Dec 20 2010

Conspiracy Thinking – Skepticism’s Evil Twin

Last week on SkepticBlog Michael Shermer wrote a nice post about JFK assassination conspiracies, and not surprisingly a couple of conspiracy advocates showed up in the comments. While reading through their arguments I was struck by how consistent the tactics and tone of conspiracy theorists tends to be. They are heavy on sarcasm, ridicule, and condescension, and like to call anyone who disagrees with them “gullible.”

It also struck me that skeptics can often take a similar tone, and certainly conspiracy theorists (as with deniers) think of themselves as being the true skeptics. But they are skeptics’ evil twins – they use a tone that only the harsher skeptics use, and only when dealing with the truly absurd – those topics that we do not wish to legitimize with serious treatment, but don’t wish to ignore either. Some claims deserve ridicule, and anything less falsely elevates them.

It is true that sometimes skeptics do not properly adjust their tone when dealing with topics that range from the truly absurd to the genuinely controversial. I do think it is counterproductive and unfair to attack a well-meaning and generally scientific individual with whom you happen to disagree about a complex and controversial topic, as if they were a homeopath or creationist. This is a minor problem, for example, with the show Bullshit. Penn and Teller have created a premise for their show that does not lend itself to a nuanced discussion of a scientific controversy – and so they end up giving circumcision and second-hand smoke the same treatment as magnet therapy and feng sui.

It is instructive, in my opinion, for skeptics to read conspiracy theorists because they are an excellent example of exactly how not to behave. Of course, their tone is all the worse when used to defend a pseudoscientific position, and attack the position that is most supported by logic and evidence.

JFK Conspiracies

It is not my intent to do anything like a thorough treatment of JFK conspiracies – books have literally been written examining this historical event in painstaking detail. As many have in the comments of Shermer’s article, I highly recommend Case Closed by Gerald Posner. Posner’s book is painstakingly researched – he actually itemized the Warren commission records, doing a service to future researchers. He also did what conspiracy theorists often neglect to do – take a close look at the prime suspect, Lee Harvey Oswald. Posner builds a compelling case that Oswald was indeed a lone nut and the lone shooter at Dealey Plaza.

Commenter “Joe” uses a “poisoning the well” strategy to dismiss Posner’s impressive work in one stroke, writing:

Furthermore, for all you “Case Closed” freaks, you know that Posner is a recognized plagiarist, right? Why would you trust anything written by such a person?

This is highly unfair, and exactly what I predicted would happen when I first heard of the plagiarism case. Posner and the Daily Beast for which he was writing admit that the five sentences Posner paraphrased from the Miami Herald constitute plagiarism. Posner insists that it was inadvertant – in doing extensive research for an article you make a lot of notes, and apparently he confused copy from the Herald with his own notes and paraphrased them in the final article. Without getting off on too much of a tangent, knowing Posner and his work I am inclined to believe him. No matter how you interpret this episode, however, it does not invalidate the research and arguments that went into Case Closed – that is a childish stance.

JFK conspiracy theorists have also attacked Case Closed, arguing that it is riddled with errors. This is, in fact, true – there are numerous factual errors in the book. It would be remarkable, almost preternatural, if there weren’t. Case Closed is a massive tome chock full of factual information. Errors are always going to creep into such a work. Posner is open about the errors. But the real question is – do any of the errors change the final analysis of the event? Most of the errors are trivial and inconsequential to the real question of whether or not Oswald was the lone assassin. Further, they are a random scatter of minor errors – not a consistent bias in one direction. Posner reports that he went into this project thinking that he would uncover the real conspiracy, but his research led him to Oswald as the lone shooter.

The Head Shot

Commenter Sunny raises the old canard made famous on Oliver Stone’s JFK movie – “back and to the left, back and to the left.” How could Kennedy’s head move back and to the left if he were shot from behind? Doesn’t this prove a shooter in front and to the right of the president? Well, no. This argument gets filed under the conspiracy theorist strategy of making naive assumptions about what should have happened, and then anomaly hunting for anything that does not fit the naive assumption. We see this, for example, with those who think they know what the debris field in front of the Pentagon should have looked like on 9/11.

