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Posner in Miami, Florida in March 2013.
|Born|| May 20, 1954 |
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Posner in Miami, Florida in March 2013.
|Born|| May 20, 1954 |
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Gerald Posner (born May 20, 1954) is an American investigative journalist and author of several books, including Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK (1993) which explores the John F. Kennedy assassination, and Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1998). A plagiarism scandal, involving his articles and books, arose in 2010.
|Wikinews has related news: Interview with dismissed Ocean Drive columnist Trisha Posner|
Posner was born in San Francisco, the only child of Jerry and Gloria Posner, native San Franciscans. His father was a labor union official.
Posner was educated at St. Ignatius College Preparatory (1972), the University of California, Berkeley (1975), and Hastings Law School (1978). He worked for prominent law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore until 1980 when he went into private practice with a partner. John Martin of ABC News says "Gerald Posner is one of the most resourceful investigators I have encountered in thirty years of journalism." Garry Wills calls Posner "a superb investigative reporter," while John Balzar, reviewing one of his books in the Los Angeles Times, dubs him "a classic-style investigative journalist." Richard Bernstein, reviewing one of his books in the New York Times, lauded his "exhaustive research techniques".
When Posner was hired at Cravath at age 23, he was one of the youngest attorneys ever hired by them. A Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude graduate of the University of California at Berkeley (1975), he was an Honors Graduate of Hastings Law School (1978), where he served as the Associate Executive Editor for the Law Review. He left the law in 1986, when his first book, about Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele's life on the run, was published by McGraw Hill.
Posner was the coauthor (with British journalist John Ware) of a 1986 biography of Nazi "Angel of Death" Dr. Josef Mengele (McGraw-Hill). The book was the result of a five year pro-bono lawsuit that attorney Posner had brought on behalf of survivors of Mengele's medical experiments at Auschwitz. Posner and Ware obtained exclusive access to 5,000 pages of Mengele's diaries and personal papers for their book. The book was critically recognized as the "definitive" biography of Mengele.
Posner testified before the U.S. Senate (1986) about how Mengele used an International Red Cross passport to safely travel from Europe to Argentina in 1949. He also testified about the discovery made by him and Ware that Mengele had twice been captured by U.S. Army troops in 1945, but released both times before authorities realized he was on several Wanted Lists. In June 1986, Posner appeared with Mengele's only son, Rolf Mengele, on the Phil Donahue talk show. Writer Lewis Grizzard, in his nationally syndicated newspaper column, called the hour-long live program "an incredibly compelling piece of television journalism." When the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations released its 201-page report in 1992 about what the U.S. government knew about Mengele over the decades (In the Matter of Josef Mengele, A Report to the Attorney General of the United States), the report noted that the Justice Department was "indebted to Gerald L. Posner..."
In 1988, Posner published "Warlords of Crime: Chinese Secret Societies: The New Mafia (McGraw-Hill). It was an exposé of Triads and international heroin syndicates. Posner, and his wife, Trisha, traveled to Hong Kong, the Golden Triangle, the Netherlands, San Francisco, London and New York to conduct research in person with drug dealers. In its review of the book, the Chicago Tribune later commented on his research: "Posner is persuasive for the facts he gathered, all the more so because his narrative is largely the story of how he got the story, what he was told by the criminals and by law enforcement agents here and abroad and, most persuasive of all, what he saw with his own eyes. He does not dramatize; he doesn't have to. The chilling story he unearthed speaks for itself."  Ex-New York detective and best-selling novelist, Dorothy Uhnak, wrote in The New York Times that "'Warlords of Crime' is powerful, frightening and, unfortunately, nonfiction."  The Los Angeles Times called the book "grim and ultraviolent."  "Warlords" was bought by Touchstone/Disney for a motion picture.
In his book Case Closed, Posner contended that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Oswald's murderer, Jack Ruby, acted independently as well. Case Closed was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for History. It was also the subject of a double issue of U.S. News and World Report, and featured on programs such as ABC's 20/20, CBS Special Reports, and PBS's Frontline. The book was optioned for a television miniseries by David Wolper. In his subsequent autobiography (Producer: A Memoir), Wolper, the producer of 29 television movies, including the acclaimed miniseries Roots, cited his failure to get Case Closed made into a movie as one of two career disappointments.
