Friday, December 12, 2008

Get Smart About Kennedy, Says Max

The bane of Kennedy assassination conspiracy hounds is Cold War historian and journalist Max Holland, who methodically eviscerates every bogus theory pointing away from the sole murderer, Lee Harvey Oswald.

His latest posting is about Gus Russo's just-published Brothers in Arms, which purports to offer "explosive new information" about an alleged Cuban link to the assassination. As Holland shows, a key Russo source, the late Marty Underwood, an LBJ advance man, just can't be trusted. Over the years he has tricked credulous historians and reporters into writing that he was in the Dallas motorcade at the time of the murder, on Air Force One as President Johnson was sworn in, and in Mexico in 1968 as LBJ's secret emissary. All were lies.

Among those Underwood duped over the years is Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh. In The Dark Side of Camelot, Hersh wrote, based on Underwood's statements, that Kennedy mistress Judith Campbell had delivered a package from Kennedy to mob boss Sam Giancana. Underwood said he knew this because he'd been assigned to tail her. This too was a lie. Holland writes:

Proof that both Russo and Hersh had been duped came in the 1998 report of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), a special federal panel created in 1992 to make available all records pertaining to the Kennedy assassination. The ARRB investigated Underwood’s story as part of its mandate, and the former advance man recanted when sitting across from a government lawyer instead of reporters who were all ears and buying lunch. Underwood “denied that he followed [Judy Campbell] on a train,” the ARRB observed in its 1998 final report, “and [said] that he had no knowledge about her alleged role as a courier.”

An unchastened Hersh moved on to other stories.

Among them a false and an especially hurtful story, from an equally fishy source, that Hersh repeated publicly about President and Mrs. Nixon. Perhaps more later.

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