Apr 082014
 

Legal or Illegal? The 2001 US-British Attack on Afghanistan. Never Got the U.N. “Green Light”
By Ian Sinclair
Global Research, April 08, 2014
Morning Star

The Twitter equivalent of a bickering married couple, Times newspaper columnist David Aaronovitch and Huffington Post Political Editor Mehdi Hasan, recently alighted on a point of agreement during one of their regular Twitter exchanges.

The US/Nato invasion of Afghanistan was “UN-sanctioned,” they both said.

But are they right? With British forces formally handing over the military command of Helmand to US forces, it seems a good point to look at the legal status of the bombing and invasion in October 2001.

Written in 2010, the official House of Commons Library briefing paper on the subject provides interesting reading:

“The military campaign in Afghanistan was not specifically mandated by the UN, but was widely (although not universally) perceived to be a legitimate form of self-defence under the UN Charter.”

The paper goes on to explain that Article 2(4) of the UN Charter prohibits the “threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”

The accepted exceptions to this are where the security council authorises military action or where it is in self-defence under Article 51 of the Charter.

As the paper alludes, the UN security council did not authorise the military attack on Afghanistan.

Furthermore, there is reason to believe the US and Britain’s citing of Article 51 is suspect too.

Writing a month into the invasion, Marjorie Cohn, a professor of law at California’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a former president of the US National Lawyers Guild, described the US and

British attack as “a patently illegal use of armed force.”

The bombing was not a legitimate form of self-defence under Article 51 for two reasons, according to Cohn.

First, “the attacks in New York and Washington DC were criminal attacks, not ‘armed attacks’ by another state.” Indeed, as Frank Ledwidge argues in his new book Investment In Blood: The True

Cost Of Britain’s Afghan War, “the Taliban certainly were not aware of the 9/11 plot, and equally certainly would not have approved even if they had been.”

Cohn’s second criticism is that “there was not an imminent threat of an armed attack on the US after September 11, or the US would not have waited three weeks before initiating its bombing campaign.”

Michael Mandel, professor of law at Osgoode Hall Law School, is in agreement on the latter point, arguing: “The right of unilateral self-defence does not include the right to retaliate once an attack has stopped.”

Even if one were to agree the West’s attack was legitimate under Article 51, the House of Commons Library paper notes proportionality is central to the use of force in self-defence.

“It may not be considered proportionate to produce the same amount of damage” as the initial attack, the paper notes.

Writing in November 2001, Brian Foley, professor of law at Florida Coastal School of Law, maintained “these attacks on Afghanistan most likely do not stand up as proportional to the threat of terrorism on US soil.”

Having undertaken a systematic study of press reports and eyewitness accounts, Professor Marc Herold from the University of Hampshire found more civilians were killed during “Operation Enduring Freedom” than died on September 11 2001.

Moreover, the House of Commons Library briefing paper inadvertently highlights the crux of the issue.

“The USA might conceivably have gained specific legal support from the security council for its action in Afghanistan, but in the end did not seek such a resolution.”

With much of the world standing in sympathy alongside the US, why didn’t the US try to get UN security council authorisation for its attack on Afghanistan?

“An immediate need after 9/11 was to recover imperial prestige swiftly and decisively,” argue Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls in their book Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords And The Propaganda Of Silence.

Speaking just after the bombing had started, the anti-Taliban Afghan resistance leader Abdul Haq concurred with this reason for the attack.

“The US is trying to show its muscle, score a victory and scare everyone in the world.”

The last thing a nation attempting to “recover imperial prestige” would want to be seen doing is asking the United Nations for permission to act — a sure sign of weakness to the watching world.

The likely illegality of the 2001 attack on Afghanistan remains one of the biggest secrets of the so-called “war on terror.”

No overt censorship is needed, just an intellectual culture and corporate-dominated journalism that has — often heated — discussion within a narrow set of factual and ideological boundaries.

But while it is perhaps right to be forgiving of those who lost their critical faculties during those days of high emotion immediately after September 11 2001, how should we judge the ignorance of two award-winning journalists repeating the official deception 13 years later?

Ian Sinclair is the author of The March That Shook Blair: An Oral History Of 15 February 2003, published by Peace News Press.

