Sunday, August 7, 2022

Jim Braden and the Mob at Dealey Plaza

 Jim Braden and the Mob at Dealey Plaza

One day in the early 1970s I picked up a pulp paperback book off a rack at a local drug store - Peter Noyes' Legacy of Doubt.

Noyes' was a TV news producer in California for some major networks, ABC - CBS, and is still alive and a Facebook friend. 

It's the story of Eugene Hale Brading, a California oil man, money courier, swindler and con artist who changed his name to Jim Braden a month before being taken into custody as a suspicious person at Dealey Plaza. 

Braden was reported suspicious by the elevator operator at the Dal-Tex building as he didn't work there. Dallas deputy Loomie Lewis, escorted Braden to the Sheriff's office across the street where he dictated a statement to a stenographer and was released. 

Braden claimed he visited the parole office and then went to Dealey Plaza, and after the assassination went into the Dal-Tex building where he was told there was a public phone on the second floor, where he phoned his mother in California to tell her about the assassination. 

Some conspiracy theorists suggest Braden was a shooter from the second floor of the Dal-Tex building, but there is nothing to suggest he ever carried a weapon or engaged in any violence whatsoever. 

Noyes' book ties Braden to the mob, not the Italian Mafia probably as a cash courrier for the Myer Lansky syndicate. He gambled, played golf as a hustler, and bilked rich widows, including the widow of a founder of Magnolia Oil Company, that figures into other aspects of the assassination story, as it was at a Magnolia Oil house party where Marina Oswald met Ruth Paine, and Oswald talked with Volkmar Schmidt. 

In his book Noyes says Braden was arrested for gambling in 1948 in Camden, N.J., but the Camden police refused to respond for his records, Noyes' speculated because the Camden police are controlled by the mob.

Well, since my father William E. Kelly, Sr was a lieutenant in the Camden police department at the time, I showed him Noyes' book and referred to the 1948 Camden arrest.  The very next day my dad handed me the original arrest report from 1948 and said the reason they didn't respond to Noyes' request was because the secretaries refused to go down in the dirty, dusty basement to get it.

I made photo copies of the mug shot and record, and distributed them to Noyes' and among interested researchers.

When I read in a Philadelphia newspaper that Richard Sprague, the then recently appointed chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassination ( HSCA) had required his staff to read Noyes' book. So I took a copy of Braden's 1948 Camden arrest report and personally delivered it to Sprague's Philadelphia law office, just across the river from where I lived in Camden. 

I then watched, from a distance, the HSCA soap opera, how Sprague was fired, replaced by G. Robert Blakey, an organized crime specialist from Cornell, who redirected the committee's investigation from the CIA, to the mob. 

Jim Braden testified before the HSCA in secret sessions for two days, then when the committee disbanded, Blakey declared the committee files to be Congressional records, not subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, as Congress exempted itself.

Then one day I received a phone call from Blakey who asked for a copy of Braden's 1948 Camden arrest report as he was writing a book blaming the mob for killing the president. 

I told Blakey I gave a copy to Sprague, and Blakey said Sprague took his personal HSCA files with him. And I said I was glad he did since the HSCA records were locked away for 50 years.

So I sent Blakey a copy, and years later, after the passage of the JFK Act in 1992, I requested Sprague's HSCA records from the Archives.

They referred me to the records of Richard Sprague, the photo and computer consultant, and said they had no records whatsoever for Richard Sprague,Esq., the former chief counsel to the HSCA, though there were hundreds in Blakey's file.

When I told the NARA that Sprague was then still alive and working in Philadelphia, they sent a formal request to him for the HSCA records but received no reply.

The JFK Act did free up the HSCA records and the NARA sent me a transcript of Braden's secret and closed testimony, which named his attorney as a Mr. Twombly, of Washington DC, who told me he is not related to the Twombly who ran a North California bank and was affiliated with a university, and Chauncey Holt said did favors for the CIA.

Twombly also told me he no longer knew where Braden, was though he lived in Atlanta at the time. 

In his testimony, Braden exclaimed his innocence and rallied against the conspiracy theorists who clam he was involved in the assassination

But he also acknowledged that he stayed at the Cabana Hotel, his associates visited Hunt, the Dallas oil man H. L. Hunt, and they all left for Houston immediately after the assassination, despite having registered for a few more days. 

Dallas reporter and later editor Earl Golz obtained the Cabana Hotel records of Braden and his associates, that reflected the fact they had registered for a few days, but left suddenly after the assassination. Golz also obtained their credit card receipts that indicated they had a meal and drinks at the Cabana's Bon Vivant Room, where Ruby and Meyers were at the same time. 

Since Meyers sold sporting goods equipment Ruby demonstrated an exercise device he was promoting, much to the amusement of Meyers and his family.

Since Meyers was married, his companion Jean Aase went shopping with one of Ruby's girls, Joyce McDonald.

Braden says after being released he flew to New Orleans, where he had previously lived during the summer of 1963, and worked out of the offices of oil man Vernon Main, on the 17th floor of the Pierre Marquette office building, just down the hall from Carlos Marchello's lawyer G. Ray Gill.

As a former law school associate of DA Jim Harrison, Gill gave Garrison a list of phone records that he believed were made by David Ferrie when he worked on the Marchello case at the time of the assassination.

Among those records, Garrison noted, was one Chicago phone number that is also listed among the Warren Commission records as a phone number also called by Jack Ruby associate Lawrence Meyers.

Meyers made the call to a women, Jean Aase, aka West, who lived and worked at a downtown Chicago hotel owned by White Russians and operated by a friend and business associate of Myers. 

Meyers asked Aase, who he described in his WC testimony as a "dumb but accommodating broad," to accompany him to Dallas over the assassination weekend. They registered at the Cabana Hotel, where Jim Braden and his pals also stayed. 

Dallas reporter and editor Earl Golz supplied me with the Cabana Hotel receipts for Braden and his associates that confirmed they were there at the time, and included credit card records that reflect their drinking and dining costs at the Cabana's Bon Vivant room. 

At the same time Braden and his pals were there, Jack Ruby met his Chicago friend Larry Meyers, who Ruby tried to get Meyers, a sporting goods salesman, interested in a "Twist" device. 

Ruby was with a young girl 17 year old Beverly Oliver, a singer at a competing club down the street. 

Meyers was with his brother, a New York Coca Cola bottling company owner who was in town for a convention. His son Ralph was a former NSA technician at a U2 base in Turkey, who they had visited in Mexico City, where Ralph was working as a journalist after a sheep dipped stint as a bus driver in Chicago. 

Oliver says she accompanied Ruby and Myers to The Egyptian Lounge for steak dinner, a club owned by Ruby's friends the Campisi brothers. They said Ruby was accompanied by his business partner Ralph Paul, but I believe it was Larry Myers. 

I wrote about that evening in an article some years ago, Thursday night at the Cabana Lounge, and the odd events that occured.

[. JFKcountercoup: Thursday Night at the Cabana Lounge    ]

Now an intrepid writer Mark Valante has compiled everything he could on Jim Braden, and is writing a book and possible film about him. 

