Saturday, November 26, 2011
Raising the flag at Dealey Plaza on the anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.
George Bannerman Dealey, publisher of the Dallas Morning News (DMN).
A few blocks away, just across the street from the Union Train Station, the DMNs building has enscribed on the side of the wall: "Build the news upon the rock of truth and righteousness. Conduct it always upon the lines of fairness and integrity. Acknowledge the right of the people to get from the newspaper both sides of every important question."
- George Bannerman Dealey, publisher of the Dallas Morning News.
Rock of truth, righteousness, fairness and integrity.
Former Minnesota governor and TV show host Jesse Ventura at Dealey Plaza on the 40th anniversary of the assassination.
The 48th anniversary of the assassination included annual weekend conferences by the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA) [http://politicalassassinations.com/] and JFK LANCER. Then on Tuesday, November 22nd, people who attended both conferences met at Dealey Plaza where John Judge, the director of COPA, has continued the tradition established by Penn Jones in 1964 of holding a minute long moment of silence at 12:30pm, the moment JFK was killed. At first only Penn Jones and a few people were there to honor the occasion, but over the years the affair has grown considerably, especially for the 30th and 40th anniversaries.
This year however, the 48th anniversary, a controversy has erupted over the announcement that the Sixth Floor Museum has been granted the permit to hold the ceremony on November 22, 2013, the 50th anniversary, when thousands of people are expected.
For some reason the museum asked the Kennedy family about holding such an official ceremony, when they refused to abide by the Kennedy family request not to place a web cam in the sniper's window, which they did anyway [http://www.earthcam.com/usa/texas/dallas/dealeyplaza/].
Now the Sixth Floor museum people say they want to hold a nice ceremony, not like the circus of conspiracy theorists who usually show up every anniversary, and they suggest they do something respectful, like holding a moment of silence.
Of course they are being accused of trying to stifle the free speech that conspiracy theorists and the circus bring to the Plaza.
Besides attempting to take over the ceremony on the anniversary, the city, some say prompted by the Sixth Floor Museum, has been harassing Robert Groden, the photo expert, conspiracy theorists and author of a half-dozen books on the assassination who celebrates his birthday on November 22, and sells his books off a card table he sets up there. Groden has been ticketed dozens if not hundreds of times, but has a lawyer and is fighting the city. It seems like the harassment is indicative of an attempt by the city and Sixth Floor administrators to take over Dealey Plaza and promote their own agenda, as well as the official story that the President was killed by a lone nut and there was no conspiracy.
Jesse Ventura sits down on the Grassy Knoll after addressing the crowd at Dealey Plaza on the 40th anniversary of the assassination.
John Judge, the director of COPA, who has been leading the moment of silence at half past noon since Penn Jones passed away, says that the Battle of Dealey Plaza isn't just about the space and the time, but is a battle for the hearts and minds of those who recognize Dealey Plaza as sacred ground and what happened there not the murder of the president, but a theft of democracy, the government and in a sense, the nation itself.
Bradley Kizzia, an attorney who represents noted assassination author Charles (sic – Robert) Groden, made a Public Information Act demand for documents and correspondence dealing with the 50th. When the city sent him the stuff, it appeared from certain emails that Longford and the assassination museum may not be who's really behind the takeover attempt. They could be cutouts for the real anti-conspiracy conspirators. I'll get into more of that in a column for next week's newspaper.
But hence the shadowy group references. And just think: The shadowy group thing is what started everything. Most of the assassination conspiracy theorists believe a shadowy group in Dallas was behind the assassination. Now they think a shadowy group in Dallas is trying to take over the 50th in order to shut down the discussion of shadowy groups.
You think it sounds crazy? Sure, but think about it. Longford won't talk. Neither will Librio. Perfect. Talk about playing to your own stereotype.
Sometimes you hear people here ask why Los Angeles doesn't have the same shadow over it for the murder of Robert F. Kennedy. Maybe people should think about that question a little harder.
Tomorrow we will see the 48th anniversary. That's a long time for one shadow. I think the Japanese got out from under the shadow of Pearl Harbor faster than this. We seem to have a genius for keeping our shadows alive.
Anyway, if you happen to see Mr. Librio out and about, would you tell him I'm trying to reach him? Tell him to look out his window. I'll be the guy out there with the umbrella and the Super 8 wind-up movie camera. It's sort of a uniform.
From: via DallasNews.com
Crowd marks John F. Kennedy’s assassination with moment of silence at Dallas’ Dealey Plaza
By MARK RAMIREZ
Published: 22 November 2011 12:56 PM
To Dealey Plaza they came, the young and old, marking the 48th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination — mourners, tourists, conspiracy theorists and the simply curious.
Shortly after 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, as dictated by tradition and history, many bowed their heads in silent remembrance, a small crowd of three or four dozen wrapped in jackets and hoodies against a November day that fought against the warmth.
It was a far cry from the event’s 30th anniversary, when more than 4,000 people showed.
But lurking beneath the surface of the proceedings was the wee specter of Penn Jones Jr., the diminutive former publisher and editor of the Midlothian Mirror who made it his life’s mission to crusade against lone-gunman explanations of the assassination.
It was Jones, some say, who launched the annual moment of silence, and while its origins remain officially unclear, it lives on in Jones’ absence.
“He’s definitely the one who started the tradition,” said John Judge, co-founder of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA), one of two research groups that continue to hold annual conferences in Dallas, similarly dissatisfied with the Warren Commission’s conclusions.
While the city of Dallas and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza have traditionally steered clear of any kind of official ceremony commemorating the assassination, Jones and others who question whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone have carried on the tradition — not only to honor a fallen president but to stoke the fires of conspiracy theory.
“We’ve tried to hold it every year regardless of the conditions around us,” Judge said. “We don’t feel that holding up a banner and asking questions is a carnival or circus atmosphere.”
Sixth Floor officials won’t confirm either the tradition’s origins or whether Jones had any part in it.
“We can’t document it well enough that the museum is comfortable with it,” said Gary Mack, the museum’s curator. “We’ve seen it referred to in several places, but the sources seem to be people who did not know him.”
Jones died in 1998 at age 83.
Judge said Jones asked him to continue the tradition as he fell increasingly ill with Alzheimer’s, and since 1994 — the year Judge founded the coalition — he has done so as part of the group’s annual meeting.
Jones was what conspiracy-minded groups call a first-generation researcher, someone who hit the ground running in the wake of Kennedy’s killing, whose newsletters on his findings and skepticism were published with the aid of a manual typewriter.
“I have all the issues of his magazine except for one,” said Debra Conway of JFK Lancer, another research group that, like COPA, holds its annual meeting around the anniversary of the assassination.
Jones, a World War II veteran who found success in real estate, eventually purchased the Midlothian Mirror, where he earned a reputation as a feisty researcher unafraid to buck the area’s conservative leanings.
The assassination — and his interpretation of events — would change his life forever, starting with the release of the Warren Commission’s report in 1964.
“He really spent time reading that whole thing,” said his son, Michael Jones of Dallas. “It was just so unsatisfactory to him. It helped give him the evidence he needed to conclude it was a conspiracy.”
While official findings attributed Kennedy’s murder to Oswald, Jones spent the latter part of his life pursuing a Sisyphean mission to convince the world otherwise.
Among his contributions to conspiracy lore is the “storm drain theory,” which holds that one of numerous gunmen hid in an Elm Street manhole, then escaped through a drain that once connected to the basement of an old jail. The drain has been since sealed with concrete.
Jones would espouse such theories on the anniversary of the assassination, energetically acting them out for anyone who was interested.
“He was a tiny little guy,” Conway said. “He’d stand up there on the [Dealey Plaza] pedestal where [Abraham] Zapruder had filmed so people could hear and see him, for no other reason except that he was 5-foot-3.”
As far as she knows, Jones was the person behind the moment of silence. “If someone did it before him, I don’t know about it,” she said.
Though the gesture was meant to honor Kennedy’s passing, Jones’ son Michael said it was also about his father’s growing disillusionment as he began to question the government’s findings.
“He saw it as a coup d’etat,” Jones said. “He felt the government had been taken away from the people. So the moment was kind of a protest to make that statement and get it back somehow.”
Among Tuesday’s crowd were Greg and Sandra Lewis, who had driven in from Lubbock for a family reunion. As Greg walked around taking photographs, Sandra waited with their terrier in the chill of the November day.
“It seems wrong to celebrate such a horrid thing,” she said.
“It used to be just a gathering,” Greg said. “Now it’s a tourist attraction.”
Nonetheless, the crowd had begun accumulating on the grounds near the foot of the former Texas School Book Depository — where Oswald had hidden on the sixth floor — recalling where they were on Nov. 22, 1963, or pointing out notable landmarks to their children.
Afterward, they continued to remember, wandering the grassy knoll or, like Susan Lazarow and Jessica Baxter of Boca Raton, Fla., snapping photos of the painted X on Elm Street, thought to be the approximate spot where Kennedy was hit.
“I think it’s neat to know,” Baxter said. “I’m going to put that on my Facebook page.”
“It’s a little eerie,” Lazarow said. “I don’t want to make light of it.”
But it was speeches like the one given by Judge of the political assassination coalition that drew most gawkers.
“We don’t know the truth about our own history,” Judge said, his jabbing finger and booming delivery drawing a growing crowd and eventual applause.
He then called for the moment of silence in keeping with Jones’ tradition.
With the city and The Sixth Floor Museum beginning to plan 50th anniversary proceedings for 2013, someone asked whether Judge and his group planned to return next year.
“We’ll be here,” he said. “We may have to crawl through the sewer system and pop our heads up where the assassin was, but we’ll be here.”
FROM THE DALLAS OBSERVER -
Pinpointing the Shadowy Figures Behind the JFK Conspiracy
... the Other Conspiracy, That Is
By Jim Schutze Mon., Nov. 21 2011 at 1:55 PM
Categories: Get Off My Lawn
Excuse me. Pardon me. Sorry to bother you. Got a second? Hey, I'm not asking for money. I just need a favor. Do you know this guy, Frank Librio? Would you be able to get in touch with him for me?
He's the spokesman for the city of Dallas. Very intelligent man, professional, used to be in television. I'm a newspaper reporter. I'm just standing out here on the street asking people if they know him, in case somebody might be able to help me get through to him.
Five days ago I asked him a question about the Kennedy assassination, and I can't get him to reply. Maybe you could do better. No, not one of those questions. This was legitimate.
This was about an attempt by a shadowy group to seize control of Dealey Plaza, where the assassination happened, in advance of its 50th anniversary on November 22, 2013. City Hall is involved in some way, as is the Sixth Floor assassination museum. I'll show you the document. It's attached.
The suspicion on the part of conspiracy theorists is that the group behind the attempted takeover wants to lock down Dealey Plaza so the conspiracy theorists won't be able to go there and get attention from all of the media somebody thinks will flock here for the 50th. The group may also want to bar the presence of any souvenir guys standing around accosting people on the street, like I'm doing here. So this is sort of a conspiracy theory about an anti-conspiracy conspiracy.
Hey, look, what do you expect? This is Dallas. This is our cottage industry. I'm sure before I'm done here somebody will accuse me of having a tin-foil-hat, anti-anti-conspiracy conspiracy. We do this stuff like the French make lace.