Apr 082014
 

The CIA in Kuwait: Parallels to a 9/11 Suspect
Posted on April 7, 2014 by Kevin Ryan

As discussed in my book, Another Nineteen, there are good reasons to believe that some 9/11 suspects were involved in previous deep state operations. For example, evidence suggests that Stratesec manager Barry McDaniel and Carlyle Group director Frank Carlucci might have participated in the Iran-Contra crimes. There are also interesting links between several 9/11 suspects and Ted Shackley, a leader of the “CIA within the CIA.” Shackley was close friends with Frank Carlucci and had a long, close relationship with Richard Armitage, whose State department provided express visas to the alleged hijackers. Additionally, Porter Goss, who led the initial cover-up of the 9/11 crimes, had worked with Shackley in several CIA operations.

Perhaps the most interesting historical link between Shackley and 9/11 is that Shackley’s activities in Kuwait paralleled those of Wirt Walker, the KuwAm Corporation director. KuwAm was the parent company of Stratesec, the security company for several 9/11 facilities. As I’ve written before, these companies appeared to be part of a private intelligence network.

Shackley had a long career in covert CIA operations and was the agency’s Associate Deputy Director of Operations from 1976 to 1977. Described by former CIA Director Richard Helms as “a quadruple threat – Drugs, Arms, Money and Murder,” Shackley was a central character in many off-the-books operations. He was a leader of the CIA’s anti-Castro plan Operation Mongoose, its secret U.S. war in Laos, and the overthrow of Salvadore Allende in Chile.

Although Walker is officially only the son of a CIA man, his past has much in common with that of Shackley. In the 1980s, both men were strongly linked to the Bush family network, to Kuwait, and to aviation. They both ran security companies as well. Walker became close to the Kuwaitis at the same time as their government was working closely with Shackley and another CIA operative. Moreover, the people pulling the strings from the Kuwaiti side in those relationships were close relatives of KuwAm chairman Mish’al Al-Sabah.

Read more here

Mar 172014
 

The 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry and 28 Missing Pages
by Kevin Ryan

When the report of Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 was released in December 2002, it was met with considerable skepticism. That skepticism grew for a period of time but then was reduced to speculation about what was contained in the 28 pages that had been redacted by the Bush White House. Various U.S. government leaders have since suggested that the missing 28 pages point to Saudi Arabia’s complicity in the 9/11 crimes. However such musings fail to discuss other important issues, like the links between the Saudi regime and the Western deep state, or the fact that, from the start, even the Saudis were calling for the 28 pages to be released. Discussion of the missing 28 pages also omits mention of the highly suspicious nature of the Inquiry’s investigation and its leaders.

Read article here

Jan 292014
 

TRANSCRIPT AND SOURCES: http://www.corbettreport.com/?p=8602

As the public finally becomes outraged over the NSA’s illegal spying, members of government and the corporate media wage an information war to misdirect that anger to issues of less importance. To counteract this, a bold new citizen-led initiative to nullify the NSA is now gaining momentum around the United States. This is the GRTV Backgrounder on Global Research TV.

Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/the-nsa-and-the-911-deception/#Zpbd8ucfVjP8Wsci.99

Jan 232014
 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/editorials/9627574/Editorial-Afghanistan-venture-an-exercise-in-futility

OPINION: Afganistan remains a dismal country after 12 years of Western occupation. A United Nations report finds that it is once again becoming a narco-state, with a huge rise in opium poppy cultivation. Corruption is rampant. The Karzai Government controls only a small part of the country. Torture is widely used. The Western intervention in Afghanistan, in which New Zealand played an important role, comes to a dismal end.

The invasion of the country after September 11 was justified and New Zealand was right to back it. The Taliban Government was sheltering Al Qaeda, the terrorist group which had committed the outrage in New York. The United States and its Western partners were justified in responding.

Read the rest of the article here

Dec 272013
 

n Dec 22nd, New York Times Chief Washington Correspondent David Sanger was the guest on CSPAN’s Washington Journal, where he had this to say about Building 7’s collapse:

We have not found any evidence so far – that doesn’t mean there’s none there – but we’ve not found any evidence so far to suggest that the building collapses were caused by anything other than the two airplanes that flew into them.”

Sanger was responding to a question from a caller who wanted to know why, despite the massive billboard standing right outside the New York Times Building, the paper of record had failed to “fairly and objectively cover this crucial issue.”

Now with a senior representative of the New York Times on the record saying, “We’ve not found any evidence so far,” it is time to let Sanger and the editors know that the evidence is there. All they need to do is look and they’ll easily find it. Contact the NY Times Today!

Dec 212013
 

We were subjected to ‘meticulous, daily torture’ – freed Gitmo detainee
Published time: December 20, 2013 13:54

After years of being held at the US Naval Base in Cuba without trial, Ibrahim Idris, one of two Sudanese detainees released on Thursday, said US prison officials had “systematically tortured” him in the course of his 11-year imprisonment at Gitmo.

