My So-Called Libel of James DiEugenio
Updated: Nov 11, 2022
In a post on the Education Forum this week, James DiEugenio has once again accused me of libeling him:
He is now reduced to asking his critics to ask me to explain my libel.
For the past couple of years, he has insisted that I libeled him in my book, I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak. Here is the relevant passage: (pages 217 - 218)
Still, the drumbeat of conspiracy bangs on. A new wave of books continues the trend of rejecting evidence, making the plot even more bizarre. James DiEugenio's book, The JFK Assassination rejects just about every piece of physical evidence in the case. He's examined the chain of custody for the various bullet fragments and the bullet found in Parkland Hospital (CE399) and believes he has found enough discrepancies to throw everything out. He then goes one step further and claims that all that evidence was planted.
Think of what it would take to plant everything. Someone would have to decide what would have to be left somewhere and get someone to do it. And how could you be sure you wouldn't end up with too much evidence, like an extra bullet? DiEugenio can find no witnesses, no paperwork, no anything to back up such a fantastic claim.
Of course he is dead wrong on the chain of custody. For example, the chain of possession of CE 399 can be traced from the time it was found to the time it ended up in the FBI laboratory. Even so, as JFK expert John McAdams noted, even if it was inadmissible in a trial, it would still be "absolutely dispositive where *historical* judgments are concerned."
Here is what he wrote in his review of my book:
Towards the end of his book, Litwin mentions this reviewer specifically. (Litwin, p. 216) He writes that in my book The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today, that I believe I have found “discrepancies” in the chain of possession of CE 399. Discrepancies? Can the man be real? Bardwell Odum denying he ever showed the bullet to O. P. Wright, or anyone else, is not a “discrepancy.” Frazier getting the bullet before Todd gave it to him is not a “discrepancy.” The FBI lying about Todd’s initials being on the bullet is not a “discrepancy.” His initials are not there. All of this constitutes fraud and evidence alteration.
In this same passage, he then makes a leap—actually more like a Sergey Bubka pole vault. He says that I have written that all the evidence in the case is planted. (p. 216) In his references, he does not supply a footnote as a basis for that imputation to me. (See p. 270) I do not recall ever saying such a thing. For instance, I do not believe the David Lifton/Doug Horne body alteration concept. I am an agnostic on the Zapruder film being faked. I disagreed with just about everything in each of Nigel Turner’s The Men Who Killed Kennedy installments after the initial series was broadcast in America in 1991, e. g. the theories of the late Tom Wilson. I even disagreed with some of the original broadcast. I also have severe problems with writers like Robert Morningstar and Jim Fetzer and I consider most of their ideas to be outlandish. I have written about many of these disagreements and Litwin could have found them if he wanted to.
What I do in The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today is simply review the core evidence in the case in light of the revelations of the ARRB and the revisions in the record made after the Warren Report. The revelations and revisions in that record were both plentiful and disturbing. After distorting what I wrote, Litwin then applies another smear: he says I have no paperwork, witnesses, not anything to back up such a sensational claim. As noted above, I don’t recall making the claim he says I made. But each claim I do make is backed up with credible evidence. In that book, concerning the subject of evidence manipulation, I only go as far as the record establishes. And that record is not something I created or embellished. It’s there in the record for all to see. The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today has over 1800 footnotes in it, many more than the book under review. Litwin does not want the reader to know that, so he air-brushes it out.
But let me use one example to show just how untrustworthy Litwin is. On the subterfuges around CE 399, here is the evidence I outline.
· O. P. Wright, security chief at Parkland Hospital who gave the bullet to the Secret Service
· Bardwell Odum, FBI agent who allegedly showed the bullet in question to witnesses at Parkland Hospital
· Josiah Thompson, who interviewed witnesses at the hospital in November of 1966
· Gary Aguilar, who interviewed Odum in November, 2001
· John Hunt, who examined Robert Frazier’s 11/22/63 work product
· Interview of Wright in Six Seconds in Dallas
· Interview of Odum in The Assassinations
· Complete absence of FBI 302 reports on Odum’s alleged interviews about the bullet
· Frazier’s work product as shown in Hunt’s essays
· Receipt for transfer of Magic Bullet from Secret Service to FBI on 11/22/63
· Blow up pictures of the Magic Bullet at the National Archives
This is having no witnesses or paperwork? Most people would say it is a surfeit of witnesses and paperwork. I could do the same with other examples from my book. But an important point to understand is this: Litwin does make reference to my book, which means he had it in some form. I am not an attorney, but I do know the laws of libel in California. I will be making consultations about the issue. After that, I will do a cost-benefit analysis and then decide whether or not to file an action.
