A winner in the category “are the NYT editors stupid, or do they just think we are?”

A moment of sympathy please for the scribblers charged with the vital role of keeping the sheep unaware of the pen.  We never thank them for shielding us from the unpleasant realities of America’s political regime.  On the other hand, we make it so easy for them.  As in this week’s example, where journalists Scott Shane tells us to move along, nothing to see here. 

Such stories show that the Times’ leadership values its social function more than its business.  Exciting stories — like this — must be played down, written as boring trivia.  Exciting but politically incorrect stories get buried, such as Edward’s infidelity and the stories about Obama appointees Van Jones and Chas Freeman.  So its audience goes to sources of real news, and the Times slowly dies.

Now to our award winner:  “C.I.A. Is Still Cagey About Oswald Mystery“, Scott Shane, New York Times, 16 October 2009 — Red emphasis added.  At the end of this post is more material of interest. 


Is the Central Intelligence Agency covering up some dark secret about the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Probably not. But you would not know it from the C.I.A.’s behavior.

For 6 years, the agency has fought in federal court to keep secret hundreds of documents from 1963, when an anti-Castro Cuban group it paid clashed publicly with the soon-to-be assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. The C.I.A. says it is only protecting legitimate secrets. But because of the agency’s history of stonewalling assassination inquiries, even researchers with no use for conspiracy thinking question its stance.

The files in question, some released under direction of the court and hundreds more that are still secret, involve the curious career of George E. Joannides, the case officer who oversaw the dissident Cubans in 1963. In 1978, the agency made Mr. Joannides the liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations — but never told the committee of his earlier role.

That concealment has fueled suspicion that Mr. Joannides’s real assignment was to limit what the House committee could learn about C.I.A. activities. The agency’s deception was first reported in 2001 by Jefferson Morley, who has doggedly pursued the files ever since, represented by James H. Lesar, a Washington lawyer specializing in Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.

… the deceptions began in 1964 with the Warren Commission. The C.I.A. hid its schemes to kill Fidel Castro and its ties to the anti-Castro  class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”anti-Castro “>Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil, or Cuban Student Directorate, which received $50,000 a month in C.I.A. support during 1963.

… His lawsuit has uncovered the central role in overseeing directorate activities of Mr. Joannides, the deputy director for psychological warfare at the C.I.A.’s Miami station, code-named JM/WAVE. He worked closely with directorate leaders, documents show, corresponding with them under pseudonyms, paying their travel expenses and achieving an “important degree of control” over the group, as a July 1963 agency fitness report put it.

Fifteen years later, Mr. Joannides turned up again as the agency’s representative to the House assassinations committee. … the committee’s staff director, G. Robert Blakey, had {no} idea that Mr. Joannides had played a role in the very anti-Castro activities from 1963 that the panel was scrutinizing.

When Mr. Morley first informed him about it a decade ago, Mr. Blakey was flabbergasted. “If I’d known his role in 1963, I would have put Joannides under oath — he would have been a witness, not a facilitator,” said Mr. Blakey, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. “How do we know what he didn’t give us?”

After Oliver Stone’s 1991 film “J.F.K.” fed speculation about the Kennedy assassination, Congress created the Assassination Records Review Board to release documents. But because the board, too, was not told of Mr. Joannides’s 1963 work, it did not peruse his records, said Judge Tunheim, the chairman.

“If we’d known of his role in Miami in 1963, we would have pressed for all his records,” Judge Tunheim said.

About hidden history

Much of truth about current events lies in the realm of hidden history, revealed only one or more generations later. For instance, the military history of WWII we learned in school was largely false. The reputation of UK and US generals was trashed with the revelation in the 1970’s of Enigma (we read almost all their coded messages) and the treason of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris (head of the Abwehr, military intelligence). During the war Canaris gave the UK most of Hitler’s war plans, which they ignored.

Other examples:

  • In 1962 the American people knew all President Kennedy. Healthy, athletic, and a good family man. The truth was very different.
  • So it is with Watergate.  The noble deep-throat, serving America’s freedom.  The intrepid journalists. All a myth.  (See here for details)

The white whale of hidden history for Americans is the Kennedy assassination.  Will we ever learn the truth?