Idris, who has been described by US officials as mentally ill, delivered his comments in a news conference in Khartoum, just hours after returning home courtesy of a US military plane.

Appearing weak and speaking with apparent difficultly, Idris gave a brief account of his lengthy imprisonment at Gitmo.

“We have been subjected to meticulous, daily torture,” he said. “We were helpless…on an isolated island, surrounded by weapons.”

He praised the Sudanese government and human rights organizations for working to secure the release of prisoners at Gitmo, which has been called “the GULAG of our times” by Amnesty International. Closed-door military tribunals, for example, have been riddled with problems, including courtroom speakers that have a mysterious tendency for being blocked during key testimony.

Read article here

Dec 162013
 

Terrorism: It Could Be Anyone Now
Posted on December 16, 2013 by Kevin Ryan

This weekend I ran across a random copy of The Wall Street Journal and decided to see what passes for mainstream news these days. Reading it reminded me of the striking amount of terrorism propaganda being foisted upon the U.S. public. The numerous terrorism-related stories in that weekend edition of The Journal painted a confused and contradictory picture that reflects a difficulty in keeping the American public focused on terrorist threats and increasingly suspicious of their fellow citizens.

The weekend edition included five major stories about terrorism, including a shooting at a Colorado high school, the release of video from a hospital massacre in Yemen, and a review of how the Sandy Hook victims’ families are coping. In the most prominent spot, at the top left of the front page, readers found an alert for a major expose covering the Boston bombers. The fifth story was about the arrest of a Wichita man for plotting to blow up aircraft with a homemade bomb at the airport.

The new, Wichita story provides a good example of the challenges facing the FBI and corporate media in ongoing efforts to stoke the public fear. The suspect, like others in the last few years, had no previous history of terrorist activity and the FBI did everything for him.

Read article here

Dec 042013
 

Colin Craig not sure man walked on moon
NBR Staff | Wednesday December 04, 2013

The leader of New Zealand’s fastest-rising political party, Colin Craig, says he’s not sure man walked on the moon and hasn’t even ruled out conspiracy theories about the 2011 terrorist attacks in the United States.

On a radio show this morning, Mr Craig says he doesn’t have time to look into these matters and it’s not a priority for him – his priorities are making sure New Zealanders have jobs, houses and can succeed.

Less than a year out from a general election, and with National’s coalition partners ACT and United Future having their own issues, the Conservatives are being touted as a potential coalition partner for Prime Minister John Key’s party.

Read full article here

Dec 012013
 

BSA formal complaint: The Science of Conspiracy Theories on Radio NZ Nov. 20 2013

(The following is the full text of a formal complaint I filed with Radio New Zealand today, Dec. 02 2013. I encourage others to file similar complaints on this or other broadcasts as there is ample ground to do so. For example, someone could easily file a complaint based on Dr Pollard’s comments about 9/11. Sorry, the text isn’t formatted because the complaint has to be pasted into a form that takes only text. I will make links to the numbered footnotes at the bottom. I will also post comments to this post when I hear from Radio New Zealand. This is my first ever complaint, so no matter what happens, it will be a learning experience.)

This complaint consists of an Executive Summary, a Complaint outline, detailed documentation that supports the complaint and a conclusion. A direct transcript of the relevant sections of the interview is at the end of the document.

Executive Summary:
Standard 4 – Controversial Issues – Viewpoints

While this complaint cites a specific interview, I find the Nine to Noon show to be consistently the most one-sided on controversial topics of all Radio New Zealand programmes with a serious journalistic intent. A “reasonable range of views” certainly did not feature in this interview.

Standard 5 – Accuracy

The interviewee made many misleading statements presented as facts, not as opinions, in his role as a scientist and science expert. While he was asked pro forma challenging questions by Ms Ryan, none of his actual statements were challenged.

STANDARD 6 – Fairness
“Broadcasters should deal fairly with any person or organisation taking part or referred to.”

People referred to (so-called conspiracy theorists) were not dealt with fairly, being dismissed as immune to factual evidence, of forming beliefs through fear, instinct and pattern recognition. By inference, conspiracy theorists do not employ cognitive skills in forming their beliefs.

STANDARD 7 – Discrimination and Denigration

“Broadcasters should not encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, any section of the community on account of sex, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, occupational status, or as a consequence of legitimate expression of religion, culture or political belief.”

People with political views not endorsed by governments and mainstream media were discriminated against (not represented) and denigrated.