JFKCountercoup2: Mark Valenti on Jim Braden

While I don't believe Braden was directly involved in the assassination operation, he was caught up in the dragnet and is certainly a suspicious person. I did everything I could to locate him and try to get him to talk but couldn't.

Now we will have to see what Mark Valenti has on him. In the meantime Mark sent me a short synopsis of what he's learned that I will post at

Joel Gruhn writes: 

Bill, In case you don't know where Jim B wound up, he is interred at the Oak Hill Cemetery, in Atchison, Kansas, his birthplace. His last address was in Lee, FL a town of some 300+ residents. There is also a record matching the dates in the Florida index of deaths.

There is a fairly extensive tree for the Braden Family at Ancestry and also a timeline that shows life details and possibly living descendants who could shed some light as to his later years.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

JFK and Giancana


When I first learned that they were making a major motion picture about Sam Giancana's role in the assassination of President Kennedy I wrote a quick piece on the essence of the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro, that include Giancana as a primary player and are intimately entwined in what occured at Dealey Plaza.

[  Posted at  /     JFKCountercoup2: Sam Giancana    ]

Now I realize that the Giancana-JFK story is much more convoluted and deserves deeper background to fully appreciate.

Giancana enters the story in my book in Atlantic City, New Jersey in May, 1929, when he served as a minor delegate of the Chicago contingent at the conference of organized crime mobsters from around the country.

The ostensible occasion was to celebrate the marriage of Meyer Lansky, the accountant of the Lucky Luciano-Bugsy Siegel gang out of New York, who grew up together as youngsters.They were among the Young Turks who were waiting in the wings for the old school Mustache Petes to fight it out among themselves. 

But the St. Valentine's Day Massacre had called attention to the mob wars and brought heat down on all the mobsters. 

The meeting was called for by Luciano, and Atlantic City was chosen because it was tightly controlled by Enoch "Nucky" Johnson, who had the law in his pocket and ensured the mobsters they wouldn't be hassled. 

Racket bosses from every major city in the country were there, and while they didn't meet together in the then new Boardwalk Convention Hall, they did meet privately, took rides on the wicker walkers and walked on the beach where their conversations were drowned out by the breaking waves.

The main topics were Capone, and how to end the mob warfare.

Capone was there, but after the press learned that, he went into hiding, leaving his hotel and holding out in the locker room bar at the Atlantic City Country Club on the mainland, where there is still a locker with Capone's name on it. 

It was decided that Capone had to do some time in prison, or they all would, and so he agreed to take a train to Philadelphia where he was met at the station by a friendly policeman he knew, turned over his pistol and arrested on a minor weapons charge. Sentenced in court he was sent to Holmesberg prison, where he was afforded the luxury of a radio, cigars, booze and food delivered from local restaurants. Holmesberg is now a tourist museum. 

As for the inter-mob warfare, they decided to form a board of directors who would settle disputes among the mobsters, mainly over territory and booze. Luciano was named chairman of the board, and besides the heads of the five New York families, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Tampa, and Havana would be included. Chicago would represent everything west of the Mississippi. 

Foreseeing the eventual end of prohibition, it was decided, at Lansky's suggestion, to get into gambling in a big way. Lansky bribed the sheriff of some counties in Florida and opened some casinos there, but also made a deal with Cuban dictator F. Batista, to open casinos in major hotels in Havana.

While some say Giancana met old man Joe Kennedy, Sr. during their bootlegging days of prohibition, Kennedy wasn't a bootlegger. He owned the liquor companies, primarily Canadian whiskeys and Caribbean rum, and sold them to Giancana, the bootlegger.

They also could have met each other when Kennedy had a part ownership of the Cal-Neva Lodge, a large bar, restaurant, hotel and casino built on the California border with the casino on the Nevada side and situated in Northern Nevada near Lake Tahoe.

Giancana and Frank Sinatra later took control of the Cal-Neva Lodge and at Sinatra's suggestion, brought in Paul "Skinny" D'Amato to run the casino.

D'Amato owned the popular 500 Club in Atlantic City where he brought in top flight Vegas acts to perform, including Sinatra, who, as a close, personal friend, didn't charge Skinny. 

By the 1950s, Giancana not only ran Chicago, but took over Luciano's place as chairman of the board of the Syndicate, as it came to be called. It also included Angelo Bruno of Philadelphia, Russell Bufalano of Northeast Pa., (As portrayed in Scorsese's The Irishman), Carlos Marchello of New Orleans and Santo Traficante of Tampa and Havana. 

All of the Syndicate board members had pieces of the casino action in Florida, Havana, and Las Vegas, where Bugsy Siegel made his name and paid for it with his life.

Havana was the big money maker, until Fidel Castro threatened the casinos and mobsters by ousting Batista, who fled Cuba on New Years eve 1959.

Lansky saw it coming however, and sold his interests in one casino a few months earlier to one of JFK's golfing buddies Mike McLaney and Carrol Rosenbloom. 

Around the same time Senator John F. Kennedy was running for president and was supported by his good friend Frank Sinatra, who was also pals and Cal-Neva business partner with Giancana. 

While Mayor Daley and Giancana are credited with delivering Illinois to JFK in the general election, Giancana played a more pivotal role in the key West Virginia primary, that gave the Democratic nomination to JFK. 

Kennedy had to win the predominantly Protestant state, and Giancana and D'Amato helped him do it. The West Virginia Sheriff's Association held their annual convention in Atlantic City and patronized D'Amato's 500 Club, so Skinny knew them well enough to deliver suitcases full of cash for them to spread around and grease the election for Kennedy. 

At the Democratic National Convention that year, besides nominating JFK and putting LBJ on the ballot as VP, it was also decided to hold the 1964 Convention in Atlantic City.

Sinatra put the entertainment together for JFKs inaugural ball, and was looking forward to doing the same at the 1964 Convention in Atlantic City when JFK was expected to be renominated. 

In the meantime however, Sinatra introduced Giancana and JFK to the vivacious Judyth Campbell who had amorous affairs with both men, at the same time. She visited the White House on occasion, and met JFK at his New York City hotel suite. She delivered packages and messages between the two men. 

That is until the FBI director J. Edgar Hoover decided to blow the whistle on the menage a tois, informing Attorney General Bobby Kennedy of the arrangement, and suddenly Campbell and Sinatra stopped getting their White House invitations. 

On a side bar, as the FBI stakeout squad kept an eye on Judy Campbell's Vegas apartment, they watched two men break in to it when she wasn't there. They were identified as the Hale twins, sons of a high level FBI official I.B. Hale, so nothing was done. 

The Hale twins attended Arlington Heights high school in Ft. Worth, Tx, with fellow student Lee Harvey Oswald, at least for one semester until Oswald was of legal age to drop out of school and enlist in the US Marines. 

With JFK dead, and LBJ president, the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City was a bland affair. As LBJ was paranoid that RFK was tapping his hotel phone, he moved into the Margate beach side home of Carroll Rosenbloom, the owner of the Baltimore Colts and former Havana casino owner, who later died suspiciously. 