Where to even start with such nonsense?
DiEugenio claims that I wrote that he said, "all the evidence in the case is planted." But that is not what I wrote at all. I claimed that the evidence in which he has issues with the chain of custody, in his mind, is planted. Not all the evidence. Compare:
Litwin: He then goes one step further and claims that all that evidence was planted.
DiEugenio: He says that I have written that all the evidence in the case is planted.
DiEugenio notes that "Litwin then applies another smear: he says I have no paperwork, witnesses, not anything to back up such a sensational claim." This in indeed true. But what sensational claim am I talking about? Not his claim that there are discrepancies in the chain of custody; but DiEugenio's claim that the evidence has been planted. Just read the three paragraphs from my book, and it becomes quite clear.
Of course, DiEugenio can present his so-called discrepancies in the chain of custody. The problem is his leap of faith that they indicate that the evidence was planted. I've written before about Oliver Stone's poverty of imagination - and this holds true for DiEugenio. He cannot come up with a non-conspiratorial explanation, and so his only recourse is to conclude the evidence is planted.
And his assertions about chain of custody have been proven wrong. Take CE 399 where his big claim is that Elmer Todd's initials are not on the bullet. DiEugenio wrote that "The FBI lying about Todd’s initials being on the bullet is not a “discrepancy.” His initials are not there." This has been proved to totally wrong -- Todd's initials are indeed on CE 399. DiEugenio could have used the NIST hi-res photographs to find the initials, but he decided to rely upon another researcher's usage of lower-res photographs.
He's also wrong about Tomlinson and Wright, and he is wrong about the chain of possession.
What makes this even stranger is that DiEugenio's claims about my so-called libel keep changing:
Uh oh, Fred is feeling the heat. He refuses to reply to my questions about giving McCloy a pass on the Holocaust, about Garrison looking for Bertrand in 1963, about never mentioning Finck at the Shaw trial and his libel about me concerning the ballistics evidence and brain photos. And this is what he comes up with to divert from that. Well, at least we got him off Max Lerner.
Now, the libel concerns the brain photos.
I have now waited one full week for Fred to reply to any of my five questions. Instead he has posted Art Buchwald, Max Lerner and now Dixon. Recall my five questions that he will not deal with. They were about McCloy and the Holocaust, his libeling me on CE 399 and medical evidence, his claim that Garrison was looking for Bertrand in 1963, his excision of Finck from his review of the Shaw trial, and Ferrie's attempts at obstruction of justice and his outright perjury the week after the JFK murder. Somehow he will not reply to any of these rather crucial questions, which most rational people would think are important to any forensic review of the JFK case. After I posed the questions, I then reviewed as to why I thought they were important. He still did not reply. I think its pretty obvious that Fred is something like the Wizard of Oz. Toto has now pulled the curtain back, Dorothy has tapped her heels three times, and we are back in Kansas. And this is the wizard/Professor Marvel who has the chutzpah to call Garrison deluded. Whew.
Here the libel is on CE 399 and the medical evidence.
Steve Roe and Fred Litwin were knocked for a loop by JFK Revisited. Fred Litwin actually wrote in his first piece of crud book on the JFK case that I had no evidence for saying that CE 399 was an utter fraud. He really said that I had no paperwork or evidence to show that was the case. This was utterly and completely false. And he knew it was false when he wrote it which is two thirds of the test for libel.
Here the libel is just about CE 399.
Just remember so we do not miss the point. Fred said that in my book, The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today, I had no paperwork or witnesses to prove fraud in the medical and ballistics. Well, there they are in the film. Everyone can see it e.g. CE 399 and the brain photos. So this proves Fred libeled me, since he had my book in front of him when he wrote that canard.
Now the libel is on the medical and ballistics.