END Executive Summary

BEGIN Complaint – brief statement

Standard 4 – Controversial Issues – Viewpoints

The controversial issues of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (in this interview presented two days prior to the 50th anniversary of the event – surely no coincidence) and the 9/11 terrorist attacks were prominently mentioned. My complaint focuses on the JFK assassination content.

A “reasonable range of views” was not presented. Two sources of information were cited, a former Secret Service agent and a witness to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), though Dr Pollard named neither the Secret Service agent (apparently Clint Hill), nor the specific body (HSCA). The sources were mentioned as though they were credible witnesses to the assassination, which they most surely were not. The possibility of untruthfulness on the part of these witnesses was not mentioned, despite the fact that evidence for their untruthfulness is in the public record. Dr Pollard made other misleading statements, but these could be considered more as matters of uninformed and biased opinion rather than fact.

Standard 5 – Accuracy

Dr Pollard is presented on RNZ as a “science commentator”, but his false and misleading statements were presented as facts, not as political opinions or as speculative commentary on the part of an informed person. This complaint is related to Standard 4, but there is a connection here between controversial subjects (political assassinations, terrorist attacks and the subject of “conspiracy theories”) and scientific and otherwise verifiable facts, therefore I make my complaint on both grounds.

STANDARD 6 – Fairness
“Broadcasters should deal fairly with any person or organisation taking part or referred to.”

While Dr Pollard did not refer to any particular person or organisation, he did refer to “conspiracy theorists” as a group. I will happily put myself forward as a person whom Dr Pollard would call a “conspiracy theorist”, and am a member of an organisation that Dr Pollard would certainly label as a group of “conspiracy theorists”, New Zealanders for 9/11 Truth.

The unfairness lies in the manner in which he describes the automatic, instinctive non-cognitive mental process that “conspiracy theorists” employ when they form their political opinions and beliefs. By dismissing conspiracy theorists as holding non-factual, non-logical beliefs, he unfairly dismisses both the beliefs and the people who hold such beliefs.

STANDARD 7 – Discrimination and Denigration

Dr Pollard denigrated people who hold non-mainstream political opinions. Nine to noon routinely discriminates against them by never talking to any of them, only about them in a deprecatory manner.

END Complaint brief statement

BEGIN Detailed complaint

Standard 4 – Controversial Issues – Viewpoints

First, we need to define our terms.

Conspiracy: A plot or plan of action formed by two or more people at least partly in secret.
Theory: In this case, an explanation for a conspiracy.
Conspiracy Theory: A theory about a conspiracy.
Conspiracy Theorist: A person who entertains or puts forth a conspiracy theory.

Obviously, these definitions do not suffice in the modern context of “conspiracy theory” as epithet, not as a neutral definition . Every policeman and prosecutor is required to put forth a conspiracy theory in order to justify the arrest or prosecution of alleged criminals. These people are not generally called “crazy conspiracy theorists” except possibly by defence attorneys.

The terms “conspiracy theory” and “conspiracy theorist” were first put into wide use by the CIA in letters to its media assets in the mid-1960s. The CIA used friendly mainstream media to help combat widespread doubts about the 1964 Warren Commission (1)(1a). This pejorative epithet lost its lexical relevance once the era of political assassinations blamed on “lone nuts” was superseded by political scandals and terrorist plots, all of which by definition involved conspiracies. The official government and mainstream media view of Watergate, Iran Contra, the Oklahoma City bombings and the 1993 and 2001 World Trade Center bombings was that all were conspiracy theories, since they involved secret plots involving two or more people.

What then is meant by the still-current epithets “conspiracy theory” and “conspiracy theorists”? Furthermore, why are these non-descriptive terms used by educated people to refer to mistaken beliefs that do not involve conspiracies, such as flat earthers and “incorrect” religious beliefs? The answer is obvious: a conspiracy theory is simply an opinion or belief not held by government and mainstream media, and a conspiracy theorist is someone who entertains a non-standard belief or opinion.

Therefore, hereinafter I will refer to people such as myself as conspiracy theorists, but also as Authority Questioners, or AQs.

The next section outlines the complaint in terms of:

STANDARD 6 – Fairness

“Broadcasters should deal fairly with any person or organisation taking part or referred to.”

Dr Pollard would have you believe that I as an Authority Questioner (AQ) do not arrive at my opinions by rational means. I quote from the interview in part. An extended transcript is at the end of this document.