LBJ was afraid RFK's name would be placed in nomination and he would steal the nomination, so RFK's speech in tribute to JFK was placed last of the agenda. He received a rousing long applause and gave a stirring speech. 

And Sinatra performed at "the Five," as the locals called the 500 Club, for the last time. 

When Skinny D'Amato died Sinatra served as a pall bearer at his funeral. 

( More to come - photos and links to be added - stay tuned.)


Thursday, July 14, 2022

Preview of John Newman's Uncovering Popov's Mole


John Newman’s new book Uncovering Popov’s Mole is in the can, at the publisher, and should be available on Amazon by late August or early September.

Volume IV, Uncovering Popov’s Mole, is one of a multi-series of books on the assassination of President Kennedy and follows Where Angels Tread Lightly, Countdown to Darkness, and Into the Storm.  All are chockfull of new information, documents and convincing evidence that once again reinforces the fact that Dr.- Professor Newman is the best independent researcher working full time on this case today. I define researcher as someone who has read all of the books, read all of the documentary records, and takes what we know further.

Newman learned how to read and decode government documents from his role as a military intelligence officer and analyst, who worked closely with General William Odom, former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the military’s Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI), the ubiquitous  agency that’s all over Dealey Plaza.  

[   ] 


Newman writes: “The purpose of this folder, [   ] is to give some examples of how records on Lee Harvey Oswald arriving at CIA from other U.S. government agencies were handled in the weeks and months immediately following his defection to the USSR in October 1959.  This effort is made difficult due to the extreme sensitivity of where these records were originally placed and where they were NOT placed, and by the fact that some important documents concerning this problem which were originally in the NARA JFK collection have now gone missing.”

“I first explored this subject in my Oswald and the CIA (1995, 2008), and have updated this study in considerably more detail on Countdown to Darkness, Volume II.The strategy was to 1) subvert the normal distribution of incoming Oswald documents to the CIA by not allowing them to go to the Soviet Russia Division (SRD) and instead buttonhole them in the Office of Security, Security Research Staff (OS/SRS); 2) at the same time dangling Oswald as U-2 flypaper in front of the KGB in the USSR; 3) hoping that this would prompt the KGB to contact their mole in SRD; and 4) surfacing the mole by leading the mole to initiate a request for information on Oswald.”

As he explains in a Facebook post, when he started out on this project Newman didn’t expect to write this book, it sort of grew out of the research and took on a life of its own. , Volume IV, "Uncovering Popov's Mole" was delivered to the publisher. This is not a book that I saw coming. It hit like a comet. The effects of its impact never let up. We were dealing with new breakthroughs as recently as two days ago. Like the end of Volume III (Into the Storm), the curtain had to come down at some point. The decision was made today to reveal the bulk of what has been uncovered thus far. The publisher estimates approximately five weeks of work (give or take a week) will be needed before it can be sent to Amazon. While we wait for that to happen, all of the chapters of Volume V--Armageddon-- (which is about two thirds completed) will be reassessed, and we will choose the right platform for a zoom conference soon after publication.”

Pyotr Semyonovich Popov, a high ranking Soviet military intelligence officer, came in out of the blue in the 1950s, but instead of defecting, he was convinced to remain in place as a more significant native double agent.

We first learned the details of Popov’s role in the 1980s when William Hood published his book Mole. Hood was one of the CIA agents involved in the Popov case and after Popov was caught, tried and executed, convinced his superiors to allow the story to be told.

While some of the reviews of Mole say that William Hood is a nom de plume, it is his real name, the name we find attached as being CC’d on some of Oswald’s pre-assassination documents that were closely held by James Jesus Angleton’s CIA Security Office. It’s also the name he was buried under –

[       ]

Among the items Popov passed on to the CIA was the fact that there was a deeply entrenched mole within the CIA, whose identity became an obsession with Angleton, who himself was suspected to be the mole by some of his associates. This was so because Angleton learned all about Counter-intelligence and the spy game during World War II when he served in the OSS under General Bill Donovan. His primary mentor was none other than Kim Philby – probably the most famous KGB-MI5-6 Double Agent of all time.

William Harvey, who comes into this story on many levels, was one of the first to uncover Philby, and his Trinity College Cambridge school mate, the obnoxious, gay, drunkard Guy Burgess, who Philby harbored in Washington D.C. when Philby served as the representative of MI6. Most of the Cambridge Soviet spy cell were recruited by a Catholic priest, and were members of the exclusive private club known as the Apostles.

But Burgess was a member of the Pitt Club, as was James Bond, the American ornithologist and author of The Birds of the West Indies, from whom Ian Fleming appropriated the name for his secret agent 007. Bond comes into the story through CIA bursar Cummins Catherwood, whose ostensibly philantropic foundation was used by the CIA to distribute funds for covert operations.  Bond himself just happened to be birdwatching at the Bahia de cochinos, Cuba – the Bay of Pigs, shortly before the invasion.

[     ]

Popov, Angleton and Oswald come together with Oswald’s pre-assassination file, held by Angleton’s security office, and as speculated by professor Peter Dale Scott, was used as a “barium meal” or “marked card,” used as a trap to try to catch Popov’s mole.

As Scott writes in the introduction to this book, “An unexpected consequence of the John F. Kennedy assassination and cover-up has been an unprecedented exposure of previously secret CIA and FBI records. In the resulting new field of serious scholarly research, John Newman, with an intelligence background of his own, has emerged as a preeminent master. For his latest volume, Uncovering Popov's Mole, Newman has perused thousands of conflicting documents, and distilled them into a coherent answer to a problem that CIA professionals were unable to resolve: who was the Soviet mole in the CIA. Newman’s arguments will, I am sure, dominate all future discussions of this surprisingly important political question.”

The idea was that the KGB, after Oswald’s defection, would want to know if Oswald was a real or fake defector, and have their mole check out Oswald’s CIA file.

Was there a mole? Did he bite Angleton’s trap? And if so, who was he?

Newman says he identified Popov’s mole, and we will learn his identity when the book is published. We know Popov was highly regarded in the CIA, we know he was eventually caught and executed, and we know Hood speculates on how his cover was blown,  possibly by the mole, but more likely by slack FBI stakeout and surveillance techniques.

One of the things Popov passed on to the CIA was that a well trained man and wife duo were being sent to New York City to be entrenched, possibly for years, as the Cambridge spy ring was, and then activated when they were in a position to do serious damage. The CIA had to pass the information on to the FBI, legally responsible for Counter-Intelligence, and despite the requests of the CIA to back off, they put a full court press on the couple from their arrival at the airport.

The FBI stakeout and surveillance teams followed the couple around New York City, into department stores, in and out of elevators and taxies, and the KGB were quickly aware of the FBI’s presence, but it later turned out that the KGB were following the FBI surveillance teams radio communications.

Some of the counter-surveillance techniques Hood describes in his book can be seen in action shortly after the assassination, as Oswald uses them three times in the hour after the assassination. At first he walks eight blocks east on Elm then gets in a bus heading back in the opposite direction. Then getting into a cab he has it drive six blocks past his rooming house and walks back to ensure he wasn’t being followed. Then, according to Dale Meyers, when he saw Tippit’s patrol car he quickly turned around, a furtive move that could have caught Tippit’s attention and the reason whey he was stopped.

