of the nature of this book and its being the 48th anniversary of John Kennedy's assassination, I am also posting on this site.

This is a modest book both in its aims and in its physical size, but it is a book which makes a genuine contribution to understanding the Kennedy assassination, and it is the best thing I have read on the subject in some years.

The central finding of the Warren Commission was that Oswald was Kennedy's assassin. So while Mr. Ernest's aims seem modest, calling into question Oswald's movements in the wake of the shooting, they work powerfully against that central finding.

Here is a self-published book written by a man who originally had not even planned to write a book, and it contains genuinely new and significant evidence.

You will find here no unproved theories against the officially accepted explanation, nor will you find phony efforts to protect the official story. Books of both those types have been published in abundance for decades, indeed to the point where I long ago sickened of reading them.

Mr. Ernest documents his long-term, off-and-on again efforts to satisfy his own curiosity concerning the assassination and, particularly, to locate a significant witness the Warren Commission went out of its way to minimize, slight, and ignore, Ms. Victoria Adams. Ms. Adams worked in an office on the fourth-floor of the Texas Book Depository in November, 1963. From a remarkable vantage point, she and some fellow workers watched Kennedy's motorcade enter the Plaza and approach the fatal area. Then they heard noises like fireworks and saw the president's car begin to rush away.

As a side note here, just the fact that a group of people, only about 40 or 50 feet above the motorcade, could gather and open a window to look down on it tells us a great deal about the terribly poor security arrangements made that day by all police and protective agencies.

Ms. Adams and a co-worker suspected something was wrong and quickly sought the stairs to the ground floor - the same stairs Oswald is supposed to have taken immediately after the shots, indeed the only full-height set of stairs in a building whose elevator at the time did not operate. Her seemingly insignificant act proved to have many serious implications.

Ms. Adams saw no one on the stairs. She heard no one, even though the creaky and echoing nature of the stairs and stair well meant that you always heard other steps on them, no matter how many floors away. She was accompanied by one of her co-workers, Sandra Styles, who could thus certainly corroborate or contradict any of Victoria Adams' testimony, yet Ms. Styles was never interviewed by any of the agencies investigating. The FBI made no attempt to re-stage and time the path of these women, as they did for a number of other people.

The author, after finally finding Ms. Adams, gaining her trust (often a requirement with significant Kennedy-assassination witnesses who have been badgered and even intimidated in the past) and having her tell her brief story in fine detail, succeeded also in finding her former co-worker, Ms. Styles, who, indeed, corroborates Ms. Adams perfectly. She also provides a detail of just what was happening in the Plaza when they decided to go down, providing an amazingly accurate time marker for their descent's start.

Ms. Adam's own words - recorded e-mail exchanges - tell any perceptive reader that she was (she died a few years ago) an intelligent and perceptive observer, the very kind of witness any attorney or prosecutor likes to put on the stand.

The author also discovers a transmittal letter at the National Archives that has Dorothy Garner, office manager of the same text-book publishing company for which the two women worked, seeing Roy Truly and Officer Marion Baker arrive on the fourth floor after Victoria Adams and Sandra Styles left, an important fact because these two had previously stopped on the second floor where Officer Baker had a brief confrontation with a relaxed Lee Oswald in the cafeteria as they raced up from the ground floor to inspect the building.

Ms. Adams not only saw no one on the stairs, but when she and her friend briefly went outside, she did see Jack Ruby, a man she did not know until she saw the television pictures later of him shooting Oswald.

Many of the more unhelpful and even crazed books on this subject I sometimes think likely come under the auspices of the very agencies who have worked so hard to promote the official story: lunatic books help discredit all critics of the official story. When I say lunatic books I mean books along the lines of The Man Who Knew Too Much or JFK and the Unspeakable.

Worthless books which seem to serve the opposite side include Gerald Posner's Case Closed, which offers the pretence of tough-minded analysis, or Reclaiming History by Vincent Bugliosi, which is just a giant prosecutor's brief supporting another prosecutor's brief, or Edward Jay Epstein's Legend and Counterplot, both efforts to confirm the main conclusions of the Warren Commission after the author's having gained some credibility with his Inquest, a book which supports limited and late criticism of the Commission.

