Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Dealey Plaza Homily - A Spiritual Dimension to the Assassination

A DEALEY PLAZA HOMILY - A Spiritual Dimension to the Assassination 

Father Albert Pereria and the Catholic missal used to swear in LBJ as president 

There is a spiritual dimension to what occurred at Dealey Plaza, as brought out by a number of priests who became entwined in the assassination drama.

The term “propaganda” stems from the department of the Vatican responsible for the propagation of the faith. 

On JFK’s last morning on earth he woke up at the Fort Worth Hotel, and took off his St. Christopher and Miraculous medals while he took a shower, and acidently left them there, where they were retrieved by a Secret Service agent, to be returned to JFK, but not before he was killed.

When Federal Judge Sarah Hughes arrived aboard Air Force One to administer the oath of office for the President, they frantically looked for a bible, and instead found a Catholic prayer missal on the table next to the president’s bed and used that instead – “so help me God.”

Hughes then handed the missal to someone and left the plane, as LBJ said, “Now let’s get airborne.”
The missal disappeared for some years and then turned up in Texas and is now on display at the LBJ Library.

It is believed the missal was a gift to the president from Father Albert Pereira, who administered to the small parish of St. Stephen the Martyr in Millersburg, Virginia, population 1,000, where JFK and his family spent their weekends away from Washington.  Millersburg is considered “horse country,” where Jackie and the kids would ride while the president relaxed or played golf. At first they leased an estate called Glenn Ora, where RFK would also visit, and where Desmond FitzGerald said he often called RFK to discuss covert operations against Castro, including CIA plots to kill Castro. Father Pereira became a spiritual advisor to both JFK and RFK and presided over the baptism of some of RFK’s kids.

With the president in attendance, every Sunday in October and November 1963, the church was renovated to include an area enshrined in bullet proof glass and a direct telephone line to the White House.

When the Kennedys arrived in Millersburg in 1961 the small but wealthy town was segregated, as was most of the South, and when one of the Kennedy’s black servants was refused service at a local lunch counter, word got around and the local NAACP planned a sit in. Father Pereira then went to all of the local business owners and convinced them that it would be best for them to end the segregation and to serve blacks, and they agreed to cooperate, ending the threat of a sit-in.

So it is believed that JFK’s Catholic missal, used to swear in LBJ as president, was a gift to the president from Father Pereira, who died on March 8, 2004 at the age of 88. The son of a carpenter, one of eleven children born on May 12, 1915 in Funchal, Maderia island, a territory of Portugal, he came to the United States as a child in 1920 and attended St. Charles seminary in Baltimore, where my uncle Skip Haynes was also trained as a priest.

[Note: it is not believed that Father Pereira is related to Victor Pereira, Jim Braden’s partner in crime, but he could be.]

A Jesuit priest Father Quintin Walsh instigated my interest in politics by teaching a 1968 political science class at Camden Catholic high school. Walsh chain smoked, drank wine and cursed frequently while making us read the classic Greek and European philosophers and requiring us to write a constitution for a fictional country. I chose a dictator, a benevolent one. 

The Cambridge spy ring was run and controlled for many years by Theodore Maly, a Catholic priest. Cambridge had been a recruiting ground for centuries, as in 1581 Robert Persons, a Catholic cleric and head of the Jesuit order wrote that, "At Cambridge I have insinuated a certain priest into the very university, under the guise of scholar or gentleman commoner," who was a successful recruiter. 

Just as the Russian Orthodox Church inside the Soviet Union was considered a branch of the KGB, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia was embraced by the CIA, and financed in part by the CIA's Catherwood Foundation. 

The use of refugees for intelligence purposes is older than the CIA as Nazi General Reinhard Gehlen, as head of intelligence for the German Armies on the Eastern Front, he established Operation Wringer, to debrief refugees from Russia and Eastern European countries. It was reported that they sometimes obtained the best intelligence from children. 

Obtaining intelligence from exiled refugees from Communist countries was incorporated into the founding of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), led by Leo Cherne, a close personal friend of Conservative commentator and spy William F. Buckley, Jr..  From Russia former Marine defector wrote to Cherne and the IRC on three occassions seeking aide in returning home. 

In Dallas there were two Orthodox churches, the St. Nicholas parish, which was composed entirely of exiled White Russians who took measures to prevent their infiltration by communists agents, and St. Seraphim, which catered to Russians and Orthodox from other countries, including Mexico. 

