Archive for October, 2013

This is the first of several posts dealing with irresponsible claims made in Corsi’s latest book, “Who Really Killed Kennedy: 50 Years Later: Stunning New Revelations About the JFK Assassination”. On page 221, Corsi tells this side-story about Portland crime boss James “Big Jim” Elkins:

On Friday, October 17, 1968, J.B. Elkins died under suspicious circumstances. The car he was driving was pushed off the road by another driver who was never apprehended or identified. He veered off the road and crashed into a utility pole. Elkins reportedly died of massive chest injuries suffered when he collided with the steering wheel of his car. Representatives of the Portland Police Department were sent to Arizona to view Elkins’ body to validate the Portland crime czar was actually deceased. At the time of his death, Elkins was free on a twenty-thousand-dollar bond. He was facing indictments in Portland, Oregon, for possession of a firearm, conspiracy to commit a felony, possession of dangerous drugs, and several counts of receiving and concealing stolen property.510

Corsi footnotes this paragraph as follows:

510 Eastern Arizona Bureau, “Autopsy puts death blame on car crash,” Arizona Republic, Saturday, October 12, 1968, page 28.

Corsi’s paragraph has only six sentences, and yet three of them succeed in having major factual errors. This is made abundantly clear if one simply looks up the very article Corsi has cited as his only source.

Elkins article
First, Elkins didn’t die on Friday, October 17. This would seem obvious, given that Corsi’s own referenced source plainly states that his death was reported in the newspaper on Saturday, October 12. Indeed, Elkins died on the morning of Thursday, October 10; neither a Friday nor a date with a 7 in it. Furthermore, nowhere in the article does it say that Elkins’ death was “suspicious,” as will be discussed below.

Second, Corsi writes “The car he was driving was pushed off the road by another driver who was never apprehended or identified.” This appears to be made up out of whole cloth. The article makes no mention of a second vehicle or driver, and it doesn’t suggest that Elkins’ car was pushed. Indeed, if Elkins’ car was pushed, that would necessitate physical contact between the vehicles, and the article flatly says that there was no known reason for the crash “except that [Elkins] may have fallen asleep.”

Third, Corsi also writes “Representatives of the Portland Police Department were sent to Arizona to view Elkins’ body to validate the Portland crime czar was actually deceased.” The article, to the contrary, says that the Portland police merely requested a copy of the autopsy. Nothing is said about anyone traveling from Oregon to Arizona.

On that third point, it appears that the book Portland Confidential, which profiles Elkins’ life, claims that some Portland officers were suspicious after Elkins was cremated, and that one officer traveled to Arizona and allegedly returned with a photo showing Elkins had been shot twice in the chest. Unfortunately, this sounds less like historical fact and more like rumor; particularly in that no extant copy of the supposed photo appears to actually exist, and the way the story carries the implication of a elaborate cover-up. If Portland officers were irritated after Elkins was promptly cremated (the newspaper reported his funeral service was October 12), then they couldn’t have taken the supposed photo. And if the photo came from the autopsy report or the crime scene investigation, it would stand to reason that a picture showing bullet holes in the man’s chest would factor heavily into determining his cause of death.

Though Corsi doesn’t mention it, on October 23, the Arizona Republic published a short follow-up on Elkins’ death:

GLOBE (AP) – A six-man coroner’s jury found yesterday that James Butler Elkins, 67, died Oct. 10 of multiple injuries suffered in a one-car accident. Elkins, a chief witness in a vice probe in Portland, Ore., died after his car smashed into a power pole in Globe. Globe policeman Jim Alberts said there was no evidence that another car was involved in the accident. He said there was nothing about the accident to indicate foul play was involved.

If Elkins were shot to death, and there was photographic evidence showing this, then the cover-up had to involve over half a dozen people. And they were completely successful too, leaking nothing except the rumor of photos. Corsi, however, doesn’t even go to the trouble of justifying a conspiracy to cover-up the cause of Elkins’ death; he simply ignores all the newspaper reports to the contrary, and fails to share those facts with his readers.

Obviously this anecdote is tangential to the overall narrative of the JFK assassination that is the central theme of the book (except to the extent that Corsi seemingly includes the story with the implication being that Elkins was murdered because of his intimate knowledge of the Kennedy assassinations). What this illustrates in unambiguous terms is how factually unreliable Corsi’s reporting is even when he provides a simple source that can be checked.

In a book with over 700 footnotes, who can afford to check his sources to ensure that he’s being honest about what they say? How many might prove to actually contradict the information he’s citing them for? And how much can Corsi be trusted, then, when he doesn’t provide sources for his claims?


On August 24, 2013, Jerome Corsi published a ‘WND Exclusive’ titled “Evidence U.S. bribed Muslim Brotherhood officials” (archived here).  The “evidence” in question was a photo that appeared at the top of Corsi’s article:


The caption below this photo read: “Official Morsi government document: “Direction of Grants and Gifts for 2013,” submitted by Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabor Al Thani, former Qatari prime minister and foreign affairs minister.”