For people coming to the assassination for the first time, Mr. Ernest provides a few nice little summaries of fact, the most important being J. Edgar Hoover's virtually immediate acceptance of Oswald's guilt, his then having prepared within weeks a report setting out the flimsy case. Lyndon Johnson's appointment of the Warren Commission made the publication of his report inappropriate, but that report provided the structure on which the commission report was built, the commission itself never doing any genuine investigation of its own. Indeed, since the entire Warren Report was created in a few months, there is a prima facie argument for its complete inadequacy to so demanding a task.

Readers who wish to know more after reading Mr. Ernest's book cannot do better than the books of Joachim Joesten, the finest and certainly the sharpest of all early critics, and Anthony Summers' Conspiracy, which although dated remains the best single book ever written on the subject.

Interestingly, both these authors came from Europe. The Warren Commission Report itself offers a valuable comparison for these and any other books on the subject.

My only serious criticism of Barry Ernest's book is that he failed to provide an index, an important omission. However, except for that fault, I recommend this book virtually without qualification to all people curious about the greatest unsolved crime of its time.

I take this opportunity to remind readers of Bertrand Russell's penetrating question, still never answered: "If, as we are told, Oswald was the lone assassin, where is the issue of national security?"

Further, I remind them that if a matter so important as the assassination of an American president in the mid- 20th century could be handled in so careless and dishonest a way by government agencies, why would anyone expect something more with other sensitive issues and what are the limits of government's lying? That is why the assassination of 48 years ago remains a timely matter.

Saturday, November 12, 2011



This is utterly paranoid nonsense from the CSIS official.

There is, and always has been, the risk of twisted individuals doing harm to the public.

It happens every day, but we do not call it terror unless the perpetrator happens to be a Muslim.

Just what do you think Clifford Olson or Robert Picton or Paul Bernardo were?

What do you think the creepy guys who shoot people in the Jane and Finch area are?

If we let our officials act the way the government of the United States has, we simply will no longer have the Canada we love.

The truth is no terrorist can take Canada away from us: we can only do that to ourselves.

The United States today is virtually a police state. Passengers are frisked and x-rayed even on local flights.

People are submitted to intense questioning on the least suspicion of a second-rate police-mind. The TSA now patrols some American internal highways and pulls people over arbitrarily.

The very books you borrow from the library are recorded by the FBI, an agency with its own past history of genuine terror tactics. The mails are invaded. Internet use is recorded. All phone conversations are recorded.

People convicted of nothing are secretly detained in prisons. The CIA continues to run an international torture gulag. The CIA murders people proved guilty of nothing every week by drones and missiles.

Is that the kind of environment the CSIS official desires?

I suspect it is the environment which is dear to the heart of a control-freak like our prime minister, a man who is also such an American wannabe he readily swallows whatever the American government dishes out.

God save Canada from the sick thinking of the CSIS official.  

“You have a better chance of falling off a ladder and dying or slipping and falling in the bath tub and dying than in a terrorist attack. Largely it's a tactic to scare the population into allowing for infringement on rights and freedoms and herd the electorate more readily."


There are more deaths on bicycles every year even in the US than from any conceivable form of terror.

Americans murder their fellow citizens to the order of 20,000 each year.

Americans kill their fellow citizens on the highways to the order of 40,000 every year.

Half a million American children are seriously abused by a member of their own family every year.

Doctors making mistakes kill tens of thousands of Americans every year.

Thousands of young people are permanently injured every year in America playing violent sports like football.

Four hundred thousand Americans are taken by cancer every year - much of it preventable as in the case of smoking and exposure to other hazards.

Every society at all times has a substantial group of people who are subject to vague fears more than others and people who would like to closely control others for their own comfort: there is a natural distribution of them in any population.

But when you give such people – who tend always to be drawn to security or police or military work – too much leeway and resources in the name of paranoid fears, you begin to open yourself to the debilitating reality of a police state, whose ultimate limit is nothing less than  the horrors of Stalin’s Soviet Union or Hitler’s Reich.

The vigilance required to keep a genuinely free society is not the vigilance of outfits like the FBI or CIA or CSIS or the military: it is the vigilance of each of us against those who would abuse us in the name of terror or dark fears.