Among those who interrogated Oswald after his arrest some of them said they believed that Oswald was trained in counter-interrogation techniques. So he practiced counter-surveillance techniques and was trained in counter-interrogation techniques, what Allen Dulles called the Crafts of Intelligence.  And it clearly indicates that Oswald was not just some schmuck, but was a small pawn in a much bigger game of power politics.

While we await Newman’s book, I will be reading Jeff Morley’s Scorpion’s Dance, and will post a review as soon as I am done.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

WATERGATE @ 50 Years After


On June 18, 1972 I was sitting in the University of Dayton, Ohio cafeteria in the JFK Student Union, having coffee with my friend John Judge and reading the Dayton Daily News paper. As most of the students had left for the summer, it was pretty much deserted, and I had stayed behind to take a required class on linguistics.

While reading the paper, buried on an inner page, was a one column eight inch wire service report from Washington about the Watergate burglary, that I read to Judge after saying, “Get a load of this.” He grabbed the paper to read it for himself, and said, “These are the same motherfuckers who killed JFK!”

We then went over to the law school library and in a Whose Who in Government, found profiles of E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy and James McCord.

Now, 50 years later we are still feeling the reverberations from that incident, a covert intelligence black bag operation that would have remained a clandestine secret had not the suit and tie burglars been caught red handed.

Jim Hougan’s Secret Agenda remains one of the best books on the subject. Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat, and the CIA: 9781504075282: Hougan, Jim: Books

And we now have a new book, Jeff Morley’s Scorpion’s Dance: The President, the Spymaster and Watergate    ( St. Martin’s Press, 2022)

While I have ordered Morley’s book I haven’t read it yet, but was impressed with his interviews with Carl Jenkins, one of the Bay of Pigs and JMWAVE trainers and case officers who acknowledges their attempts to kill Castro.

Morley and Jenkins:


S. T. Patrick also devoted an entire issue of Garrison Magazine to Watergate,

While he has previously asked me to contribute to his publication, this time he didn’t. If he had, I would have write about one of the Cuban Watergate burglars – Eugenio Martinez, but not for his role in the burglary, but his role as a Maritime boat captain in the CIA’s JMWAVE fleet out of Florida.

In an interview with Taylor Branch Martinez relates how he deposited CIA trained anti-Castro Cuban commandos on infiltration missions to Cuba, left arms and weapons and picked up commandos after their missions were over.  “I dropped off assassins with high powered rifles and scopes,” Martinez said, “that weren’t going to be used hunting rabbits.”

On November 1, 1963 the New York Times reported on a mission by the CIA mother ship Rex, that deposited a team of assassins with high powered rifles and scopes, that were captured and paraded on Cuban TV.

In his book Red Friday, Carlos Bringuier lists the names of these men, that I would like to get if you have the book.

In his Congressional testimony and to Jack Anderson, Mafia boss John Roselli, the last of the Mafia players to remain in the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro, related how a team of Cuban Commandos he helped train at Point Mary off Key Largo, were inserted into Cuba and captured. Roselli claimed that he believed Castro turned them and sent them back to kill JFK in Dallas.

While I don’t believe that Castro turned them and sent them back, I do believe that one of the teams that the CIA trained to kill Castro with a high powered rifle as he rode by in an open jeep (The Pathfinder Plan), that was “disapproved by higher authority,” was turned around on the higher authority in Dallas.

Those CIA agents who trained the Cuban commandos out of JMWAVE were Rip Robertson, Carl Jenkins, John I.F. Harper, and two US Army Rangers Captains Ed Roderick and Bradley Ayers, who were cross posted to the CIA by General Brute Krulak, who was responsible for military support of CIA covert operations.

Ayers wrote about his experiences in two books, The Zenith Secret and The War that Never Was, the latter of which was published by an Indiana book company whose attorney was William Harvey, the retired CIA officer who ran the Cuban Task Force W, until he was fired by RFK for sending unauthorized commando teams into Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Those JMWAVE commandos were major players, not only at the Bay of Pigs, Mongoose, JMWAVE and Watergate, but in the Dealey Plaza operation that we are still trying to piece together today. 

Friday, July 1, 2022

David Taylor on Rip Robertson

David Taylor on Rip Robertson

From what I understand BBC reporter David Taylor is working on a story - possibly for a documentary film, about the legendary CIA Agent Rip Robertson.  

About David - David C. Taylor

Robertson was the epitome of the agency's so-called "Cowboys," as portrayed by Doonsbury as "Havoc," who ran havoc where ever he went. 

Robertson helped train the Cubans for the Bay of Pigs invasion, and won their hearts by being one of two Americans to go ashore with them. 

Skpartacus on Rip Robertson

William Robertson also went on the Operation Tilt mission with William Pawley, John Martino and Richard Billings. 

According to Taylor, he is investigating Robertson's participation in the Tilt mission, and has interviewed Billings, one of the participants. Billings was shown a photo of the crowd at Dealey Plaza, and identified one of the onlookers as Rip Robertson

 Google Image Result

I don't buy anyone's identification of people in photographs. 

He is also mentioned, along with Carl Jenkins, in the Dino Brugoni NPIC memo from during the Church Committee hearings in 1975. When eight NPIC technicians learned that the Church Committee was investigating CIA and Mafai plots to kill Fidel Castro, they came forward and said that they worked on a number of plans to kill Castro, in particular the Pathfinder Plan to kill Castro as he drove by in an open jeep on the way to the duPont estate at Veradero, which he frequently did. The NPIC employees said

they supported that plan by obtaining maps, aerial and satalite photos, blueprints and photos, and that the Pathfinder Plan folder was kept in their section of the JMWAVE station instead of the Operational File, where it belonged, giving it special status. 

In addition, they mentioned that Rip Robertson once led a maritime raid on Cuba in a speed boat with machine guns, driving close to shore and shooting up a house that allegedly belonged to Castro's brother. 

This raid was not approved, and indicated Robertson's willingness to ignore the chain of command and act as a rogue agent. 

While I am glad Taylor is focusing on such an interesting character who is at the right place at the right time - JMAVE - early 1960s, I notice that Taylor has received awards and commendations from the CIA, much like Max Holland and Priscilla Johnson McMillan, so I don't trust he will venture into the areas I am most interested in. But I hope to be proven wrong. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Witnesses I've Interviewed

Witnesses I've Interviewed


As I have decided to devote much of my time of this year (2021) to completing my life long study of the assassination of President Kennedy, I thought it would be prudent to outline some of the things I have done. One of the things I’ve done is to  specialize in tracking down and interviewing obscure witnesses and even a few suspects in the case.

So I’ve compiled a list of those I have talked to, and links to some of the articles I wrote about them before setting my sights on what needs to be done to wrap this case up to a legal and moral certainty, as we can if only the effort is made.