When I made the point that the physics actually supports a single bullet from behind, Sunny wrote:

As for the bullet causing JFK’s head to be pushed towards the bullet I can only say YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING!!! Perhaps I overestimated the people on this blog. I thought you had a science background…

The head shot has been analyzed by numerous individuals, and the physics makes perfect sense. I wrote about it extensively here, but quickly – the bullet entered the back of JFK’s head and exited in the right temporal area, essentially taking off part of the temporal bone. JFK’s brains, compressed by the inertia of the bullet, then sprayed out of this hole in the skull – spraying up and to the right, pushing JFK’s head back and to the left. I actually linked to a conspiracy site that has a good slow-motion close up version of the Zapruder film at the moment of the head shot. Look closely at the video – JFK’s head first moves forward when the bullet impacts, then you can actually see the spray of blood and brain going forward and pushing his head back. Here is a good analysis by a neurosurgeon. When examined closely, you can actually see on the Zapruder film a spray of brain and fluids shoot up 30 feet above JFK’s head.

Sunny, however, replaces careful analysis by scientists with an all-caps ridicule of the scientific background of those who disagree with him.

The Magic Bullet

The very name, “magic bullet,” speaks to the fact that this argument against the standard interpretation of the JFK assassination is a massive straw man argument. There is nothing “magical” about the second bullet fired by Oswald. It is likely that Oswald’s first bullet missed. His second bullet (the alleged “magic” bullet”) hit Kennedy in the back of the neck, then struck Connally in  the back, wen through to the front, hit off his wrist then lodged superficially in his right thigh. This bullet was later recovered from Connally’s stretcher.

Conspiracy theorists love to ridicule the “single bullet theory” as if their ridicule is a substitute for careful analysis. Sunny writes:

But the magic bullet, the one that changed direction four different times and gained weight (lead) in the process. The bullet left lead in the bodies but when weighed had not lost that much lead. Go figure! More magic then we thought.

The trajectory of this bullet has been analyzed by multiple different teams, an every important aspect has either been replicated or supported by evidence. This page has a summary of links, various analyses indicating that the relative positions of JFK and Connally, with respect to each other and Oswald’s sniper’s nest, make for a straight trajectory, with a slight downward deflection from passing through Connally’s chest. It did not have to change direction four times.

Then there is the question of the condition of the bullet recovered from Connally’s stretcher, about which Sunny writes:

Then there is the bullet, in perfect condition, that magically (no can’t use that word, mysteriously) appeared on the stretcher at the hospital. This magical, oops, mysterious bullet was indeed fired from Oswalds gun ( the gun they claimed Oswald owned) but it was also just as clearly never fired at a body because it was captured in pristine condition. Clearly this bullet was planted for the purpose of implicating Oswald. So we have two Magic bullets.

The bullet, in fact, was not in “perfect” or “pristine” condition, although this claim is often repeated. Here is a picture of the bullet in cross section – showing significant flattening. This is hardly pristine. Further, this has been replicated (here also)- a similar bullet fired from the same kind of gun hitting a bone at the same speed results in similar flattening.

Sunny also repeats the claim that the total weight of lead found exceeded that of the original bullet. But this is simply not true:

“Some critics have contended that the four bullet fragments in Governor Connally are too many to be accounted for by the two grains of lead missing from bullet 399. In our experiments we were able to make forty-one such fragments from the two-grain piece of lead that extruded from our test bullet. It can safely be said, therefore, that four fragments are by no means too many to be accounted for by the two grains missing from bullet 399.” — John K. Lattimer; Pages 276-277 of “Kennedy And Lincoln”

Burden of Proof

Perhaps the primary strategy of the conspiracy theorist is to make a demand for proof to an arbitrary level of certainty (meaning whatever evidence is available will never be enough), and then declare the failure to meet their arbitrary demands indicates that their alternate conspiracy theory wins by default. Sound familiar? – this is the same strategy as denialists, such as creationists.

For example, Sunny writes about the single-bullet theory:

Its defenders have spent a lot of time proving that it could have happened that way, which is not the same as proving that it did, a distinction they don’t make.

This is a straw man. Conspiracy theorists spend a great deal of time arguing that the single bullet could not have caused JFK’s and Connally’s wounds. In response, conspiracy skeptics have demonstrated that the conspiracy theorists are incorrect in their analysis, and the single bullet could have caused the wounds. To this conspiracy theorists respond – “yeah, but that doesn’t prove it actually did happen.” They then pretend that the confusion of “could” and “did” is the skeptics’, and not theirs.