In 1993, Posner testified before the Legislation and National Security Subcommittee of the United States House Committee on Government Operations about the findings in Case Closed. In 1998, the Assassination Records Review Board briefly referenced this testimony in discussing two unsuccessful attempts to acquire the interview notes of two physicians, James Humes and J. Thorton Boswell, that Posner said he possessed.
Case Closed drew widespread critical acclaim from the mainstream media; exceptions included The Economist, which said the book "does little more than smugly slant every piece of disputed evidence in favour of the lone-assassin theory — an approach exactly opposite to that of conspiracy writers, who follow every inference in the evidence to their own illogical conclusions". Case Closed also drew widespread criticism from academics involved in assassination research as well as from non-academic assassination researchers who contended that it contained factual inaccuracies. For example, historian David Wrone wrote that "massive numbers of factual errors suffuse the book". Vincent Bugliosi, whose own book Reclaiming History largely agrees with Posner's conclusions, accused Posner of "omissions and distortions" but also described Case Closed as "an impressive work". "He is perhaps public enemy No. 1 to members of what might be called the JFK conspiracy industry," wrote journalist Paul Galloway.
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the assassination in 2013, Gallup released a national poll showing that while a majority (61%) of Americans still believed a conspiracy was behind JFK's death, the number of those who thought it was a lone assassin (30%) was the highest in 46 years. Although some mainstream media commentators The Independent said that "for Americans, JFK will never be case closed,", others Economist cited "Case Closed" and concluded, "50 years on, face it, Oswald did it." Historian Robert Dallek called "Case Closed" "authoritative," and said, "the best book on this subject is by a man named Gerald Posner, called "Case Closed," I think he has responded very effectively to all the conspiracy theories, and there are so many of them." Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Hector Tobar wrote in the Los Angeles Times that "Case Closed" was "the book that cured me of JFK conspiracies once and for all."
Secret Service agent Clint Hill tweeted on the 50th anniversary, November 22, 2013, "3 shots. All from the 6th floor of the TX Schoolbk Depository. 1 gun. 1 shooter named LHO. I was there. Case Closed." 
"Case Closed" continued to generate widely divergent views. Film director Oliver Stone, told a JFK assassination conference in Pittsburg that "Case Closed" was discredited and "there's nothing in the movie (JFK film) that I would go back on." Posner, on the day of the 50th anniversary, told CNN's Anderson Cooper that "the only thing he [Stone] gets right in 'JFK' is the date on which Kennedy is killed.
As controversial and talked-about as "Case Closed" was Posner's 1998 "Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr." (Random House). The book concluded that confessed assassin, James Earl Ray, killed Martin Luther King Jr. acting alone, likely for the hope of collecting a racist bounty for the murder. Among other portions of his book, Posner tracked down for the first time the mysterious "Raoul," fingered by James Earl Ray as the mastermind of a conspiracy to kill King and to frame Ray. After setting out to settle Ray's Raoul story, Posner challenged as a hoax the widely printed conspiracy story that Green Beret snipers from the 20th Special Forces Group were in Memphis on the day of the assassination.
"Killing the Dream" was the largest private reinvestigation of the King assassination in 30 years. As was "Case Closed," "Killing the Dream" was widely praised and embraced by the mainstream press, and among the national broadcasts that featured the book included CBS 48 Hours, Charlie Rose and TODAY. Richard Bernstein in The New York Times wrote that the book was "the most comprehensive and definitive study of the King assassination to date....He [Posner] has rendered a valuable service by putting the King murder under his magnifying glass. One finishes this book reassured that no dark secrets remain, that no unexplained details need bedevil the national composure." Two-time Pulitzer prize winning journalist and columnist, Anthony Lewis, in the New York Times Book Review, said, "With 'Killing the Dream,' he [Posner] has written a superb book: a model of investigation, meticulous in its discovery and presentation of evidence, unbiased in its exploration of every claim. And it is a wonderfully readable book, as gripping as a first-class detective story."  