If you look at the attached event application, it shows that the Sixth Floor assassination museum wants to control all of Dealey Plaza for an entire week leading up to the 50th, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. I have tried to get Nicola Longford, director of the assassination museum, to tell me what she plans to do for that much time, but she won't talk to me, either.
It's tough. That's why I'm asking you.
END OF DALLAS OBSERVER COMMENTARY
Here's a transcript of the speeches given on the 35th anniversary in 1998
The Event That Didn't Happen.
DEALEY PLAZA MEMORIAL SERVICE - Sunday, 11/22/98 THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY. By Bill Kelly
I placed a tape recorder on Zapruder's peragoda/pedistal and taped the proceedings and then transcribed them. I hope somebody gets something out of this. - Bill Kelly
"Build the news upon the rock of truth and righteousness. Conduct it always upon the lines of fairness and integrity. Acknowledge the right of the people to get from the newspaper both sides of every important question." - George Bannerman Dealey, publisher of the Dallas Morning News.
CNN news reported that for the first time in 35 years that nothing was happening and there was to be no memorial service at Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1998, the anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
CBS News with Dan Rather reported that the Final Report of the JFK Assassinations Records Review Board "did find enough evidence to conclude that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only gunman," while the Final Report never concluded any such thing.
Then the Associated Press (AP) reported from Dallas on November 22 that, "JFK assassination hype fades" and that "other than the usual handful of curious people milling about Dealey Plaza, the day was expected to be uneventful..."
Bob Porter of the Sixth Floor Museum told a reporter that nothing was scheduled to happen at Dealey Plaza that day, even though, if he looked out his office window, he could see over a thousand people gathering around the Grassy Knoll for a memorial service in honor of the slain president.
Well, what actually occured was that from noon until 1pm, the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA) took a break from their fifth annual conference at Union Station, two blocks away, to hold a memorial service that was attended by a sea of people who filled the both sides of the street of the entire plaza. Participants in the JFK LANCER conference, also held in Dallas that weekend, also attended, as well as ordinary tourists, interested citizens and passersby.
COPA is an organization that was originally dcomposed of three independent groups - the Assassination Records and Research Center (ARRC) of Washington D.C., the Committee for an Open Archvies (COA) and the Citizens for the Truth about the John F. Kennedy Assassination (CTKA). They are professional associations composed of people interested in developing the truth about the assassination, who lobbied extensively for the passage of the JFK Assassination Records Review Act and have met with Cuban officials in the Bahamas to obtain information about the assassination from Cuban sources.
In an address before COPA the previous day, the chairman of the Assassinations Records Review Board, John Tunheim reiterated the Final Report's first paragraph that, despite Rather's statement, it "will not offer conclusions about what the assassination records released did or did not prove." Tunheim and his final report also note that significant documents were missing and some were even destroyed by federal agencies after the board began its business of identifying and releasing records to the public.
Others who spoke at the COPA conference included Philadelphia attorney Vincent Salandria, history professor John Newman, former FBI agent William Turner and others who have been instrumental in reviewing the recently released documents and attempting to make sense of what the government wants to maintain a mystery.
At noon on Sunday, November 22, 1998, COPA board member, and Washington D.C. attorney Dan Alcorn began the memorial service at Dealey Plaza.
Dan Alcorn : The federal board - The JFK Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) discovered that many of the records have been destroyed, and we do not have a complete record. Yet we have a much more of a documentary record than we have had ever before.
There's a memorial down on the street that has a quotation from the bible: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
That quote is also inscribed on the wall of the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in McLean, Virginia, so there is a commonality of thought there. Many of us are here today because we have never believed that the government has told us the truth about the assassination, and we believe that unless we know the truth, we are not free.
Unless we know the truth about these events we are not a free people and we have not been a free people as long as we have been lied to about the events that occured here. The spirit of our commemorative event is to take those words to heart, and until we know the truth and the full truth of what occured in the street before us today on a day very much like today, a clear, sunny day in the fall of 1963.
On behalf of our organization I will make a challenge to you. Everyone here must be here because you care very deeply about the meaning of this event and what it means to our history as a nation. I will make the challenge to you to join us in our efforts in seeking the full truth about the assassination of President Kennedy. And not just the truth as pieced together by citizens who put in the time and effort to this, but to actually cause the government to tell the truth about this event, and for the government to come forward and give us a full and truthful accounting of what happened here in 1963. Otherwise, we in fact are not the free people we want to be, have been and we should be as a nation.
You know, it is a crime for a citizen of this country to tell a lie to a federal investigator, but it is not a crime for your government to lie to you. And we feel this is an unfair relationship. If it's a crime for us to lie to our government, it should be a crime for us t o lie as well.
It is in that spirit of investigation and of honest inquiry that our organization has worked closely with the Assassinations Records Review Board to get materials out. They ran into an obstructive wall of secrecy at the federal agencies. They told us that they ran into a Cold War system of secrecy that refused to relent on the documents and information as it related to this event. And this was thirty-five years after the event occured, and after a federal board was set up by the Congress to try to get information released about what happened here.
So we call on you to join us in our efforts. We think that great nations and civilizations cannot survive the kinds of doubt and turmoil that have been raised by the events that happened here. If you study the history of great civilizations you will find that when they lost their way in terms of truth, self-governing, democratic and republican institutions began their decline and was one of the reasons for their ultimate collapse. We do not want the decline and decay of our public and political system. We want to be a part of a healthy revival of those institutions.
We have experienced a decline in the public's trust in government since November,1963, a blimp in the charts that notes the significance of these events. Today a majority of people don't even bother to vote. The largest turnout of voters in American history was in 1960. The decline in public confidence in the government began with the ambush at Dealey Plaza and has continually declined since then. These trends are very troubling.
So we ask you to join us and support the effort we have started to try to pursue the truth of these events, to try to pursue credibility, honesty and openness on behalf of our governmental institutions. And by that effort to try to turn our nation in a healthy direction, to build stronger democratic institutions, to build a stronger faith between the pubic and its government. We feel that is essential, and we call on you as free citizens of this nation to join us in that effort.
I'm going to introduce to you a series of speakers who have been very involved in this issue and can give you the benefit of their experience as well. The first is Mark Lane, one of the earliest researchers in this case who did tremendous ground-breaking work, recorded much of his work for posterity and has written extensively about this case.
Mark Lane: I remember coming here thirty-five years ago and there were no crowds on the grassy knoll. But now, after all of these years, although they have a museum over there on the 6th Floor, which is a museum dedicated to a place where nothing happened. They don't have a plaque over here, on the grassy knoll, and they should.
Thirty-five years ago today the Dallas Morning News published a full page ad with the sarcastic heading: "Welcome To Dallas Mr. President," and then went on to practically call him a communist and a trator. That was then.
Today's Dallas Morning News has an editorial: "Kennedy's Legacy - The Time Is Ripe For Idealism," with no references to him being a communist or a traitor. Now he's a great man. They'll tell us everything about John Kennedy, everything, except who killed him. Because look at the rest of the Dallas Morning News, thirty-five years later, when every survey in America shows that 75 to 95% of the people are convinced that there was a conspiracy to kill John Kennedy, here we go in the guise of a book review in today's Dallas Morning News: Oswald Alone Killed Kennedy, Oswald Alone Killed Tippit, One Man Two Murders, they're sticking with the same story. I have but one word for the Dallas Morning News:
Shame. Shame on you, you are discracing the city of Dallas, and it is not fair to do that.
I'll tell you where there should be plaques in this city. There were a number of brave, courageous residents of this city, longtime residents of Texas, who had the courage to speak the truth to power in the face of intimidation and threats. Right over there was Jean Hill, and she's still there thirty-five years later, one of the first to tell the truth that shots came from behind that wooden fence. And they attacked her and ridiculed her. There should be a plaque over there commemorating her right on the spot where she is standing...
The Grassy Knoll should be called "Lee Bowers Memorial Park," the railroad bridge should be the Holland-Dode-Symmons Underpass - that's the monuments that should be named after the people of this state, people who had the courage to come forward with the truth, while the Dallas Morning News lied thirty-five years ago and continues to lie thirty-five years later.
This is the place where our leader was murdered. This is hollowed grown, and the people of this country know it. It is supose to be the largest tourist attraction in Dallas. There's people here all the time, at the grassy knoll, nobody looks for the truth from the 6th floor of the Book Depository building, because the people of America know the truth, even though the Dallas Morning News is unwilling to share the information with us.
That day in Dallas, in this city, at this location, when the government of the United States executed its own president, when that happened, we as a nation, lost our code of honor, lost our sense of honor. And it can only be restored when the government of the United States - and it will not do it without us insisting, and marching and fighting and voting, and putting this matter on the agenda,...but when that day comes that the government of the United States tells us the truth and all the factual details about the assassination, including their role in the murder. When that day comes, honor will be restored to this nation. Thank you.
Dan Alcorn: Our next speaker is a member of the Board of Directors of COPA, a medical doctor from San Francisco who has researched this issue and has written about it in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Columbia Journalism Review, Dr. Gary Agular.
Dr. Gary Agular: It's hard to follow such a powerful speaker as Mark Lane and I certainly can't hope to match his eloquence, wit or command of this case, but what I can share with you is evidence...that autopsy photos are missing. This is something that you will not read in the Dallas Morning News, Time or Newsweek, but is something that is very clearly established, the ARRB releases are very clear on the point, the autopsy pathologists have described autopsy photographs that are missing. One of them defiantly stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which was supposed to tell us the truth about the assassination...which not only did not report that, it wasn't released until the ARRB came along.
There is enormous evidence in the forensic, in the medical area alone that indicates there was more assassin, but what is most shameful of all is the government's willingness, even in subsequent investigations, to lie about that evidence. Thank God there was an Assassinations Records Review Board, thank God they did the work they did, because now we no longer have to rely on government appointed authorities to tell us that we can trust the government's original conclusions, because we know we can't.
We know they've destroyed evidence, not only in the medical-autopsy area, not only among photographs, we know that witnesses have been intimated, and it is ashame that you won't read about that. No credible journalist will touch the story. It is a story not unlike the story of the CIA and crack cocaine, which led to the downfall of Gary Webb, before two volumes of the CIA Inspector's Report that confirmed much more than what Gary Webb even alleged about the CIA's complicity in the cocaine importation. But you won't read about that in the Dallas Morning News. You barely get a small column about it in the New York Times after they devote many, many column inches defamined journalists who talk about the subject.
I think it is important that those of you who are here today continue to insist that your government is accountable to you and does not conduct its operations in secrecy, that it does not deny you the evidence that is collected in its investigations and that it be as accountable to us as it insists we be accountable to it.
I hope you will continue to work with us to force the government to be responsible and admit the full truth about the assassination of President Kennedy.
Dan Alcorn: Our next speaker is a member of the Board of Directors of COPA, a professor at Dartmouth, and the author of a number of books about the assassination, Dr. Phillip Melanson.
Dr. Phillip Melanson: Thank you. As we commemorate the 35th anniversary of this terrible political tragedy that so negatively affected our lives, our policies, our political system and our faith in our own government, we should remind ourselves that the tragedy of the President's assassination is compounded by a separate but related tragedy - the failulre of our law enforcement institutions, the failure of our political institutions and the failure of the media to affectively discover the truth of who killed President Kennedy and why. And until that happens, and it is never too late to find the truth if the citizens demand it, and until that happens the original tragedy will be compounded like a bad political debt into the next millenieum, and the faith in our political system will continue to erode.