"Can CSIS and the Harper regime tell us how many Afghans and Libyans have been killed in their own country by Canadians."

Thank you.

The number of Afghans killed, mainly by the U.S., is in the tens of thousands.

The number of Libyans is in the thousands, again mainly by the U.S.

And we've assisted in bombing Libyan infrastructure back to the Stone Age.

That is no exaggeration, and no press in Canada will tell us the dark truth, not even CBC, these days quaking in its boots over its fate under the dark hulk we call prime minister.

Nothing to be proud of, any of it.

And if you really think about it, these were acts which only created legions of young men with grievances for the future.

Oh, but we do  have the buzz-cut thugs at the CIA playing computer games with drones and Hellfire missiles destroying the lives of thousands of others to protect us, don't we?

That thought sure makes me feel safe. How about you?

Thursday, November 10, 2011



A message for Israel?

Yes, but far more importantly, the incident provides a message for the rest of the world.
When have we ever had such stunning first-hand evidence of Israel's inappropriate access to the President of the United States?

Obama, leader of the free world and a man with the immense burdens of a country of more than 300 million people, has to give time, "every day," to the the querulous leader of a country of 7 million people, about one-third of the population of Madagascar or one-half the population of Ecuador?

I'd bet Obama hears far less frequently from the governor of California, a vitally important part of his own country and a state with nearly five times the population of Israel.

This is the mouse that roared indeed.

And there can be only one reason why the president must give this huge portion of his precious time to the leader of almost exactly 1/1000th of the world’s people: the Lobby for Israel and the political need to keep them happy, that is if you expect the campaign contributions and favorable press it can deliver going into an election.

Any informed and critical-minded person knows there will only be peace in Israel’s region when the United States stops extending unheard-of privileges to this belligerent and demanding state puts genuine pressure on it to settle fairly.

You will never see peace if you must pick up the phone every day to speak politely and attentively to the likes of Netanyahu.

Netanyahu and most of his predecessors – killers and terrorists like Begin or Olmert or Sharon - do not want peace as almost anyone on earth understands the word. They have always wanted more land – that’s what the 1967 War was really about – and they want the land without its people. How on earth do you ever get peace out of that? You don’t.

So American pressure becomes essential, but America’s debased system of campaign financing – which sees people in high office scrabbling for money throughout their terms of office – makes it impossible to apply that pressure without serious political damage.

But when more people understand how bizarre the relationship between Israel and the United States truly is perhaps there will be a re-balancing of political forces.

Either that or we all must wait the two decades the CIA estimates have given the current state of Israel, enduring all the brutality and misery entailed, before all the dual-passport holders from America and Europe tire of the mess they’ve made and go home, leaving the true residents, both Jewish and Palestinian, to work out the details of single state, the only long-term settlement which can possibly succeed.



"Imagine a country invading the hypothetical countries of Greenland and Alaska and then saying they wanted to attack Canada because it has nuclear capability. What would you expect our leadership to do? Obey the aggressors and accept their demands we lay down on our backs?"


And further, Iran is surrounded by nuclear powers.

Where did the notion come from that only certain countries are entitled to nuclear weapons in perpetuity? Countries who are somehow appointed gods on earth?

Why was Israel ever allowed to develop nuclear weapons, breaking every rule in the book? And why is allowed to keep them, always lying and dissembling but always ready to threaten?

Israel has certainly created enough division and destruction in the world just using its conventional weapons, which, by the way, it has used illegally numberless times, American supplied weapons supposedly being under strict contract for use only in genuine defense?

Israel's record in the matter of nuclear arms is ghastly: it cynically helped apartheid South Africa develop nuclear weapons in exchange for strategic materials, offering the worst example of proliferation in the nuclear age.
I'm sure the various governments of the world all knew about it. Only the people were kept in the dark.

Further, Iran has never started a war in its modern history, unlike Israel who has attacked just about everyone within reach, twice-over, and screams every day about the need to attack Iran.

So far as any thoughtful and informed person can tell, Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, but if indeed it is, so what?

