Kessler, Ruddy, and the Parade of Lies
Parade of Lies, Part 2
The late Katharine Graham, publisher of The Washington Post once said that Parade magazine, the insert in the Sunday edition of practically every major newspaper in the country, is for people who move their lips when they read. It is for the lowest common denominator of what remains of the reading public. Within Parade, the lowest of the low is the lead column, “Walter Scott’s Personality Parade,” that purports to field questions from the public that are generally about celebrities and their private lives. It’s a perfect place to salt in propaganda that will reach a wide audience, like the following:
“Any truth to the rumor that the late FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover was a cross-dresser?”
That is the question that we are supposed to believe was directed to the mythical “Walter Scott,” of Parade magazine’s most-read feature in the United States, “Personality Parade,” by one Arnold R. of Fort Myers, Florida. The question appeared at the top of the second column on May 5, 2002.
Forgive me if I express my doubt that anyone named Arnold, whose last name begins with “R” ever sent in such a question to the Parade committee that writes this column. J. Edgar Hoover, after all, has been dead and in hell for quite some time now, and whether or not he, in his homosexual fervor, liked to dress up like a Barbie Doll from time to time is hardly a burning issue with anyone these days.
And notice how the question is framed. It’s right out of my “Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression.” Number 3 is “Characterize the charges as rumors.” This question is couched in the words of our controlling criminal elite, not in those of someone who honestly wants to know the answer to a question.
My guess is that there is no more an Arnold R. in Fort Myers, Florida, sending questions to Parade magazine than there is a Walter Scott there answering them. Any doubts about this matter are virtually eliminated when we look at how the question is answered:
“‘It’s pure invention,’ says Ronald Kessler, author of The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI (St. Martin’s Press), due out this week. ‘The cross-dressing allegation was about as credible as Joe McCarthy’s claim that there were 205 known Communists in the State Department,’ Kessler tells us. ‘Yet it is presumed to be fact, even by sophisticated people.’” *
Now doesn’t this question come at a convenient time, giving this intelligence operation at Parade an opportunity to plug FBI propagandist, Ronald Kessler, and his new book just as the book hits the nation’s shelves? It also gives Kessler an opportunity to do what he does best, which is to lie for the government.
For a lot of compelling evidence that Walter Scott’s Personality Parade is an obvious intelligence operation see “Parade of Lies.” In that article you will see that this is not the first time that Personality Parade has gone up against the current prevailing opinion that J. Edgar Hoover was homosexual. It must be a real sore point with the clandestine crowd. So now it’s Ronald Kessler, prolific writer of “insider” books about powerful organizations like the CIA, the White House, and the FBI that they trot out as their authority to assure us that J. Edgar’s carnal preference was not for other men.
Should we believe Kessler? Well, let’s have a look at what one reader had to say about Kessler’s 1994 book, The FBI: Inside the World’s Most Powerful Law Enforcement Agency in the forum at Amazon.com:
I read the whole book even though it appeared early on that Kessler is a stooge for the FBI. If you want to know about Session's wife's FBI pass or the fact that his assistant flashed her FBI badge at a state trooper to talk her way out of a ticket or how she failed to properly register her car in Virginia to avoid state income tax, THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU.
If you want to know about the abuses of Hoover or Waco, forget it. Ruby Ridge is not even mentioned. I bought this book based on the Amazon recommendations. They are usually good. This is the first book that I have read that has prompted me to post a review. Any review that says this book is good must have been written by an FBI agent. DON’T BUY THIS BOOK!
To be sure, this is just one review, and, as the writer indicates, other people had good things to say about the book. Let’s look for ourselves at Kessler’s work to see if there is truth in what this reviewer says. Is Kessler, as the invocation of his authority by Personality Parade would suggest as well, nothing more than a stooge for the FBI. Just a year later than the publication of the first FBI book, Kessler came out with Inside the White House: The Hidden Lives of the Modern Presidents and the Secrets of the World’s Most Powerful Institution. Since it’s a subject that we happen to know a thing or two about, we turn to the index for “Foster, Vincent, suicide of” and find that Kessler addresses the subject from page 190 to page 201.
