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Thread: Weisberg's trash-the-critics book 'Inside the Assassination Industry'

  1. Default Weisberg's trash-the-critics book 'Inside the Assassination Industry'

    Let me start by saying I do appreciate the real research Harold Weisberg did. One example: interviewing the printer of Oswald's FPCC leaflets and showing the man a photo-spread. The man identified four photos of KERRY THORNLEY as having been the individual who he said picked up Oswald's leaflets. Weisberg wrote that he showed this man about 40 photographs. I guess it is fortuitous that he included four pictures of Thornley. It's also important that Weisberg tape recorded the interview, as Bill Boxley, the former CIA agent and Clay Shaw defense asset on Jim Garrison's staff, attended this interview and later claimed the man made no identification of Thornley. Weisberg was able to produce his tape recording which proved the man did ID Thornley. This is but one small example of his real research efforts which bore fruit.

    Now, to the downside. Harold Weisberg produces what can be accurately described as the worst prose you will ever find. His sentence structure is regularly overly convoluted. He makes his points with zero economy of language. He has no skill in making non-fiction even close to enjoyable to read. I think that he would have benefited from a co-author on his works with Harold serving as a primary researcher and producing an outline of what he wants to write and his co-author rendering the fine points using language that is precise and easy to parse. 'If only' ...

    Having said all of that and given credit where it is due, there are some additional downsides on display in Harold Weisberg's unpublished manuscript "Inside the Assassination Industry." This manuscript is a semi-autobiographical account of his research career where Weisberg spends a lot of time both self-aggrandizing his own works while bashing all the critics other than himself (deserved or not.) Weisberg's material on Jim Garrison in the book is particularly inflammatory.

    Weisberg does have some restraint as he does not 'name names' in some of the things he writes about. Or, I wonder, was Harold merely being careful to avoid a defamation suit (had the book been published)? I am thinking particularly about a passage where he accuses a researcher of stealing original copies of some of Weisberg's research materials (presumably FBI documents or other official 'JFK records').

    However, I am now curious, having been sucked into this volume of trash talk. Does anyone happen to know who Weisberg is referring to vis-a-vis the document-theft he describes below? Is it Lifton?

    Excerpt:

    Some have used this freedom to steal only copies of my own work rather than make copies because when my only copies are stolen I lack that information and cannot use it or cite it. Of what without question was stolen, one theoretician in particular had a great interest in no copies existing, they embarrassed him that much. In the case of other thievery of again only copies, the obvious result was to prevent others writing on those aspects from competing with one of these successful exploiters of theories when he had an announced book on subject matter of these records"

    The reason I suspect Weisberg is referring to Lifton here is that he's clearly referring to documents relating to one very specific thing where the document in question is central to a primary thesis of a book. My guess is 'autopsy or medical related documents-- this being one area where a single document (say, relating to the throat wound) would directly relate to the central thesis. Whereas had it been a document about anything else...say, Cuban exiles, or say, a document about E. Howard Hunt. In either of those two cases a single document on that wouldn't necessarily correlate directly to the central thesis of the work. With Lifton, pretty much any medical-related document can be said to relate directly to his central thesis.

    I suppose its not really important but I admit I'm curious who Weisberg was writing about and afraid to name directly for fear of a libel or defamation suit.

    If anyone is interested in this Weisberg pissing contest book it's available on hood.edu, and while it has some good information in it there is also a lot of aggressive and sometimes unwarranted derogatory remarks about others. I believe this field does have a lot of infighting, toxic venom, camps and cliques, provocateurs and turncoats like Gary Mack and Gus Russo, you have factions---all that is there as with any social community. This book just happens to be Harold Weisberg's view of all that. A view in which apparently he's the only researcher and writer to have produced anything that is either accurate or a result of good intentions.
    email: rbooth@protonmail.com
    “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
    —Winston Churchil

  2. Default

    Found the answer to my own question in chapter 27 which is titled "Trust Me, I'm A Thief": David Lifton

    http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/Weisb...ry/Itai-27.pdf

    No words for this kind of duplicity and outrageous behavior. Wow.
    email: rbooth@protonmail.com
    “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
    —Winston Churchil

  3. Default Another gem

    Another gem from Weisberg's inflammatory volume:

    He claims that Walt Brown is a former FBI agent and that Walt found LHO guilty in 'The People vs. Lee Harvey Oswald'

    Wrong on every count.

    I suppose if we follow Weisberg's logic we could say, "well, Walt is a former Justice Department employee. The FBI falls under the Justice Department. So maybe he was an FBI agent" then we could also say "Weisberg was a former OSS employee. The OSS later became the CIA. So maybe Harold Weisberg was a CIA agent."

    Little errors like this cause me to question Harold Weisberg's judgement.

    Oh, another thing--Weisberg also claimed under oath (to Jim Garrison) that Billy Lovelady is not the man on the steps in that one Altgens photo, the one Ralph Cinque erroneously claims is Oswald to this day. According to Weisberg, Billy Lovelady was lying about having been there. A juror asked Weisberg why he thought that Lovelady was lying and Weisberg was unable to articulate why he thought that was so.

