RUSH TO JUDGMENT 2.0:

GERALD POSNER, VINCENT BUGLIOSI AND THE TOTAL ABJECT FAILURE OF THE OFFICIAL LINE OF THE JFK ASSASSINATION

by Albert Lanier

This year’s Cannes Film Festival featured a film by Oscar winning director Oliver Stone that if released in the US will likely be as controversial as a previous film of his: the new documentary JFK REVISITED: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS.

Stone’s previous film alluded to here is of course 1991’s JFK, the director’s dramatized examination of the investigation by New Orleans (technically Orleans Parish) District Attorney Jim Garrison into the Assassination of President John F Kennedy(JFK) and Garrison’s subsequent trial of local businessman Clay Shaw as a part of a conspiracy to slay JFK ( Shaw was later revealed after the trial ended in a not guilty verdict in his favor to have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency).

Stone is among dozens of individuals including many researchers and writers who have produced voluminous numbers of books disputed the conclusion of the Warren Commission (named after member Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren) convened at the behest of then President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) . The commission’s report first given to LBJ and then released in 26 volumes in 1964 found that one Lee Harvey Oswald, a former US Marine who had previously defected and lived in the then Soviet Union for a couple of years, was the only sole assassin of President Kennedy.

The Warren Commission Report was and is widely ridiculed not only by the waves of JFK researchers and skeptics that pointed out numerous inconsistencies and fallacies in the report but also in the murder of Kennedy and its aftermath by apparently by members of the general public. Polls through the years have found a majority of those surveyed don’t put stock in or believe the the so-called official story of the report and that Oswald was the sole perpetrator.

This comes as no surprise when you consider a couple of aspects.

  1. Oswald was never convicted of any crime and was a suspect at the time he had been arrested by police in Dallas, Texas, the city where the President’s death took place. Oswald was killed by local club owner Jack Ruby thus ending any chance at a possible conviction. Thus presumption of innocence- more popularly known as Innocent until Proven Guilty- holds here in the case of Oswald even more than 50 years after the slaying which occurred on November 22, 1963.
  2. Oswald was only found responsible by a government commission report not by a court of law. Thus Oswald technically has never been proven to be the killer of Kennedy. He was only found to be the perpetrator of the crime by a government commission not a jury nor a court of law. A report by a commission is not equal to or the same as a criminal conviction. Presidents can reject a commission report. LBJ accepted the report ( though as White House recording system tapes reveal, he had doubts about the death of JFK himself). In the end, the Warren Report is simply that-a report. Even considering the investigation undertaken as part of the commission to probe the death of the President , one is free to dispute and reject a commission report and clearly millions of American citizens have done this over several decades.

This doesn’t even begin to get into the myriad amount of the flawed and invalid arguments made in favor of Oswald being the sole slayer of the President which would take this writer likely 26 books to go through adequately and which obviously cannot be enumerated with exactitude here for sheer reasons of length.

In light of Stone’s new documentary, what needs to be examined these days is not the Warren Commission Report whose flaws have been so extensively and precisely examined and found wanting over the year but more specifically the promulgators who purvey what I term the Official Line namely that Oswald was the sole and only assassin of JFK.

These are two men trained as attorneys who ended up writing books about the death of JFK finding Oswald as solely responsible namely Gerald Posner who wrote 1993’s ‘Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK” and Vincent Bugliosi who’s 2007 tome is “Reclaiming History: The Assassination of John F Kennedy”.

Just as the Warren Commission Report had to be dissected and textually vivisected in order to expose its flaws, so the same needs to be done with Posner and Bugliosi since they are well known advocates of the official line.

A VERY THOROUGH THIEF

If you hop on Gerald Posner’s web site, you find a bio of the attorney/author who graduated from the University of California’s Hasting College of Law, learn that he worked at a Wall Street Law firm for a few years before founding his own private practice in the early 1980's.

You will find a number of his books written over the years such as his first book “Mengele” about the the Nazi Dr Josef Mengele , “Killing the Dream” his examination of the death of Martin Luther King Jr, “Why America Slept” which looks into the 9–11 attacks.

You will find quotes from reviewers and others praising Posner’s work.

However you wont see quotes like these:

“Veteran journalist Gerald Posner acknowledged today that he copied five sentences from a Miami Herald Article this week for a piece he wrote for the Daily Beast.” Jack Shafer, Slate , February 5, 2010

“Copped to a comically high number of plagiarism violations recently” Hamilton Nolan, Gawker, March 19, 2010

“He’s just a serial plagiarist, plain and simple” Tim Elfrink, Miami New Times, April 1, 2010

Posner was praised by the New York Times Book Review as having an “awesome command of evidentiary detail” by the New York Times Book Review and by the Miami Herald for being “rigorously thorough”.

The real story behind the story though was that “Case Closed’ , a book widely heralded and praised by numerous outlets in the major American news media as being a definitive account of the Official line that Oswald was the only killer of Kennedy was written by a confirmed plagiarist.

Posner had previously been hired as the Chief Investigative journalist for the website The Daily Beast having previously become a freelance writer and author. In 2010, it was revealed not only by the website Slate but the newspaper Miami New Times that Posner had plagiarized passages from stories from the Miami Herald for at least one piece he wrote for The Daily Beast.

Slate’s Jack Shafer was made aware of Posner’s propensity for plagiarism and wrote at least a couple of pieces on “Case Closed” author’s journalistic crime.

