Blogs > Cliopatria > More on the Killian Memos ...

Sep 15, 2004 6:19 am

More on the Killian Memos ...

It can only be a matter of time before CBS concedes that the Killian Memos are forgeries. Northwestern's Jim Lindgren, whose research was so damaging to Michael Bellesiles, weighs in at The Volokh Conspiracy with what seems to me further convincing evidence in re these documents. Forgeries have a long history, of course. Geitner Simmons at Regions of Mind recalls forgeries in Soviet disinformation campaigns in the 1980s; and Brandon Watson at Siris points to the innovations of Giovanni Morelli in detecting fraud in art history."God is in the details," says Watson.

Update: For caution about blogospheric triumphalism in re CBS and the Killian Memos, see Matt Yglesias and the Washington Post article I cite here in comments. If Yglesias is correct, it tends to challenge the argument made by Steve Horwitz at Liberty & Power about the implications of media diffusion. Yglesias suggests that it takes big media to challenge big media convincingly.

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Ralph E. Luker - 9/15/2004

You might want to read this. I find it very suggestive that CBS acknowledges that it only has copies of the purported documents, not originals, and that its source has apparently told CBS that it isn't going to get access to the originals. As I've said, as in art, so in document, authentication, you can often show a fraud from a copy but you have to have the original to authenticate it.

Oscar Chamberlain - 9/15/2004

I have not looked at the case in detail, so I make no claims about whether or not these are fraudulent. However, a colleague of mine who is a military historian has handled documents as far back as the 1940s typed on typewriters that can do superscripts. So that particular bit of evidence is not as conclusive as it might seem.

Jonathan Dresner - 9/14/2004

...they file a lawsuit against the person who provided the materials. They won't admit that they helped perpetrate a fraud, if that's what they've done, until they know who to blame. Their lawyers won't let them do any less.

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