“You know we’ve talked before on the show about the way our brains work and that we just have the propensity to believe silly things. And we make up stories and that’s not our fault, it’s just part of how our brain is wired and so we see all these examples. And you know you look at strange religious beliefs, people denying the age of the earth. All these things sort of fit into a continuum and conspiracy theories really are a way of us making sense of random events, especially those that would scare us. And I think that that we are not good at accepting simple explanations and on top of that we are very very good at looking for patterns in things. And given the way we record the world now you know any event, any extraordinary event will be followed by conspiracy theories.”

“I think that yeah no I think that we the thing with conspiracy theory is it’s immune to evidence. That’s the most important thing. And a very recent example you know was the horrific umm bombing in the Boston Marathon. Instantly there were conspiracy theories, one saying it was faked, and then there was someone saying it was connected with 9/11 because don’t you remember that two planes from Boston that were involved in 9/11. It came from Boston; therefore the Boston bombing must be connected. So it’s those looking for those patterns, but as I say the most important thing is it’s immune to evidence.”

Here Dr Pollard uses the logical fallacy known as the Straw Man in reference to the Boston bombings (2). I followed non-mainstream media very closely for several days after the Boston bombings. I never read anything like the stories he describes. I would be interested to know where he got these stories, or if he perhaps invented them out of whole cloth. Certainly none of my conspiracy theorist (AQ) friends would entertain such foolish notions.

Dr Pollard also accuses the AQ community of forming their beliefs out of instinct and fear. On the contrary, it is the gullible believers of mainstream conspiracy theories who react in fear. They are the ones who fear Muslim terrorist bogeymen, not us.

There are other false accusations about the AQ community in Dr Pollard’s comments, but underlying his accusations is the canard of non-rationality. How do we arrive at our beliefs, if not out of instinct and irrational fear?

We employ traditional or Aristotelian logic, which can be described in at least three different ways, each a three-step process:

1. The journalist’s famous friends of
(a) Who, What, Where and When (the facts)
(b) Why (assembling the facts in a logical manner)
(c) How (the written or oral explanation of the logic used)

2. Computer speak:
(a) Input
(b) Processing
(c) Output

3. The Trivium (more correctly the Trivium method)
(a) Grammar (general grammar, or basic facts)
(b) Formal Logic
(c) Classical Rhetoric (3)

Contrary to Dr Pollard’s false assertion, evidence is the foundation of our opinions, not a fear-based instinctive reaction.

Another method for denigrating those who hold non-received opinions was introduced by Ms Ryan:
“Then you get bits of evidence and this is where pattern selection is so interesting. It’s psychology essentially that we’re talking about.”

That’s correct, we AQs question authority because of our defective psychology. Dr Pollard agrees, “Well it is, yes.” This oft-used canard is used in almost every anti-AQ interview or article I have read.

The next section focuses on
Standard 5 – Accuracy

Before I mention specific inaccuracies it is important to note the misuse of logic so common in propagandistic articles and interviews.

The most common misuse of the three-step process is putting the first two steps in the wrong order, using one’s logic or reasoning before considering relevant facts. When the logic of a matter is pre-determined before all available facts are considered, the logic will inevitably be faulty. This basic error can be intentional or unintentional; intentional when used by skilled propagandists and unintentional when used by people who have not been trained properly and merely repeat what they have been told. The rigorous training that journalists and scientists undergo should prevent them from making such mistakes by accident.

Here is an example of Dr Pollard using logic (a “why”) before he considers any facts (omitting his numerous misstatements and use of other logical fallacies) in reference to the 9/11 attacks:
“Now, what I always say on those things is it’s difficult enough for two people to keep a secret let alone have all these people being involved with going into a building that had 40 to 50 thousand people working in it filling it with explosives with the intention of killing everybody, now admittedly on the day only thr… you know three and a half thousand people died, not 50 thousand, but still you’d think somebody on their deathbeds I really have to tell you this, this is what happened, umm and and John Kennedy’s assassination is exactly the same.”

Never mind that certain people did actually talk, and never mind the reasons why someone in that situation would never talk, and never mind the other howlers in that paragraph; Dr Pollard’s logic tells him that “someone would have talked”, therefore the lucky Muslim terrorists pulled it off!