I think also the failure to come to grips with who killed President Kennedy and why is related to the other assassinations in the 1960s, and that's why Martin Luther King's is begging the Justice Department to look for justice in that case, and we hear from Siran's lawyer in the case of Robert Kennedy.
If we had come to terms with what happened here at Dealey Plaza, discovered the truth and admitted it, the whole history of the 1960s would be different.
If the vast majority of the public believes this case is an unsolved conspiracy, who are the minority in officialdom to deny us the truth and to cling to the lone-assassin theory like it was an absolute religion in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Dan Alcorn: Our next speaker is an acclaimed author and professor of history at the University of Maryland. His books include JFK and Vietnam and Oswald and the CIA, Dr. John Newman.
Dr. John Newman: I would like to say a few words about the media, and a couple of new developments for all of you gathered here. When I come here at this time of the year, I remember another place, a place connected to this place, and without the events that happened here, the other place would not exist, and that's the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., which is like no other war memorial in the world. I've been to other war memorials in Russia, China and Germany, and people frequent those memorials, they eat lunch there and talk and its a nice place to be. I don't how many of you have been to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C., but nobody hangs out It's a very, very somber place because there's still something going on there, something deep, something that's still in our psyche, and our culture and it connects directly to Dealey Plaza. And I think most people know that.
I'm not going to give a speech on the Vietnam War, but I think it is clear now that John F. Kennedy was on his way to pulling us out of Vietnam when he died, and the events that happened here catapulted us to that devistating debacle called the Vietnam War.
I'd like to echo what Mark Lane said about the media. I just heard that CNN this morning said that for the first time in all these years there were no events planned for Dealey Plaza on this day. So you are not here, this gathering does not exist. Furthermore, the evening before last, none other than Dan Rather, the major icon of the network television, made the announcement that the Review Board had conducted this very large investigation and looked at all these millions of pages of documents and had discovered that the lone-nut hypothesis was true, which was attributed to Judge Tunheim. Judge Tunheim was here in Dallas and refutes this story, and all of you who have followed this story know that the Review Board has taken no such position.
But it never ceases to amaze me how the media can twist and turn and obfuscate and block this mass movement to find the truth. Let me close by giving you a few examples of the information that is flowing out of these new files, and I think these are appropriate because of what happened here at Dealey Plaza. I am thinking particularly of a tape recorded conversation between President Johnson and Senator Russell, one of the Warren Comissoners. At great length they were able to save the situation and preserve the lone-nut hypothesis with that wonderful, sine qua non - CE399, the magic bullet that broke seven bones and came out prestine on a stretcher.
The newly released tape is very interesting because Sen. Russell calls the President to explain to him what this single-bullet theory is, and at the end of it he says distinctly, "I don't believe a word of it." And President Johnson said, "I don't either."
And I think that is appropriate thing to share with you the types of things that are coming out of the files. Then there is the galley proofs of the Warren Report where our estimed President Ford moved the bullet hole up, and these are the types of things that are in the newly released documents, but the mainstream media is not there to put them on page one.
Occasionally they get noted, but its like ships passing in the night. I am heartened to see by the turnout here today, that with respect to the American people, this is not passing in the night and I hope as we stand here today and think about the events that happened here, we pass the torch to a younger generation, which we are doing, our movement and our desire for the truth in this case carries on. Thank you very much.
Dan Alcorn: We are approaching the time in our program which is a memorial to the events that happened here thirty-five years ago, so for that purpose I'd like to introduce to you the executive secretary of COPA, a man who has devoted himself for a number of years to working on the projects we have as an organization, but has also done his own independent research on the assassination. I think that those who have had the experience of working with John Judge know of his serious and sincere commitment to investigating the issues that are at stake here and to his contribution that he has made to the the history of the investigation of the assassination. He has really been the heart and soul of the work we have done through COPA. He has put in a tremendous volunteer effort and sacrificed and suffered a great deal for the efforts he has made, which have gone largely uncompensated. So let me introduce to you the executive secretary of COPA, John Judge.
John Judge: It is interesting to see such a large crowd. For the better part of the last 25 years, I have come out here every year, usually with only five or six people, often in worse weather than this, with researcher and newspaper editor Penn Jones, who some of you know as having done work on the death of the witnesses, who passed on this year.
From the inception of the national security and military-intelligence state in the late 1940s, the history of this country has been a commodity that has been owned by that state. The people who don't own their own history are a conquered people.
Much of the effort I put in has to do with the idea of taking our own history back, of owning it ourselves, since much is still locked up in government vaults and hidden from us and we are really the only ones who can restore it. 35 years ago, in my view, there was a coup d'etat here in Dealey Plaza, and the government has not recovered in any significant way, towards democracy, since that day. Kennedy began to represent for many people, hope and change and a response from the top level of government to the popular movements at the time for civil rights, for arms limitations, for an end to the Cold War, and Kennedy was responding to popular movements in a way that presidents after him rarely have. So what was assassinated here that day was not just a particular man or a particular president, but a sense of hope by the American people. And I think that the government has let us know over the years, fairly consistently, that they did kill the president, and they killed him from a very high level, and that if they can kill the president and get away with it that they can kill anyone of us that they would like to and that we should sit down and shut up and get out of the way.
But I'm hoping that there is enough decency left in people in America, and I see evidence of that all the time, that we can understand that there are more of us, and that we can think, and we can take back our own democracy, if we want it.
It is now 12:30, and 35 years ago President Kennedy was assassinated here, so lets have a moment of silence.
[Two minutes of silence]
Peter Dale Scott, a researcher who could not be with us here today, sent an e-mail in which he said a few interesting things. He said that we've come into a new era in that one of the major tasks ahead of us right now is to focus on getting the government documents that are still locked up on the Martin Luther King assassination. The other thing he noted was a government statute that makes it illegal for a citizen of this country to lie to the government, and he suggested that a similar statute be passed that would make it illegal for the government to lie to its people.
I hope you will take this topic seriously and continue to act to get the full release of the files and to get the truth, and you are welcome to join us at COPA in fulfilling the remainder of our agenda and what is to be done in the future. You are welcome to join us and take your democracy back.
Dan Alcorn: We have a few other speakers here, including former FBI agent William Turner, whose books have been translated into Russian, German, Japanese, French and Spanish. He is currently working on a new book entitled: "Rearview Mirror - Looking back at the FBI, CIA and Other Tails.
William Turner: Thank you Dan. It's been exactly 35 years ago and two days that I came here on assignment for a national magazine to do an article on the breakdown in security that resulted in the assassination being successful. I was assigned to it because of my background as a former FBI agent. I can tell you that when I arrived the mood was really somber, the floodlights were on, reporters from all over the world were converging, people had left floral wreaths along the curbstone where the shooting took place, and it was very erry. The headquarters of the Dallas Police Department was a feeding frenzy of reporters trying to find out what happened. I was on a very tight deadline, I could only contend with the security breakdown issue at the time, which was that Oswald had worked as an informant for the FBI and that was the reason they had not furnished his name to the Secret Service prior to the presidential visit.
One thing I remember was talking to a Dallas patrolman named Malcolm Eugene Barnett who had been posted in front of the School Book Depository for crowd control at the time of the assassination. He told me that a women came running from the grassy knoll who told him that shots were fired from here. That being the case, I became very critical of the Warren Commission and when it's report came out I read it and realized it was pretty much a fairy tale. I am proud to say that I was associated with District Attorney Jim Garrison in New Orleans who tried to reopen the investigation into the assassination. Jim was a great American and was on the trail of the assassins, as his book says, when he was destroyed by the media at the Clay Shaw trial. The Garrison investigation paved the way for what we know today, and I believe that we know to a good degree of journalistic certitude what happened.
First the motives were piling up, John Kennedy had supposidly with held air cover for the Bay of Pigs, motive number one. John Kennedy had failed to invade Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October, 1962, motive number two. John Kennedy had promised to withdraw from Vietnam, motive number three. Motive number four is that John Kennedy, at the time he was assassinated, was on a second track, which was to secretly carry on negotiations with Cuba to bring about a detente. These motives piled up to the point where it became necessary to assassinate him. And I think it is very obvious with the compilation of information that we have today that the whole mechanism of it came out of the allegiance between the CIA and the rabid Cuban exiles and the Mafia, who already had an assassination apparatus set up to kill Castro. They switched targets and hit Kennedy.
And I hope you will join us, in recognizing the significance of the events that happened here, and try to do something about it. Thank you.
Hal Verb: The saying on the wall at the CIA: "Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free," is wrong. When you know the truth, the truth makes you MAD!"
Bill Simpich, San Francisco attorney, is the author of this series of article on those who helped frame Oswald as the assassin of President Kennedy.
THE JFK CASE: The Twelve Who Built The Oswald Legend
(Part 6: White Russians Keep An Eye On Oswald In Dallas)
You should read it where the links work:
Oswald Legend Maker #9 – George DeMohrenschildt -
By Bill Simpich
Bill Simpich is a civil rights attorney and an antiwar activist in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Read all eight of Bill Simpich's series of articles on the JFK assassination. http://www.opednews....uthor41722.html
After Oswald returned home from the USSR, George de Mohrenschildt became Legend Maker #9
The Dallas-Fort Worth community of Soviet and Eastern European emigres - referred to as "White Russians" - took Oswald and his family under their wing upon their arrival from the USSR in May 1962. Consider the importance of White Russian defectors as spies. A re-defector like Lee Harvey Oswald was even more exotic.Theability of a defector to report what is happening behind enemy lines is the ultimate counterintelligence prize.
The White Russian community settled on using George deMohrenschildt as Oswald's mentor, one of the few liberals in the community who enjoyed spending time with the man. This chapter will focus on deMohrenschildt's intelligence connections with Radio Free Europe, key RFE officials Allen Dulles and Cord Meyer, and CI chief James Angleton.
Max Clark, an attorney and former industrial security supervisor at General Dynamics, was a mentor for de Mohrenschildt and this community. Clark was part of a network of security personnel that put the squeeze on the Kennedy Administration that year to get General Dynamics' TFX project in Fort Worth approved over their Boeing competitors At the time, this deal to churn out the F-111 fighters was one of the largest military contracts in history.
The White Russian community harbored an underground anti-Soviet movement known as the NTS.
The Dallas White Russian community was tightly aligned withan anti-Soviet movement known by its Russian initials of "NTS"(National Alliance of Russian Solidarists). NTS was founded in 1930 by "second generation" White Russian emigres. At that time, most of them were living in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. Yugoslaviais where Mr. and Mrs. Igor Voshinin met and married in early 1940 - they moved to Dallas, were active in NTS, and knew Oswald. During this era, "Solidarism" was a quasi-fascist ideology that saw corporations as an ideal and Benito Mussolini as a model of leadership.
In the 1940s, NTS was thoroughly enmeshed with Hitler's war effort. After Germany attacked the USSR during World War II, NTS was allowed to set up a Berlin headquarters and encouraged to proselytize in Soviet territories under German control among both POWs and civilians. When the tides of war shifted, NTS swung back into alliance with the Americans.
