To believe or not to believe?
Rarely do any of us witness a significant event first-hand. In order to make up our minds as to who is telling us the truth, we have to rely upon something other than our senses.
If we wish to hold an opinion in the public arena, when others may hold opposite opinions and will respond to what we say, we must think clearly. Our ability to gather facts, determine which ones are most relevant to the question at hand and to provide a coherent analysis gets tested.
Recently, on the Education Forum, I, along with several other researchers of the JFK assassination participated on one of the hundreds of threads. Our thread would set the Forum record for most postings: 2,000 and counting.
What topic would make people with deep interest in the assassination want to respond with such frequency more than discussion of the single bullet theory, the autopsy or the grassy knoll?
It was a debate over whether one Judyth Vary Baker is telling the truth that she had a relationship with accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and participated with him in a top-secret laboratory experiment to develop cancer cells with which to inject Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. (Baker will soon release a book, Me and Lee, about her experiences).
Some of the finest JFK assassination researchers took part in this debate: David Lifton, author of Best Evidence, which convinced many people that Kennedy's body was altered before the autopsy; Jack White, a photographic expert who has provided proof that the backyard photographs of Oswald with a rifle and pistol were fake; and Jim Fetzer, editor of a series of books that, among other things, provides convincing evidence that the Zapruder Film was tampered with to hide government criminal conduct.
I announced my support for Baker and observed the exchanges of emails and made some contributions. The split in opinion became obvious early on as almost everyone declared their belief or disbelief in her story. Interestingly, Lifton and White, who had each sided with Fetzer on several issues before this one, opposed Fetzer's hypothesis that Baker has told the truth.
The proponents kept naming and showing the corroborating sources for Baker's story, including a pay stub from their company that verifies they worked together; Anna Lewis, who said on tape that she and her husband double-dated with Baker and Oswald; and videotapes of Baker recounting her experience in the laboratory and her recollection of her superior there, Dr. Ochsner, who had ties with anti-communist organizations and the FBI.
Most participants said they did not believe Baker. When pressed by proponents as to why, they responded they needed "independent corroborating evidence" and "bona fide witnesses," although they never stated any examples of either or what they meant.
Instead, the critics took aim at her for what they believed were inconsistencies in her present and past statements on trying for asylum in Sweden, where she and Oswald would rendezvous and which animals she used for experiments. Each time they brought one of these collateral issues, Baker battled back with her response.
None of the participants changed their minds about Baker's story. It could be that, having stated their respective opinions ahead of time publicly, each person stood to lose respect in the community by announcing a change. But an even better explanation was brought up based on a recent article in the Guardian, which suggests that people who devoutly hold a point of view and subsequently receive factual contradictions to that view tend to become even more entrenched in their original position.
The bottom line appears to be that no one takes Judyth Vary Baker lightly. Those who disbelieve her spend hours of their time telling everyone else how she must be lying. Those who believe her see her as a witness to another dimension to the Kennedy assassination.