In their book Failure of the Public Trust John Clarke, Patrick Knowlton, and Hugh Turley are persuasive in their assertion that the primary orchestrator of the cover-up of the murder of Bill Clinton’s Deputy White House Counsel, Vincent W. Foster, Jr., was the FBI. Looking over Kessler’s 11 pages on Foster, one can hardly see how he would have written anything differently if he were on the FBI payroll, except, maybe, he might have performed his duties somewhat more competently. Of the numerous authors of books on current affairs that I have surveyed, no one makes a more determined effort to sell the idea that Foster committed suicide because of his “depression,” and that includes Dan E. Moldea, who wrote an entire book on the subject.
Let us look at some excerpts, starting on page 195:
Clinton’s staff compounded the tragedy by initially covering up the fact that Foster was known to have been depressed. After Foster’s death, Clinton’s press officer said there had been no indication Foster had been depressed. A week later the White House said that he had taken to working in his bed with the shades drawn.
What an interesting spin to put on the fact that the initial story changed, toward one more convenient for a cover-up! It’s hard to see what motive they would have had to lie initially and then tell the truth later. What is much more believable is that they told the truth before a more elaborate story, with its manufactured trappings, had been concocted, and they thought that it would be good enough to get them through the crisis. This interpretation of events is buttressed by the fact that it was not just the White House that changed its story, but the family did, too. As I note in part 1 of “America’s Dreyfus Affair, the Case of the Death of Vincent Foster,” in the July 24, 1993, Washington Times Dee Dee Myers of the White House was quoted as saying of Foster, “His family says with certainty that he’d never been treated [for depression].” On the front page of the same edition of the newspaper, brother-in-law Beryl Anthony denies vehemently the story from an anonymous source that Foster had consulted with his family about his need for a psychiatrist. Later Anthony becomes a major corroborating source about Foster’s “depression.” Hmm.
Also, in his report on his interview of those present at the Foster house the night of his death, lead detective John Rolla said that no one present could think of any reason why Foster would have taken his life.
Kessler is simply lying about the matter of Foster working in bed with the shades drawn. That story, which I discuss in parts 1 and 6 of “Dreyfus,” originated with Douglas Jehl of The New York Times, citing anonymous sources, and Ms. Myers denied any knowledge of it when asked about it the same day at a news conference. Even Jehl says it happened only on one weekend, but even that is never confirmed in any official attributed testimony. More than likely, either Jehl or his sources made the story up.
A few days before his death, Foster had sought and received Desyrel, a medication for depression, from a physician in Little Rock. Desyrel is the brand name for the chemical compound trazadone hydrochloride, which boosts the level of serotomin in the brain. Low levels of the chemical have been linked to depression and incidents of suicide. According to the Physicians Desk Reference, the drug may be taken if four of the following eight symptoms of depression are present: “change in appetite, change in sleep, psychomotor agitation or retardation, loss of interest in usual activities or decrease in sex drive, increased fatiguability, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, slowed thinking or impaired concentration, suicidal ideation or attempts.”
According to friends, Foster had suffered from at least four of the signs of depression. His appetite had been off; since coming to Washington, he had lost fifteen pounds. He had difficulty sleeping. He had feelings of guilt or worthlessness. His concentration at work had been diminishing.
Kessler is lying again. According to the official record, Foster received the medication the day before his death and took it the night before his death, not “a few days before his death.” Furthermore, Dr. Larry Watkins of Little Rock said that in the small dosage that he prescribed it was good for treating insomnia, not depression. The widow, Lisa Foster, in an interview by Peter Boyer of The New Yorker a year later, said that Vince had seemed anxious and had trouble sleeping, but she said that she would not describe him as depressed.
As I note in “Dreyfus,” part 1, there is good reason to believe that none of the medication story is true. Dr. Watkins, after all, is another one who, in effect, changed his story. During the initial week when everyone was saying that the motive for the “suicide” was a complete mystery and the family was saying with certainty that he had not been treated for depression, Watkins held his tongue. Only when a note was “found” in Foster’s office indicating a call from Watkins was he sought out and the medication story produced. One can only wonder what sort of pressure was brought upon Watkins for him to come around, just like Beryl Anthony and a number of others later came around. No tangible evidence in support of the medication story was ever produced, no prescription, no pills, no telephone records, nothing, only the belated word of Dr. Watkins without even the word of a pharmacist to back him up.