This is reminiscent of creationists who argue that evolution (or some particular aspect of it) could not happen. Biologists then respond by showing that evolution could happen, to which the creationist respond – “yeah, but that doesn’t prove it actually did happen.”

Both conspiracy theorists and creationists miss the point – proving plausibility counters arguments of impossibility. But just as with evolution, there is plenty of evidence that the single bullet, and in fact the entire shooting, did in fact occur as the accepted story stated – three bullets fired by Oswald from the sniper’s nest.

Commenter Joe writes:

Despite your insistence, NO ONE has ever exactly replicated what SBT adherents claim. There is always one or more missing or fudged elements, or some adjustment made or assumed in order to produce the preconceived results.

This is a good example of setting an arbitrarily high bar for evidence, then claiming the conspiracy theory wins by default. Experimenters have replicated every key aspect of the shooting. Analysis of the Zapruder film and other evidence is also consistent with Oswald as a lone shooter. But it is unreasonable to expect that someone can replicate the shooting in every detail. There is always a bit of chaos involved in such high-energy events. Some shots you just can’t make twice. That doesn’t disprove the single bullet theory.

Also, Joe is taking the wrong approach. Like creationists, he is trying to set up a false dichotomy – if there are flaws in the standard theory, then conspiracy theories win by default. Then all he has to do is shoot holes in the standard theory and make unreasonable demands for proof. (Again – shades of creationism).

A more rational approach, however, is to consider all competing theories and see which one the evidence fits best. The evidence fits the single shooter theory. There is no specific conspiracy theory for which there is any direct or compelling evidence. Conspiracy theorists resort to anecdotal and circumstantial evidence. They nitpick away at the solid evidence for Oswald, and then put in its place the flimsy evidence for their pet conspiracy.

There is no hard or compelling evidence for the presence of additional shooters in Dealy Plaza. No extra bullets have ever been recovered  (how did the alleged additional shooters ensure that their bullets would not end up in someone’s body or the car?).

Conclusion

I cannot do justice to the volume of evidence for this complex historical event in a single blog post. My purpose here is to expose the style of logic and argument employed by conspiracy theory advocates. Their style is remarkably consistent. Further, they employ many of the same strategies as denialists.

While they try to wear the mantle of skeptics, their methods are not truly skeptical. Conspiracy thinking is pseudoskepticism. It is, however, a good object lesson for skeptics – a reminder of the need for humility in addressing complex topics.

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25 responses so far

25 Responses to “Conspiracy Thinking – Skepticism’s Evil Twin”

  1. MKandeferon 20 Dec 2010 at 10:37 am

    Luke at Commonsense atheism did a post recently on the levels of responses one can give in disagreement

    http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=13435

    At the low end is name calling. At the highest end is not pointing out contradictions, not refuting the central point, but identifying the central point and refining the argument as best you can and then refuting that better argument.

    We can probably avoid the problems conspiracy theorists have if we adhered to such a lofty standard.

  2. CrookedTimberon 20 Dec 2010 at 11:04 am

    I have to admit that the JFK assassination was the one conspiracy theory that was difficult for me to shake. I never bought into the wackier, Oliver Stone style theories; it was the motion of JFK’s head that never made sense to me. Finally after reading enough analyses I was forced to change my mind. It is because of this that I have a little sympathy for folks like Sunny. Hopefully if they look again and read some of the links provided they too will come around.

  3. DoctorAtlantison 20 Dec 2010 at 11:08 am

    I went to the video link and notice that the web host there sees exactly the opposite conclusions from the same video. Ironically, this is the same problem as in cryptozoology. Viewers of the Patterson-Gimlin film, for example, seem to be split into the “it’s obviously a suit” and “it has to be a real animal” camps. Same video, opposite interpretations.

    For me, despite having read many books and having watched many documentaries on both sides of the issue, the most convincing evidence that Oswald was the lone shooter came from visiting the 6th floor museum, looking out the window at passing traffic and drawing on my own hunting experience to ask myself could I make the shots in that time? With a little practice on a range beforehand, I don’t think it would have been any trouble for a single shooter to have taken out Kennedy from that vantage point.

    From there it’s just Occam’s razor. Unless very compelling evidence to the contrary arises, there is no reason why Oswald couldn’t have done it – and every reason to think he did do it.