The balance of terror kept the peace in Europe for half a century, and an Iran with such weapons would provide exactly the same needed balance against an aggressive and always-demanding Israel.

Perhaps that is the only route to peace, not Israel's bizarre idea of peace, but genuine peace.



Israel is pushing hard now for one reason, and it is the same reason why they have Obama and Clinton looking like Neanderthals over the worthy agency, UNESCO.

Obama is extremely vulnerable going into the next election, and he needs all the campaign funds and good press he can get.

It is a nightmare situation in which we have a tiny state with extreme views and never-ending belligerent demands literally push around the world's super-power.

Although they play a role, American fundamentalist Christian notions about Israel are really not what determine this poisonous relationship.

It is America's campaign-finance system that does, and also, to some extent, the concentration of media in so few hands.

The United States’ government is so bamboozled by Israel that it will do close to anything if Israel demands it loudly enough.

Kill an American citizen with impunity? Israel has done so on many occasions from the attack on the USS Liberty to the piracy on the high seas of a humanitarian convoy.

Use American high-tech weapons, supplied in great abundance at knock-down prices, while totally ignoring the strict provisions about use only for self-defense contracted into their supply? It has done so on countless occasions.

Ignore America and the world's strict regime governing nuclear weapons? And doing so even while pointing the finger at another state, demanding that it be attacked although innocent of the very behaviour of which we know Israel is grossly guilty?

Ignore America and the world's strict regime governing the proliferation of nuclear materials and weapons? Israel got off with complete impunity for assisting the apartheid regime in South Africa to develop nuclear weapons.

Start a secretly-engineered war of aggression, the 1967 War, in which you quickly seize the lands of millions of others - lands which you feel you are entitled from a 2500-year old collection of religious mysticism – and reduce the entire populations to an apartheid regime in which you strip them of all rights and proceed gradually to steal their homes?

Have the name of the most damaging, treacherous spy in American history, Jonathon Pollard, honored in Israel as a national hero?

Patiently endure an endless stream of demands that Pollard be released, the latest to which it has been reported Obama was almost ready to agree, completely to the opposition of almost all high-ranking military and intelligence officers, this last being the only real barrier against the lunatic idea?

The very fact Pollard was not executed in the first place, his treachery being far more damaging than that of most of the spies the United did execute?

Having Israel's argumentative and demanding and unpleasant Prime Minister with virtually open access to the Oval Office?

Having the United States fight proxy wars for Israel, the only genuine explanation for the horrors of the Iraq invasion?

Giving Israel unfettered access to American markets and technology, often in direct conflict with the interests of American companies?

There seems to be almost no limit to Israel’s impossible demands of America.

Now the thug, Netanyahu, wants war with Iran. Israel keeps blustering that it will itself attack Iran – using, of course, the very American weapons whose use for aggressive war is contractually forbidden. But Iran is not helpless, and Israel knows, that even if it does have the capacity to attack a thousand miles away that there will be serious (and deserved) consequences.

So Israel wants a get-out-of-jail-free card from the United States if it does prove itself to have the capacity for a first strike, and, if it does not have that capacity, it again wants the United States to do its killing.

We have here a black comedy of, pound-for-pound, the world’s most belligerent and lawless little country demanding an attack on a country which has attacked no one in its entire modern history. And it makes this irrational demand of the world’s super-power, whose current weak and pathetic president might just prove inclined to grant the evil wish.

God help the world of our children with the deadly legacy of a genuine Frankenstein monster now driving its maker.

"Iran for 36 years has been taunting the Jewish State with "wiping it off the map".. Constant anti semitism and hatred.. Now Israel will raise its mighty hand and nuke tipped Sam 44's and lob one down the throat of the Beast! Happy Hunting!"

An incredibly ill-informed and violent comment.

Iran has not once threatened Israel, not once.

It does not even possess the means to do so seriously.

And every source of genuine intelligence tells us Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons.

The only support for your nonsense view was the current President of Iran's mistranslated and endlessly repeated words.

What he actually said was no different to the CIA's assessment of Israel's future: Israel cannot maintain its current fantasy situation in the part of the world where it is located, in a sea of Arabs.