The story about the (unnamed) friends noting the signs of depression is phony as well. The consensus of friends interviewed by the Senate Banking Committee and by the FBI was that he seemed perfectly normal. That’s even what Hillary’s friend, political consultant Susan Thomases told the feds in her interview before she told James Stewart, author of Blood Sport, that he had poured his heart out to her, and her alone, in the privacy of her rented Washington boudoir, about his dissatisfaction with his marriage. Also, as I note in part 1 of “Dreyfus,” the story about Foster’s loss of appetite and weight is also fake. Foster had actually gained weight after coming to Washington and his easy consumption of that last cheeseburger at his desk hardly bespeaks a man so depressed that he is about to blow his brains out.
Now here’s more comic relief from Kessler:
The night before his death Foster had taken one fifty-milligram dose of the drug. Typically, the drug takes a week or two weeks to have any effect. Foster also had compiled a list of two psychiatrists in the Washington area, a list that he had in his pocket when he died. Having already undercut its own credibility during the Travelgate episode, Clinton’s press office lost all believability by issuing conflicting statements about Foster’s death.
Kessler will find no disagreement here over the Clinton crowd’s credibility, but he seems more inclined to disagree with them when they are telling the truth than when they are lying. On July 30, 1993, in that infamous article in which it reported that the police were turned away from the Foster house the night of the death by Foster’s lawyers, The Washington Post did, indeed, say that there were two psychiatrists on the list, and it named both and quoted one of them. But the day before, when the New York Times was reporting that there were at least two names on the list, White House spokesperson Myers said there were actually exactly three names on the list. The final, “official,” story is that three names are on the list. In the version released by the Park Police, three wide and messy black lines represent the three names, showing that for some reason, like much else in their report, the names had been redacted. Later, as part of the two green books of testimony and documents released by the Senate Banking Committee, all three names are there as plain as day, although the one not named by The Post and listed first, Dr. Robert Hedaya, has his name printed in all capital letters while the others are in script. No one, on the record, ever attempted to authenticate the handwriting. (There’s quite a bit more about Dr. Hedaya’s role in all this that rings distinctly false, but it would be too great a digression to get into it here.)
And speaking of undercutting one’s own credibility, Kessler also has it wrong on where the likely fabricated list of psychiatrists turned up. As I note in “Dreyfus” part 1, Michael Isikoff in The Washington Post first said that it was found in Foster’s office, upon the authority of unnamed government sources. A few days later, without mention of the prior report, Isikoff and Ann Devroy say that the list was found in the car at Fort Marcy Park, although the Park Police remained, like Dr. Watkins, silent during those first few days when everyone was all at sea as to any possible motive for the “suicide.” Lead investigator Rolla is quite clear that nothing was found in Foster’s pockets when they were searched at the park.
Now let’s have one last look at Kessler suicide sales in action:
The White House again committed a serious error by turning over to investigating authorities the remains of a note Foster had written to himself.
But unlike the Nixon White House, the Clinton White House was not mendacious. It was unlikely Clinton aides were trying to cover anything up. As Foster said in his note, “I did not knowingly violate any law or standard of conduct. No one in the White House, to my knowledge, violated any law or standard of conduct...There was no intent to benefit any individual or specific group.”
Rather, the delay in making public the note, not to mention the blundering that led to the controversy in the first place, were examples of the sophomoric nature of the Clintons' staff.
Does that ring true to you? I didn’t think so.
The average American newspaper reader could not have helped but notice that the Foster death has generated a degree of controversy. Some reason for the controversy has to be given. A favorite explanation has been that it is the work of extreme, Clinton-hating partisans. Kessler pretends to buy into that, but these crazed critics needed some straws to grasp at, the usual story goes, and the straws, for the most part, have been what is generally conceded was a “bungled” investigation. The usual fall guy is the U.S. Park Police. Kessler places the blame a bit higher in the White House. Those familiar with the “Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression” will recognize this one as number 9, “Come half clean,” in which one admits to relatively harmless, less-than-criminal “mistakes.”
The participants in the Foster cover-up are unanimous that one of the “mistakes” was the long delay in reporting the discovery of the note, as though the White House was actually considering suppressing the “discovery” of a note that made them look good and pointed toward suicide instead of murder. What we have here is actually a corollary of technique number 13, creating a distraction. It was obviously completely manufactured, because no one would have known that there had been any “delay” if the White House had not told them. The distraction was needed to keep people from noticing all the things about the note and its “discovery” that almost screamed out “forgery,” and it was also needed to take attention away from the fact that the Park Police had no plans to release any supporting documentation for their “suicide” conclusion.
