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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Jefferson Morley Responds to my Post on MK-Ultra and Jack Ruby

Jefferson Morley responded to my blog post, Did the CIA use a MK-Ultra Psychiatrist to Interfere with Jack Ruby's Case? I am certainly happy that he is reading my blog and I hope that many of his subscribers do the same.

Here are some comments on his article:

What’s new (and what disturbs Litwin) is that general public now knows about the MKULTRA crime spree and draws negative conclusions about the CIA’s credibility.

I am not disturbed that the general public knows about MK-Ultra. Why would I be disturbed? I am not sure how Morley reaches this conclusion from my blog post.

Despite the Agency’s consistent record of lying about JFK matters, he cheerfully vouches for the bonafides of the Agency on the issue of JFK’s unsolved murder and tirelessly disparages the majority of Americans who doubt the government’s frail theory of November 22 as “conspiracy theorists.”

Do I "cheerfully vouch" for the "bonafides of the Agency"? I'd like to see some examples of this. As Morley obviously knows, I believe that JFK's murder has been solved. I definitely criticize conspiracy theorists in my books and in my blog. But I have never "disparaged the majority of Americans who doubt" that Oswald acted alone.

Most Americans know little about the JFK assassination. It's not on the front burner for most people - for instance, none of my friends talk about it. As I have pointed out several times, belief in a JFK conspiracy has been falling since 2000 - thanks to the internet and some very good non-conspiracy books. In fact, among younger people, the numbers are very close, and the single most widely-believed theory is that Oswald was the lone assassin.

Litwin is doing, on a volunteer basis, what the CIA does not—or cannot—do for itself: namely explain the agency’s relationship with Dr. West at the time of his visits to Ruby’s jail cell in April 1964.

Well at least Morley isn't accusing me of being paid by the CIA. I get those accusations at least once a week.

Jim Garrison knew that accusing people of working for the CIA was an easy ruse. He knew the CIA would not respond, and that the charges could stick. This frustrated the defense team of Clay Shaw. They visited the CIA and gave them a list of people that Garrison said were working for the CIA. They wanted the CIA to go public with information on these people, but the CIA had no interest in helping Shaw.

But why should the CIA explain its relationship with Dr. West in 1964. Should they respond to unsupported allegations? What government agency, or corporation for that matter, would respond to unsubstantiated claims?

Unfortunately, Richard Helms destroyed most of the MK-Ultra files. What was left has been released, (Click here for MK-Ultra documents), and here is a link to the Dr. West files) I doubt there are many people alive who knew Jolly West in 1963 at the CIA. Perhaps Morley should try a FOIA request.

MKULTRA, in his view, is not a reality but a “dream.”

What I did say was that MK-Ultra has become a conspiracy theorists' dream -- easily graftable onto any story. And the project was a failure -- its goals were indeed a dream. Stephen Kinzer wrote in his book Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control:

For ten years, Gottlieb directed systematic, intense, and far-reaching research into mind control. Finally he and his comrades were forced to face their cosmic failure. Their research had shown them that mind control is a myth -- that seizing another person's mind and reprogramming it is impossible.

I also noted in my original post that "Dr. Louis Jolyon West made a bad mistake taking part in MK-Ultra.'

Accordingly, Litwin’s takes pains to discount any connection between Dr. West and the CIA in 1963 and 1964.

I don't need to 'discount' any connection between Dr. West and the CIA in 1963 and 1964. And that is because nobody has provided any evidence of such connection. And even if there was, so what? I wish Morley would spell out his allegations and tell us specifically what Dr. West is supposed to have done in regard to Jack Ruby.

Among the general public, his [Litwin's] position is distinctly in the minority.

True or not, so what? There is nothing wrong about being in the minority. This is not a popularity contest.

The Agency, of course, isn’t talking about Dr. West, which leaves Litwin unable to answer the key questions of JFK researchers:

  • What was the Agency’s relationship to Dr. Jolyon West in 1963 and 1964?

  • Did senior Agency officials know about West’s role in Jack Ruby’s court proceedings?

  • Was the Agency’s Technical Services Division informed of West’s services?

Does Morley expect them to call a press conference every time a conspiracy theorist mentions the CIA? Morley's first question is incomplete -= he should just add "if any." As for his second question, well, anybody reading the newspapers would know about Dr. West's role in Ruby's trial or appeal. And who exactly would inform the Technical Services Division of West's "services"?

It would be nice if Morley actually practiced some journalism. After all, that is his expertise. Besides filing a FOIA, he could also visit UCLA and examine West's papers. There are 81 hits to "Ruby" in the Collection Guide and perhaps there are other clues as to his relationship to the CIA.

Born in 1924 in Brooklyn, NY, of immigrant Russian-Jewish parents, he grew up in poverty in Madison, Wis. Characteristic of children of recent immigrants, he strove to obtain an education. Entering the University of Wisconsin, Madison, at the age of 17 years, he was determined to fight against fascism in World War II. He enlisted in the US Army and was sent to the University of Iowa, Iowa City, in the Army Specialized Training Program, and then to the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis, from which he graduated in 1948.

When he worked for the CIA on MK-Ultra in 1955, the CIA was not considered more evil than other federal agencies that he worked with:

He was a consultant for the US Air Force, the Veterans Administration, the US Information Agency, US National Academy of Sciences, the Peace Corps, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American specialty boards, and private foundations.

The full story of Dr. Louis Jolyon West has yet to be written. MK-Ultra will always be a stain on his career, but his career was a lot more than MK-Ultra. For instance, he was on the board of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, an organization that did much to counter the horrors that destroyed so many families.

Previous Relevant Blog Posts

There is no evidence that Dr. West petitioned the court to examine Jack Ruby before his trial.

There is absolutely no evidence that Dr. Louis Jolyon West interfered with Jack Ruby's case.


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