After World War II, the CIA included NTS within the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty organization. Radio Free Europe focused on the East European Soviet satellites, while Radio Liberty focused on the USSR itself. A House report described Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Liberty as "thebest known CIA proprietaries". These were pet projects of International Organizations chief Cord Meyer, who headed these radios from 1954 to 1971. Meyer consulted directly and frequently to CIA director Allen Dulles before making any controversial decisions. As described earlier in this series, CI chief Jim Angleton and Cord Meyer were the best of friends. Meyer described Angleton as his hero. They were also Legend Makers #1 and #2 for Lee Harvey Oswald, as they had very special relationships with the people who either befriended or studied Oswald.
After meeting with Meyer, Radio Liberty decreed that anyone adhering to NTS' "organizational discipline" would not be allowed to work at RL. NTS infiltrated and dominated groups that challenged its supremacy. NTS members tried to sabotage the installations and intimidate the exile staffs. Meyer saw it as part of his responsibility to "try to provide the radio with the counter-intelligence protection against this continuing intimidation...it was a never ending task".
During the 1950s, the famed anti-war Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin (the inspiration for the Rev. Scott Sloan in Doonesbury) joined the CIA. Coffin worked with the NTS to smuggle their spies into the USSR by parachute in a program known as REDSOX. Most of them were killed. Coffin looked back on the experience: "It was a fundamentally bad idea...we were quite naive about the use of American power."
At its peak, NTS had about 100,000 members and its headquarters near Berlin in Frankfurt. In 1958,Soviet consul Gregoriy Golub confided that it was"a great step in his career" when he was successful in halting NTS'campaign of writing harassing letters to the Soviet personnel in Helsinki.
William Blum, the author of Killing Hope, says that CIA decided that the NTS provided the best analysis about the Soviet Union, and became their main financial backer: "From North Africa to Scandinavia, the CIA network confronted Soviet seamen, tourists, officials, athletes, even Soviet soldiers in East Germany, to present them with the Truth as seen by the "Free World," as well as to pry information from them, to induce them to defect, or to recruit them as spies." By 1963, the State Department was helping NTS send broadcasts to Soviet troops in far-flung places such as the Dominican Republic. Although the NTS' power waned over time, the Soviet Communist Party admitted its fear of the NTS and other groups working with Western security agencies as late as 1990.
The intelligence background of George deMohrenschildt and his role in the Dallas-Fort Worth White Russian community
The CIA-funded NTS network greeted the Oswald family upon their arrival to Fort Worth. Lee Oswald, however, was a little bit too weird for this community to embrace. It took another outsider - the eccentric baron George de Mohrenschildt -- to bring Lee towards the fold as Legend Maker #9.
De Mohrenschildt's father was Russian, of German and Swedish descent, and was a marshal of nobility of the Minsk province. Similarly, his Russian mother was of Polish and Hungarian descent. The Bolsheviks ran the family off their Russian home, and they were forced to move to Poland and consolidate their land holdings. One story is that de Mohrenschildt's father was killed by the Bolsheviks; another story is that his father was arrested but escaped. De Mohrenschildt observed that "most of the colony in Dallas is more emotionally involved in Russian affairs then we are, because they are closer to them. All of them have been relatively recently in Soviet Russia -while my wife has never been in Soviet Russia in her whole life, and I was 5 or6 when I left it. So to me it does not mean very much."
De Mohrenschildt had an extremely deep background with the intelligence community, going back for more than twenty years. His handler appears to have been Thomas Schreyer, identified as"the acting chief" of the Cord Meyer's International Organizations Division back in 1956. This means that Schreyer worked very closely with Cord Meyer. In April1963, the Domestic Operations Division asked for traces on de Mohrenschildt, with Schreyer's name provided as the source for any follow-up.
The CIA admitted before the assassination that de Mohrenschildt was "of interest" to them. CIA Dallas resident agent J. Walton Moore stayed in touch with de Mohrenschildt, which will be discussed later in this series. Covert action chief Richard Helms acknowledged that de Mohrenschildt and his wife provided useful foreign intelligence in 1957. His brother Dimitri von Mohrenschildt, described by the CIA as being "employed in a confidential capacity by the U.S. government," is said to have been one of the founders of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. A lengthy CIA-created list entitled "Companies and People Known to be Associated with deMohrenschildt" includes only one political group: "Dallas Committee Radio Free Europe."_DeMohenschildt's wife in Philadelphia, Phyllis Washington, also worked for RadioFree Europe in the early fifties.
The Radio Free Europe connection is an important link between Cord Meyer and George de Mohrenschildt. George couldn't get OSS credentials during World War II because of security disapproval. He was subjected to five separate investigations by intelligence during the 1940s and 50s. Officers like Meyer and Schreyer, however, understood the nature of his relationship with people such as the Jacqueline Bouvier family and the White Russian community. A CIA memo notes that George knew the families of the Kennedys and the Oswalds better than anyone else.
One of George's contacts exposes his hidden CIA connections. In 1954, a young oil lawyer named Herbert Itkin wrangled a meeting in Philadelphia with Allen Dulles, the first chief of Radio Free Europe and future CIA chief. Dullesset him up with a meeting with de Mohrenschildt, who told Itkin he was"from that man in Philadelphia" and that his name was Philip Harbin. William Gaudet verified at an HSCA deposition that he knew George under his alias as Philip Harbin. De Mohrenschildt's beloved and soon-to-be new wife, Jeanne,was from Harbin, China. Angleton testified that Dulles was a very close friend of his own family. Angleton had both an Itkin file and a "Mike/Portio/Haiti" file (Itkin's code name was Portio). Itkin claimed he met "Harbin"in 1954, while CIA general counsel Larry Houston claimed that he could not find any Itkin files prior to 1964 after thousands of hours of search. This was probably because Angleton's personal Itkin and Portio files were kept apart fromthe CIA records system, and were only discovered after Angleton was fired in1974. All indications are that de Mohrenschildt was provided to Dulles by Angleton.
Working under the Harbin alias, deMohrenschildt worked with Itkin in oil matters as a nonpaid, voluntary agent between 1954 to 1960, before Itkin moved on to work with another agent. Itkin's skills enabled US Attorney Bob Morgenthau to win convictions against New York political boss Carmine DeSapio and city commissioner James Marcus. Morgenthau's office described Itkin as "probably the most important informer the FBI ever had outside the espionage field. He never lied to us. His information was always accurate."
By May 1963, Itkin became the attorney for the Haitian government-in-exile. CIA documents show that Itkin's handler in 1963 was Mario Brod, who was recruited in Italy by James Angleton during World War II and had operational involvements in Haiti. Before his brother was killed, Bobby Kennedy himself was relying onmob tips from Itkin. In 1966, Itkin was reportedly researching under his code name "Portio," while Angleton held onto his private "Mike/Portio/Haiti" file. In 1968, CIRA (CI research and analysis chief) Ray Rocca sworethat the "CI Staff definitely never was in contact" with Itkin.By 1971, CIRA's bird-dog investigator Paul Hartman was asking to review Itkin's CIA file, no doubt to educate himself on some fine points.
De Mohrenschildt's relationship with the NTS in Dallas
De Mohrenschildt knew all about NTS, telling the Warren Commission about "This group of Russian refugees (who) called themselves Solidarists. And Mr. and Mrs. Voshinin in Dallas belonged to that group and tried to make me join it. Not being interested, I refused, but I read some of their publications. And it is apro-American group of Russian refugees who have an economic doctrine of their own. And they seem to have some people working in the Soviet Union for them, and all that sort of thing. It is a pretty well-known political party that - their headquarters is in Germany."
The NTS was very active in Dallas. When the group's leader was interviewed in New Yorkin 1957 by the FBI, the two Dallas people he knew were oil man Paul Raigorodsky and NTS activist Igor Voshinin. Raigorodsky, known as the "Czar" of the White Russian community, was the head of the Office of Petroleum Coordination for War for two years during the forties. Igor Voshinin and his wife Natalie lived in the New York City area between 1947-1955, and then moved to Dallas. When Mrs. Voshinin was interviewed by the FBI on Dec. 10, 1963, less than three weeks after the Kennedy assassination, she made it clear just how serious the Solidarist movement was in the Dallas area:
"She and her husband are members of NTS - Russian Solidarists, which she stated is known as the National Union of Working People, which organization has a representative in Washington D.C. She stated this organization exists in the form of an underground movement in Russia and also has groups in the rest of the world; that its objectives include the abolishing of Communism and the establishment of private enterprise."
Jenner was careful not to ask her any questions about theNTS at the Warren Commission hearing. But the irrepressible Natalie Voshinin still managed to flip the script. When Jenner was probing for communistic connections by de Mohrenschildt, she exclaimed that "George repeatedly hinted that he was performing some services for the State Department, you know,of the United States, yes. And under those circumstances, you just don't feel like asking any questions". Jenner quickly changed the subject.
De Mohrenschildt once made a presentation at a lecture hall about General Vlasov's Russian POWs that fought on the side of the Germans atthe end of World War II, discussed at the beginning of this chapter. Just to shock his Jewish friends at the club, de Mohrenschildt quipped "I came to the conclusion that Himmler wasn't a bad boy at all". Raigorodsky agreed that de Mohrenschildt was a "prankster". De Mohrenschildt settled down as a member of a political grouping that is virtually extinct - a liberal Republican. He said that Kennedy was the first Democrat he would ever vote for. Both De Mohrenschildt and Oswald were attracted by the union of opposites.
Look at de Mohrenschildt's musings about Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev: "He is gone now, God bless his Bible-quoting soul andhis earthy personality." On the plight of the poor, George brought up his bond with LeeOswald: "I am from New Orleans,as a kid I met refugees from all these banana republics. No better sourceof information. In this way, Lee and I were non-conformist, even revolutionaries...A younger man, I was career and money mad, a hustler...But Lee was the same since his childhood, which made him such a beautiful and worthwhile person to me."
As an aristocratic liberal from a mixed ethnic background, de Mohrenschildt was an outsider in the White Russian community. DeMohrenschildt turned to George Bouhe for guidance in how to get things done. Bouhe was an old-school kind of guy - born in Leningrad when it was still St. Petersburgand a bit of an aristocrat himself.
Bouhe was an accountant for one of the local oil barons and served as a patriarch in the community. Bouhe testified that Paul Raigorodsky was the 'godfather' of the group, while he himself did the organization work.
Bouhe formed the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Parish, one of the two Russian Orthodox parishes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 1963. Also known as the "Bouhe group," they met in individual homes with a priest from Houston visiting every five or six weeks and had services in Church Slavonic, an old Slavic language that is different from modern Russian language. De Mohrenschildt was part of St. Nicholas' choir when married to his Philadelphia wife. The other church, St. Seraphim's, was located at 4203 Newton Street in Dallas, where Igor Voshinin attended and services were in English. Voshinin didn't like Bouhe because he was very publicly in everyone's business, saying things like "Well, you know, I forget things - so I keep a file on everybody."
De Mohrenschildt's attorney Max Clark had an intelligence background, doubling as an industrial security supervisor at General Dynamics.
When the White Russian community heard about Oswald, they sought out Max Clark's opinion as how they should respond to Oswald. DeMohrenschildt considered Clark to be his lawyer.
De Mohrenschildt testified that he thought Clark was connected with the FBI in some way. Clark referred to his interviewing agent Earle Haley as "Earl," and told the Warren Commission that he was familiar with Haley and the FBI from working with them when he worked security at General Dynamics.