Other articles of interest about the Kennedy assassination

The Mystery of Marina Oswald“, Stratfor, 23 November 2003 — Summary:

With the passing of the 40th anniversary of the JFK assassination, STRATFOR pauses to consider one of the less-examined aspects of the case: Marina Oswald. Her connections to the Soviet intelligence apparatus and odd marriage to Lee Harvey Oswald are seldom factored into any theories surrounding the assassination. However, the facts of the case make it clear that the Soviet government wanted Marina Prusakova and Oswald together in the United States.

For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar. Of esp relevance to this topic:

Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.

Posts about the CIA:

  1. The Plame Affair and the Decline of the State, 25 October 2005
  2. The new NIE, another small step in the Decline of the State, 10 December 2007
  3. A must-read book for any American interested in geopolitics, 5 March 2008 — “Legacy of Ashes”
  4. When will global oil production peak? Ask the CIA!, 1 May 2008
  5. Something every American should read, 25 May 2009 — About the CIA’s use of torture
  6. Another urban legend that will not die: the CIA is the world’s major drug dealer, 11 July 2009
  7. Ignatius proposes “A New Deal for The CIA” – perhaps they should sometimes obey our laws, 21 September 2009 


Please share your comments by posting below. Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post. Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

24 thoughts on “A winner in the category “are the NYT editors stupid, or do they just think we are?””

  1. “Nothing is true, everyhting is permitted”
    -Hassan-i Sabbah, the Old Man of the Mountain
    Fabius Maximus replies: I suggest you post that on the thousand sites attacking these authors. The resulting storm of rage breaking upon you will test your calm.

  2. The other great white whale is now 9-11. As I often explain to my wife, who is an ardent believer that the truth of that has been covered up and should be brought to light, truths of such magnitude, which show basic American institutions in a treasonous light, will never come to light because they would destroy the legitimacy of government and the social fabric would fail.

  3. No thanks FM. I’ll stick to commenting here instead. The Sheeple are so enamoured by their lords that they will willingly throw themselves from the parapets to show loyalty as Hassan-i Sabbah is said to have his followers do on occation to impress visitors to Alamut.

    Plus, I don’t think many of them would get the reference.

  4. FM: “During the war Canaris gave the UK most of Hitler’s war plans, which they ignored.

    IIRC, Canaris wasn’t sending much until late ’43. That the British didn’t use it might be blamed on the embarrassment of the Venlo Incident (9 November 1939), where MI6 got bitch-slapped by Schellenberg’s SD. Then again, once the naval Enigma had been broken and the U-boats defeated, Hitler’s war plans were severely circumscribed, especially after Kursk.
    Fabius Maximus replies: From memory, Canaris was passing secrets starting from the invasion of Norway in 1940 (through his associate Han Oster).

  5. If the ‘ history ‘ is not all true , how do we know the ‘ counter -history ‘ is any more true ?

  6. Canaris warned the Czechs and the Dutch of the impending attacks by the Wehrmacht. (This probably helped at least in the case of the Czechs, who actually listened, and got their intelligence files and some valuable people to Britain ahead to the panzers). He sent agents to Britain before the war both to warn the British of Hitler’s plans against Czechoslovakia, and to ask them to refrain from action if the planned coup against Hitler succeeded. (This was 1938, not 1944!). Instead of talking to the Abwehr, Chamberlain flew to Berlin to talk to Hitler—thus cutting the planned coup off at the knees.
    It’s incredible how often Canaris or his subordinates (in particular the group around General Oster) acted against German interests. Probably the most important contribution Canaris made to the Allied war effort was to keep Spain neutral. Sent by Hitler to soften up Franco, Canaris did the exact opposite—he flatly told Franco that Germany was going to lose this war, and to stay out.
    Understand that Canaris loathed the Nazis not because he was a liberal democrat, but because he was an arch-conservative: he longed for the good old days of the Kaiser. As the historian John Lukacs has commented, the hardest and most consistent resistance against the Nazis came not from the left, but from the extreme right, from people like Canaris, DeGaulle, and Churchill.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I don’t believe that Canaris and the other members of the Black Dancers believed they were working against German’s interests. As Talleyrand said: “Treason is a matter of dates.”

  7. Kennedy? … everyone knows the Klingons did it. Excuse me while I run to get my anti-Klingon mind ripper tin foil hat on before they get me and make me forget it again ….has this happened before, before, before, before ….?

  8. senecal , the real conspiracy was how such a badly built, vulnerable to fire (yes a normal one, any fire that expanded more than about 3-6 floors would have brought the towers down) could be allowed to be built.

    Sadly the design has been copied throughout the World, there are lot of ones like it just waiting.