It will eventually meld with Palestinians and others into a single Middle Eastern state, with many of its non-Middle Eastern citizens, dual-passport Americans and Europeans, returning home.

Your comment serves only the purpose of exhibiting for all to see what irrationality and violence are at work in Israel's demands.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011



Canada "mulls" future with an important United Nations' agency?

This kind of politically-motivated, special-interest blubbering casts a very dark shadow on Lester Pearson's distinguished career and achievements in international affairs.

Our dear current foreign minister is again working hard to destroy Canada's international reputation for fairness and decency, but of course that's what his boss Stephen Harper has worked ceaselessly towards since holding office, and we know no one utters a word on anything in this government that hasn’t been pre-approved by the chair-throwing leader, even his almost uncontrollably angry and nasty gorilla boy, Baird.

Good God, aren't the Palestinians to be considered as full human beings unless Israel nods to say they are?
And just consider in whose company Baird’s words place us: Just the other day, Israel's foreign Minister Lieberman made clear public threats to murder Mr. Abbas over these matters. And those threats come after numberless others from a man who is just about as much a lowlife as you would find in any dictatorship on the planet.

But no objections are ever made by the United States, a country which actually believes it stands for human rights and democratic principles: indeed, we hear the opposite, that the United States will stop funding the agency, in effect reneging on treaties and long-standing obligations. Do it my way, or I’ll take my things and go home is the glorious response of our freedom-loving neighbour.

And why is that?

Because Obama is in political trouble, and he needs campaign funds and good press, just the things the American Israel lobby is in a position to grant or withhold.

So all sense of fairness is cast aside by Obama in pursuit of re-election, a man who has proven himself a weak and ineffective president in just about every respect, except when measured by the number of his extra-judicial killings by drone, which is now in the thousands.

And of course, running after Obama is Stephen Harper, desperately running along behind like the neighborhood's most unpleasant brat trying to gain favour yelling "Me too!"

And there's another aspect of Pearson's distinguished legacy disappearing: when Lyndon Johnson demanded Canada send troops to Vietnam - he actually grabbed Pearson by the lapels - Pearson had the guts to say no.

From Harper, we get Canada volunteering for whatever stupid and demeaning job he sees before the United States even asks.  

How low we’ve fallen.


"Here are a few excerpts from the Hamas charter..."

Well, how many terrible things has Hamas actually done compared to what we know Israel has done?

When was the last time Hamas killed 400 Israeli children?

When was the last time Hamas pirated ships on the high seas, killing 9 people only trying to deliver humanitarian assistance?

When was the last time Hamas or any other organization dropped a million horrible cluster bombs inside Israel, as Israel did in Southern Lebanon?

When was the last time Hamas held ten thousand Israelis as illegal prisoners?

When was the last time Hamas removed hundreds of Israelis from their homes and just stole them?

When was the last time Hamas openly murdered scores of highly-placed Israelis?

And have you ever read the bloody horrors of the Old Testament?

Huge sections of it are packed with violence, ruthlessness, intolerance, arbitrary rules for everything, and just plain hatred of others.

And it is the Old Testament ideas governing Israel in many aspects, courtesy of the ultra-Orthodox parties who always make up the balance of power there.

Read those ghastly stories of war and murder and rape and slavery and weird laws about what cloth you may wear and what food you may eat, and, yes, how women are totally subservient to men, how a child should be sacrificed if his father believes he hears God demanding it, and you will understand why Israel respects none of its neighbors and has attacked most of them more than once.

And, oh, it could not be clearer in the Old Testament that all non-Jews are inferior beings, not to be spared any brutality - nothing Hamas or any other Arabic group has ever written and accepted is more poisonous than that.
Some basis for a state in the 21st century. A state which demands to be recognized as a one-religion state, a state which even today treats all its non-Jewish citizens as second-class at best.

And if you have a very dark sense of humor you will enjoy the bad joke of a Jews-only democracy, surely no different in concept to an Islamic state.

Of course, if Israelis find Muslims so repulsive and backward, we might ask why the founders of modern Israel insisted on creating it in a place totally inhabited with and surrounded by them?

Makes a lot of sense to me.
"The entire UN is corrupt."

Then why does Israel always wave the UN documents which - under pressure from foreign powers - mandated its creation?