"Everyone was discussing that as to whether or not they should (associate with Oswald) especially when he first came back and all of them asked me and I said, "In my mind he is a defector and you know what he is..."
Clark was an industrial security supervisor at the Convair wing of General Dynamics and well-versed in the ways of intelligence. In 1951, Convair had landed the Air Force contract for the first funded ICBM study contract. Max's wife, Gali Clark, was an excellent Russian speaker sought out by Oswald to help his family get situated after their return from the USSR. Her name was in Oswald's address book.
Max Clark had a close relationship to General Dynamics supervisor I. B. Hale
Three years earlier in 1959, Max Clark had received a CIA "covert security approval" in "Project ROCK" during the same time period that then-foreign intelligence chief Bill Harvey of Staff D worked on the U-2 related Project ROCK.
A covert security clearance with the CIA gives the CIA officer the right to share classified information with a civilian. A CSC is telling evidence of strong interactions between the subject and the CIA, whether the subject is witting or unwitting.
Max Clark's file states that he "worked closely" with I. B. Hale, a former FBI agent who was the chief of industrial security at General Dynamics. I. B. Hale had been married to Virginia Hale, who got Oswaldhis sheet metal worker job at Leslie Whiting during July 1962. When interviewed after the assassination, Virginia Hale said that she remembered Oswald "quite well".
The Hale family was involved with blackmailing the Kennedy Administration in the TFX scandal
During this time, the Hale family was involved in a brazen campaign of extortion designed to force the Kennedy Administration into approving General Dynamics as the prime contractor to build the TFX bomber at their Fort Worth plant. This plane is now better known as the F-111. At the time, this 7 billion dollar contract was the largest military contract in history.
Two weeks after I.B.'s wife Virginia got Oswald a job, their sons led a break-in at Judith Campbell's house. Campbell was the girlfriend of not only John F. Kennedy, but also Mafia chieftains Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli.
Attempted blackmail around the TFX contract would appear to be the motive. Two months later, in October 1962,General Dynamics won the 7 billion dollar contract over the heavily favored Boeing. Thiscontroversial decision dogged the Kennedy Administration from that day.
In Part 7: Some fancy Cuban dance steps by the CIA, de Mohrenschildt, and Army Intelligence
NTS was founded in 1930 by "second generation" White Russian emigres. At that time, most of them were living in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria: Kevin Coogan, Dreamer of the Day, (Autonomedia: Brooklyn, 1999), p. 572.
Yugoslavia is where Mr. and Mrs. Igor Voshinin met andmarried in early 1940 - Dallas emigres, active in NTS, and knew Oswald: Testimony of Mrs. Igor Voshinin, 3/26/64. Warren Commission Hearings, Volume8, p. 427.
After Germany attacked the USSR during World War II, NTS was allowed to set up a Berlin headquarters: Arch Puddington, Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2000), p.160.
After World War II, the CIA included NTS and its journal Possev (Seed) within the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty organization: Coogan, Dreamer of the Day, p. 573.
A report by the House Select Committee onAssassinations described Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Liberty as "the bestknown CIA proprietaries": Narration by G. Robert Blakey, Chief Counsel, HSCA Appendix Volumes/ HSCA Report, Volume IV, p. 3.
Cord Meyer was the division chief in charge of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty from 1954 until 1971: Puddington, p. 24.
After meeting with Meyer, Radio Liberty decreed that anyone adhering to NTS' "organizational discipline" would not be allowed to work at RL, because of NTS' history of infiltrating organizations and dominating them: Puddington, p. 162.
NTS had itsheadquarters near Berlin in Frankfurt: Memorandum by Thomas A. Parrott to the Special Group, 4/26/63, p. 3, Miscellaneous CIA Series / NARA Record Number:104-10306-10024.
Meyer saw it as part of his responsibility to "try to provide the radio with the counter-intelligence protection against this continuing intimidation"...: Cord Meyer, Facing Reality,pp. 120-121.
Coffin looked back on the experience: "It was a fundamentally bad idea...we were quite naive about the use of American power." Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes (New York, Doubleday: 2007), p. 47.
Soviet consul Golub confides that it was "a great step inhis career" when he was successful in halting NTS...: Memo from CIA's Helsinki Chief of Station to Chief, Western Europe, 1/24/58.The CIA network confronted Soviet seamen, tourists, officials, athletes, even Soviet soldiers in East Germany...to induce them to defect, or to recruit them as spies: William Blum, Killing Hope, p. 116-118.On August 5, Marilyn Monroe died in Brentwood, an affluent LA suburb, with a Kennedy phone number near herbed.There are many well-known stories tying her with close relationships with both JFK and RFK. The next day, August 6, JFK mistress Judith Campbell twice called the White House. A note in the White House log shows that Kennedy was in conference, with the scrawled addition "no." Knowing of these relationships, the Hoover FBI had created a stake-out across the street from Campbell's home. While Special Agent William Carter was on duty, he saw two young men in their 20s come to Campbell's apartment. Campbell was not home, and the FBI later verified that she was elsewhere. One of the perpetrators went inside the apartment, while the other one stood as lookout on the balcony. Agent Carter obtained the license plate numbers for the car, which matched Hale's car. The FBI agent concluded that the perpetrators were Hale's sons based on their age (early 20s) and their physical description. The perpetrators left after about 15 minutes without taking anything. It is reasonable to assume that they had planted a listening bug. The reason for the stakeout is right in the FBI report: The FBI had heard the stories that Judith Campbell was thegirlfriend of Sam Giancana, Johnny Roselli, and JFK.The FBI wanted no part of this case and declined to take any further action after running out a few leads.
By 1963, the NTS was broadcasting to Soviet troops in far-flungplaces such as the Dominican Republic: Memo by Thomas Parrott to the 303Committee Group, 4/26/63,Miscellaneous CIA Series / NARA Record Number:104-10306-10024.J
In 1990, the Communist Party within the Soviet Union admittedits fear of the NTS and other groups working with Western security agencies inpreparation for the collapse of the Soviet government: JPRS Report – Soviet Union Political Affairs,1/9/90, pp. 16-17.
DeMohrenschildt's father was Russian, of German and Swedish descent, and was amarshal of nobility of the Minsk province...: Warren Commission testimony of George deMohrenschildt, Volume 9, pages 168-169.
The Bolsheviks ran the family off their Russian home, and theywere forced to move to Poland and consolidate their land holdings: Nancy Wertz, "George de Mohrenschildt, Who Are You?", The Fourth Decade, Volume 5, Issue 5, July 1998.
One story is that de Mohrenschildt's father was killed by theBolsheviks: Statement of Igor Pantoroff, an NYC portrait artist, who knew de Mohrenschildt since the early 40s. See report of SA James Morrissey, 2/28/64,p. 18, Reel 5, Folder M -- George de Mohrenschildt, NARA Record Number: 1994.04.25.14:02:25:940005.
Another story is that his father was arrested, but escaped: Statement of Igor Voshinin. See memo of SA James K. Fresney, 3/12/64, Reel 5, Folder M -- George deMohrenschildt, NARA Record Number:1994.04.25.14:02:25:940005.
De Mohrenschildt observed that "most of the colony inDallas is more emotionally involved in Russian affairs then we are...So to meit does not mean very much." Warren Commission Hearings, Testimony of George de Mohrenschildt, Volume 9, p. 266.
De Mohrenschildt had an extremely deep background with theintelligence community, going back for more than twenty years: A good source on his background is Nancy Wertz, "George de Mohrenschildt, Who AreYou?", Fourth Decade, Volume 5, No. 5, p. 8, July 1998.
His handler appears to have been Thomas Schreyer, identified as "the acting chief" of the IO Division back in1956...: 7/6/56 memo from Thomas Schreyer to DCI, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 14 /NARA Record Number: 1993.07.14.17:33:14:000480.
Schreyer also signed the Fitness Reports during the sixties erafor E. Howard Hunt, who was a key contact for the Cuban exiles: 12/20/73 memo by DDO, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 37 / NARA Record Number: 104-10105-10233.
It is curious Hunt advanced so far in the agency, as he was described as "unstable" to CIAsecurity officer Robert Bannerman as early as 1949.
In April 1963, C. Frank Stone at the Domestic OperationsDivision asked for traces on de Mohrenschildt. Background information wasprovided, and Schreyer's name was provided as the source for any follow-up: 5/9/63, Response to Request for Traces by REDACTED .Russ Holmes Work File /NARA Record Number: 104-10436-10014.
TheCIA admitted before the assassination that de Mohrenschildt was "ofinterest" to them: Memo by Richard Helms to Warren Commission counsel J. Lee Rankin, 6/3/64,HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 62 / NARA Record Number: 1993.08.06.15:03:12:400028.
CIA Director Richard Helms complimented de Mohrenschildt for providing valuable foreign intelligence in 1957: Id.
His brother Dimitri von Mohrenschildt, described by the CIA asbeing "employed in a confidential capacity by the U.S.government": Memo, "#775 Subject was Investigated by Federal Agencies", p.2, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 41 / NARA Record Number: 104-10112-10454.
He is said to have been one of the founders of Radio FreeEurope and Radio Liberty: All Experts website: http://en.allexperts...hrenschildt.htm . Also see Joseph Trento, The Secret History of the CIA.
This CIA bio of George states that "Dimitri is stated tobe employed in a confidential capacity by the U.S.Government." Memo, "#775 Subject was Investigated by Federal Agencies", p. 2,HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 41 / NARA Record Number: 104-10112-10454.
Records indicate that Dimitri was approved to work with the OSSand that he provided intelligence services for the CIA in the 1950s: Biographic information on George De Mohrenschildt, 12/21/67, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 41 / NARA Record Number: 104-10112-10442.
Here's a 1968 CIA document looking at using Dimitri at thatlate date as a source: 11/1/68,Interoffice Memorandum, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 5: Conte - DeMohrenschildt) / NARA Record Number: 104-10244-10132.
A lengthy CIA-created list entitled "Companies and PeopleKnown to be Associated with De Mohrenschildt" includes only one politicalgroup: "Dallas Committee Radio Free Europe.": See title page and p. 5, Reel 5, Folder M, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 5: Conte - DeMohrenschildt) / NARA Record Number:1994.04.25.14:02:25:940005.
ACIA memo notes a New York Times article and a de Mohrenschildt quote indicatingthat George knew the families of the Kennedys and the Oswalds better thananyone else: Office of Security background information on George de Mohrenschildt, 4/28/75, p. 2, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 34 / NARA Record Number: 1993.07.20.11:12:53:400530.
Georgecouldn't get OSS credentials during World War II because of security disapproval: Memo from M.D. Stevens to Chief/Research Branch/SRS/OS, 12/30/63, p. 2,HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 47 / NARA Record Number: 1993.07.31.08:46:41:900046.
He was subjected to five separate investigations byintelligence during the 40s and 50s: Memo, "#775 Subject was Investigated by Federal Agencies", p. 2, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 41 / NARA Record Number: 104-10112-10454.
One of the recruitments of de Mohrenschildt exposes his rootsin Pennsylvania from back in the day with his Quaker wife Phyllis Hamilton: See the passport information inRuss Holmes Work File / NARA Record Number: 104-10431-10041.