Starting with the second paragraph of the article, Corsi explains the origins of this supposed evidence:

WND is in possession of an official document from inside the Morsi government that lends credibility to a report published in Arabic by an Egyptian newspaper in Cairo that lists the charges brought by the current military-controlled government against Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

As seen above, WND has obtained official records from the deposed Morsi government in Egypt, with signatures, documenting monthly “gifts” paid to Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt by the former prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani.

The document was seized from Egyptian government offices in Cairo when the Morsi government was deposed by the military July 3.

Three important factual claims Corsi makes in this article and in this excerpt:
– 1) This is an official document from inside the Morsi government.
– 2) The document was seized from Egyptian government offices in Cairo on or after July 3, 2013.
– 3) WND is in possession of this document.

The first claim may or may not be true; it’s possible the document could be authentic, but Corsi offers no corroborating evidence for its authenticity apart from claiming that it was seized from Morsi’s offices and that WND now has it. Meanwhile, the second and third claims above (i.e., that it was seized from Morsi’s offices and that WND now has it) are outright lies by Corsi. The document was not seized on or after July 3, and it’s not in WND’s possession. In fact, in all likelihood, Corsi and WND possess nothing more than the above digital photo, and not even the entire printed page.

This can be said with a fair degree of certainty because this exact photo appeared on both Facebook and Twitter on July 1, 2013.

It’s funny how if WND is in possession of this document, the one and only photo they happen to have of it is a photo that had been online, publicly posted on other social media websites, for at least seven weeks.

But this still wasn’t the first appearance online of this document. Because an image of the ENTIRE PAGE was posted on Facebook a full month earlier, on June 2, 2013:

Hatem Fatey Facebook document

So while Corsi claims that this document was seized from Morsi’s offices on or after July 3, it was already online a month before that. And the very photo Corsi uses appeared online before he claims the document was seized. In other words, Corsi is flat-out making up an origin for this document. Complete and utter fabrication.

(By contrast, certain Egyptian websites that published the cropped photo in early July stated that the document was seized from Muslim Brotherhood offices, not Egyptian government offices. Whether or not that’s reliable, it still conflicts with Corsi’s claim.)

The contents of this full page also strongly suggest that Corsi had nothing more than the single, borrowed digital photo. The full page, which is labelled as being “Page 4”, numbers the individuals listed, and suggests a total of 72 persons. Nowhere does Corsi mention there being that many people listed. The full page also includes, at the bottom, a gross total of grants and gifts of $79,150,000, which Corsi similarly and inexplicably omits. Both of these details would be central to the story he’s telling, but they’re missing from the article.

Corsi cites an Egyptian news story that claims several Egyptian officials accepted bribes, and names five such individuals. The names of two of those individuals, Mohamed Beltagy and Essam Sultan, appear on this full document. But Corsi writes “Shoebat also noted that the names listed in the document match the names in the Egyptian newspaper Almesryoon, including Mohamed Beltagy.” Beltagy is the last name visible in Corsi’s photo; Essam Sultan’s name, however, appears on the next line of the full page, and is cropped out of the photo. Thus, even though he cited Sultan by name, Corsi failed to cite Sultan’s appearance on the document because Corsi only had the cropped photo.

It’s important to note that nowhere in the article does Corsi cite a source for the photo; everything he writes suggests anything other than the message that WND has physical possession of this paper document. For one, Corsi explicitly says that WND is in possession of the document. For another, Corsi does not cite any external source for the document or the photo. He never admits it’s been published before, he doesn’t link to any of its previous online appearances, and he doesn’t acknowledge how WND got its photo. Indeed, every indication from the article is that WND took the photo itself.

Unsurprisingly, in the nearly-two months since this Corsi article was published, the document hasn’t been authenticated further. It doesn’t appear to have been mentioned by any other credible news outlets. Corsi himself hasn’t done any notable follow-up on it. But really, the authenticity of the document is beside the point here; my interest in reporting this isn’t in ridiculing Corsi for believing a fake document.

My interest isn’t even in the fact that the headline for Corsi’s article is “Evidence U.S. bribed Muslim Brotherhood Officials,” despite the complete lack of any evidence, even on this unproven document, suggesting any U.S. involvement whatsoever.

No, the important takeaway here is that Jerome Corsi blatantly lied about possessing the document. And he lied about where it came from. Falling for a fake story is a journalistic faux pas; proactively telling lies to one’s readership about the fruits of one’s research is a massive violation of journalistic ethics. Corsi claimed to be in possession of this official document; he wasn’t. He downloaded a heavily-cropped photo from some website, and then conveniently omitted his source. He instead stated that the document was obtained following Morsi’s removal from office on July 3, 2013; it wasn’t. The document was available online a full month before then, and even the very same photo Corsi uses was on Facebook and Twitter before Morsi left office. Corsi knew this, but he lied to his readers anyway about what he did and did not have. No self-respecting journalist engages in such dishonesty, and no self-proclaimed ‘journalist’ who does so should be trusted or even given the benefit of the doubt.