Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIAOur Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA by Jefferson Morley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It seems to have been very important to the author of Our Man In Mexico and his editors not to alienate "mainstream" readers and reviewers, in the hope (I suppose) that the book might gain more notice than a more frankly anti-Warren Commission text could hope to garner. James W. Douglass' magnificent JFK and the Unspeakable, for instance, has received no mainstream media attention whatsoever, despite its considerable impact on the reading public and the passionate acclaim it has garnered from so many.

Though the projected 50 years have elapsed, the promised full release of files has not happened. We therefore live an an era in which the government persists in lying, misleading, and withholding information about the 35th President's murder despite the appearance of thousands of files, articles, and works of scholarship that make it unmistakably clear: Oswald did not shoot JFK, and the murder and the coverup were both perpetrated by a coalition of persons from CIA (e.g., David Atlee Phillips), organized crime (e.g., Carlos Marcello), Cuban exiles (e.g., David Morales), and LBJ's organization (e.g., LBJ), with assistance from the Dallas Police, the FBI (e.g., Hoover), and key individuals in the Secret Service (e.g., Emory Roberts).

Morley's reluctance to come out against the Warren Commission's "conclusion" (the lone gunman story they were handed as their raison d'etre from the beginning) is understandable. But it hobbles his book, because important and suggestive information is left hanging without an explanatory framework. Yes, this allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusions, but a wider study that acknowledged more of the existing work in the field might have provided much more insight (I am thinking of Peter Dale Scott's work on the Mexico City material in Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, and later, Deep Politics II and Deep Politics III).

Morley repeatedly refers to Oswald as having shot the President. This is false, and it makes for a bulky but transparent artifice, dragged around through the whole book, whereby author and reader are expected to pretend that all this stuff about Oswald in Mexico City two months before the assassination is of interest because it suggests he might have been encouraged by foreign contacts in Cuba and/or the USSR to murder the President. He did not murder the President; he was a patsy; the CIA people who helped frame him were involved in an impersonation that deliberately and falsely linked LHO with those foreign contacts. The initial purpose of that frame in Mexico City was to prepare a trap so that the assassination would trigger a U.S. war against Cuba. The second purpose, after that route had been rejected by LBJ and others (e.g., Richard Helms), was to provide a tool to force reluctant figures in the establishment (e.g., Earl Warren) to participate in the lone nut coverup (since now the only alternative, as LBJ told Warren, would be an internationally backed patsy and a consequent "nuclear war").

Morley writes (page 282), "Angleton had files on the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, including autopsy pictures of the remains of RFK, who had been slain by a Palestinian waiter in a Los Angeles hotel in June 1968." This has long been known to be simply false. Robert Kennedy died of wounds inflicted on the back of his head at point blank range; Sirhan was firing--probably blanks--from the front at a distance of several feet; there were far more bullet holes in the victims, the ceiling, and the doorframe than Sirhan's gun could hold.

In Our Man In Mexico, the murder of President Kennedy is repeatedly referred to as an "intelligence failure," a common locution in establishment discourse on which I have called bullshit in the contexts of both 11/22 and 9/11. See my essay "Failure and Crime Are Not the Same: 9/11's Limited Hangouts," published 11/22/03 on Michael Ruppert's website,

I respect Jefferson Morley for his labor, his intelligence, his clear prose, and his interest in the period. I respect him also for his FOIA lawsuit regarding the activities of CIA employee George Joannides, which may prove very important. Our Man In Mexico is well worth reading. But I regard it as a good book that traded an unrealized excellence in exchange for a readership that might be wider, if more complacent and intellectually timid, than it might otherwise have been.

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