On the other hand, conspiracy theorists bristled at "Killing the Dream," criticizing Posner for in part basing "his King book on a psychological evaluation of James Earl Ray, which he [Posner] is not qualified to give, and he dismisses evidence of conspiracy in King's murder as cynical attempts to exploit the tragedy."  William Pepper, Ray's final defense attorney, repeatedly dismissed Posner's book as inaccurate and misleading. Dexter King, one of Martin Luther King's sons, also criticized it. In 1999, the King family, represented by Pepper, brought a civil lawsuit in which a jury found evidence of a conspiracy involving Loyd Jowers, the owner of a restaurant near the assassination site. In response to that verdict, Posner told The New York Times, "It distresses me greatly that the legal system was used in such a callous and farcical manner in Memphis. If the King family wanted a rubber stamp of their own view of the facts, they got it."
In his 2005 book Secrets of the Kingdom: The Inside Story of the Secret Saudi-U.S. Connection, Posner provides an account of the "close" business and personal relationship between the House of Saud and the U.S. government, including discussions of "dirty bomb" technology and the financial and political maneuvering surrounding 9/11. Posner also asserts that the Saudis have built an elaborate doomsday scenario around their oil fields. The Saudis have denied this, and some skepticism has been expressed about the plausibility of Posner's account of such a scheme. According to Posner, he and his wife, Trisha, have been banned from entering Saudi Arabia as a result of this book.
|This section of a biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2010)|
Another 2003 book by Posner, Why America Slept, discusses the conspiracy of the Arab al-Qaeda terrorists who were responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks. In the book Posner claims that Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had ties to al-Qaeda and advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. This assertion was strongly denied by Prince Ahmed's family, who pointed out that he in fact loved America, spent time at his home there, and invested heavily in the American horse racing industry. Prince Ahmed, two other Saudi princes named by Posner, and the chief of the Pakistani Air Force, all died within days of each other, either from a blood clot after a simple operation, a car wreck involving only one vehicle, dehydration in the desert, or a sabotaged helicopter explosion. Three of the men were in their forties, and one in his twenties. In Why America Slept, Posner became the first journalist to reveal the details of an American interrogation against one of the highest ranking Al Qaeda suspects caught to date. Why America Slept reached No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list.
This 2009 book explores the history of Miami Beach, with a particular focus on corruption, extravagance, and the drug trade. Some of the individuals interviewed by Posner for Miami Babylon have complained of severe misquoting and inaccuracies. Miami Babylon has been optioned for a television series.
Posner was a strong supporter of Al Gore for the 2000 presidential election, and wrote a Wall Street Journal editorial shortly after the 9/11 attacks reversing his opinion of George W. Bush. Later he changed his opinion again; in October 2006, in "An Open Letter to the President", published on The Huffington Post, he reverted to his original position that Bush was a bad president stifled by his stubbornness. He also wrote about investigative issues for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Talk, Newsweek, Time, the Miami Herald, and the Daily Telegraph. He was a regular contributor to NBC's Today Show, as well as other national shows on the History Channel, CNN, FOX News, and CBS. He was a frequent guest on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. A member of the National Advisory Board of the National Writers Union, Posner is also a member of the Authors Guild, International PEN, The Committee to Protect Journalists, and Phi Beta Kappa. He worked on all his projects with his wife Trisha Posner, who is also an author and artist. Posner was the Chief Investigative Reporter for The Daily Beast, until his dismissal due to plagiarism in 2010.
Posner was a regular panelist on HistoryCENTER, the History Channel's weekly current affairs discussion program, from 2000-2002. He has also had an on-air role in broadcast documentaries, including among others the 1993 Frontline "Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?"; "Who Killed JFK: The Final Chapter" (1994); "Hitler and Stalin, A Legacy of Hate"(1994); "The Secret KGB JFK Assassination File" (1999); "Jack Ruby on Trial" History Channel (2004); "Gangs of New York", History Channel (2002); "Conspiracy", TV Series (2004–05); "Beyond Biba - A Portrait of Barbara Hulanicki", (2009); "Roads to Memphis", a look at the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination, American Experience PBS, 2010; and "JFK Assassination: The Definitive Guide", History Channel (2013).
Posner has also been a Historical Consultant on two Holocaust-related episodes - "Liberation and Revenge" and "Frenzied Killing", both in 2005 - of the documentary series "Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution'". He was also the consultant to "Inheritance," a 2006 documentary about the story of Monika Hertwig and her effort to grapple with the enormity of the crimes of her father, Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp commander, Amon Goeth. And in 2013, Posner was again the Historical Consultant, this time for PBS/NOVA "Cold Case JFK", an updated ballistics examination of the JFK assassination.
