Friday, November 5, 2021

Morley and the Monkey

Conspiracy theorist Jefferson Morley should learn to choose his friends more carefully.

In an article for Fair Observer that Morley promoted in a blog post, Peter Isackson tears into Politico’s Bryan Bender, whom he refers to as a “servile pundit,” for daring to maintain that:

longtime researchers almost uniformly agree that what is still being shielded from public view won’t blow open the case.

Bender’s article is about Biden’s controversial order that delayed the release of certain JFK assassination records.

Isackson writes:

Bender uses some clever journalistic rhetoric to make this assertion. He begins by citing a category that cannot be defined: “longtime researchers.” This presumably includes any number of people who have written about the assassination, whatever their point of view. It sounds as if these may be serious professionals, but it could be anyone and anything.

But surely, Isackson does not really doubt that Bender has access to JFK experts whoever they may be. All he must do is get a few email addresses. And I can assure Isackson from my own experience that most JFK researchers from experts to the average “Joe” posting on Internet forums are not expecting to see a “smoking gun” in the JFK files.

After this nitpicky start, Isackson goes on to make numerous undocumented or inaccurate assertions in support of his belief that the “secret JFK files” should be released. For example, he writes:

… a majority of official commentators have been intimidated or bribed to repeat a mendacious narrative …


In our current age where every person has instant access to the Internet via a cell phone in their pocket and where any number of nonsensical narratives of all types are perpetuated daily by “journalists” using blogs, social media and a variety of means, “official commentators” are being “bribed” and “intimidated” to hide the truth about the JFK case?

This completely unsupported statement places Isackson (and Morley by association) firmly in the Jim DiEugenio camp of those who believe that an unseen force is somehow suppressing the media from reporting the truth about the JFK assassination. Isackson, Morley and DiEugenio apparently believe that the last act of a graduating journalism student is not to accept a diploma but to swear not to reveal the JFK conspiracy.

Next, as if on cue, Isackson resurrects the “fact” that “Congress itself” believes “the assassination was the work of a conspiracy.” As noted in my previous article, that belief by the House Select Committee on Assassinations was based completely on the acoustics “evidence” of a shot from the “grassy knoll.” That “evidence” has been under fire since the late seventies and indeed has long been totally refuted. Absent the acoustics data, the HSCA merely rubber-stamped the WC findings although they added several new scientific contributions of their own that cemented Oswald’s guilt.

That brings us to the lynchpin of Isackson’s article which is a Miami Herald report on an allegation by the son of a former CIA asset, Ricardo "Monkee" Morales Sr., a Cuban exile. Morales allegedly told his son, Ricardo Jr., that he had trained Lee Harvey Oswald (who conveniently wore a name tag) as a sniper. The senior Morales also said that he was sent to Dallas two days before JFK’s November 22, 1963 murder on a “clean-up” mission that never came to fruition.

Predictably, Isackson is over the moon about Morales and his story even though the Herald tagged Morales as “a clever man who was also unreliable.” Isackson calls Morales’ “testimony” (it is no such thing) “very credible” evidence of the “apparently very real conspiracy engineered and executed by the CIA.” Isackson tells us that "experts" like Fernand Armandi believe Morales’ story is a “bomb.”

But this is the same Fernand Armandi who said that Antonio Veciana was “one of history’s most important individuals.” Like Morales, Veciana told a story of his involvement with Oswald, a tale that only emerged years after the “fact” and got better and better with time. The trouble is, even conspiracy theorists have now begun to disbelieve Veciana’s tales.

Ignoring the questionable value of Armandi’s endorsement, there are several reasons to doubt Morales’ account. What do we know about Morales?

He could probably best be described as a mercenary since he worked for Cuban G2, Venezuelan DISIP, the FBI and the DEA. Although Morley admits that the “details of [Morales’] story … have not been corroborated” he is still eager to illuminate Morales’ turn as a CIA asset. But none of the activity Morley cites occurred before 1964 nor does it include evidence that Morales was ever a sniper instructor.

Morales’ son says that when his father saw Oswald’s photo after the assassination, “he realized that this was the same character he had seen on the CIA training field.” Assuming for the sake of argument that Morales indeed was a sniper instructor at some point, he could have had the same experience that dozens or hundreds of other people had and reported to authorities after the assassination. These well-meaning individuals thought they saw Oswald in places where he could not have been. This phenomenon is well known by law enforcement officers and frequently occurs after a nationally publicized event.

Additionally, Morales identified neither the time nor place of the alleged training. The Herald article states that Morales was a sniper instructor, “in the early 1960s in secret camps where Cuban exiles and others trained to invade Cuba.” But Oswald was in the Soviet Union until June of 1962 leaving a small window of time for the alleged training. And any training for the “invasion” of Cuba sounds like it would be for the April 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion which lets out Oswald.

Morales told his son that he didn’t believe Oswald killed JFK because he, “witnessed him shooting at a training camp and he said there is no way that guy could shoot that well.” But Morales’ statement doesn’t describe Oswald’s documented ability. Oswald, who was trained by the marines in distances up to 500 yards, received a “sharpshooter” medal. Indeed, Master Sargent James Zahn told the Warren Commission that he was “an excellent shot” when compared to the general male population.

Isackson believes that Morales’ story is just the latest “bit of credible evidence” in the JFK saga. Regrettably, he also feels that the “very serious forensic evidence that the Warren Commission chose to ignore” points toward complicity in JFK’s death. The source of this forensic evidence is a YouTube video featuring none other than Cyril Wecht. Author Vincent Bugliosi devoted an entire chapter of his book to debunking Wecht’s dubious claims. Bugliosi wrote of Wecht:

The conspiracy theorists' leading medical forensic expert [Dr. Wecht] cannot even hypothesize a shooting from the right side or right front that is intellectually sustainable. Even with as fine a forensic mind as Dr. Wecht's, by definition no one can defend a position that is indefensible.

Placing the final nail in his own metaphorical coffin, Isackson conjures up one of the hoariest assertions in the annals of JFK nonsense. Even though Morales was killed in a bar brawl, Isackson believes that his name should be added to the infamous “mystery deaths” list along with Oswald and Dorothy Kilgallen since he “just happened to expire” before he could reveal the “troubling facts” that he was aware of. Of course, any number of people have promoted silly conspiracy theories for years and managed to escape the wrath of the CIA’s “cleanup squad.” One example is the aforementioned Wecht who has reached the ripe age of 90 despite many years of spirited conspiracy activity.

It seems that Morales kept quiet about his father’s allegations for the familiar and trite reason that he was “scared to death.” What has prompted him to speak now? Morales has somehow overcome his fear and in a move reminiscent of Veciana’s late-in-life book contract is “considering a TV deal in connection to his father’s life.” Of course, a story about Oswald as a sniper trainee would be the icing on the cake for any such TV package just as Veciana’s story of eyeing Maurice Bishop of the CIA with Oswald was the primary justification for his book.

With the publication of Isackson’s article and Morley’s promotion of it, the hyperbole surrounding the JFK files has reached a new high (or low). And Morley has once again demonstrated his willingness to fall for any conspiracy theory that promotes the CIA-did-it angle.

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