June 12, 2012

Finding the truth

Hello everybody,
I could very well have titled today's post "Why I'm no longer a conspiracy buff", but someone else used that title well ahead of me (see Michael Beck's 1998 article at John McAdams's web site).
Briefly speaking, I started my journey in the Kennedy assassination believing in a conspiracy.
I had the chance of going to the United States in 1989 for a full year, at age 22. I took advantage of it. The first book I bought was "Best evidence", by David Lifton. Needless to say, it was hard for me to read (I had to use a dictionary, for at the time I did not master the technical vocabulary). I worked a lot. I was impressed by Lifton's research. I was convinced. He was right, he was an expert, he was a hero. There had been a conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination.
Then I bought his video cassette ("Best evidence. The research video"), which I watched over and over again, to the point of really knowing almost all of it by heart. Then I bought Robert Groden's (with Livingstone) book "High treason". Then I met Cyril Wecht in Pittsburgh, and he was kind enough to allow me to visit him in his office and he gave me some documents he had. I then drove to Dallas, Texas, where I met Robert Groden and had a conversation with him. At the time, I was only a beginner. I did not know much about the whole case. Then, I don't remember how, I succeeded in having David Lifton's phone number and I left a message on his answer phone and he called back and we had a long conversation.
David Lifton was a hero to me, at the time.
He asked me on the phone to help him distribute his video cassette "Best evidence" in France. I tried to help him. Back home, I sent the cassette with a letter to a producer in Paris. I got no answer, and was never given the cassette back. So I ordered a new one, received it, and sent it to another producer in Paris. Again, I got no answer and no tape back. So I ordered a new one again, and lent it to someone who wrote an article for a History magazine, and again was not given the cassette back. So I ordered the "Best evidence" video cassette a fourth time, and I still have it with me, at home.
When I was a student at university, I even tried to organize a big conference, and wanted to invite David Lifton to speak. Unfortunately, I never found the money (no bank would offer me any grant).
Anyway, that shows how eager to help the cause of David Lifton I was at the time. Around that time, I was even in the local newspaper for my statements against the Warren report (see picture of the article).

But in the following years, still spending much of my time learning about the Kennedy assassination, I became interested in science and critical thinking. I was the founding member of a critical-thinking organization, the aim of which was to debunk quacks, much like the American "Committee for Skeptical Inquiry", which promotes (I quote) "science and scientific inquiry, critical thinking, science education, and the use of reason in examining important issues". I was and still am an admirer of people such as Martin Gardner or Paul Kurtz, or James Randi.
I spent years researching "the paranormal", and visited haunted houses, met sorcerers, magicians of all kinds, attended lectures by all the quacks that came by, etc. I learned a lot.
I also learned a lot through books (especially books that help increase one's knowledge of critical thinking, such as Missing pieces, by Robert Baker and Joe Nickell, How to think straight, by Antony Flew, Science : good, bad and bogus, by Martin Gardner, Thinking critically about new-age ideas, by William D. Gray, Conspiracy Culture : From the Kennedy Assassination to the X-Files, by Peter Knight, and so many others.
And then I applied that critical-thinking education to the Kennedy assassination case.
And I have realized that I had been wrong in believing conspiracy theorists. When I realized it (after trying, for instance, to confront Lifton's arguments to their rebuttals and finding that he had no answer for what was said against him – and I had an actual taped conversation with Lifton in Dallas in 1996 where I found out he had no answer for my precise questions), I acknowledged it. I had been wrong.
Believe me, it was hard to admit it in front of my family and friends. But truth and honesty must always be our guides in life. You've got to always tell the truth, come what may !
I was growing up mentally.
So, today I am a "lone-nutter"; I believe Oswald acted alone. Again, I came to that conclusion through work, thinking, and trying to separate facts from fiction. I am not the only one to have followed that path. It seems that Dale Myers, Dave Reitzes, Pat Lambert, Norman Mailer have changed their minds too, becoming convinced that Oswald was the only assassin, after years of research and seeing what, to them, became obvious. And Gary Mack, somewhat, in a way, though I understand not completely, has followed that path too.
And no money is involved. Len Osanic seems to always think that we say that in exchange for a position or money, but nothing could be further from the truth. My own research has cost me a lot. And I was never funded by anyone. Let Len Osanic know that we believe in Oswald's guilt because we consider that the available evidence shows it convincingly.
Indeed I honestly believe that Oswald was the sole assassin.
Why can't conspiracy theorists accept the fact that we, defenders of the Warren report's conclusions, can also be sincere ?

Anyway, if I say that I believe that Oswald was the sole assassin, or that conspiracy theories are not based on facts but on speculation, I don't say that for fun. I don't say that for money. I say that because I have good reason to say it. I say it because I believe it. Pure and simple.

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