Posner was also the Consulting Producer of the film documentary, "The Barrel of a Gun", by Tigre Hill, about the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer and the convicted murderer, Abu-Jamal.
Posner is married to author and journalist Trisha Posner.
In 2010, Posner was the chief investigative reporter at the Daily Beast. Following the revelation that a number of Posner's stories for the Beast contained portions plagiarized from articles in other publications, Posner resigned from the Beast. According to Posner, the plagiarism was inadvertent and the result of the "compressed deadlines" of the Beast and confusing his assembled research with his own writing in the "master files" he assembled on each story. Allegations of plagiarism also surfaced concerning his latest book, Miami Babylon (October 2009). Posner said the Miami Babylon plagiarism occurred because of a new system of "trailing endnotes", because an individual he interviewed read one of the plagiarized sources and reiterated it during the interview, and because he mistook other people's writing for his own after scanning source documents into a computer database. The Miami New Times also found that Posner "seems to add, subtract, or misattribute quotes" and displayed a series of such "apparently altered or misattributed quotes". For all the examples shown, Posner cited a source article, where an examination of the source showed that the quote given in Posner's writing was either substantially altered (e.g. words added), never said by the subject, misattributed, or used out of context.
Posner subsequently hired attorney Mark Lane, threatening litigation against the Miami New Times on grounds of tortious interference (i.e. that its investigation and reporting of this case damaged Posner's business relationship with his publishers) and emotional distress. In a press release, Posner stated "Although I'm convinced Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President Kennedy, I've always believed that had Mark Lane represented Oswald, he would have won an acquittal. That's why Mark Lane was the obvious choice as my own attorney." Soon thereafter, the Miami New Times published evidence of additional plagiarism from multiple sources in both Secrets of the Kingdom and Why America Slept. According to Poynter Institute senior scholar Roy Peter Clark, "This constitutes plagiarism by any definition I can think of....The capturing of someone else's material that is this extensive cannot, in my opinion, have been done accidentally." Evidence was also presented indicating that Posner had repeatedly "scrubbed" elements of the journalism scandal from his Wikipedia page. According to Posner, the media reports detailing his journalistic transgressions were actually the result of a "coordinated effort" to "discredit my book Miami Babylon" because of the book's "unvarnished and investigative history".
On May 3, 2013, Posner was named in a federal lawsuit brought by famed author Harper Lee in Manhattan. Lee claimed that Samuel Pinkus, her literary agent's son-in-law, tricked her into signing away her rights to To Kill a Mockingbird, directing the royalties to be paid into a corporation formed by Posner for that purpose.
Before he even filed an answer in the case, it was dismissed against Posner on September 5, 2013. The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning that Lee cannot file the same claim against him. Posner told the Miami Herald that, "I have always maintained that not a single contention about me in the complaint was accurate. I was simply the wrong person named in the wrong lawsuit."  And to Law360, he said, "I am gratified the complaint was dismissed. There was never any basis for this lawsuit against me." 
"The book effectively paints a picture of a lonely, embittered Nazi. It knocks down decades of myths that Mengele was shielded by a protective squad of underground Nazis." "Book Review: Mengele, Entertainment, United Press International, July 18, 1986, BC Cycle
"The research is remarkable." "Escape for the Angel of Death, Mengele: The Complete Story," by John Gellner, The Globe and Mail (Canada), July 19, 1986, p. D17
"The Mengele story has now been told, excellently, by the authors of this book..." Books: Evil of the Mediocre/Review of Mengele, by Norman Stone, The Sunday Times (London), August 31, 1986, Issue 8456
"Well researched and wonderfully free of all the customary fantasy and exaggeration...Fascinating." "The Death Doctors," by Neal Ascherson, The New York Review of Books, May 28, 1987
"This highly engrossing book gives the fullest account yet published of Josef Mengele's life..." "Mengele: Review," Publishers Weekly, June 1986
"It's a pity that the official search for him did not match the vigor with which Posner and Ware stalk their subject in print." Mengele: The Complete Story, Book Review Supplement, San Francisco Chronicle, July 1986.
"Excellent." History of Chinese Organized Crime, by Bill Wallace, San Francisco Chronicle," August 13, 2000, Sunday Book Review, mentioned in a review of The Dragon Syndicates, p. 5.