    Funny thing, the 9-11 swine (I refuse to call them people and I know I’m insulting pigs) could have achieved the same thing with a few dozen people and some cans of fuel, alebit less dramatically. Just get an uncontrollable fire going in (say) half a dozen contiguous floors .. then it (and any similar designs) comes down.

    As to the topic, yep they think you are stupid. They are after all, the US Pravda.

  9. I should add the best biography I have ever read about Kennedy was by Nigel Hamilton (Reckless Youth). Brutally honest about his health, background and sexuality.

    Funny enough I ended up respecting him far more by knowing the truth. His drive to overcome his lifelong incredibly serious and continually life threatening health problems was in many ways an insparation.

    How he pulled strings to get on a PT boat was an example. In no ways did he meet the health requirments to enter any armed service, a true 4F. But he did it and served honourably, and hid his health problems from everyone else, even his shipmates. A classic example of mind drive over body weakness.

    Not a great President by his record (though a good one in many ways, especially by current standards), but he was potentially a great one. It is interesting to speculate what would have happened if he had lived and grown (especially with RFK growing as well by his side).
    Fabius Maximus replies: IMO Kennedy has one great similarity with Obama — both got the job too early. With more experience Kennedy might have been great, and I suspect the same would have been true of Obama.

  10. RE: 9/11

    (1) Video on YouTube: Interview with Danish chemist who have been part of a team that discovered nano-termite in WTC dust

    (2) “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe“, Niels H. Harrit et al, The Open Chemical Physics Journal, vol 2.

    @OldSkeptic I know nothing about structural integrity and civil engineering, but all I have heard with regards to the WTC says that burning aircraft fuel does not reach the temperatures required to melt steel and thus the towers steel structure should have held had it been the only source of weakening. I’d like to read about how a 3-6 floor fire was sure to have brought the towers down.

  11. Old Skeptic: the best summaries of the “unsolved” mysteries (coverups) of 9-11 are the writings of David Ray Griffin. Peter Dale Scott, a distinguished linguistics professor from UC Berkeley, has done serious scholarly work on both JFK and 9-11. Scott was one of the earliest dissenting voices on Vietnam in the late sixties. I owe my own political awakening to him and a couple of other Berkeley professors at the time. Chalmers Johnson, now one of the most thoughful critics of US empire, was then a supporter of the US war in Vietnam.

  12. Actually, there are a whole bunch of white whales out there nobody wants to talk about. I don’t buy Kennedy assassination conspiracies or 9/11 “truther” fantasies (the Twin Towers used an innovative design with a unique frame tube structure rather than internal bracing with the usual steel columns typical for skyscrapers — see here for more details) but there are plenty of other examples of documented history swept under the rug.

    For example, Ronald Reagan’s overt support for the Taliban. What’s that, you say? The Taliban? The guys we’re currently fighting with U.S. troops in Afghanistan? St. Ronnie gave aid to the Taliban? How do we know? Well, when you’ve got photographs of the Taliban leaders meeting with Ronnie in the White House, it gets kind of hard to deny.

    Then there’s the way Jimmy Carter and his buddy Zbigniew Brzezinski nurtured and funded Bin Laden in Afghanistan to fight against the Soviets. Unfortunately, that monster grew out of control, with results now familiar.

    Then there’s the way Don Rumsfeld funded and supported Saddam.

    You could make an excellent case that most (perhaps all) of America’s current “dangerous renegade terrorist enemies” were actually American creations funded and militarily supported by U.S. government black ops, who then got out of control and turned against us. Chalmers Johnson has written extensively about this in his book Blowback, so there’s nothing new in this statement, but it remains amazing the extent to which the U.S. media simply treat this hidden history of U.S. foreign policy since the 70s as though it didn’t exist and our “dangerous renegade terrorist enemies” as though they magically materialized out of thin air, ex nihilio.

    According to this view, American foreign policy is like a bank robber who gives his henchman a machine gun and then gets all huffy about law-breaking when the henchman turns the AK47 on him and start shooting at him with it.

  13. You’re quite the joker and photoshopper, mclaren. The Taliban was founded in 1994. Clinton was President then. You might have said some things that were true, but your fake photo pretty much puts you on my “permanently ignore” list.

  14. From #11:

    @OldSkeptic I know nothing about structural integrity and civil engineering, but all I have heard with regards to the WTC says that burning aircraft fuel does not reach the temperatures required to melt steel and thus the towers steel structure should have held had it been the only source of weakening. I’d like to read about how a 3-6 floor fire was sure to have brought the towers down.