  4. banyanon 20 Dec 2010 at 11:30 am

    I wonder what you think of the tone of commenter SocraticGadfly in Shermer’s post? He is taking the skeptical point of view, but uses very much the same sort of rhetoric, repeatedly calling the conspiracy theorists “loony” and “liars.”

    All that needed to be done, it seems to me, is to point to the clear examples that contradict the conspirators statements. Commenter madmaty did this well. They said the gun shots had never been replicated, so he just linked to a video of the gun shots being replicated and broadcast on television. That’s pretty powerful stuff, and no name calling needed.

  5. SARAon 20 Dec 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Like everything else, conspiracy theories have a range of importance. This one strikes me as being intensely unimportant and not worth getting into a debate over except as entertainment.

    Compar it to Creationism in school books or Anti-Vaccers. These are debates that have real and relevant social implications to our daily lives and the future of the world.

    When someone describes their JFK theories to me. I nod and smile and change the subject. People who know me to be willing to debate other subjects are surprised. Its just not worth the energy.

    @MKandefer – Thanks for the link. I enjoyed it.

  6. HHCon 20 Dec 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I was in fourth grade in grammar school, when I learned that President John Kennedy was “assassinated.” We did not have computers or television in the classroom. Only a simple statement which was tearfully related to the class by an emotional female teacher. “Assassination” was not on our spelling or reading list back then so it was difficult to comprehend what was happening.
    Perhaps its still too complex to understand.

  7. jay.sweeton 20 Dec 2010 at 5:01 pm

    So, great post overall, and I agree very much so with your linkage of denialists with conspiracy theorists (I actually don’t even draw a real distinction; conspiracy theorists are simply history deniers of some sort or another).

    That said, I have to call you on the sole link to Slate you provide to characterize the Posner-plagiarism controversy. If that were the first someone were hearing of the controversy, it would give them such a misleading impression of the totality of the allegations against Posner, that it could only be characterized as disingenuous.

    Why do I say this? Because I am one of those “someones” just hearing of the controversy here. To give you the full story: I clicked the Slate link, read it, and thought, “Well, that’s such an easy mistake to make. It’s terrible this guy is being demonized over that.” I also thought the Case Closed book sounding interesting, so I added it to my future reading list. Then, as I often do when I add a book to my reading list by an author I haven’t previously heard of, I looked up Posner on Wikipedia.

    Woah. That’s a lot more than just accidentally lifting a few sentences on a single article, which is the only transgression mentioned in the Slate article to which you linked.

    This does not, of course, automatically invalidate all of Posner’s work, and Case Closed is still on my future reading list. But the link you provide, and the paragraph you write which only mentions the single Miami Herald incident — it gives a disingenuous impression.

  8. taustinon 20 Dec 2010 at 6:04 pm

    I think you’re being unfair to Penn & Teller. It has never seemed to me that their show is about debate or rational discussion. They’re there to point and laugh at people they think are stupid, and entertain the audience while doing so. In short, their audience is people who already agree with them.

  9. ccbowerson 21 Dec 2010 at 1:51 am

    I agree that Bullshit has a problem, but it is more than a minor one. I actually think that their treatment of global warming and gun control was worse than their take on circumcision (from what I remember. People’s attitudes towards circumcision deserve ridicule, but I honestly don’t remember the details of that show. The problem with their show is that for people that promote critical thinking, they too often let their ideology dictate their conclusion and fit the facts around that.

    @taustin – your defense is weak. Its absurd to say that Bullshit is somehow impervious to rational discussion. The entire premise of the show is to tear apart a particular perspective on a topic, and this is done through reasoned arguments (although heavy on sarcasm and ridicule).

  10. BillyJoe7on 21 Dec 2010 at 5:08 am

    Sara,

    Like everything else, conspiracy theories have a range of importance. [The JFK assassination] strikes me as being intensely unimportant and not worth getting into a debate over except as entertainment.

    Compare it to Creationism in school books or Anti-Vaccers. These are debates that have real and relevant social implications to our daily lives and the future of the world.

    And both these pale into insignificance compared to AGW.

    But the relevance of AGW does not extinguish the relevance of Creationism and the Anti-Vaccers, which do not extinguish the relevance of the JFK conspiracy theories.
    They all teach us lessons about cognitive errors that we are all prone to.

  11. BillyJoe7on 21 Dec 2010 at 5:19 am

    ccbowers,

    I agree that Bullshit has a problem, but it is more than a minor one.