The interview prominently featured two misstatements involving the JFK assassination that were deliberate errors of omission. Here is Dr Pollard on the subject of the Umbrella Man:

“…and my favourite account umm of the Kennedy assassination of where there is where a conspiracy is made where there is none was, it was a sunny day and yet very close to where Kennedy’s car would drive past there was a man holding a black umbrella, and he event… and people said, “Oh he was signalling shooters and another one said well he had a very elaborate setup in his umbrella, so he fired a poisonous dart at the President. The thing what, all he was doing was he was protesting about Kennedy’s father’s appeasement to Nazis with Neville Chamberlain prior to World War 2. And so his protest was how the Kennedys were involved in this appeasement to Hitler. And Neville Chamberlain always had was epitomised by having a black umbrella in fact in political cartoons in the 30s he had on a black umbrella and Kennedy had also done a thesis on this time in England and so this guy said you know this is my silent protest cos he figured that John Kennedy would know what he meant by a black umbrella. But the funny thing is when he had to go eventually umm to a select committee in fact in 1978 and expl… and he still had the umbrella and he gave his explanation, but he said to them, he said that if the Guinness Book of Records had a category for people who were in, who were at the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing that he would be number one.”

If one is unfamiliar with this story, it will seem simply incredible. That’s because it is. Dr Pollard omits the following from his account:
1. The Umbrella Man, who may or may not have actually been the HSCA witness, Louis Witt, was photographed in close proximity to a dark-complexioned man of a Latin American appearance who raised his fist around the same time as Umbrella Man raised his umbrella.
2. After the shooting, the two men calmly sat down next to each other on a kerb, whilst other spectators are in a panic, many lying on the ground, and many running towards the picket fence on the grassy knoll, whence they heard shots being fired. After talking briefly, they walk off in opposite directions.
3. The Latin looking man has what appears to be a walkie-talkie in his pocket and appears to talk on it.
4. Witt claimed not to see the murder because he was trying to open his umbrella, but photographs show that he must have seen the shooting. He also related a story about a motorcycle policeman and a car running up onto the President’s car. No one saw or photographed such an accident. He claimed not to know the Latin-looking man and failed to notice that he had and used a radio device while he was sitting with him on the kerb. There were other problems with his testimony, such as accounting for his presence, which he said was accidental.
5. There is no actual proof that the Umbrella Man is in fact Mr Witt, nor that the umbrella he had at the HSCA hearings was the same umbrella. It appeared to have a different number of staves from the original umbrella. (4)(5)(6)

Even if the man who testified was the real Mr Witt, his testimony contains too many details that cannot possibly be true. His untruthfulness, along with the slipshod interrogation he faced from the Dallas police and the HSCA, rules him out as a credible witness. If I found information contradictory to Dr Pollard’s exposition inside of a minute, then Dr Pollard could have done so as well.

Dr Pollard’s other conspiracy theory debunker was an unnamed Secret Service agent. He was apparently referring to Clint Hill, author of “Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir” (7). Dr Pollard said:
“And and you know it’s very interesting I happened to online read an article this morning umm actually the Guardian has been doing lots of articles on the Kennedy assassination and it was the secret service agent that was assigned to Jackie Kennedy has written a book and I mean he you know he said he suffered enormously from this. Could he have saved the President, etc. And you know he says he’s a trained secret service man he said there were three distinct shots that came from the book depository building and all the evidence is there were three shots and this one person did it.”

If you read the excerpt from Mr Hill’s Warren Commission testimony in the Wikipedia article I cite, you will see that he contradicts the Warren Commission’s finding that the President was killed by a shot from the rear. The blown out back of the head could only have come from a frontal shot; the blown out portion could not possibly be the result of an entrance wound. He also did not say that he heard “three distinct shots”.

Gerald Ford, a leading member of the Warren Commission, admitted to changing the location of the President’s back entrance wound, moving it up six inches in order to accommodate Arlen Specter’s Magic Bullet theory.(8) Clint Hill, in his original Warren Commission testimony (questioned by Rep. Hale Boggs) testifies to seeing the actual back wound:
Representative BOGGS: “Did you see any other wound other than the head wound?”
Mr. HILL: “Yes, sir; I saw an opening in the back, about 6 inches below the neckline to the right-hand side of the spinal column.” (9)

Mr Hill has helpfully changed his story in his book to raise the wound six inches, making his revised story align with the Warren Commission’s false placement of the back wound. For this and many other reasons not cited here, I find Clint Hill to be an unreliable witness. By citing Mr Hill’s story, Dr Pollard committed the logical fallacies of Appeal to Emotion (10) and Appeal to Authority (11). In the latter case, Mr Hill could possibly have been an authority owing to his occupation and assignment, but his contradictory testimony eliminates him as a trusted authority or even a reliable witness.