The Toronto Sun, February 22, 1994: “In fact, I think all conspiracy theories are blown out of the water by Posner's meticulous research and careful conclusions.”
Sydney Morning Herald, November 27, 1993: “PAINSTAKING re-examination of the greatest murder mystery of modern times: who killed JFK? It's no mystery concludes lawyer/journalist [Posner]: lone assassin Lee Harvey Oswald did it. And who would argue after reading this meticulous analysis, complete with graphics, illustrations and detailed appendices?”
Chicago Tribune, October 3, 1993: "Half of 'Case Closed' is a meticulous examination of Oswald's entire life, culminating in an almost day-by-day chronicle of his movements in the last two months before the assassination."
Newsday (New York), September 16, 1993: "Posner employs meticulous research to reach what counts as a novel conclusion: That, for all its flaws, the Warren Commission was right. Oswald killed JFK without help from anyone.”
Agence France Presse, November 21, 1993: “In the flurry of publications marking the 30th anniversary of Kennedy's death, one book, ‘Case Closed’ by journalist Gerald Posner, was singled out for its thorough and thoughtful treatment of the subject.”
Buffalo News (New York), October 24, 1993: “[P]osner has done an impressively thorough job with the ashes of a 30-year-old case."
The Miami Herald, October 10, 1993: "Richard Reeves' President Kennedy and Gerald Posner's Case Closed are rigorously thorough and finely crafted contributions to a confusing historical record."
Newsday (New York), September 16, 1993: "Its appeal lies both in its thorough, apparently even-handed research, and the fact that, following the publication in recent years of a near-constant stream of conspiracy books, 'Case Closed' may be the first by a respected author to argue persuasively for the Oswald-alone theory, a scenario most Americans dismissed years ago."
The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), September 11, 1993: "The author is also thorough in his coverage of Oswald's Marine service and subsequent defection to the Soviet Union (information about which is scarce).”
Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), September 18, 1993: "Posner's exact and thorough destruction of the conspiracy theorists gives you Oswald the man, not Oswald the brilliant secret agent or Oswald the hapless patsy."
Florida Today, April 24, 2000: "The industry standard belongs perhaps to lawyer-turned- investigative reporter Gerald Posner, whose meticulous Case Closed in 1993 was an immersion into assassination minutiae."
The Toronto Star, November 20, 1993: "Case Closed is not by any means a crackpot work but a thorough job with some pretensions to scholarship."
Chicago Tribune, Book Review, Jeffrey Toobin, September 12, 1993: "Unlike many of the 2,000 other books that have been written about the Kennedy assassination, Posner's 'Case Closed' is a resolutely sane piece of work. More importantly, 'Case Closed' is utterly convincing in its thesis, which seems, in light of all that has transpired over the past 30 years, almost revolutionary. His thesis is this: Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy by himself…. I started ‘Case Closed’ as a skeptic—and slightly put off by the presumptuous title. To my mind historical truth is always a slippery thing. The chances of knowing for sure what happened in any event—much less one as murky as the Kennedy assassination—seem remote. But this fascinating and important book won me over. Case closed, indeed.”
Entertainment Weekly, Gene Lyons, September 24, 1993: “As thorough and incisive a job of reporting and critical thinking as you will ever read, Case Closed does more than buttress the much beleaguered Warren Commission's conclusion ….More than that, Posner's book is written in a penetrating, lucid style that makes it a joy to read. Even the footnotes, often briskly debunking one or another fanciful or imaginary scenario put forth by the conspiracy theorists, rarely fail to enthrall…. Case Closed is a work of genuine patriotism and a monument to the astringent power of reason. ‘A’”
US News & World Report, August 23, 1993: “He [Posner] sweeps away decades of polemical smoke, layer by layer, and builds an unshakable case against JFK's killer."
NYTBR (in the review of Norman Mailer's Oswald's Tale), April 30, 1995. "Gerald Posner's 'Case Closed' (1993), which argues with an awesome command of evidentiary detail that Oswald did it, period."
Dallas Morning News, June 22, 1997: "More than three decades after the Kennedy assassination, there still are Americans who wonder. Gerald Posner's masterful study of that case should have laid those doubts to rest for thinking readers…”
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