    From the “Recursivity” blog, “An Open Letter to Richard Borshay Lee“, March 20, 2008:
    “You also claimed that “No steel frame building in history ever collapsed before.” This is not true. I would advise you to look into the 1967 collapse of the McCormick Center in Chicago, a steel-frame building that was left in rubble after a fire. The New York Times article of January 17, 1967 said “Heat from the blaze twisted and curled massive steel girders.”

    The fire they were describing was the result of electrical wiring burning carpets and trade materials, not ever jet fuel.

  15. “how do we know the counter-history is any more true?” (an, #6)

    In the case of 9-11, no one knows what the counter history is, but it’s pretty clear that the official history is full of holes. In grand events like 9-11, or the failure of major financial institutions, where panic and riots are possible, it’s almost certain that official reaction will be misleading, falsely reassuring, covering up the real magnitude and real causes of the event.

    The first priority of the state is to make its citizens believe that it’s working in their interest. This necessarily requires it to lie most of the time.

  16. The jet fuel was just an igniter. The rest was all the wood and especially plastic. Furniture, roof tilings, etc, etc … basically all hydrocarbons. You could have done the same thing with some people and a few cans of petrol (gas to you).

    You don’t have to melt steel, just heat it enough to weaken. Steel starts to lose its strength and become more plastic from 300C upwards. At 800C it has lost 90% of its strength.

    Plus, a little mentioned fact. It was an old building. As buildings age they put more weight on. Computers for everyone, servers and printers added. Files (paper is really heavy), more people with the move to cubicles and open plan offices. It was definitely far closer to its design weight limits when it was hit then when it was brand new.

    All these facts were well known by the New York Fire Dept, which is why it lost all of its best people trying to get to the fire. They knew they had only a short window of time to put the fire out before the building went down.

    Naturally position is a key factor. The higher the fire point the less danger (=less weight of course). The lower the greater the danger.

    And the energy is intense. The basic equation is Potential Energy = mgh (m= mass, g = gravitational acceleration and h=height). Plug in some numbers to that equation then a typical skyscraper has a potential energy equal to a very large bomb (semi nuclear in some cases). As the building collapses then that potential become realised as kinetic eneregy = 1/2mv(squared).

    I can’t find a defintive figure for the twin towers mass but one was the debris, which put a single tower somewhere in the 500,000 -700,000 ton region. Plug that into the equation above (make sure you don’t mix up metric and imperial numbers) and you get a LOT of joules. Another reason why they fell straight down, that potential energy would dwarf any other forces that would try to cause them to fall at an angle.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I’m not sure what the point is here. You believe the designers didn’t know these things? Or failed to calculate the effect of fires (not just in WTC 1 and 2, but also 7)?

    Too bad that in the past 4 decades another large tube-frame structure building did not catch fire anywhere in the world. We could see if it too pancaked down. Oh wait, others have burnt down, in various ways — but none pancaked (so far as I know). I love a super-complex analysis done in crayoon from first principles. The result has little value, but is fun to watch.

    Just like using basic science to prove that solar dynamics don’t influence Earth’s weather (see here)! Not only have those silly people at NASA and elsewhere not realized this, but they’ve spent billions — and even think they’re making progress.

  17. FM reply to #17 “I’m not sure what the point is here. You believe the designers didn’t know these things? Or failed to calculate the effect of fires (not just in WTC 1 and 2, but also 7)?

    I believe the point is to show that, contrary to the assertion that burning jet fuel could not cause the pattern of damage seen in the WTC towers, actually similar damage has been done, to steel, by even less flammable materials.
    Fabius Maximus replies: If I’m following this correctly, I believe that would require comparison of the WTC event to other similar collapses. Have there been any?

  18. There are no buildings that were built like the WTC to compare to. Very thin and light floors, and a structural facade which bore a significant portion of the weight. A facade that had an airliner go through it. A little bit left or right, the south tower would have lost a corner, and it probably would have collapsed immediately.


    I just don’t see the truthers nanothermite. I see huge structural gaps, a raging fire, and bucking right where I’d expect it. This isn’t a pancake. This is a 10’s of thousands of tons accelerating. F=ma.

    Why people think the floor below that was designed to catch that F is beyond me.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Do you have a source to confirm this? From what I read (but I know zip about this subject), buildings somewhat like the WTC were relatively commonly built in that era.

