Monday, November 25, 2013

Kerry Thornley, Discordianism, and the JFK Assassination -Disinformation

Originally published November 25, 2013 via disinfo.com

It’s been fifty years since the Kennedy assassination.  Fifty years since the conspiracy subculture came screaming out of the hivemind’s womb.  Fifty years since the CIA made “conspiracy theorist” a derogatory term (if you believe some people).  I planned to acknowledge the day with some kind of drinking game associated with the Zapruder film, but I couldn’t make it work.

Everyone remembers where they were when Kennedy died, but no one seems to be able to pinpoint the moment they were dragged into conspiracy land.  I was ripe for it.  I believe everything I hear for at least five seconds.  And there’s something sexy about an intricate web of connections.  Thankfully, I was exposed to Robert Anton Wilson’s playful brand of agnosticism at an early age and escaped delusion’s evil clutches.

So, of course, he just had to be tied into the JFK assassination.

Wilson, in his introduction to the Prankster and the Conspiracy, says he was accused of being a CIA “handler” by author Kerry Thornley, who was convinced that he had been the subject of MK-Ultra experiments along with his army buddy, (here it comes) Lee Harvey Oswald.

Thornley and Oswald were in the same Marine regiment in 1959.  Later that year, Thornley was transferred to Japan, where he heard that Oswald had defected to the Soviet Union, an event that he fictionalizes in The Idle Warriors, a novel he finished in 1961.  It was based on some of his companions in the Marines, with the main character as a kind of mish-mash of Oswald and himself, who defects at the end.

Because of The Idle Warriors, Thornley was called to testify before the Warren Commission in 1964 on his connection to the accused.  The following year, he published Oswald, which endorsed the findings of the Warren Commission.

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