On Phyllis Washington's employment at Radio Free Europe: See memo from M.D. Stevens to Chief/Research Branch/SRS/OS,12/30/63, p. 2, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 47 / NARA Record Number:
On Dulles setting up Itkin's meeting with "PhilipHarbin" in 1954: See Memorandum for the Record by CIAcounsel Lawrence Houston, 11/20/68,p. 2, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 38 / NARA RecordNumber: 1993.07.20.16:58:46:960340 .
CIA chief Allen Dulles was the first chief of Radio Free Europe after World War II: Puddington, p. 25.
William Gaudet verified at an HSCA deposition that he knew De Mohrenschildt under his alias as Philip Harbin: Gaudet's 6/15/78 deposition is at the National Archives,JFK Document 010347.
Nancy Wertz discusses Gaudet's claim that de Mohrenschildt was"Philip Harbin" in her article, "William Gaudet – Make Room for the Man at the Front of the Line", Kennedy Assassination Chronicles, Volume 5, Issue 2.
DeMohrenschildt's beloved and soon-to-be new wife, Jeanne, was from Harbin,China: FBI memo, 2/28/64, p. 69, Reel 5, Folder M -- George deMohrenschildt, NARA Record Number:1994.04.25.14:02:25:940005.
Angleton testified that Dulles was a very close friend of hisfamily: Deposition of James Angleton, p. 31, Church Committee Boxed Files / NARA Record Number: 157-10014-10003.
LawrenceHouston said in a 3/20/70 Memorandum for the Record that "everything wecould determine after thousands of hours of research was that the first contactwith Mr. Itkin was in 1962": HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 38 /NARA Record Number: 104-10106-10434.
There was a 1974 discovery of an Itkin file and a"MIKE/PORTIO/HAITI" file in Angelton's possession, just two files ofmany that Angleton kept out of the CIA records: Memo from David H. Blee, Chief, CI Staff, to Chief, Information Management Group,11/29/79, Miscellaneous CIA Series / NARA Record Number: 104-10303-10000
Itkin's Story of His Work for the CIA: As related by notes, by Warren Donovan, 1/17/68, NARA Record Number:104-10107-10116; for a broader overview, see Time Magazine, 10/17/69;and how he got his CIA code name "Portio" and more in the New York Times, 12/15/69.
Itkin brought down Carmine DeSapio and city commissioner JamesMarcus: Martin Arnold, "Marcus, DeSapio Trophies for Shadow Worker Itkin", New York Times, 1/2/70, NARARecord Number: 1993.07.24.08:41:29:500310
During May of 1963, Itkin became the attorney for the Haitiangovernment-in-exile, and filed papers with the State Department to register asthe group's foreign agent: Memo from C/WH/7/CI to Chief, WH/FI, Subject: Herbert Itkin, 9/19/68, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 38 / NARA Record Number: 1993.07.20.16:58:46:960340
Itkin's handler in 1963 was Mario Brod, who was recruited in Italy by James Angleton during World WarII and had operational involvements in Haiti: Notes re memo from Jerrold B. Brown for Inspector General, "Possible Questionable Activity", 7/1/75, pp. 1-2, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (staff notes) /NARA Record Number: 180-10143-10196.
Before his brother was killed, Bobby Kennedy himself was relying onmob tips from Itkin : Memo from Jerrold B. Brown for Inspector General, "Possible Questionable Activity", 7/1/75, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 43/ NARA Record Number:104-10119-10002. , 7HSCASegregated CIA Collection, Box 43 / NARA Record Number: 104-10119-10002.
In 1966, Itkin was reportedly researching the case of theSovi et spy George Blake, under his code name "Portio," whileAngleton held onto his private "Mike/Portio/Haiti" file:"Noteson People", New York Times, 2/23/72 HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 43 / NARA Record Number:1993.07.24.08:41:29:500310.
"Mike" at the CIA got the articleabout"Itkin/Portio" anonymously in the mail, according to Ray Rocca: Note by DC/CI Ray Rocca on Routing and Record Sheet, 2/29/72,HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 38 / NARA Record Number: 104-10106-10341.
Angleton held onto his private "Mike/Portio/Haiti"file: The Mike/Portio/Haiti file was held in Angleton's office and not integrated with CIA documents. Memo from David H. Blee, Chief, CI Staff, 3/29/79, Miscellaneous CIA Series /NARA Record Number: 104-10303-10000.
By 1971, Paul Hartman from CIRA was asking to review Itkin'sCIA file, no doubt to educate himself on some fine points: 6/4/71 request by Paul Hartman for Itkin's security file, NARA Record Number:1993.07.24.08:41:29:500310.
Thisgroup of Russian refugees called themselves Solidarists: Warren Commission testimony of George DeMohrenschildt, Vol. 9, p. 267.
When the group's leader was interviewed in New York in 1957 bythe FBI, the Dallaspeople he knew of that were active at that time wereIgor Voshinin and oil man Paul Raigorodsky: Memo by SA Paul Garrity, New York, to Director, FBI, 10/21/57, FBI - HSCA Subject Files, Q - R/ FBI - HSCA Subject File: Paul M. Raigorodsky / NARA Record Number: 124-90123-10010.
Raigorodsky, known as the "Czar", served as the chiefof the Petroleum Coordinator for War during two years in the forties: 9/16/52 memo by St. Louis FBI. FBI - HSCA Subject File: Paul M. Raigorodsky /NARA Record Number: 124-90123-10089.
Igor Voshinin and his wife Natalie lived in the New York Cityarea between 1947-1955, when they moved to Dallas: Testimony of Igor Voshinin, Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. 8, p. 450.
The NTS - Russian Solidarists...exists in the form of anunderground movement in Russia and also has groups in the rest of the world:FBIinterview by SA Kenneth B. Jackson with Mrs. Igor Voshinin, 12/10/63, Dallas, Texas;Oswald 201 File, Vol 16/, CD 205, Part 1.
George repeatedly hinted that he was performing some servicesfor the State Department...Mrs. Igor (Natalie) Voshinin, Warren Commission Hearings. 8, p. 442, 3/26/64.
DeMohrenschildt made a presentation at a lecture hall about General Vlasov's Russianarmy that fought on the side of the Germans: Testimony of Igor Voshinin, Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 8, page 468.
Raigorodskyagreed that de Mohrenschildt was a "prankster": Testimony of Paul Raigorodsky, 3/31/64,Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. 9, p. 20. When asked if de Mohrenschildt was a "provocativepersonality", Natalie Voshinin said "definitely". Id., Vol.8, p. 443.
Hesaid that Kennedy was the first Democrat he would ever vote for: George de Mohrenschildt, manuscript of I'm a Patsy! I'm a Patsy! HSCA Report, Volume 12, p. 225.
Lookat de Mohrenschildt's musings about Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev: "He is gone now, God bless his Bible-quoting soul and his earthypersonality": George de Mohrenschildt, I'm aPatsy!, p. 204.
On the plight of the poor, George brought up his bond with LeeOswald: George de Mohrenschildt, I'm a Patsy!, p. 187.
Bouhetestified that Paul Raigorodsky was the'godfather' of the group, while hehimself did the organization work: Warren Commission Hearings, Testimony of George Bouhe, Vol. 8, p. 358.
GeorgeBouhe formed the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Parish, one of the two RussianOrthodox parishes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 1963: FBI interview by James Hosty of Igor Voshinin,12/12/63, Commission Document 205 - FBI Report of 23 Dec 1963 re: Oswald,p. 593.Testimony of George Bouhe, Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. 8, p. 357.
The "Bouhe group" met in individual homes with apriest from Houston visiting every five or six weeks and had services in ChurchSlavonic, an old Slavic language: Mrs. Igor Voshinin, Vol. 8, p. 430, 3/26/64.
De Mohrenschildt was part of St. Nicholas' choir when marriedto a Philadelphi woman from the prominent Sharples family: Warren Commission Hearings, Testimony of Igor Voshinin, Vol. 8, p. 455.
The other church, St. Seraphim's, was located at 4203 NewtonStreet in Dallas,where Igor Voshinin attended and services were in English: FBI interview by James Hosty of Igor Voshinin, 12/12/63, Commission Document 205 - FBI Report of 23 Dec 1963 re: Oswald,p. 593.
Bouhewas in everyone's business, saying things like: "Well, you know, Iforget things - so I keep a file on everybody." : Warren Commission Hearings, Testimony of Igor Voshinin, Volume 8, p. 454.
DeMohrenschildt considered Clark to be his lawyer: Interview by Norman E. Warner, First Secretary of the American Embassy in Haiti, of George DeMohrnschildt, 12/4/63
Clarkreferred to his interviewing agent Earle Haley as "Earl": Testimony of Max Clark, Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 8, pp. 349, 352.
Everyonewas discussing whether or not they should (associate with Oswald): Testimony of Max Clark, Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 8, p. 351.
Back in 1951, Convair had also won the Air Force contract for the first funded ICBM study contract: George Michael Evica, A Certain Arrogance, (Xlibris, 2006), p. 205.
Her name was in Oswald's address book: See the Office of Security memo, with Max Clark'sbio and OSI file: RIF# 104-10419-10316, pp.1-5.
Clark received a "covert security approval" by theCIA in April 1959 for use in what was referred to as "Project ROCK": RIF# 104-10419-10316.
William Harvey was part of Project ROCK during this timeperiod: HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 42/ RIF# 104-10106-10581.
Also see M. D. Stevens memo to file, 1/30/64, "Lee Harvey Oswald/Address Book", HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 47, NARA Record Number: 104-10132-10011. Re the U-2 (Aquatone) tie-in with Project ROCK.
Max Clark worked closely with I.B. Hale, the chief ofindustrial security at General Dynamics: HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 40; NARA Record Number: 1993.08.02.10:25:15:250060; Office of Security File on Clark, Max Edward.
I. B. Hale had been married to Virginia Hale, who got Oswaldhis sheet metal worker job at Leslie Whiting during July 1962...she rememberedOswald "quite well": Interview by SA Earle Haley and SA Robley D. Madland with Virginia Hale, Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 23, p. 694, Exhibit 1891.
At the time, the 7 billion dollar contract for the TFX was the largest military contract in history: Peter Dale Scott, in The Dallas Conspiracy, Chapter 3.
The next day, August 6, JFK mistress Judith Campbell twice called the White House: Anthony Summers, Official and Confidential, (G. P. Putnam's Sons: New York, 1993), p. 301.
On I.B. (Insall Bailey) Hale's role with the break-in at homeof Judith Campbell, girlfriend of both JFK and gangster Sam Giancana: Report of SA William R. Carter, 8/8/62, FBI - HSCA Subject File: John Roselli/NARA Record Number: 124-10220-10433. Carter was interviewed by Sy Hersh in The Dark Side of Camelot.
Controversy over the decision to award the contract to GeneralDynamics: George C. Wilson, "Twining's Book Backs" Washington Post, 9/18/66.
All 8 Articles
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
THEJFK CASE: The Twelve Who Built The Oswald Legend (Part 6: White Russians KeepAn Eye On Oswald In Dallas)
(2 comments) Part 6 in the continuing series of Oswald and the twelve legend makers that either befriended him or watched over him prior to the assassination. In this chapter, Oswald has returned to the USAand is monitored by a right-wing organization of Soviet and Eastern European emigres with close ties to Cord Meyer's International Organizations wing of the CIA, as well as to the emigre-friendly Radio Free Europe.