As a Research Committee Coordinator for CAPA – Citizens Against Political Assassinations, and a member of the Steering Committee for the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC), I am in the unique position of being able to put the necessary information together and will attempt to do so.

I remember that Friday in November, the day of the assassination, being told of it by the principle - a nun over the St. Joseph’s grammar school intercom and being left out of school early. The weather was mild so I was at home in my backyard swinging on the weeping willow tree when the phone rang and I ran in the house to answer the kitchen wall phone. It was my father, a Camden, NJ policeman who instructed me to stay in the yard and not go out, as the president was shot “and we don’t know what this is all about.” I just couldn’t understand how the death of the president could affect me, a kid playing in my back yard.

Six years later, as a freshman at the University of Dayton in Ohio, I met John Judge. He gave me a copy of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s interview in Playboy magazine, which inspired me to read a few books and then, I discovered, there in our school library was a copy of the encyclopedia sized 24 volumes of Warren Commission supporting testimony and documents that I began to read through.

After you read books, and research documents, the next step is to contact and interview witnesses, though it is often difficult to get them to talk, especially about a subject as sensitive as the President’s murder.

Anthony Summers once told me the Irish word for being able to obtain the confidence of strangers, and while I can’t remember the Irish word, I know there is a very fine line between those who can get people to believe and open up, and disbelieve and clam up.

The following is a list of some of the most important witnesses – and a few suspects – I have tracked down and talked to, and most of them I believe confided in me honestly.


John Judge took me up to the law research library at the University of Dayton and introduced me to the 26 volumes of Warren Commission records. As I was taking a class in Latin American history with Dr. Bruce Taylor, and doing a paper on the Bay of Pigs, I immediately noticed the numerous Cuban connections to the assassination and began to focus on those documents, one of which concerned a Mrs. Margaret Hoover of Martinsburg, Pa., who was investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police and FBI because she claimed to have seen a paper with the names of Lee Oswald and Ruby before the assassination.

She said she found the papers in her backyard, and thinking Lee and Ruby were women her recently separated husband was seeing, showed them to her daughter who confirmed the names. Then she said, she realized the papers came from her neighbor’s yard, where he was burning his trash, and with that, the investigation led to the neighbor – Julio Fernandez, a Cuban refuge and former newspaper publisher who was teaching Spanish at the local high school. Fernandez said he was burning his trash, but was not a communist and had nothing to do with the assassination.

There are various levels of people who study the assassination – those who read about it in books and magazines, those researchers who read the original records at the Archives, and investigators - those who reach out to phone or knock on the door of witnesses to ask them questions.

It was in late 1969 or early 1970 when I obtained the phone number of Mrs. Hoover and called her on the phone from Dayton. She acknowledged everything in the reports I had read, and added a few interesting details – shortly after the assassination and the police inquiry he left town suddenly, some say to Rye, New York. In addition, Fernandez had a wife and son, the son an art student at Penn State University. The police report noted that an AMTRACK train ticket, that Mrs. Hoover had found and kept, indicated someone had traveled from Philadelphia to Miami in the summer of 1963. Fernandez said that was his son, who attended a conference of exiled Cuban journalists at the University of Miami (JMWAVE). Mrs. Hoover also said that a few years after the assassination and the departure of Fernandez, two men in black suits came knocking at her door asking if she knew anything else about Fernandez, so others were on this trail too.

It was years later when I learned about Clare Booth Luce and her support for some JMWAVE Cuban commandos – including Julio Fernandez, who called her on the night of the assassination saying he had an audio tape and documents concerning Oswald, the accused assassin. And then US Ranger Capt. Bradley Ayers wrote about training the Cubans – including Julio Fernandez, a team leader.

When the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) requested CIA records on Julio Fernandez, they supplied a list of over a dozen Cubans named Julio Fernandez they had files on, but neither the journalist, his son or the JMWAVE Cuban team leader were among them. I believe Julio Fernandez, Jr. is still alive in Florida.


The University of Dayton Student Council had a significant budget, which the radical Student president Kevin Keefe used to bring in some top level guest speakers – including Mae Brussell, Margaret Meade and Ken Kesey. As the head of the Merry Pranksters Kesey had experimented with LSD before it was made illegal, and after writing “One Flew Over the Cookoos Nest” and another well received novel, bought a bus – named “Further,” and traveled cross-country to meet Timothy Leary, another LSD advocate, as documented in Tom Wolf’s “Electric Coolaide Acid Test.” After his talk before a few hundred interested students, Kesey went to John Judge’s apartment where we talked for hours. He told me how Kurt Douglas gave him $10,000 for the film rights to “Cookoos Nest,” a deal written out on a bar napkin, but then when the movie was such a big hit with Jack Nicholson in the lead role, he had to sue Douglas to get the writer’s royalties, and indeed the movie would not have been so good if it wasn’t for the great story. Kesey also told me that he was first turned on to LSD by a CIA backed professor during a collegiate “study” that paid him to be a guinea pig. And besides students, they also hired prisoners and soldiers to be part of the LSD tests, the results of which we will probably never know.


Around 1970 John Judge arranged for Mae Brussell of Carmel, California to visit Dayton and give a lecture on her research on the assassination. After her well attended talk in the main ballroom of the John F. Kennedy Student Union, I helped carry her books to John’s car in the parking lot. As we approached the car in the dark lot a man stepped out of the darkness and said hello to Mae, startling us a little. He said hi to Mae, and said “I’m Don Norton.”

Mae smiled and shook his hand and thanked him for the checks he had sent her to support her research – “That’s my conscience money,” he said.

While I didn’t go with Mae, John and Don back to John’s apartment, I later learned that Norton had met Oswald, and was considered one of his doubles, or impersonators. I read some records that said he was a former gay soldier who played piano in an officer’s club and was recruited by military intelligence to inform them if any military officers were gay. Norton got involved in the Garrison investigation and in Canada, gave an interview that was published about his experiences.

There are two others named Don Norton – one a fisherman also suspected of being an Oswald impersonator, and another Don Norton who wrote a book on the history of a major defense contractor.


Mae was one of the first house wife to pay attention to the assassination of President Kennedy, and became one of the most knowledgeable of researchers who had a weekly radio talk show out of her hometown of Carmel, California. She accumulated a large collection of books, newspaper articles and documents that she wanted to form the basis of the Mae Brussel Research Center. Before she passed away she instructed John Judge to set up such a center, and I drove Judge’s U-haul truck to Carmel where we rented a house and began to assemble the research center. Not long afterwards however, Mae’s daughter took over and put all of her mother’s work in storage, where I believe it remains today.


In the mid to late 1970s the New York University Law School held a major conference on the Kennedy assassination that featured all of the major critics – including Sylvia Meagher, Mae Brussell, Penn Jones, Fletcher Prouty and Ralph Schoeman, all of whom I met through John Judge. Penn Jones was then the publisher of the Midlothian, Texas Mirror newspaper, which chronicled all of the JFK assassination witnesses who died suspiciously. While I admire Penn, and his work, there are enough witnesses who were victims of certifiable homicides to work on rather than debating whether or not someone was murdered or not. I also recall John Judge saying that Penn had separated from his wife, and she sold off his 24 volumes of Warren Commission exhibits and testimony one at a time at a garage sale. John said he didn’t want that to happen to his research collection, but it did.