· 2m ago [as of 8:05 PM]
One last point Andrew: ask Fred why he refused to debate me on the web and why he libeled me in his book. With my book in front of him, he actually said I had no testimony or paperwork to show fraud about CE 399 or the autopsy photos. Wrong. Its right there in the film for all to see, taken from my book. Stringer said he did not use Ansco film or the press pack technique for the brain pictures. They were both used in the pictures he saw for the ARRB. End of story. This is why Fred will not debate me.
Now the libel includes the autopsy photos.
James DiEugenio @jimmydie1963
Gerry [Gerald Posner], did you know that Freddie committed libel in his first book on JFK. In that book, he wrote that had had no witnesses or paperwork to prove subterfuge in the evidence chain. That is utterly false. In the case of CE 399 I had five witnesses to do just that.
11:47 PM · May 11, 2022· Twitter Web App
Now the libel is about subterfuge in the evidence chain.
How long will this feigned indignation go on for? Playing the victim is never a good look.
I asked Mark Zaid, one of the best lawyers in the United States, for his comments on libel law:
Any claims of you libeling him are for show only at this point. Your book was published beyond the statute of limitations in every state in the country for a viable legal claim. Plus, despite the unfortunateness of this fact, DiEugenio would be considered a public figure for purposes of any JFK assassination related libel claim and the standard of proof he would have to show by way of harm would be higher than for most people. Having represented both plaintiffs and defendants in libel cases, including related to the JFK assassination (including Secret Service Agent George Hickey and former JFK mistress Judith Exner), It is so easy for people to shout libel at the top of their lungs but rarely is there ever any substance to it or do they ever pursue it.
What makes this all so ridiculous is that James DiEugenio is the master of the insult. You can read some of his best insults here, and here. He's the Marjorie Taylor Greene of the JFK conspiracy world - but without the charm.
And as for something libelous, in this post DiEugenio accuses me of changing a word in a document:
Of course, I did nothing of the sort. You can read my post for yourself.
I actually posted the exact document cited by Joan Mellen, which is a summary of the CIA segregated collection. There is no underlying document that supports the allegation that Shaw was a "contract source."
He was a "valued source" of the CIA's Domestic Contact Service.
Will James DiEugenio even read this post? Probably not, because he has blocked me on Facebook, and he typically puts non-conspiracy people on 'ignore' at the Education Forum.
It seems he only likes echo chambers.
Here is DiEugenio's reply to the posting of this article on the Education Forum:
Previous Blog Posts on the Scholarship of James DiEugenio
Anatomy of a James DiEugenio Citation
Was Lee Harvey Oswald at an anti-Castro training camp in the summer of 1963?
Anatomy of a James DiEugenio Citation, Part Two
Was David Ferrie at an anti-Castro training camp in the summer of 1963?
Anatomy of a James DiEugenio Citation, Part Three
James DiEugenio accepts a phony story as fact.
Fact Checking James DiEugenio, Part Two
Bill Boxley was not a CIA plant.
Clay Shaw was not Clay Bertrand.
A response to James DiEugenio about my writings.
James DiEugenio's Lame Excuses for Fletcher Prouty
Prouty couldn't back up any of his allegations when he was interviewed by the ARRB. You wouldn't believe the lame excuse offered up by DiEugenio.
James DiEugenio's Lame Excuse for Oliver Stone
Why does Oliver Stone support so many dictators?
James DiEugenio Gets it all Wrong on Permindex/CMC
DiEugenio has no understanding of Permindex/CMC
The Scholarship of James DiEugenio - A Case Study
DiEugenio gets it all wrong on the Mannlicher-Carcano
The Scholarship of James DiEugenio, Part Two
The conclusion on the Mannlicher-Carcano
The Scholarship of James DiEugenio
Over the past ten months, I have debunked every witness cited by DiEugenio regarding Clay Shaw and David Ferrie.
Don't miss the Viewer's Guide to JFK: Destiny Betrayed and JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass.
Over the past several months, I have shown in multiple blog posts how Oliver Stone's documentary series, JFK Revisited and JFK: Destiny Betrayed, misleads viewers. In fact, despite months of work, there are still many more misleading segments that need to be addressed. It's no wonder that the fact checkers of Netflix nixed the airing of the films.
There is a choice between four hours of tendentious nonsense (JFK: Destiny Betrayed) and two hours (JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass). As a handy guide for viewers, here are all those posts in order of their appearance in JFK: Destiny Betrayed and JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, preceded by some general critiques