Monday, December 27, 2010
THEJFK CASE: THE TWELVE WHO BUILT THE OSWALD LEGEND (Part 5: The Double Dangle)
(2 comments) Lee Oswald and Robert Webster were "dangles", brought together by the FBI and the CIA to entice the Soviets. Robert Webster defected to the USSR to learn more about the Soviet defense program. Radar operator Oswald defected to learn what the Soviets knew about the U-2. Descriptions of the two men weresubtly altered for use in "mole hunt" exercises designed to look for leaks and capture spies who repeated these descriptions.
Monday, December 6, 2010
THEJFK CASE: THE TWELVE WHO BUILT THE OSWALD LEGEND (Part 3: Counterintelligencegoes molehunting with Oswald's file)
Third in the series. This chapter focuses on how Lee Harvey Oswald threatened to reveal military secrets to the Soviets about the U-2, andhow UScounterintelligence used his file as a "marked card" to capture supposed Communist spies who were trying to infiltrate the CIA.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
THEJFK CASE: THE TWELVE WHO BUILT THE OSWALD LEGEND (Part 4: When the U-2 GoesDown, Oswald is Ready to Return)
This chapter reveals the story behind the 1960 U-2 incident.A renegade NSA agent, Jack Dunlap, tipped off the Soviets about flights overthe USSR...whichled to the Soviets shooting down the U-2. Oswald's boss at the radio/TV factory in Minsk, Don Alejandro Ziger, was ostensibly an alienated White Russian. Oswald used to work on the U-2. The legend is that Ziger tipped Oswald that his work was done and he should gohome.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
THEJFK CASE: THE TWELVE THAT BUILT THE OSWALD LEGEND (Part 2: An Instant Visa GetsThe Marine Into Moscow)
Second in a series that discusses the twelve people thatcreated the Oswald legend. Here: Oswald's experience with the U-2 while in theMarines, how Oswald managed to cadge an instant visa from the Soviets to enter the USSR, how American officials protected Oswald after he told them he would give radarsecrets to the Soviet Union. And what was therelationship between Oswald and defector Robert Webster? They could be twins.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
THEJFK CASE: THE TWELVE WHO BUILT THE OSWALD LEGEND (Part One: Mother, Meyer, andthe Spotters)
This is the first in a series of essays explaining the background of the twelve handlers of Lee Harvey Oswald during the last four years of his life. It is agripping story of espionage, based on documents in the National Archives. Ask the House Oversight Committee to release both the JFK files and the MLKfiles. UShistory should not be wrapped in mystery. Many of the key issues have alreadybeen resolved.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
TheJFK Case; the Office that Spied on its Own Spies
Documents reveal that the CIA used LeeHarvey Oswald's visa requests for espionage purposes in shadowboxing with theSoviets before the JFK assassination. During Sunshine Week March 14-20, take action to free the JFK files and other files as well. Informants can beinterviewed or released from their oaths while they are still alive. The HouseOversight Committee can do the right thing and open the vaults.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
THEJFK CASE: WHAT INFORMANTS ARE STILL OUT THERE?
There are many questions about the JFK assassination that can easily be answered - but only by eyewitnesses who aren't going to be alive for much longer.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The holy grail of the JFK story
Seven steps to unlocking the historical truth about the assassination in Dallas
BY JEFFERSON MORLEY
Please go to the Salon site and follow the links.
By Jefferson Morley - Washington editor - Salon
Two years from today Americans will observe the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It is likely to be a moment of national introspection, as well as an opportunity to complete the historical record of one of the most painful days in American history. Yet, incredibly enough, the Central Intelligence Agency is likely to object to declassifying all of its records related to the murder of the 35th president in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. The question on the 48th anniversary of the tragedy is whether the CIA’s extreme claims of JFK secrecy — reiterated in federal court filings this year — will be allowed to stand.
The tediously unresolved case of the assassinated president never quite goes away as some would wish. Stephen King’s new book, “November 22, 1963,” is yet another imaginative retelling of a critical day in American history, a densely layered epic that appeals to the enduring impulse to understand how the president of the United States was gunned down in broad daylight, and why no one was ever brought to justice for the crime.
The official story, still defended by an articulate minority, was heard in aNational Geographic special last weekend. Kennedy’s death was said to be the tragic result of the psychotic actions of one individual. But as the NatGeo special demonstrates, the defense of that perspective is growing more eccentric. The program offered a novel interpretation of the photographic and forensic evidence from historian Max Holland that has been cogently addressed by independent researchers and is not shared by many JFK scholars, whether pro- or anti-conspiracy. Holland’s theory merely confirms what has long been obvious to many: There are a lot implausible theories of who killed JFK, and the notion that a “lone nut” was solely responsible is one of them.
More likely, Kennedy was ambushed by enemies who sought to avoid detection. That is what JFK’s widow, Jacqueline, and his brother Robert believed. As David Talbot demonstrated in his 2007 book “Brothers,”Bobby Kennedy concluded within hours of the gunfire in Dallas that his brother had been killed by anti-Castro Cubans. For the rest of his life, RFK never abandoned a conspiratorial interpretation of his brother’s death. (Full disclosure: Talbot is my boss and friend.)
The story is well-documented. Within a week of the assassination, RFK and Jackie Kennedy sent a friend to Moscow with a message for the leadership of the Soviet Union. As historians Aleksandr Fursenko and Tim Naftali reported in their 1999 book on the Cuban missile crisis, “One Hell of a Gamble,” Bobby and Jackie wanted the Soviet leadership to know that “despite Oswald’s connections to the communist world, the Kennedys believed that the president was felled by domestic opponents.” This finding is worth repeating on the 48thanniversary of JFK’s death: Jackie and Bobby Kennedy “believed that the president was felled by domestic opponents.”
Naftali, now the director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in California, told me in an email that he and his co-author learned the story from a Soviet diplomat, Georgi Bolshakov, and found his written account of Bobby and Jackie’s message in the Soviet archives. In that message Bobby and Jackie sought to assure the Soviet leadership that they did not believe that Oswald acted at Castro’s behest. The clear implication of the message was that Bobby and Jackie held the American right, not the international left, responsible for the crime in Dallas. “I was a little surprised what little reaction the … story got,” Naftali wrote.
No doubt inadvertently, the National Geographic JFK special fostered a reassuring yet false view of American history: that there is little reason to doubt the official story blaming a “lone nut.” In fact, Bobby and Jackie were not alone in suspecting conspiracy in Dallas. At the time, 60 percent of Dallas residents suspected a plot. JFK’s successor, Lyndon Johnson, privately suspected a plot emanating from JFK enemies in Cuba or Vietnam. In Havana, Fidel Castro, a man whose peaceful dotage is proof positive he knows something about detecting CIA conspiracies, concluded JFK had been killed by a right-wing faction within his own government. More recently, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato, a mainstream political pundit and author of a forthcoming book on the legacy of Kennedy’s assassination, has joined critics of the official JFK story.
“Critical documents that could explain more about what happened are being hidden, and aggressively so,” Sabato told me in an email. “It’s no wonder a large majority of Americans believe in various conspiracy theories. There’s plenty to be suspicious about.”
Sabato has company in academia. There is a growing scholarly consensus that JFK was killed by a conspiracy. Since 2000, five tenured historians at U.S. universities have published scholarly studies that addressed the causes of JFK’s death. Four of the five concluded there was a conspiracy (though they did not all agree on who was responsible).
Thus the enduring conundrum of JFK’s assassination story. While a confident minority in the opinion-making class dismisses any consideration of conspiracy, the majority of the public is left to ponder a bewildering array of theories without much guidance about what is actually the most plausible explanation of how the president came to be killed.
As someone who has written about the JFK story for 28 years without advocating any ”theory” of the case, I recommend seven steps for those who want to understand the causes of JFK’s death.
Step 1: If you are looking for evidence of a JFK conspiracy, do as prosecutors and law enforcement do: start in the middle and work your way up.
It is tempting but foolish to start your personal JFK investigation by seeking to identify the gunmen or the intellectual authors of the crime. Start by identifying the people who were less involved and use them to identify those who were more complicit.
As a reporter for the Washington Post, I started by investigating those employees of the CIA most knowledgeable about the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. Over the years, I found a dozen or more CIA officers who had sent or received cables about Oswald while President Kennedy was still alive. I interviewed some of them, as well as their surviving descendants, friends and associates. My goal was to answer the investigative reporter’s basic question: What did these CIA people know about Oswald? And when did they know it?
Step 2: Understand the intense psychological resistance to Step 1.
Some people cannot distinguish between serious journalism about the JFK story and the meretricious conspiracy theories peddled by the 9/11 truthers. This is unfortunate. Such resistance to conspiratorial thinking, while sometimes useful, too often rationalizes a kind of anti-journalistic defensiveness that actually prevents discussion of the JFK story.
Talk show host Chris Matthews, a decent liberal and huge fan of JFK,grows agitated at the suggestion that a serious person might disagree with the official story. Cass Sunstein, an otherwise sane senior advisor to President Obama, has proposed that the government infiltrate JFK conspiracy chat groups to dispel the allegedly dangerous and delusional ideas discussed there. Former New York Times editor Bill Keller recently admitted he deletes all emails on JFK assassination without reading them, but offhandedly noted, “There’s always has been something fishy about that assassination.”
In the face of such denial and indifference, the interested citizen must turn to books such as David Kaiser’s “The Road to Dallas,” and James Douglas’ “JFK and the Unspeakable” to get the latest evidence on JFK’s assassination. Fortunately, the public can now visit quality websites, such as that of the Mary Ferrrell Foundation — which has the largest online collection of JFK records – JFKLancer, and the home page of professor John McAdams. The sites seek to identify the most reliable information about the JFK story and encourage debate about the key questions, a chore most U.S. news organizations have long disdained.
Step 3: If you want to get into the conspiratorial weeds, educate yourself on Operation Northwoods.
This is story that the likes of Chris Matthews and Bill Keller don’t care to engage too closely. It emerged from a wealth of new information released as a result of Oliver Stone’s all-too-believable 1992 movie “JFK.” Among the new records were a batch of long-secret records about a Pentagon scheme known as Operation Northwoods. These documents showed that by mid-1963, U.S. military planners had developed a uniquely devious approach to advancing their preferred policy of “regime change” in Cuba. The Northwoods concept called for CIA operatives to mount “terrorist” actions on U.S. soil that would then be blamed on the Castro government. By framing Cuba as an irresponsible and violent actor, the U.S. could justify an invasion of Cuba — something that the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously favored. JFK emphatically rejected such pretext operations in a tense meeting with the JCS in March 1962. Yet the Northwoods planning continued, with CIA input, through the summer of 1963, according to the documents.
The Northwoods documents lend credence to Stone’s depiction of Kennedy’s death as the work of a high-level national security cabal that sought to blame the crime on a communist to avoid detection. That sort of scenario was not the ex post facto invention of a Hollywood screenwriter. It was Pentagon policy circa Nov. 22, 1963.
Step 4: Understand the CIA’s role in the JFK story as it emerges from files declassified since Stone’s movie.
The new JFK files do not prove there was a conspiracy but they do prove this: There was a group of senior Agency officers who knew much more about Lee Harvey Oswald in late 1963 than they ever said publicly or shared privately with colleagues.
