63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You To Read

Reviewed: 63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You to Read, by Jesse Ventura

By “the government,” one might suppose Ventura means politicians in general, including both major parties, and the many abuses of power that they are constantly prone to.  In short, one expects to see nonpartisan excoriation of government. 

One would be wrong.  For some reason, Ventura is only interested in condemning the right, though many of the accusations he makes also have analogues on the left.  Make no mistake, though: my problems with this book have nothing at all to do with the political stance: if every page had been a takedown of liberals, I still would have hated it for its incredibly sloppy logic and evidence. 

These 63 documents—many not necessarily embarrassing to any “government” entity at all, most long since available in other places—are so secret and dangerous to the powers that be that I remember reading about many of Ventura’s “discoveries” (Unethical attacks on Cuba!  Drug experiments on soldiers!  Gulf of Tonkin fraud!) nearly twenty years ago.  In a comic book. 

Here’s the worst part: an entire section of the book—nearly a fifth of the whole—is dedicated to 9/11 “truther” theories.  This isn’t reading between the lines—Ventura openly says the Bush administration pulled off 9/11 to destroy civil liberties.  I don’t even care enough to get into the “science” of this theory—the common sense here makes no sense. 

Using the same journalistic ethics Ventura uses here, I can “prove” that the dictionary had prior knowledge of 9/11.  If you examine it closely, you’ll find that the dictionary has reports on terrorism, airplanes, and buildings.  Some editions even mention al Qaeda and New York!  The evidence is obvious.  Wake up, people!

The book is dedicated to Ron Paul.  Is Paul a truther?  I hope not.  I have quite a bit of respect for him, but this would change that. 

A detailed expose of all 63 documents in the book would be a book in itself, but let me shed some light on just two especially annoying lapses in reason.

One chapter exists to exonerate JFK from responsibility for Vietnam.  Ventura’s introductory paragraphs in that chapter go on and on about how great JFK was, and how he was going to end the fledgling military action in Vietnam, and of course, that was why the military-industrial complex assassinated him (another theory which doesn’t stand up well to scrutiny). 

But the document that goes along with it doesn’t address that at all.  It wasn’t written by Kennedy, or to Kennedy; it wasn’t authorized by him, it doesn’t even mention him—it’s just a defense department memo that mentions possibly drawing down forces.  That’s all.  Using it in this book, especially to lionize Kennedy, seems desperate and weird.  You might think that Kennedy really did want to end Vietnam, but Ventura certainly doesn’t back it up. 

Another chapter goes after the Koch brothers.  It offers a letter and an agenda from a seminar they held for invited guests about preserving freedom and a positive climate for business growth.  The materials were “somehow” procured by a left-wing activist web site.  Were they secret in the first place?  Unlikely. 

Anyway, that’s the extent of the conspiracy in this chapter.  They’re rich, conservative, businessmen, who actually talked to other rich conservative businessmen about things they care about.  Oh, the horror! 

Again, you might not like their politics or the fact that people who disagree with you are involved in the public process, but what exactly is wrong here?  Do these materials suggest that they’re going to do something illegal, or purposely hurt or disenfranchise anyone?  No.  Good grief, this is some of the laziest fear mongering I’ve ever seen. 

And that pretty well sums up this awful, juvenile book.  Unsupported theories, wild accusations, hateful divisiveness.  The only good thing about it is that it has so little actual writing, that it can be read in an hour or two.  But that’s time you’ll never get back.

One comment on “63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You To Read

  1. Sloppy logic and evidence is par for the course for political discourse these days.

    Kennedy assassination is ripe for conspiracy theories, definitely. There are so many holes in the official version that I don’t quite buy it. It definitely doesn’t sound like Ventura gets in anywhere close, though. Watching the Zapruder film the lone gunman theory suffers, IMO. But enough of that.

    9/11 truthers are a pretty wacky bunch. I’ve read some docs, and they’ve been pretty flaky. Plus, as you said, on general level, there’s no common sense. But Bush/Cheney did destroy civil liberties. Patriot act is quite preposterous, IMO.

    Etc., in political and public discourse the premise seems to be that the louder and the more often you repeat some inane statement, the truer it must be. Listen to politicians talk in congress; they scream at the top of their lungs too often.

    Anyway, we could look at this as a comedy act, which Ventura may have had in mind. Dunno.

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