At the NYU conference Ralph held up a number of documents he obtained from the archives and said they were proof that one of the Cuban guys Oswald was arrested with in New Orleans was a Puerto Rican union organizer and mob connected gangster. I asked him and he gave me copies of his documents, and when I got home I wrote one of  my first requests for JFK assassination records from Marion Johnson – the curator of the JFK records at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The records I obtained on the Cuban arrested with Oswald – Minguel Cruz – indicated that he was only 17 years old in 1963, while the documents on the Union organizer with the same name indicated he was much older, and therefore a different person. I called Schoeman on the phone and he asked me to come visit him so I drove from my Ocean City, NJ home to Princeton where I shared my new documents with him and he acknowledged he was wrong about Minguel Cruz. But more recently Donald Trump accused Texas Senator Cruz’s father of being involved with Oswald in New Orleans. While Minguel Cruz is not related to Senator Cruz, he is probably still alive and is an important witness. And it was decades later when I met and began to work with Ralph Schoeman’s wife Joan Mellen.


It was at the NYU conference where I entered a large science class room and sat at a desk with a few dozen others as Col. Fletcher Prouty stood at a podium in front of a blackboard where he had written some basic covert intelligence procedures – use of codes, ciphers, cut-outs, etc., saying that you will never understand what happened at Dealey Plaza until you learn the crafts and techniques of intelligence, as the assassination was a covert intelligence operation. John Judge was a close friend of Prouty, so when Prouty was identified as the mysterious “Mr. X” portrayed by Donald Sutherland in Oliver Stone’s film “JFK,” Judge arranged for Prouty to be interviewed live on the Diane Ream show over the NPR station at American University. Judge used to say that where he started his research on the Kennedy assassination at the bottom, Prouty started at the top at the Pentagon, and they met at the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Another good friend of Prouty was Ralph Cox, a former US Navy pilot during WWII who after the war purchased a dozen Air Force Cargo planes as surplus and started the US Overseas Airlines out of Wildwood, NJ. A major player in the air cargo business for over a decade, active during the Berlin airlift and in the creation of the state of Isreal, US Overseas airlines suddenly lost all of the government contracts to a number of new airlines that Cox later learned were wholly owned subsidiaries of the CIA, and he sued the CIA over it.


I always had the highest respect for Gaeton Fonzi and followed his career closely and became friends before the end, though I was disappointed he never tried to interview David Atlee Phillips outside of his Congressional inquiry. One day on a whim I looked up Phillips’ phone number and found it listed in Bethesda, Md. I called him off the cuff and he talked to me for about a half hour, denying he was “Maurice Bishop” or that he knew Oswald. This conversation took place shortly after the publication of a long article in Washingtonian Magazine by Fonzi, that instigated a libel suit by Phillips. “Do you know where I worked at the time?” Philllips asked. At Washingtonian, where he had an office just down the hall from Fonzi, who never bothered to try to talk to him. In any case I believe Phillips knew Oswald, but like Oswald, Phillips was also hung out to dry by the CIA and Veciana, while the real truth remains buried, though we are still digging.


While Anthony Summers was in Florida interviewing John Martino’s widow and son, establishing Martino’s foreknowledge of the assassination, I was at an old house on the beachblock of Ventnor, NJ, interviewing Martino’s elderly sister and brother. They gave me a 33/1/3 RPM record of John Martino reading portions of his book – “I Was Castro’s Prisoner,” that he wrote with Nathanial Wheil.


I eventually got Weyl’s phone number and called him up cold, and was surprised at how open he was and willing to talk, as he did later with John Simkin. Weyl was the ghost writer for Martino’s book and while having a high opinion of Martino, he said they had a falling out after the book was published and Martino took a book signing tour sponsored by the John Birch Society. That was a tour that took Martino to Dallas in the fall of 1963, allowing him to share a stage with Loretta Odio and Father Walter Machann, who catered to the needs of the Cuban exiles in Dallas. But before the month was out, Machann would leave the priesthood and retreat to New Orleans where he would hook up with a friend of Odios, who happened to also be a friend of Carlos Bringuier and was one of those who attended the court hearing that resulted from the altercation between Oswald and Bringuier (and Minguel Cruz)



It was in the summer of 1976 when I first read about the Catherwood Foundation – a CIA philanthropic front that backed the anti-Castro Cuban group Cuban Aide Relief (CAR). Catherwood was described as a Philadelphia millionaire who started his charity foundation by buying a boat – The Vigilant – and using it for exploration and research purposes – one voyage including James Bond – an American ornithologist (Bird specialist) whose book “Birds of the West Indies” inspired Ian Fleming to appropriate Bond’s name for his special agent 007. I met Bond and talked to him a number of times, along with his wife Mary Wickham Bond. Bond, it turns out, was at what would become known as the Bay of Pigs – a few months before the invasion, scouting for birds.


Former classical music critic for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, husband of Virginia Pleasants for Cello player for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pleasants enlisted in the OSS during the war and served as a translator and debriefer, his most famous debriefing was former Nazi General Reinhard Gehlen, who would become chief of the West German Intelligence Service, as the behest of Allen Dulles and the CIA. Like Cummings Catherwood and James Bond, Pleasants was also character Ian Fleming made fun of by casting him as Felix Leiter, 007’s recurring CIA sidekick.


German oil geologist, who was working in Canada when I talked with him at length over the phone, was one of the hosts of a Dallas house party set up for Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife to meet Michael Paine and his wife Ruth. While Michael Paine didn’t make the party, Oswald talked for hours with Schmidt, who acknowledge to me that he used a “reverse psychology” technique on Oswald taught to him by a German psychologist. Schmidt said he talked to Oswald about General Walker, and suggested that Walker was a fascist who should be assassinated before he got too powerful, much like Hitler should have been killed, specifically mentioning the July 20, 1944 failed attempt to kill Hilter. Schmidt said he felt guilty for planting the seed in Oswald to shoot Walker, and he felt bad every time he drove through Dealey Plaza.


I met Beverly Oliver in Dallas on the set of Oliver Stone “JFK” when he was filming the final scene – an old black man and young black boy visiting JFK’s grave, which they were able to film in Dallas because of a duplicate of the building behind JFK’s grave, another faked film sequence. I also read her book, and was impressed, not because she is the Babuska Lady, or how Gary Shaw came to find her, but because of her story of being with Jack Ruby on Thursday night – the night before the assassination. With Ruby she visited the Cabana Lounge to meet Larry Meyer and then went to dinner at Campisi’s Egyptian Lounge. Oliver also had a boyfriend who worked for Kodak at their booth at the State Fairgrounds, who is an interesting character worth investigating further.