Your expressed view is ridiculous.

The entire rest of the planet's population is corrupt because it doesn't do what a tiny population in Israel demands?

Of course, you also neglect the fact that Israel stands in contempt of a host of UN resolutions. Being in contempt of just one has been used as an American excuse for bombing others.



Well, the day before, Hillary Clinton said in Libya the United States would welcome his killing.

It doesn't get too much shabbier than that.

Her brutal words reminded me of Donald Rumsfeld's statement, early on in Afghanistan, that all the Taleban prisoners should either be walled away or killed.

And, what do know, a short time later, 3,000 prisoners the U.S. had held disappeared.

We know today they were driven out in batches in sealed vans onto the desert to suffocate. Then their bodies were dumped into mass graves.

Americans didn't do the actually murders, they just facilitated and encouraged them. Its soldiers - who were in charge everywhere - just stood around picking their noses while mass murder was carried out.

America is up to its hips in blood, and there no longer seems to be much in the way of limits.

Gaddafi's blood is definitely on Hillary's hands. I knew she was a rather nasty piece of work, but now she is a murderer.

As is her boss with his 2 to 3 thousand killings in Pakistan in the last couple of years, virtually all of them civilians.

There's no use pretending that only bloody dictators will be subject to extra-judicial killing in future.

Indeed, the United States has over the years been close friends and patrons of many dictators, and it still is today.

It's just a question of whether the leader or a group of people toe the American policy line in deciding whether they will be attacked.

The emerging nightmare scenario is the United States playing God across the entire planet, striking down anyone who disagrees seriously enough with it.

This is not a time for exultation over the death of a dictator, but shame and profound concern about the nature of our children's world.

"The purpose of a trial is to determine guilt.

"Perhaps there are only a dozen or so people in the world who so blatantly admit their crimes to the world that a trial would be unnecessary."

You could not be more incorrect.

A trial is never, never unnecessary, full stop.

The purpose of a trial also is very much to proclaim that there is rule of law and openness in handing out justice - indeed, that part of the meaning of trials is far more important than determining guilt.

Only people or countries with something to hide encourage this kind of lawlessness, and that very much is the case for the United States.

We either have a society of laws, or we do not. You cannot have it both ways.

Although both the United States and Israel very much act as though they can.


Yes, indeed, the university has become a commodity, as a reader below observes.

And of course the universities - since they are in effect paid by the pound - want to move as great batches through as they can, and at the lowest possible cost. Economic reality does not end at the doors to whatever hallowed hall.

But there is more to the issue than that.

Part of what we are seeing is the result of dozens of years of grade inflation and "social promotion" in our public schools.

It is also the result of "democratizing" higher education. In effect, we've said that almost anyone is entitled to a degree in something or other, and that we reject the long-held idea that university is for the best and brightest.

We even had a woman create a controversy because she could not attend with and assist her mentally-handicapped child in university - that case surely highlights some of what we are doing. As does the fact we are graduating tens of thousands whose costly degrees have virtually zero economic value in the day-to-day world.

Our universities are coming offer degrees in almost anything you can name. This is the American model in which "degrees" are offered in subjects like circus, playground management, television studies, etc. We're well along the way to aping the practice.

Of course, degrees of that nature are virtually meaningless and of no real value as investments in education.

Our once wonderful polytechs and community colleges are all clamoring to get in on the action too by becoming universities. Then everyone working there becomes a "professor" and every graduate gets a "degree."

My favorite example of the cynicism of "professional educators" today is found in our schools or faculties of education. Every year they pour out new batches nobody needs or wants. Schools mostly aren't hiring. And even if they were, many of these graduates still would not be desirable as teachers, undergoing as they do an almost non-academic, even anti-intellectual, year of study.

But the staff at the teachers' colleges are kept employed. And the students are kept off the streets for one year. And politicians like McGuinty can blubber about being friendly to education.

And the poor students, soon to be seriously disillusioned, pile up mountains of debt.

We really are building ourselves into a second- or third-rate educational system and making our country into a not-very-effective competitor for a fiercely competitive future.

High school graduates in Korea or China know far more than half of our university graduates.