CONCLUSION

I request that Radio New Zealand:
1. admit to one-sided treatment of the controversial issue of the JFK assassination (Standard 4). A reasonable range of views was not allowed at this time or any other time on this or any other Nine to Noon programme. This is particularly egregious given the coincidence of the programme’s broadcast almost 50 years to the day after the assassination. Additionally, a majority of Americans do not support the establishment view of regular guest, Simon Pollard on this topic.

2. admit that they treated people who hold non-mainstream political opinions as mentally and psychologically deficient (Standard 6) and that under Standard 7 the expression of their political beliefs should never be taken seriously, as those views are always arrived at by fear and instinct, not by intellectual means. Radio New Zealand thereby discriminated against and denigrated those of us who do not hold the establishment political views of Kathryn Ryan and Simon Pollard.

3. admit to biased, inaccurate and misleading reporting by Dr Pollard in his role as science commentator, reporting that went unchallenged by the host, Kathryn Ryan (Standard 5). Dr Pollard presented what may be kindly regarded as half-truths in that he presented certain facts about Clint Hill and the Umbrella Man, omitting facts that would lead the average listener to the opposite conclusion he wanted them to make.

(1) http://memoryholeblog.com/2013/01/20/cia-document-1035-960-foundation-of-a-weaponized-term/
(1a) http://www.jfklancer.com/CIA.html
(2) http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/straw-man.html
(3) http://www.triviumeducation.com/
(4) http://www.ctka.net/2013/rosenbaum_shutup.html
(5) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB-TLTWAh6s&hl=en-GB&gl=AU&feature=related
(6) http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2013/1122/JFK-assassination-Why-suspicions-still-linger-about-Umbrella-Man
(7) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clint_Hill_%28Secret_Service%29
(8) http://whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLITICS/JFK/ford.html
(9) http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh2/pdf/WH2_Hill.pdf
(10) http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-emotion.html
(11) http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-authority.html

Partial transcript:
ntn-20131120-1150-science_with_simon_pollard-048.mp3

KR: It seems slightly contradictory to have the science of conspiracy theories – slightly oxymoronic.

SP: (laughs) It is rather. But not really. I think that ummm… You know we’ve talked before on the show about the way our brains work and that we just have the propensity to believe silly things. And we make up stories and that’s not our fault, it’s just part of how our brain is wired and so we see all these examples. And you know you look at strange religious beliefs, people denying the age of the earth. All these things sort of fit into a continuum and and conspiracy theories really are a way of us making sense of random events, especially those that would scare us. And I think that that we are not good at accepting simple explanations and on top of that we are very very good at looking for patterns in things. And given the way we record the world now you know any event, any extraordinary event will be followed by conspiracy theories.

KR: (laughs)

SP: and I think that and I

KR: (laughs)

SP: I think a nice example and look I give you an example, a very recent example.

KR: (laughs) But what makes it a conspiracy theory? I mean people did think the world was flat. So when the dude suggested it was round..

SP: Shocking!

KR: (laughs)

SP: I mean, you look out your window. I think that yeah no I think that we the thing with conspiracy theory is it’s immune to evidence. That’s the most important thing. And a very recent example you know was the horrific um bombing in the Boston Marathon. Instantly there were conspiracy theories, one saying it was faked, and then there was someone saying it was connected with 9/11 because don’t you remember that two planes from Boston that were involved in 9/11. It came from Boston, therefore the Boston bombing must be connected. So it’s those looking for those patterns, but as I say the most important thing is it’s immune to evidence. And people that push conspiracy theories will never listen to the most compelling evidence from an expert and I think umm you know we look at 9/11 and OK people used planes as bombs and they took down two hundred storey buildings. I think that another part of conspiracy umm another part of events at least (? or “of these”?) conspiracy theories is often what happens does have a component of good luck. And if you think of 9/11, you know, everything went that way on the day. They managed to take over the planes and they managed to fly them into buildings and I’m sure it was totally beyond their expectation that the buildings would fall over. But people just couldn’t except (accept?) that and even you know a very very good account from an engineer that’s an expert on what happens to big buildings that have had planes fly into them that’s not enough so you know the current theory with 9/11 is that the government whoever planted explosives on every floor of those buildings prior to some other thing that it wasn’t a plane or a missile or whatever. Now, what I always say on those things is it’s difficult enough for two people to keep a secret let alone have all these people being involved with going into a building that had 40 to 50 thousand people working in it filling it with explosives with the intention of killing everybody, now admittedly on the day only thr… you know three and a half thousand people died, not 50 thousand, but still you’d think somebody on their deathbeds I really have to tell you this, this is what happened, umm and and John Kennedy’s assassination is exactly the same. If you step back from it and say, “could a marine-trained sniper hit a human moving in a slow-moving vehicle from 80 meters away”, of course you’re going to say, “yes”, but no that’s not enough. It has to be a conspiracy.