Wes was a former TV reporter and mayor of Dallas (who drove a Volkswagon Bug), who was given one of the most important leads in the Tippit murder. Wise was told about a man who resembled Oswald who at the time of Tippit’s murder was driving around Oak Cliff in a 1957 Plymouth, with a Texas license tag that was traced to Carl Mather – a close friend and former neighbor of Tippit. Mather’s alibi was that he was at work at Collins Radio – a major defense contractor who provided the radios for Air Force One, Two and SAC bombers, and also provided the cover for the CIA raider ship the Rex. The Rex was exposed by a New York Times page one story on November 1, 1963, after some Pathfinder commandos were captured after they attempted to infiltrate Cuba with high powered rifles – “that weren’t going to be used to hunt rabbits.” I recorded a two hour plus audio interview with Wes Wise as he drove me around the assassination hot spots in Dallas.


I met Holt during my cross-country train trip at his home in San Diego, high in the hills where he too talked at length as I audio recorded him, and later posted a transcript on line. While many of the leads he gave me panned out, and I confirmed, I don’t believe he was one of the tramps, as he is a self-acknowledge con artist. He’s also a very fine artist – and took me to his studio and gave me a copy of a drawing he did of Oswald’s execution. Holt told me that Warren Commission attorney Joe Ball – was a close associate of a northern California lawyer named Twombly, who directed him – Holt in many of his covert activities.


After reading her story in the Third Decade Magazine – that she wrote under an alias, I checked out her allegation that she first met Dr./Col. Jose Rivera (USAR) at an Atlantic City medical convention, and confirmed that convention did indeed take place at AC Convention Hall, where the JFK statute is now located on the boardwalk. From there I confirmed almost everything she said, and through Dick Russell, even got a picture of Rivera at Fort Ditrick, Md. I also confirmed that Rivera’s military unit – ASCI – Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence was engaged in early MKULTRA research at Ditrick, Not Cuban, Rivera was born in Lima, Peru. His longest military assignment was in New Orleans, where he taught at Loyola. The only thing I couldn’t confirm was Edisen’s call to Oswald at his New Orleans residence the first week he arrived there in April 1963. Edisen said Rivera gave her the phone number weeks before Oswald himself knew he would be living there, so how did Rivera know that number? I came to know Adele personally over the years, met her in Dallas, believe her, and was sorry to hear she passed away.


Wayne Smith was a senior state department diplomat stationed at the US Embassy in Havana when Castro took over in 1959. Smith said that he worked closely with David Morales and knew Colonel Samuel Kail, the Army attaché, as well as David Atlee Phillips, who while not working out of the embassy, was in Smith’s amateur theater group who produced plays. I met Smith at one of the first COPA conferences in Washington, and he asked me to attend the summit in Rio between JFK researchers and the Cuban intelligence officers. Though I didn’t make that meeting, my associates John Judge and Antony Summers did. Smith was later used to falsely identify Morales and another JMWAVE officer Gordon Campbell, as the persons in a film from the Ambassador Hotel on the day RFK was killed. I believe Wayne Smith is still alive.


After reading his book “The War that Never Was” many years ago, I finally got to talk to former US. Army Ranger Captain Ayers a number of times on the telephone. Ayers also wrote “The Zenith Secret,” about his time training anti-Castro Cuban commandos at JMWAVE. Ayers and Captain Edward Roderick were assigned by General Brute Krulak to train the Cubans under CIA operational control. The leader of the team Ayers trained was Julio Fernandez, the same name as the Cuban I was originally searching for. Ayers’ first book was published by Bobbs-Merrell, an company from Indiana that had an office in the Texas School Book Depository and hired William Harvey after Harvey left the CIA. And while the CIA didn’t vet Ayers’ book, Harvey did, excising the name of Gordon Campbell as well as making other editings. Like Wayne Smith, Ayers was show the video of the Ambassador Hotel on the night RFK was killed and he too falsely identified two of the men as David Morales and Gordon Campbell. Ayers recently died, but his books say a lot. Ayers was talking with the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) when they were interviewing Gene Wheaton, and Ayers warned the ARRB that Wheaton was going to give them disinformation – though Wheaton himself didn’t know it.


The late Bill Turner, former FBI agent and original JFK assassination investigator, was in Dallas on the day after the assassination, and continued his inquiry until he died. His articles in Ramparts and books – “The Fish is Red” and “Rearview Mirror” documents his work on the case, especially the New Orleans angles and JMWAVE, where he was the first to mention the name of Gordon Campbell – the JMWAVE maritime operations chief. It was Turner, at a COPA conference in Dallas who said, “We now have a good idea as to what happened at Dealey Plaza. The motives were piling up – Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, backchannel negations with Castro, and there was already a mechanism in place to kill Castro that was turned around and redirected to JFK in Dallas.” Thus focusing on the JMWAVE commandos who were paid by the CIA and trained to kill Castro – the Pathfinders.


After reading two of his books – one on the history of the Bell Helicopter and the other on his philosophy of process, I visited Arthur Young at his home in Brandywine, just outside Philadelphia. The inventor of the Bell Helicopter is a very interesting guy, who did my horoscope as we talked – on the record as I recorded it on an audio cassette. As a genius inventor who argued with Einstein at Princeton, Young set about to solve the problems of vertical flight, and after nearly two decades, succeeded in developing the first commercially approved helicopter -–the Bell 47B – the MASH helicopter with glass cockpit and girders – that is now hanging in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. As an eccentric muse who dabbled in astrology, ESP and Remote Viewing, Young hooked up with an equally eccentric women – Ruth Forbes Paine – an independently wealthy Forbes family heiress who was previously married to Lyman Paine – a founder of the American Trotskyite Party and father of Michael Paine – the chief benefactor of Lee Harvey Oswald the accused assassin. It was Arthur Young who arranged for his stepson Michael to work at the Bell Helicopter factory in Dallas, where he moved with his Quaker wife Ruth Hyde Paine, who he met at a Philadelphia folk dance. It isn’t Arthur Young who is the real key to this case – but rather his wife, Michael’s mom.


Ruth Forbes Paine Young was present when I met Arthur Young at their colonial era farmhouse in Brandywine, and I did meet her, but she was suffering from an advanced case of altimizers disease, so I didn’t ask her any questions, and she just sat there and smiled. As a Forbes, she has a cottage on the Forbes family island off Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and stressed her eccentricity by marrying Lyman Paine, who was not just a communist but a Trotyskite – follower of Trotsky, who was exiled by the Soviet Communists to Mexico City where he was assassinated by a Soviet agent – as described in the book by Issac Don Levine. The thing about Ruth Forbes is her close association with Mary Bancroft – the equally eccentric granddaughter of the founder of Barrons and the New York Stock Exchange. While on a steamship to Europe with Ruth Forbes, Mary Bancroft met a Swiss businessman who she married, which put her in a position to meet Allen Dulles in Berne, where she became Dulles’ secretary and principle agent in developing Nazi officer Hans Bernd Gisivious. Gisivious was a main participant in the July 20, 1944 Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler that failed. With the assistance of Dulles and Bancroft Gisivious escaped Berlin to Berne, and after the war relocated to Dallas where he worked for a major defense contractor.