And while Lee Harvey Oswald’s family was under the care of exiled White Russians in Dallas, his daughter June Lee was baptized in that Church by Father Dimitri Royster.  Royster joined the Army in 1943 and served as a Japanese interpreter on the staff of General Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines and Japan. 


My late uncle Father Steven “Skip” Haynes, became a Catholic priest late in life, after working at the Philadelphia Bulletin newspaper for over 20 years. After I attended his first mass at a Baltimore, Maryland seminary, he sent me a homily he wrote and delivered at a later mass, one that described my work as a JFK assassination researcher.

A homily is “a religious discourse that is intended primarily for spiritual edification rather than doctrinal instruction; a sermon.”

Father Skip, as we called him, said that the work I was doing in trying to get the release of all of the government’s records on the assassination of President Kennedy was very much like the biblical story of the blind men and the elephant, in which each of the blind men described a different part of the elephant in very different terms – but each accurately described a portion of the body.

In a sense what we are doing now in reviewing the most recently released records from the Archives is much like that of the blind men and the elephant, as we feel out and learn more about how JFK was killed, putting together the pieces to the puzzle of the elephant in the archives. Which is very similar to what are doing by reading and reassembling the government’s records on the assassination.
Jim Douglas, author of “JFK-And the Unspeakable – Why He Died and Why it Matters,” was inspired to write his book by his correspondence with a Catholic priest – Thomas Merton, a monk whose correspondence with Douglas led to the idea of the “unspeakable.”

In 1961 Douglas began a correspondence with Merton, then at the monastery of the Abbey of Gehsemani in Kentucky. According to Douglas, "'The Unspeakable,' is a term Thomas Merton coined at the heart of the sixties after JFK's assassination - in the midst of escalating Vietnam War, the nuclear arms race, and the further assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy. In each of those soul-shaking events Merton sensed an evil whose depth and deceit seemed to go beyond the capacity of words to describe."

In 1965 Merton wrote: Öne of the awful acts of our age is the evidence that the world is stricken indeed, stricken to the very core of its being by the presence of the Unspeakable. Those who are at present so eager to be reconciled with the world at any price must take care not to be reconciled with it under this particular aspect: as the nest of the Unspeakable. This is what too few are willing to see." 

"Ït is the void that contradicts everything that is spoken even before the words are said," Merton wrote, "the void that gets into the language of public and official declarations at the very moment when they are pronounced, and makes them ring dead with the hollowness of the abyss."

As Douglas explain it, "By overlooking the deep changes in Kennedy's life and the forces behind his death, I contributed to a national climate of denial. Our collective denial of the obvious, in the setting up of Oswald and his transparent silencing by Ruby, made possible the Dealey Plaza cover-up. The success of the cover-up was the indispensable foundation for the subsequent murders of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy by the same forces at work in our government - and in ourselves...The cover-up of all four murders, each leading into the next, was based, first of all, on denial - not the government's but our own. The unspeakable is not far away."

Douglas dedicates his book to Vincent Salandria, the Philadelphia attorney who adamantly fought Arlen Spector, and then, before he died, had lunch with and buried the hatchet with a mutual understanding of what really happened, not only at Dealey Plaza, but with the cover up of the true facts of the assassination.

Actor Richard Beymer, best known for his starring roles in The Longest Day and West Side Story, is mentioned in some of the recently released records because he contacted the Cuban embassy in Mexico City, a phone call that was picked up by a CIA listening post. Like Oswald, Beymer wanted to travel to Cuba, contacted Sylvia Duran and was said to have been at the Twist Party that Oswald allegedly attended. Beymer was accompanied by another Yankee Gringo, Bradley Pierce, who at the time owned a New York City bar, but is now Father Bradely, a Catholic priest.

Sylvia Odio and John Martino, both implicated in the assassination, were advised by Father McChann, a Catholic priest assigned to cater to the Cuban refugee community in Dallas and New Orleans.

Odio confessed to McChann that Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of the President, had visited her with two Cubans, a fact that she also told her father about in a letter she wrote to him in a Cuban prison, where he was incarcerated for harboring an assassin who planned to kill Castro.

After sharing a stage in Dallas with John Martino, who was promoting his book “I Was Castro’s Prisoner,” Father Machann disappeared shortly after the assassination and surfaced at a Catholic school in New Orleans, and cooperated with the Secret Service in questioning Odio about Oswald and the Cubans. 