    I had heard a lot about “Bullshit” before the series finally arrived in Australia. And I must say I was absolutely underwhelmed. It was not exactly their style that upset me, because I love a good put down, but they were actually ignorant about many of the topics they covered. And to say that nuance was not their strong point was understating it by a few orders of magnitude. I was hoping it would improve but, after a while, I couldn’t watch it anymore. I found that “Bullshit” was…well…just bullshit.

  12. tortorificon 21 Dec 2010 at 6:22 am

    Conspiracy theorists are wrong because their arguments can be refuted, not because of their tone. Addressing the tone of an argument rather than it’s substance is a logical fallacy and we should not be encouraging the practice. How about we as a skeptical community grow some skin and evaluate every argument based purely on it’s merits and stop whining about tone. That is supposed to be the point of this movement isn’t it?

  13. Steven Novellaon 21 Dec 2010 at 7:59 am

    Jay – I agree that was probably not the best single link. I did not want to get into a huge tangent on that issue – that’s actually the point of poisoning the well, to distract from the real issue with a side issue of questionable relevance. I have looked deeply into the Posner thing. I still think the bottom line is that he was employing a flawed method for his online articles resulting in inadvertant plagiarism. This is not a defense or meant to minimize it’s significance as plagiarism – but I don’t think it impugns his honesty (since it was not pre-meditated), and I don’t think it has any effect on the scholarship of his previous books. That’s my opinion.

    Tort – I am not whining about tone. I am pointing out the fact that conspiracy theorists tend to adopt the attitude (and therefore tone) of hyper skeptics as if they were dealing with the most absurd beliefs. And they are doing this toward claims that are likely true while defending nonsense.

    Further, there is a lesson in there. If we as skeptics wish to be effective it is a good idea to develop a feel for the effect that our tone has on our audience. We can develop this feel by seeing how we react to the tone of others, especially pseudoskeptics who superficially adopt our style of argument – like conspiracy theorists.

  14. ccbowerson 21 Dec 2010 at 11:27 am

    “but they were actually ignorant about many of the topics they covered.”

    Its a bit more than that… its the willingness to be ignorant to suit their purposes. I felt the same way you did… although the bottled/gourmet water episode was pretty good. I think they go astray when the topic is impacted by their libertarian ideology. They will ignore important facts that contradict their postition, and get an uniformed person to represent “the other side.”

  15. elmer mccurdyon 21 Dec 2010 at 11:53 am

    As is often the case, I find that the post is informative on the specific issue in question, but it’s probably best not to generalize from it too much. Yes, there is such a thing as conspiracy thinking, but there can also be such a thing as a conspiracy. Before the Tuskegee experiment was publicized, I imagine that anyone who believed that it might have happened would have been dismissed as a “loon,” etc.

  16. Michael Meadonon 21 Dec 2010 at 1:12 pm

    @Elmer: of course there are conspiracies. But Steve has always made (and is here implicitly making) a distinction between ordinary and grand conspiracies. (Beautiful parody of such theories here). Steve has only ever argued (AFAIK) that those who believe in grand conspiracies deserve to be called loons. Tuskegee, the conspiracy of Catiline, the 20 July plot and so on were conspiracies, but they differ from the 9/11*, the Illuminati, and JFK conspiracies in that they don’t require the existence of “‘vast, insidious, preternaturally effective international conspiratorial network designed to perpetrate acts of the most fiendish character” (ref).

    People plot in secret to achieve political ends and sometimes they succeed. But no group of humans can be so unified, effective, powerful etc. to pull something like 9/11 off.

    The Lobster Magazine article I cite above, by the way, is a powerful call for more social scientific research into (ordinary) conspiracies.

    *Of course, 9/11 WAS a conspiracy – between 19 men, bin Laden and some other cronies to hijack four planes and fly them into four buildings across the US. It manifestly was not a conspiracy implemented by the Bush administration.

  17. sonicon 21 Dec 2010 at 2:28 pm

    conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxers, creationists, evolutionists, ‘the lone gunmanists’, AGWists…
    It seems the question is this- Is the person teaching or trying to have a discussion?
    If they are teaching, then there can be no disagreement. (If you aren’t interested in the subject, you can say so directly).
    If they are discussing, then they can answer the question, “What would make you change your mind about this?”
    It seems that this simple test can save much time.