When the Clifton copy of the Air Force One radio transmission recordings from 11/22/63 were released, I immediately compared it to the copy I had transcribed, and noticed some important aspects that were edited out of the copy of the tape I had received from the LBJ Library years earlier and transcribed. On the new tape, a man identifies himself as “Colonel Dorman – General LeMay’s aid” who wanted to get an important message to LeMay, who was flying back to DC from Canada, where he was said to be on a fishing vacation. While we don’t know what the message was, I identified Dorman and found he was from near Trenton, where I also was living at the time, and found a phone number for him. While Dorman had died in combat in Vietnam, his widow answered the phone and acknowledged that she was the wife of Colonel Dorman, General LeMay’s aide. She said that on the day JFK was killed she was working in the White House on the historic restoration project begun by Mrs. Kennnedy. She worked for a man named “Castro,” who when informed of JFK’s death, closed all the curtains and told them to leave. Mrs. Dorman said she went to a chapel to pray, and then went home. She said she lived on General’s Row alongside Arlington Cemetery.


I also talked on the phone with Mrs. Dorman’s son, who was about ten years old at the time of the assassination who recalls climbing a tree in Arlington Cemetery and watching the burial of JFK from a high perch. He also said that his father once took him on a tour of General LeMay’s private command and control plane – nicknamed “Speckled Trout,” that was an airborne command post.


Also on the Clifton tape is an excerpt edited out of the LBJ Library version of the tape, in which Pierre Salinger – the President’s Press Secretary – aboard the Cabinet Plane over the Pacific, receives a radio call from the Situation Room in the White House to return to DC immediately. Salinger took the message to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, the senior officer aboard, who wanted to know who was giving this instruction. Salinger said it was from an officer who identified himself as “STRANGER” in the White House Situation Room. Rusk said they couldn’t take orders from someone named “STRANGER” and wanted to know who it was. Salinger went to the pilot and requested the code book, but when the pilot opened the plane’s safe, the code book was missing! So Salinger went back on the radio to the Situation Room and requested the full identify of “STRANGER.” After a little while, the Situation Room responded saying “STRANGER” was Major Patterson, who Salinger knew and could vouch for. As I now had his name, I looked Patterson up and found him in Virginia and called him on the phone. He acknowledged being in the Situation Room at the time of the assassination, working for the White House Communications Agency (WHCA). He also acknowledged talking with Salinger and the fact that the code book aboard the Cabinet Plane was missing. We talked for a little while and he was quite honest and open with me, but when Jefferson Morley called him a few days later he clammed up, and wouldn’t talk, as someone must have got to him.


Former USMC Richard Bullock was stationed at Atsugi, Japan with Oswald and knew him well. I met Bullock at an Elks barbeque, and talked with him on other occasions as well. Bullock said he often played football with Oswald in their “skivvies” when off duty. Oswald he said, while officially a radar operator, usually worked out of the communications shack. Bullock also didn’t recognize the guy killed by Jack Ruby as the same guy he served with. Bullock is still alive.


When Anthony Summers interviewed a Mexican attorney who told him about meeting Oswald at Sanborn’s Restaurant in Mexico City in 1963, he said Oswald took off for the Cuban consulate on the back of a motorcycle with another American, a Philadelphia college student.  After searching for this man on the motorcycle for years with others, we gave up, but I posted an article about it on line and received an email from “Mony” – a German girl whose mother met Steve Kenan, a Philadelphia college student who rode a motorcycle. With her additional information, we located Kenan in the Southwest, and notified Anthony Summers, who contacted Kenan and talked with him on the phone. I also found Kenan’s articles about visiting Cuba in the Temple University student newspaper – which included a photo of Kenan and Castro together! Kenan said that he was indeed in Mexico City, and wrote an article about his adventures in Motorcycle Magazine (that I acquired). But – he believed he left before September 1963, so he wasn’t there when Oswald was there, and didn’t remember giving him a ride from Sanborn’s restaurant, although he was there too. It is also suspected that Kenan could be the mysterious LICOZY-3 – a student from Philadelphia and CIA asset.


When Phil Shenon’s book came out that focuses on Oswald’s presence at a “Twist Party” in Mexico City hosted by Sylvia Duran – the Cuban embassy receptionist Oswald dealt with, he tries to make the case for Cuban embassy personal encouraging Oswald to kill JFK at that party. He also says that there were two other American “gringos” at the party – who Duran would not identify because one was a famous American film actor who was still alive and she wanted to protect him. Well records recently released under the JFK Act include a CIA report of a telephone conversation between an American – Richard Beymer, and the Cubans, asking about Duran. Beymer was an American film actor who starred in West Side Story and The Longest Day, and was in Mexico at the time to attend a film festival. I tracked Beymer down and talked with him on the phone, and he acknowledged being there at the time and trying to get a visa to Cuba. He didn’t recall any Twist Party, though that was something he would have done being a footloose American below the border. With him he said, was Bradley Pierce, a former New York City bar owner, now a Catholic priest.


Father Bradley is now at a seminary in New England, and acknowledged in a phone conversation, that he was indeed with Richard Beymer in Mexico, but he too does not recall a “Twist Party,” or meeting Oswald. They were there however, at the time of the assassination, as Father Bradley recalls learning about the assassination as they got off an elevator in a hotel lobby in Mexico. Since they were there for only a few weeks, and were there on the day of the assassination, they were not there when Oswald was there in late September – early October.


Just goes to show that we have to move on interviewing the remaining living witnesses because they won’t live forever.


When JFK’s personal secretary Evelyn Lincoln passed away, she left in her will two trunks of effects that she ordered sent to her cousin – a Nebraska attorney who became a judge. The attorney informed the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) that he gave the trunks to Polk County Sheriff Cherry for safe keeping, but the ARRB never followed up on this and the contents of the trunks remain unknown and out of the JFK Collection at the NARA, where they belong. I contacted the current Polk County, Nebraska attorney and he said that he checked the evidence locker and the two trunks are no longer there. I then obtained the email and phone number of former Polk County Sheriff Cherry – who acknowledge recalling the trunks and knowing their disposition, but refused to tell me what became of them, unless I get a subpoena and he has a witness present. With the TRC – it has been suggested that RFK, Jr., the rightful heir to the trunks, should request to know what became of them.

Harry Dean – FPFCC officer in Chicago, Harry visited Cuba and was interogated by Cuban officials. He was also an informant for the FBI and CIA in regards to his FPFCC and Cuban activities, and suspects Lee Harvey served a similar role. He was personally associated with a number of individuals who became involved in the JFK assassination story.

USAF Reserve officer Maj. Ralph Ganis, who purchased at an internet auction, the private papers of Nazi commando legend Otto Skorzeny, who escaped prosecution at Nurenberg and continued his intelligence operations into the Cold War, working mainly out of Spain and Ireland. His wife worked closely with him, and according to the private papers purchased by Ganis, who I met at a JFK Conference in Dallas a few years ago, his business interests extended into Texas, especially Dallas, where he became entwined with a number of businesses and individuals involved in the assassination drama, expecially, USA Reserve Colonel Jack Crichton.

More to come on witnesses I’ve interviewed – BK