Ernie Lazar posted something really interesting on my Bulletin Board this morning. I’m moving it up to the main page so that people won’t have to look for it:
I wish I had a dollar for every time someone referred me to an article in Wikipedia as “proof” for whatever points they want to make.
This morning I posted the following message in the “discussion” section of the Wiki article on Meir Kahane — which should illustrate the problem when one relies upon Wiki as though it contains fact-checked or fact-based articles.
First, here is the Wikipedia article section which caught my attention:
“Infiltrating John Birch Society
In the late 1950s to early 1960s Kahane led a life of secrecy. His strong anti-Communist views landed him a position as a consultant with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). His assignment was to infiltrate the right-wing John Birch Society and report his findings back to the FBI. For this position Kahane took on the false name Michael King and spent nearly two and a half years posing as a Christian, learning all he could about the John Birch Society. ”
One reason why Wikipedia often cannot be taken seriously as an “encyclopedia” or even containing fact-based articles — is revealed by this article on Kahane.
Contrary to claims made in this article, Kahane never “infiltrated” the Birch Society for the FBI nor was he ever a “consultant” to the FBI concerning the JBS. Even Kahane’s widow, Libby, told me that she had no corroborating documentation for this claim.
I possess the entire FBI HQ file on the JBS (12,000 pages; HQ 62-104401) along with most FBI JBS-related field office files — and there is no mention whatsoever of Kahane nor is there any document which mentions somebody whose description would correspond to Kahane.
In addition, FBI field offices that used informants within any organization had to first prepare a summary memo about their proposed informant and then request authorization from HQ to use the informant.
After HQ approved use of the informant, periodic field office reports were submitted to HQ which summarized whatever info the informant provided and the field office would characterize every informant’s data in terms of reliability (such as “of known reliability” OR “unknown reliability” OR the office assigned a percentage such as “informant information found to be 95% accurate”.
BUT there are no such documents in any FBI JBS-related file because the FBI never sought or had informants within the Birch Society!
For an actual example showing how an FBI field office requested permission to use an informant and then reported on reliability of information received, see the following documents pertaining to Rev. Delmar Dennis, a JBS member who infiltrated the most violent Klan in our nation’s history—the White Knights of the KKK of Mississippi.
Notice, too, that the Bureau assigned a code name and symbol number to every informant. Significantly, NO SUCH DOCUMENTS EXIST on Kahane with respect to “infiltrating” the JBS for the FBI.
Beyond that, every FBI informant usually had expenses (e.g. travel to/from meetings, purchasing publications, membership dues, etc.) plus many were compensated for their services weekly — so, obviously, FBI files always contain expense reports or memos reporting whatever monies were paid to informants.
BUT there are no such memos or reports whatsoever in ANY JBS file—-because the FBI never had informants inside the JBS!
Furthermore, you have to ask the obvious question: what information about the JBS did the FBI supposedly want that it could not obtain except by “infiltration” by “informants”?
Lastly — the FBI never conducted a formal investigation of the JBS. Informants were used by the Bureau primarily in instances where official investigations were conducted — such as, for example, inside the KKK and CPUSA.
There were, of course, people who contacted the FBI of their own volition and then provided unsolicited raw information. Usually, the FBI just recorded such contacts in memo form and then they just ignored it.