  19. Well, my 4th grade science report was based on something like Life magazine and a PBS show on the WTC. Somewhere, mom’s attic. My memory is that the facade carried up to 50% of the floor load at certain levels. See Wikipedia.

    Ah, here, some numbers. I haven’t read the numbers to figure out the distributions.

    How many there are like this, well, maybe more than zero. I can say, walking around a major metropolitan area today, there are no buildings in view that are obviously constructed with exterior load-bearing structures. They tend to get in the way of those big picture windows. They might be light-weight tube frames, but if you walk through them, the columns are well distributed throughout the floor plan and result in far fewer columns on the outside. The WTC, you have a core, the exterior, and long, thin, trusses bridging them:

    WTC floors: here.

    An equally distributed tube frame bldg versus a ~150′ wingspan (and whatever the horizontal spar width was) at 400 knots would probably not fared any better – somehow, huge vertical loads got redistributed to the corners.

    A bldg like the John Hancock in Chicago, it has massive exterior support, but as you can see, it’s a very different structure.

  20. As for those ‘designers’, they got forced to change their design and had to add asbestos to certain key areas, just because of the fire risk to the structure (sure as heck the designers, builders and investors didn’t care .. they made their profit). Originally there was NO heat protection for key points such as the links between the floors and the outer supports. Brilliant.

    Originally it was thought that the floors collapsed (those links), but later analysis showed it was the outer supports that buckled as they lost strength through the heat of the fire and of course they had already been weakened by some of them being destroyed by the plane coming through.

    But, and here is the real horror story. Because, unlike other more normal designs the core was only protected by some cement sheets. Instead of being very strong reinforced concrete which would probably have survived and enabled people to escape the routes down from above were blocked.

    Heck it is debatable if the sheets would have survived even a normal fire. A shoddy, unsafe design. Cheap though, with lots of floor space to rent out.
    Both planes could have hit the Empire State Building and it would still be standing and everyone would have got out.

    Fire can bring anything down. Example Manuel Garcia (retired physicist) on Oakland Freeway. Plus have a look at a couple of his his posts on 9/11:

    (1) He calculated the fire in WTC 1 was the energy equivalent of 1.9 kilotons of TNT (here)
    (2) He discusses WTC 7, which was brought down just by fire (here)

    Plus, just for FM, here’s on an accidental nuclear war and the relentless push by the US into just about everywhere that might trigger it off: “Will a Russo-American Nuclear War Happen (Soon)?“, Couterpunch, 1 September 2008.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Thanks for the background on the WTC. Esp about WTC7, which I found odd. However, his article about nuke war is of the “my fantasies are geopolitical reasoning” school of writing, IMO.

  21. FM reply from #18: “If I’m following this correctly, I believe that would require comparison of the WTC event to other similar collapses. Have there been any?

    It was a much smaller building, but how about the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology Architecture Faculty building? It was destroyed by fire on May 13, 2008, the fire was believed to have been started by a short-circuited coffee machine. Here is video of the building collapsing, on LiveLeak.com. If you look at how the first tower to collapse on 9/11 fell, it looks similar (youtube.com, “New View of the First WTC Collapse“)

    I make no claims to know jack squat about architecture, materials science, or demolitions. I just wanted to point out that, from easily available evidence, steel can totally be bent, buckled or even melted by fires, and you don’t need thermite explosives.
    Fabius Maximus: That’s great evidence! Thanks for posting it. One claim of the WTC conspiracy folks is, I believe, that no other building collapsed like that.

  22. Sadly, even engineers make mistakes. Comet anyone? Or the 787?

    Or the famous box girder problems that hit the World. Box girder comtruction (plus the real first use of computer based stress calculations) was a god send .. sort of. Cheap, strong. The answers to all those construction projects in the 60’s and 70’s. Used in bridges, overpasses, etc, etc.

    Unfortunately there were a lot of disasters (even in Germany), because the stress calculations missed the far higher stresses in construction (no Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s they were).

    To wit: 35 workers were killed when the Westgate bridge collapsed in 1970 during construction. Many other bridges (overpasses, etc) were permanently weakened, some had to have restrictions on traffic. Others had shortened lives.

    Note: concrete will protect steel for a long time from fire, but it will also retain the heat. Basically it is heat sink. But it will buy more time for people to get out, even if it eventually collapses in the end.

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