So, in summary, to support its contention that J. Edgar Hoover was not a homosexual, Personality Parade simply invokes the authority (Technique #7) of a man who is clearly in league with the FBI in covering up the obvious murder of the Deputy White House Counsel. That’s not very convincing, I’d say. But wait, it gets worse.
Turning to the back of the dust jacket of Inside the White House we find the following endorsement for one of Kessler’s previous books, Inside the CIA:
“Mr. Kessler has written an overview that my spook friends say is an accurate account of the way the agency does its work.” – Joseph C. Goulden, The Washington Times
And who is this journalist with the “spook” friends? “It takes one to know one,” as the old saying goes. Check out my article “Spook Journalist Goulden,” and for more incriminating info search “Goulden” at my home page. Wouldn’t you know that a newspaper column that I have identified as an intelligence operation would turn for support of J. Edgar Hoover to someone whose work is endorsed by a known intelligence operative? What a cozy little club of liars they are!
June 2, 2002 (with new introductory paragraph added September 20, 2013)
*Actually, Senator McCarthy did not claim that there were 205 known Communists in the State Department, as is widely believed. As reported in M. Stanton Evans' Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies, the correct number is 57.
The propaganda world that Ronald Kessler and Christopher Ruddy inhabit became even more bizarre in 2006 when Kessler joined the online web site that Ruddy directs, Newsmax, as its chief Washington correspondent. He remained in that position until last year. Readers should be reminded that Ruddy made his reputation when he burst upon the scene in late January of 1994 with the first of a number of articles in the New York Post that raised questions about the official story of Vincent Foster’s death.
As an early skeptic who played intramural basketball against Vince Foster at Davidson College, I got to know Ruddy quite well…I thought. In fact, he played an important role in my writing of “America’s Dreyfus Affair.” I had run across Barbara Tuchman’s account of the French Dreyfus Affair in her book The Proud Tower, a Portrait of the World before the War, 1890-1914, and had encountered this passage, referring to the man who charged Captain Alfred Dreyfus with treason, “General Mercier had all the strength but truth on his side.” I told Ruddy that it reminded me quite a lot of the U.S. government authorities and their charge of self-murder against Foster. He suggested that I write something up noting the parallels in the two cases. As soon as he saw the first fruits of my labor, he began to distance himself from me. He was the designated officially controlled opposition, and a genuine skeptic, he could see, was horning in on his space. By the time I wrote my second installment of “Dreyfus,” as readers can see, I had the man pretty well figured out.
Before he ostensibly founded Newsmax, Ruddy joined Richard Mellon Scaife’s Pittsburgh Tribune Review where he became the veritable point of the spear of what Hillary Clinton dubbed a “vast right-wing conspiracy” against the Clinton administration and, by extension, everything that is good and decent and “progressive,” as they would have us believe. It was all just so much show as it turned out. Ruddy did go on to write The Strange Death of Vincent Foster, which is generally quite critical of the authorities, but he pulls his punches. The whitewash of the Foster murder by the “conservative” Kenneth Starr was the signal for the “conservative” Ruddy to fold his tent, and for the past decade or so he has used Newsmax simply to sell a pro-Israel agenda to a gullible hardline right-wing audience.
People aware only of the Clinton critic and Foster suicide skeptic Ruddy were likely to have been shocked to see Ruddy embracing a leading seller of the farce that Foster committed suicide like Ronald Kessler. Kessler, it should also be pointed out, cut his national journalistic teeth as a reporter for The Washington Post, which has also played a leading role in the Foster murder cover-up.
All doubts were removed as to what Ruddy is all about in August of 2010 when former president Bill Clinton visited the Newsmax office in Florida. They posed for pictures like the old friends that they likely are, with Ruddy saying, “I am a great admirer of President Clinton. He has not only redefined the post-presidency, but has served as an exemplary goodwill ambassador for our country throughout the whole world. His efforts transcend politics and deserve support.”
Maybe Christopher Ruddy’s and Ronald Kessler’s support, but not mine. I still disapprove of murder and murder cover-ups.
September 20, 2013