Miami New Times reporter Tim Elfrink in an April1, 2010 story on Posner noted he had stolen passages not only from the New Times but from other sources including the Miami Herald.

As if that wasn't enough, it was later found that Posner has plagiarized portions of his books. According to the Miami New Times, Posner’s 2009 book “Miami Babylon” had 16 passages including quotes taken from the New Times own previous stories.

35 passages in Posner’s books “Why America Slept” and ‘Secrets of the Kingdom” , a book about Saudi Arabia, also were ripped off from previous sources.

Posner at first blamed the plagiarism on a master file he stated contained interviews, documents and articles and wrote he had “obviously lost sight of what belonged to a published source instead of being something I wrote.”

Comedian Flip Wilson if he were still around would like likely call this “The File made me do it” defense.

Posner eventually had to resign from The Daily Beast in the wake of his blatant, persistent and willful plagiarism in February of 2010. He has primarily focused on writing books including his latest work “Pharma”.

Considering that Posner’s work on JFK’s death is considered a written “antidote” to many books questioning the Official Line and the Warren Commission Report, Why is the work of a blatant plagiarist still touted as a major work?

As Shafter noted in his February 10th piece in Slate “examples of plagiarized stories found by me and Slate readers establish that Posner is a serial plagiarist .”

“Of that there is no dispute” stated Shafer.

Since there is no dispute that Posner plagiarized not only in his Daily Beast Articles but in a few of his books, one can only wonder about the veracity and authenticity of “Case Closed”.

Could someone so insecure as to steal from a number of other writer’s works actually write an extensive and wide ranging tome trying to prove Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole slayer of JFK?

If Posner plagiarized in at least 3 of his later books, Would it not be rational to conclude he could have easily plagiarized portions and parts of “Case Closed”?

Why would a supposedly dogged researcher look up quotes to steal and use for his own purpose?

Why would an ostensibly talented writer need to use other writers words and not purely write his own passages and paragraphs?

To use a legal term, one can only view Posner and his work “Case Closed” as fruit of the poisonous tree.

The Toronto Star noted years ago that “Case Closed is by no means a crackpot work but a thorough job with some pretensions to scholarship.”

“Case Closed” appears to be written by someone who is indeed thorough, a thorough thief of parts of other writer’s books and articles.

THE SKETCHY DA

Vincent Bugliosi became a star writer of sorts after writing (really co-writing ) his account of the Charles Manson trial and prosecution in the 1960s ‘Helter Skelter” which reportedly still remains one of the top selling True Crime books of all time.

Bugliosi was a Deputy DA working the Manson trial when he was still working in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. He later left the DA’s office to go into private practice writing other works and being interviewed on TV.

Bugliosi’s “Reclaiming History” was over 1600 pages long and had 1,000 pages of notes when released in 2007.

“Reclaiming History” is a best a costly paper weight. The book got nowhere near the attention and rave reviews of Gerald Posner’s “Case Closed” and strikes one as nothing more than the vanity project of an aging, egotistical blowhard.

Take Bugliosi’s thesis as to why Lee Harvey Oswald opted to kill John F Kennedy. Though Oswald had no personal dislike or hatred of JFK and no personal motivation to try to assassinate him, Bugliosi stated that based on reading Oswald’s writing, he ostensibly hated America and that he shot Kennedy because he was representative of America and the status quo system.

This is utter and complete amateur psychoanalytic nonsense. It was this kind of Hollywood Screenwriting wafer thin rhetorical stupidity that passed for arguments from Bugliosi at times in defending his thesis of Oswald as the lone killer.

Bugliosi’s reasoning is not the only thing that should be questioned. His character is also reportedly suspect.

In the mid 1960s, Bugliosi who was a Deputy DA thought for someone unknown reason that his new son wasn’t really his but was the result of an affair between his milkman and his wife.

Bugliosi had the milkman followed and went out of his way to harass the man demanding he get a blood test and admit paternity.

Author Tom O’Neil who recently wrote a book on the Charles Manson was interviewed on the Joe Rogan Experience had interviewed Bugliosi as part of his book . O’Neil told Rogan on his show that he found out about this bizarre harassment of this milkman as the man and his family later filed suit against Bugliosi and O’Neil wound up speaking to a member of the family.

Not only should Bugliosi’s reasoning as regards to the death of JFK should be questioned but his overall soundness of mind as an individual should be weighed.

Bugliosi strikes one as a legalistic version of Captain Queeg from the play and film THE CAINE MUTINY , a seemingly competent person on the surface which is hiding an irrational man chock full of odd obsessions and digressions.

REASONABLE DOUBT

The idea that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole killer of JFK may remain accepted as absolute truth by a number of parties today but public opinion clearly has favored long term rejection and skepticism of the Official Line.

When you consider the credibility and the hidden truths about the major proponents of the Official Line, one must not only reject their arguments but eventually reject the official thesis of the lone assassin and the Warren Report as well.

Is is any wonder that with such questionable men as Gerald Posner and Vincent Bugliosi defending the official story that people continue to make their dissent from that narrative known?

We have apparently been through the looking glass for quite some time.

Albert Lanier is a former print journalist who previously freelanced for Honolulu Weekly, Pacific Business News and Asian Week amongst other publications over a 22 year career.

Retired from journalism in 2017, Lanier has recently returned to freelancing and also writes on substack.com.

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Albert Lanier

Albert Lanier

Writer. Retired freelancer and journalist. Bylines : Pacific Business News, Honolulu Weekly, Edible Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii, Asian week. Twitter (@Criticinc)