    This book has some of the most inflammatory comments in it towards others in addition to total inaccuracies. Yet, worth reading to get some insight into Weisberg's mind and finding those nuggets that are correct. Requires a lot of parsing and weighing what you know to be fact against what Weisberg writes is fact.
    Last edited by Richard Booth; 09-27-2019 at 05:34 PM.
    email: rbooth@protonmail.com
    “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
    —Winston Churchil

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Booth View Post
    Another gem from Weisberg's inflammatory volume:

    He claims that Walt Brown is a former FBI agent and that Walt found LHO guilty in 'The People vs. Lee Harvey Oswald'

    Wrong on every count.

    I suppose if we follow Weisberg's logic we could say, "well, Walt is a former Justice Department employee. The FBI falls under the Justice Department. So maybe he was an FBI agent" then we could also say "Weisberg was a former OSS employee. The OSS later became the CIA. So maybe Harold Weisberg was a CIA agent."

    Little errors like this cause me to question Harold Weisberg's judgement.

    Oh, another thing--Weisberg also claimed under oath (to Jim Garrison) that Billy Lovelady is not the man on the steps in that one Altgens photo, the one Ralph Cinque erroneously claims is Oswald to this day. According to Weisberg, Billy Lovelady was lying about having been there. A juror asked Weisberg why he thought that Lovelady was lying and Weisberg was unable to articulate why he thought that was so.

    This book has some of the most inflammatory comments in it towards others in addition to total inaccuracies. Yet, worth reading to get some insight into Weisberg's mind and finding those nuggets that are correct. Requires a lot of parsing and weighing what you know to be fact against what Weisberg writes is fact.

    Weisberg thought he was a Jack Anderson. Who Garrison thought he was is still up for grabs.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark A. O'Blazney View Post
    Weisberg thought he was a Jack Anderson. Who Garrison thought he was is still up for grabs.
    He sure did have a high opinion of himself. Sure, he was a skilled researcher, he obtained many documents, did a number of witness interviews and investigtaions, and did provide a service to the critical community.

    However--he has the worst prose and writing style I have ever read. It's actually a pain to read. I think if any of his writing were submitted to a Comp 101 teacher or English professor it would come back to him covered in red ink with a big 'F' at the top. Don't piss on everyone else when your own writing resembles machine generated nonsense...

    And I don't buy his crap about Garrison. I know he was wrong about Walt Brown, so I wonder what else he was wrong about.
    email: rbooth@protonmail.com
    “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
    —Winston Churchil

  6. Default

    Harold did some valuable work in the early days. I don't think anyone doubts that.

    But Mr. Booth is correct. If anyone in this community ever needed an editor, maybe two, it was Harold. Many people think that Post Mortem is a valuable book. It might be, but I could not read it. I never got past page 15. It is the only JFK book that I literally put down and never went back to.

    And I think he flubbed a great opportunity. His book length reply to Posner was not nearly as powerful as it should have been.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DiEugenio View Post
    And I think he flubbed a great opportunity. His book length reply to Posner was not nearly as powerful as it should have been.
    In his book "Inside the Assassination Industry", he claims that his Posner response book was was butchered by the editor(s) without his knowledge or permission.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DiEugenio View Post
    Harold did some valuable work in the early days. I don't think anyone doubts that.

    But Mr. Booth is correct. If anyone in this community ever needed an editor, maybe two, it was Harold. Many people think that Post Mortem is a valuable book. It might be, but I could not read it. I never got past page 15. It is the only JFK book that I literally put down and never went back to.

    And I think he flubbed a great opportunity. His book length reply to Posner was not nearly as powerful as it should have been.
    I haven't read Case Open. Back in the 90s after reading Garrison's 'On the Trail of the Assassins,' I picked up a used copy of Whitewash. I was excited to get hold of such an early work on the Warren Commission. Imagine my dismay after plodding through a few pages and thinking "this is really hard to read. He's right...but...this is awful." So, I never did pick up Case Open based on the initial bad impression I got from Whitewash.

    While I can't comment directly on Case Open, I can venture a guess: Weisberg possessed the records and the knowledge to debunk Posner's book, point by point, but I imagine the execution of that was probably bungled by his difficult prose. If you go by what he writes in 'Inside the Assassination Industry' this was probably exacerbated by the publisher taking a cleaver to what was probably already a poorly executed rebuttal.

    Just goes to show that some of the luminaries in this field have made such great works not because they're excellent researchers, but in spite of it. In that respect, the skill it takes to write well isn't appreciated as much as it should be.

    I think your writing, Jim, is superlative. It's a pleasure to read your stuff, with points made in a way that seems effortless to the reader. Walt Brown is also a pleasure to read (I'm thinking here of The Chronology and The People vs. Lee Harvey Oswald) with just the right amount of sarcasm and cynicism to make things fun.

    All that said... I'll take Weisberg's obtuse overly complicated phraseology any day over someone who is slick but full of shit like Posner or Bugliosi. And as for the latter, his 'work' received a proper rebuttal. Knocked it out of the park (both the ten-part review that was on CTKA and Reclaiming Parkland)
    email: rbooth@protonmail.com
    “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
    —Winston Churchil

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