In New Orleans Machann went to Loyola University and visited Dr. Agustin Guitart, a physics professor and associate of the Cubans arrested with Oswald, who attended the court hearing. 

MacChann then left the priesthood and moved to Thailand.

In an Irish Echo (November 2017) article about his survey of the recently released and previously secret files on the assassination, Professor James Kelleher wrote about what he calls “junk” among the recently released records. Kelleher wrote:  “I also found a significant number of documents that left me questioning why the documents were included in a records release dealing with the assassination of President Kennedy, and why it was necessary to have kept them secret for so many years. Some of the documents appear to be totally unrelated to the assassination and deal with matters such as medical care reimbursements for Cuban exiles working with the CIA. Such documents offer little more value than that of wasting the researcher’s time.”

While there are many documents unrelated to the assassination among the recently released records, such as the many records on Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights and anti-war demonstrations and those considered and labeled NBR-Not Believed Relevant by the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB), as Judge John Tunheim recently noted, many of these records are indeed relevant to the assassination.

For instance the documents on Collins Radio were labeled NBR by the ARRB but since Collins Radio made the radios and monitored the Air Force One radio communications, the recently released records are relevant in that they reflect the close association Collins Radio shared with other major defense contractors such as LTV and General Dynamics. 

As for the example Professor Keheller gives – the records on the medical expenses of exiled Cubans working for the CIA, they reflect an important part of the intelligence network responsible for what happened at Dealey Plaza.

Although Kim Philby knew about CIA’s use of ostensibly philanthropic foundations to finance covert operations, such as the Catherwood Fund, the American people didn’t know about it until the Ramparts magazine expose. When I first learned about the Catherwood Fund being a CIA conduit I went to the newspaper archives and read all of the news reports about its activities, and was not surprised to see that the CIA, through the Catherwood Fund, established organizations such as the Cuban Aid Relief to assist refugees.

And since most if not all of the Cuban refugees who worked with the CIA were Catholic, it wasn’t surprising to see the CIA’s financial support of Catholic Welfare and the funding of a number of medical clinics to cater to the Cuban refugees in Miami, New Orleans and Dallas.

Just as CIA agents and operatives use CIA connected lawyers, when they need one, they also use CIA dentists and doctors, and hence, the CIA supported medical clinics that catered to the refugees is relevant to the assassination, in that it is a branch of the network that is responsible for the murder of the president.

A Cuban in New Orleans Luis Rebel Nunes, used a laundry truck borrowed from the Catholic Church relief society to remove the arms and ammunition in the Houma Bunker raid shortly before the Bay of Pigs, a truck that was also said to be at Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination.

In Miami, shortly after the assassination, Dr. Jose Ignorzio, the chief of clinical psychology for the CIA financed Catholic Welfare Service, contacted the White House to inform the new administration that the accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had met directly with Cuban ambassador Armas when he was in Mexico City, a story also propagated by associates of Sylvia Duran. 

That Oswald was the assassin and Castro was behind the assassination were very detailed and elaborate black propaganda operations, - that failed, but because they failed they give us some insight into the network that was responsible for what happened at Dealey Plaza.

So there is hope, and the belief that the assassination is not an unsolvable crime that can't be understood, but thanks in part to the release of the once secret records, we can put the pieces of the Dealey Plaza puzzle together and figure it out to a legal and moral certainty.

Martin Luther King, Jr., who was inspired to make civil rights a part of his ministry, once gave a speech on non-violent protests to a conference of Quakers in which he quoted an old Baptist minister who didn’t have command of the King’s English, but got his point across when he said: “Let judgement rain down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. Lord, we ain’t what we want to be, we ain’t what we ought to be, we aint’ what we wanna be, but thank God we ain’t what we were.”

In a sense that’s where we are, much more wiser than we were in 1963, but we don’t yet have a clear picture of the elephant in the archives that tells us what really happened at Dealey Plaza that day.


Unknown said...

Bill why did you leave out Father Dimitri name your much Like Wikipedia leaving out his connections to Army intelligence and Col Boris t Pash

Rachel said...

Well done. Huber important and Dimitri a strange convert. Story is packed with great stuff.

Rachel said...

Well done. Huber important and Dimitri a strange convert. Story is packed with great stuff.