  18. BillyJoe7on 21 Dec 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Steven Novella,

    “I still think the bottom line is that he was employing a flawed method for his online articles resulting in inadvertant plagiarism. ”

    Randi did the same thing a couple of years ago when he mixed up his own contribution to an article his was writing with a response contributed by a forum member. The forum member called him on it an accused him of plagiarism. Randi’s defence was much like you decribe for Posner.

    (It didn’t actually go down well with other forum members at the time which may have had something to do with his ill-considered and unfair outbursts against a few forumites who dared to express a different view on things whilst at the same time blundering on with his own unscientific views on AGW and evolution. But that’s another story.)

  19. kennykjcon 21 Dec 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Steve: You made a blog post here a few months ago about your stance on religion which was basically the old “both sides” canard which is popular in skepticism regarding religion. But you called one side of the debate “tone trolls”, and so your comments strike me as being exactly that.

  20. ccbowerson 21 Dec 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I’m surprised at the commenters picking up on the use of the word “tone.” Just because the same word is used, there is no need to bring a bunch of baggage from other uses of the word in skepticism. Its pretty clear to me that sarcasm and ridicule is important, but moreso when dealing with the absurd and willfully irrational. Not adjusting your approach when you have a reasoned disagreement really levels the playing field for the ridiculous nonsense

  21. elmer mccurdyon 22 Dec 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Michael Meadon:

    “vast, insidious, preternaturally effective international conspiratorial network designed to perpetrate acts of the most fiendish character”

    Eh, I don’t know if that necessarily describes the JFK conspiracy theory, which is why it can remain attractive to people who aren’t prone to believe in the Illuminati or whatever. That’s why refuting it requires such a detailed discussion.

    In any case, I see the concept abused a lot, mainly in discussions of politics, and I believe I’ve seen it applied in comments here to the idea of Big Pharma, even though it seems pretty obvious to me that they have a very powerful political lobby and can be quite effective at pushing there products on doctors (including my own, I’m afraid, although I still see him for prescription renewals and whatnot because he’s a pleasant guy who’s in my neighborhood). But I digress.

  22. Steven Novellaon 23 Dec 2010 at 1:50 pm

    kenny – I don’t know what position you are referring to with “both sides” – in my experience, no matter how carefully I articulate my position on faith, etc., some people will mistake it for a straw-man accomodationist position.

    I also took a very nuanced position on tone. “Tone trolls” are at one end of the spectrum, who will harp about tone instead of more substantive point, and who often confuse sharp but legitimate criticism with the ad hominem logical fallacy.

    But at the other end are those who think that tone does not matter at all, or that a maximally harsh tone is always warranted and appropriate.

    My position is that tone is less important than substance – but it is not unimportant. Depending on your goals, it is worthwhile to adjust your tone to the audience and context. Further, not everyone with whom you disagree deserves the same level of criticism – again, context matters.

  23. mindmeon 25 Dec 2010 at 9:52 am

    I’ve found a lot of people who subscribe to conspiracy theories tend to be people who have a habit of simply doubting the official story. And then they label themselves, oddly, as skeptics. At a recent skepticamp in Toronto after the talks I met a couple people who attended and vaguely defined themselves as skeptics. I think this might have been their first skeptic event. They then went on to argue that 9/11 was an inside job, the government could have faked the moon landings, etc.

  24. Mlemaon 23 Nov 2011 at 1:00 am

    skep·tic/ˈskeptik/
    Noun:

    A person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.

    I don’t understand people who call themselves skeptics, and yet are loathe to question the status quo – instead, seeking out the majority opinion, claiming it as the common-sense version, and defending it with “science” and “reason”

    I surely don’t know about the “lone shooter” story, but the JFK assassination was definitely a conspiracy. It was plotted by mafia and kept secret by the mafia’s knowledge of JFK’s plan for a coup in Cuba.

    read:
    http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Sacrifice-Robert-Kennedy-Murder/dp/B00119R64C/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

    and if those 900+ pages are too much for you, just read the free “Look Inside!” first pages of the book to explain the basics of the conspiracy

    definitely fit for your must-read list!

  25. elmer mccurdyon 01 Feb 2013 at 11:01 am

    collection of critiques of Bugliosi’s book, looks reasonable to me:
    http://www.reclaiminghistory.org/

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