Monday, September 24, 2007

JOHN CHUCKMAN REVIEW: GERALD POSNER'S CASE CLOSED

REVIEW OF GERALD POSNER'S CASE CLOSED BY JOHN CHUCKMAN, February 25, 2005


There has been an industry in Kennedy assassination books, with nearly half of them ridiculous and nearly another half having no integrity. In my judgment, Mr. Posner's book belongs to the latter category.

Posner's book not only contains errors, it brings nothing fresh to the controversy. Posner simply re-interpreted parts of the body of old evidence according to his inclination, and he is an awkward writer. But it is the body of evidence itself which is in question, or at least many important parts of it.

Anyone interested in the Kennedy assassination couldn't help noticing this lamentable book being widely reviewed and praised in the mainline press. You must ask yourself, why would that be, when other very able books went largely ignored?

The Warren Commission was only a prosecutor's brief, and a fairly poor one at that. Indeed, the Commission itself investigated almost nothing, relying entirely on Hoover's FBI for investigative work.

Shortly before the Warren Report was released, Bertrand Russell issued sixteen questions about the assassination. Having seen an advance copy, he knew the Report would answer none of them.

To this day, there is no answer to his questions, and most especially this one: "If, as we are told, Oswald was the lone assassin, where is the issue of national security?"

In the case put forward by the Warren Commission, and echoed by writers like Posner, the assassination boils down to an ordinary murder which should be a matter of no secrecy.

Russell's question echoes again and again down the decades as adjustments are made to the official story. Employing techniques one expects to be used for covering up long-term intelligence interests, various points raised by early independent researchers like Joachim Joesten have been conceded here or there along the way without altering the central finding. This is an effective method: concede details and appear open to new facts while always forcefully returning to the main point.

A significant writer along these lines is Edward Jay Epstein, an author whose other writing suggests intelligence connections. His first book on the assassination, "Inquest," conceded numerous flaws in the Warren Report. Epstein went on in subsequent books, "Counterplot" and "Legend" to attack at length - and for the critical reader, quite unconvincingly - ideas of conspiracy, Oswald's intelligence connections, and his innocence.

Posner's book is nothing more than a continuation along the same line of effort.

If you only ever read one book on the Kennedy assassination, it should not be Posner's. That book should be "Conspiracy" by Anthony Summers(5 STARS) with absolutely first-class investigative journalism and a clear and compelling narrative.

"Conspiracy," now aging in some aspects, was startling when published, not startling because of extreme claims, but startling for its skilled marshaling of a huge body of facts. It is done so well, you will not be able to put it down.

And if you still insist on reading Posner, you really owe it to yourself also to read Summers.

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