KR: I’m sure that’s back at the moment, obviously with the anniversary right now.

SP: Yes.

KR: Then you get bits of evidence and this is where pattern selection is so interesting. It’s psychology essentially that we’re talking about.

SP: Well it is, yes.

KR: Because we pick the things that support our theory and we exclude the things that don’t. And there was the extra sh… sound of the sound of the so-called extra shots, wasn’t there?

SP: Yes.

KR: Which I think has been debunked in recent days.

SP: Absolutely!

KR: … as being another sound or something to do with the quality of the recording.

SP: And, look, I know..

KR: And the conspiracy theorist then says, “Ah, and that’s what they’re telling you.”
5.53
SP: And (nonsense omitted)

KR: But scepticism about the excuse that’s given is a natural part of the process.

SP: And and you know it’s very interesting I happened to online read an article this morning umm actually the Guardian has been doing lots of articles on the Kennedy assassination and it was the secret service agent it was assigned to Jackie Kennedy has written a book (2) and I mean he you know he said he suffered enormously from this. Could he have saved the President, etc. And you know he says he’s a trained secret service man he said there were three distinct shots that came from the book depository building and all the evidence is there were three shots and this one person did it. And yet, as I say, you know because things were filmed and there were still photographs of the event then people look for patterns and the Oliver Stone film did an enormous amount of damage in terms of the credibility of what was really a good explanation of what happened but you know you have a still photograph of three people looking shady in the distance therefore they did this and my favourite account umm of the Kennedy assassination of where there is where a conspiracy is made where there is none was, it was a sunny day and yet very close to where Kennedy’s car would drive past there was a man holding a black umbrella, and he event… and people said, “Oh he was signalling shooters and another one said well he had a very elaborate setup in his umbrella, so he fired a poisonous dart at the President. The thing what, all he was doing was he was protesting about Kennedy’s father’s appeasement to Nazis with Neville Chamberlain prior to World War 2. And so his protest was how the Kennedys were involved in this appeasement to Hitler. And Neville Chamberlain always had was epitomised by having a black umbrella in fact in political cartoons in the 30s he had on a black umbrella and Kennedy had also done a thesis on this time in England and so this guy said you know this is my silent protest cos he figured that John Kennedy would know what he meant by a black umbrella. But the funny thing is when he had to go eventually umm to a select committee in fact in 1978 and expl.. and he still had the umbrella and he gave his explanation, but he said to them, he said that if the Guinness Book of Records had a category for people who were in, who were at the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing that he would be number one.

KR: If we didn’t have sceptics, though, who had that mindset or that psychology and looked for inconsistencies and looked for patterns there is an awful lot of truth that we would not find out…

SP: Well, that’s true…

KR: you know you can’t just sit there, if we just sit there and swallow everything that you are presented by authorities…

SP: No…

KR: much of it will be lies and untruth and propaganda.

SP: Absolutely and conspiracy theories often do have components of truth because governments do cover up things and so it’s not like you are starting with a clean slate, you know if you look at Watergate, if you look at the I-ran contra thing, these were things that governments covered up, things so it’s very easy for people to then extrapolate that, that a distrust of authority will mean that any event must have been the government. Another favourite of mine of course is the moon landings
(10.29 – 13.15 discussion of moon landings (sic) omitted.)

KR: Is there, does psychology suggest there is a certain personality type that is always going to see this and do this, and someone else is going to be gullible and always believe what they are fed?

SP: The best predictor of somebody who believes in conspiracy theories is that they will believe in other conspiracy theories. This isn’t saying that these people aren’t intelligent people, they’re not the sort of fringe of society at all but they often have a distrust of authority, they might feel powerless in situations, and so, and also people that, you know, they love finding evidence and putting a picture together no matter how silly that picture is. I think there is just this tendency in us and and some people have argued that it’s mixed up with parts of our brain, you know when a random thing happened in our evolutionary history, part of our brain would send messages to the amigdyla would send messages to other parts of the brain to start analysing flat out what’s going on. You know, is the mammoth going to keep running, do I hide behind the rock, etc., and I think that that the tendency to over-analyse random events that scare us is still with us today and it is a part of our society.

KR: That would not be any fun without it.

SP: Absolutely not (both laugh).

KR: Thank you, Simon Pollard, science…

 Posted by at 8:31 pm