In Langley those knowledgeable about Oswald while JFK was still alive included James Angleton, the chief of the Agency’s Counterintelligence (CI) Staff. Angleton was a protean character whose penetrating intellect and obscure exploits have inspired a small library of books and several Hollywood movies. He was also an alcoholic, ultra-right-wing paranoiac who ran covert operations with no oversight from anyone. At least three of his closest aides, Jane Roman, William J. Hood and Birch D. O’Neal received pre-assassination intelligence on Oswald.
In Mexico City, Winston Scott, the trusted chief of the CIA’s Mexico City Station (the subject of my book “Our Man in Mexico”), his aide Anne Goodpasture, and his not-so-trusted deputy David A. Phillips oversaw the surveillance of Oswald’s visit there just six weeks before JFK was shot dead.
In the CIA’s Miami station, the chief of the psychological warfare branch, George Joannides, was running a network of Cuban agents who exposed and denounced Oswald for his pro-Castro political activities in New Orleans.
Most of these officials were not involved in any plot to kill JFK. I interviewed Roman, Hood and Goodpasture at length and came away certain they had nothing to do with any JFK conspiracy. I wrote a book about Win Scott and came to the same conclusion. As for Jim Angleton and David Phillips, I presume their innocence but have much less certainty about it.
The newly declassified CIA’s records show that Angleton’s CI staff kept track of Oswald constantly from October 1959 to November 1963. At Angleton’s direction, more than 40 reports about Oswald’s travels in the communist world, his family life and his political views were funneled to a secretive office in the Counterintelligence Staff known as the Special Investigations Group. The SIG was headed by Birch O’Neal, a loyal aide who had served as CIA station chief in Guatemala during the CIA-sponsored coup d’etat in 1954.
The CIA files show that the pace of intelligence gathering around Oswald quickened in mid-1963. In August 1963, Joannides’ assets started reporting on Oswald’s antics in New Orleans. When Oswald visited the Cuban consulate in Mexico City a few weeks later, he was surveilled by Phillips. When CIA and FBI reports on Oswald were sent to the SIG, they were signed for, and read by Angleton’s staff. No, this isn’t Internet fable: The routing sheets with their signatures can be found in the National Archives, and Roman and Hood confirmed their authenticity in separate interviews.
Six weeks after Angleton’s aides reviewed the Oswald file, JFK was shot dead and Oswald was arrested for the crime. These CIA officers did notinvestigate and conclude that Oswald had acted alone. Some, including Phillips and Joannides, took actions to insure that blame for the crime of Dallas would fall on Cuba. Others, like Scott, scrambled to learn more about Oswald. Angleton blandly disavowed his long-standing interest in Kennedy’s accused killer and concealed the paper trail that proved it.
Step 5: See the crime of Dallas as people in the CIA saw it.
In the course of writing my book about Win Scott, a math teacher from rural Alabama who transformed himself into one of the best CIA officers of his generation, I found that he knew there was something very wrong with the Agency’s handling of information about Oswald.
Scott knew that deputy CIA director Dick Helms had lied to the Warren Commission about the Agency’s pre-assassination surveillance of Oswald. And he learned that Angleton, a longtime friend, had kept him “out of the loop” on the latest intelligence about Oswald in October 1963.
Scott also harbored doubts about his deputy Phillips, the chief of the agency’s covert operations against the Castro government at the time. After Kennedy’s assassination, Scott downgraded Phillips on his job evaluation, and came to question his reporting on Oswald. When Scott privately aired some of his misgivings to a colleague in the British intelligence service a few years later, Angleton intercepted the message and sent a warning to Scott: Do not talk about JFK’s assassination with anyone.
In the upper echelons of the CIA, Lee Harvey Oswald was not regarded as a “lone nut.” At the level of Jim Angleton, Win Scott and David Phillips, Oswald was regarded as an extremely sensitive operational matter. It is inevitable that historians will view him the same way.
Step 6: Understand how U.S. national security operatives organized political assassinations in the 1960s and 1970s.
David Phillips was still alive when I arrived in Washington in the 1980s. He had retired from the Agency to found a pro-CIA lobbying group, the Association of Foreign Intelligence Officers. Phillips was a charming, cunning man, and a lively writer, even penning the occasional column for the Washington Post Outlook section where I later worked. One colleague at the Post, well-versed in the intelligence world, once told me that he had gotten to know Phillips. “He wasn’t the type” to be involved in a plot against JFK, this colleagues assured me.
A couple of years later, the nonprofit National Security Archive obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) a cache of CIA records about a notorious political assassination in October 1970. The documents showed President Richard Nixon had ordered the CIA to take action to prevent leftist Salvatore Allende from assuming the presidency of Chile. The assignment was given to a task force directed by Phillips, by then one of the most senior operative in the Agency’s Latin America division, which identified a target: Gen. Rene Schneider, the commander in chief of the Chilean armed forces. Schneider’s crime: He had decided that Allende, winner of a recent election, should take office.
If you want to know how the CIA went about killing a political enemy at that time, study the records of this operation. Phillips brought in a team of four Agency operatives to organize a group of Chilean co-conspirators who were supplied with “three sterile 45 caliber machine guns.” The Agency’s operatives consulted with the Chileans about when to act and how they might justify the crime. The conspirators ambushed Schneider’s car in traffic, smashed the window with a sledgehammer, and shot him with the U.S.-supplied guns. After Schneider died a day later, Chile scholar Peter Kornbluh notes that Phillips co-authored a cable saying the CIA station had “done [an] excellent job of guiding [the] Chileans.”
Perhaps David Phillips was not the type to participate in the assassination of a U.S. president. But he did orchestrate the murder of a Latin American commander in chief. And his operational expertise in political assassination was never disclosed to congressional JFK investigators in the late 1970s.
Of course, this appalling episode in 1970 does not prove that Phillips participated in a JFK conspiracy in 1963. But if the CIA is interested in quelling long-standing conspiratorial speculation about Phillips, it should practice full disclosure to set the record straight.
Step 7: Return to Step 1; start in the middle of the alleged conspiracy and work your way up.
Thanks to CIA records declassified since 1998, we now know much more about a key aspect of the JFK story: the Agency’s underappreciated role in spreading the story that JFK had been killed by a communist.
As David Phillips mounted covert operations against the Castro government in the summer and fall of 1963, he was assisted by George Joannides, a dapper, 40-year-old spy from New York City. In Miami Joannides handled the CIA’s contacts with a network of anti-Castro Cuban students whom Phillips had recruited on the campus of the University of Havana before Castro’s revolution.
Within hours of JFK’s murder in Dallas, Joannides’ agents got his approval to alert reporters to the fact that Kennedy’s accused killer was a member of a pro-Castro group called the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Their revelation generated headlines in the Washington Post, New York Times and dozens of newspapers across the country asserting what some still believe: JFK was killed by a pro-Castro communist.
We can now see that the aftermath of JFK’s assassination bore an eerie resemblance to the schemes envisioned in Operation Northwoods: After a terrible crime was committed in the United States, CIA operatives covertly sought to arrange for the blame to fall on Castro, the better to justify a U.S. invasion.
Was the CIA’s post-assassination propaganda about Oswald (to use Bill Keller’s word) “fishy”? The likes of Chris Matthews and Cass Sunstein (and even Keller himself) may try to dismiss the thought. But Jackie and Bobby Kennedy could not. They “believed that the president was felled by domestic opponents.”
It certainly seems fair to ask: Did Angleton, Phillips or others who were well-informed about Oswald before the assassination simply misunderstand and underestimate him as he made his way to Dallas with a gun? Or is it possible that one or more of them participated in some kind of covert operation — sponsored by the Agency or the Pentagon — to manipulate Oswald before Nov. 22, 1963, for the sake of advancing the U.S. policy of overthrowing Castro?
Thanks to CIA secrecy, such questions cannot be answered.
One view is that there is not much more to learn about the CIA and the JFK assassination. On the National Geographic show, Max Holland was asked if there was a “holy grail” of JFK assassination researchers. He cited Oswald’s tax records, which remain private at the request of his widow, Marina, who still lives in Texas (and believes her first husband innocent of JFK’s murder).
I think most published JFK authors would find Holland’s assessment too narrow. There are other important JFK records that remain at large. Diplomatic historian David Kaiser has identified several. Researcher William Kelly has shown that Office of Naval Intelligence (which had responsibility for tracking Oswald, an ex-Marine) possesses assassination-related files that it has never released.
James Lesar, a veteran Freedom of Information Act litigator in Washington (and, more full disclosure, my pro bono attorney), has a larger holy grail: the 50,000-plus pages of unreleased JFK assassination records now held by the National Archives. Much of this material has been classified as “Not Believed Relevant” to JFK’s assassination — and most of it is. But within the NBR records, and elsewhere in CIA archives, are still-secret files of some of those officers who were knowledgeable about Oswald before Kennedy’s murder — and they are quite relevant to understanding how JFK was killed. At least 1,000 pages of such material remains secret.
How do we know? In 2003 I sued the CIA for the records of George Joannides, a secondary character in the JFK story. Eight years later, the Agency is still fighting the release of some 330 records on him, a legal defense that the New York Times aptly described in 2009 as “cagey.”Agency lawyers are scheduled to appear in federal court later this year to argue that none of this antique material can be made public in any form — supposedly for reasons of “national security.”
With Lesar’s help, I discovered that the National Archives retains 605 pages of CIA records about David Phillips in the JFK Assassination Records Collection in College Park, Md. The Archives also has 222 pages about Birch D. O’Neal, Angleton’s aide who received reports on Oswald regularly between 1959 and 1963. The Agency says it will not release the Phillips and O’Neil material until at least 2017.
(Anyone can view what is known about these files by searching the National Archive’s JFK Assassination Records Collection here. Enter “David Phillips” or “Birch O’Neal in the first search field and “NBR” in the second. Then click on “Display Search Results.” To view more details about the withheld files, click on “Display All/Selected Hits.”)
These records can and should be made public by the 50thanniversary of JFK’s death in 2013. The National Archives is now embarked on a crash course to declassify some 400 million pages of classified U.S. government records. Two years ago, Michael Kurtz, a senior official at the Archives, said in a public hearing in Washington that the still-secret JFK assassination records would be a priority for release by 2013, a position that the Archives has since backed off. In the risk-averse culture of Washington, there is little appetite for full JFK disclosure. President Obama’s laudatory executive order on open government has provenentirely ineffectual in the case of assassination-related records.
Thus on the 48th anniversary of the Dallas tragedy, we have the usual dispiriting situation: the public remains confused, and the prospects for full disclosure are not bright. We collectively wonder if there is a “holy grail” of the JFK assassination story and the CIA refuses to share. The courts are acquiescent, and what remains of the press cannot be bothered to address the obvious questions.
Nonetheless, I prefer to experience Nov. 22 as a day of hard-won hope. Public interest in JFK and Jackie Kennedy (and to a lesser extent, Bobby) remains intense and widespread. Thanks to the Internet, public access to the full historical record of the JFK assassination story has never been greater. Many people sense that JFK died for a reason and want to know what it was. We’re not delusional. We’re realistic. We want the real history of our country.
Jefferson Morley is the Washington editor of Salon. More Jefferson Morley