Saturday, October 13, 2018

Roger Stone's Take on Dealey Plaza

The Man Who Killed Kennedy – the Case against LBJ (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013) By Roger Stone with Mike Colapietro.


Roger Stone, the Republican Dirty Trickster, and friend of President Trump, wrote a book on the Kennedy assassination that was published on the 50th anniversary of the murder, and has some unique insights that are amusing and worth noting for the record. I missed it then, but just got a copy at my local used bookstore and found some interesting reading.

Like all devoted Lone-Nutters as well as all silly conspiracy theorists, Stone assembles all of the facts and evidence that implicates Lyndon Johnson in the assassination of his predecessor, and ignores the rest.

As Peter Dale Scott once observed, besides those who defend the Warren Commission’s conclusion that one man alone was responsible for the murder, and those who blame the CIA, Castro, the KGB, the Mafia or LBJ, there has emerged a third type of independent researcher, who keeps an open mind, reads all of the relevant books and records, and tries to answer the outstanding questions. It is that Third Force that is resolving the case to a legal and moral certainty.

In the meantime we have to put up with the continuing LN v. CT debate and the likes of Roger Stone, who finds it politically expedient to pin the tail on a democrat, and like Craig Zerbel, Phil Nelson and Barr McClellan before him, Stone actually finds some convincing evidence that LBJ was at least glad JFK was killed even if he wasn’t responsible.

I didn’t have to read far to find some significant facts that add once missing pieces to the Dealey Plaza puzzle, and helps one better understand such a complex and powerful character like Roger Stone.

In the Preface, on page 2, Stone writes: “Ambassador John Davis Lodge was the brother of JFK’s ambassador to Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge. John Davis Lodge was a congressman and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He was also governor of Connecticut, Eisenhower’s ambassador to Spain, Nixon’s ambassador to Argentina, President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to Switzerland, and my mentor.”

“It was John Lodge who introduced me to former Vice President Richard Nixon when I was sixteen years old in 1968. Lodge was an old school Brahmin who nonetheless spoke Spanish, Italian, French, and German. He enjoyed a brief career as a B-movie actor in Europe, appearing on screen with Marlene Dietrich and Shirley Temple.”

Well right there we learn that it was Ambassador John Lodge who introduced Roger Stone to Nixon, and politics has never been the same since.

I too received my political baptism in 1968, as a seventeen year old coordinator of student volunteers for the Gene McCarthy for President campaign. As a poet, university professor and Senator who opposed the war in Vietnam, McCarthy was also an old school Brahmin and my mentor, who stood by me in Chicago when we were tear gassed by the Illinois National Guard and beat with billy clubs by Mayor Daley’s Chicago police, who were authorized to shoot rioters.

I was going to write an article about what I remember of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago for the 50th anniversary of what the President Commission on Violence called a “police riot,” but it was too painful.

Stone continues: “In 1979, we sat in his (John Lodge’s) Westport, Connecticut, home enjoying a cocktail. I knew that JFK had planned to fire ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge upon his return from Dallas on November 24, 1963. I also know that Lodge knew why he had been summoned to see the President.”

Ok, a memory rush comes on and I recall the last night of the Convention, the Peace Plank had failed, the candidate – LBJ’s chosen one – Hubert Humphrey had been nominated to run for President on the Democratic ticket, opening the door for Nixon, and I looked out the 17th floor window of the Conrad Hilton Hotel at the masses of people in Grant Park. The people were surrounded by rows of blue helmeted police with long, hardwood billy clubs and lines of armed soldiers shortly before the tear gas flowed. Mayor Daley had ordered the park closed and his men were prepared to move the protesters.

I sat on the rug floor in the hall just across from Phil Ochs who played his guitar and sang songs. Someone pushed a drink cart along, handing out glasses of whiskey over ice, and I had my first alcoholic drink at age seventeen. One of McCarthy’s advance men, who I had first met in Atlantic City earlier that summer, walked past, pointed to me and advised me not to drink too much.

Then the shit hit the fan, the teargas flowed, girls screamed and cried, the large plate glass windows of the hotel’s first floor shattered, and after the cops and soldiers cleared the park, it looked like Woodstock the day after. Then they came after us. Dozens of Chicago cops came up on all of the elevators and got off on what was known as McCrathy’s floor, and began beating us as the teargas flowed into the open windows. I was beat and arrested, they charged us with throwing glass ashtrays out the window, a false but believable charge. I was bailed out of jail by Camden political boss Angelo Erricatti, who later became mayor and did time for an Abscam conviction. The cops took my wallet, money and plane ticket home, so I sheepishly knocked on Senator McCarthy’s door to explain to him the problem, and his best friend, Poet Robert Lowell answered the door. He gave me the $60 bucks to get home, and my father picked me up at the airport for the longest and quietest ride I ever took with him.

And to this day, a half century later, whenever I smell whiskey, the recurring flashback nightmare emerges from some remote section of my brain and I can smell the teargas, taste the blood and want to vomit.

And Ambassador John Lodge was sitting there in his living room sipping cocktails with Roger Stone, who recalls that, “Lodge had done Kennedy’s dirty work coordinating a campaign with the CIA to assassinate Catholic Vietnamese President Diem. I couldn’t resist asking John Lodge about his brother.”

“’Did you ever ask your brother who really killed Kennedy?’ I said.”

“His lips spread with a tight grin, ‘Cabot said it was the Agency boys, some Mafiosi,’ he looked me in the eye….’and Lyndon.;”

“Cabot?” He calls his brother by his last name?

And by the way, Michael Paine – the patron and supporter of the accused assassin and his wife and children, was a “Cabot,” – was related to the Cabots and inherited an endowment from the Cabot estate, and the Cabots were financially involved in the United Fruit Company, whose interests in Guatemala were threatened enough to spark the 1954 coup the CIA called Operation SUCCESS.

“’Did your brother know in advance?’ Stone asked Lodge.  

“’Lodge took a sip of his Manhattan. ‘He knew Kennedy wouldn’t be around to fire him. Lyndon kept him at his post so he could serve his country.’”

Excuse me while I get sick.

He means while Lodge continued to serve LBJ, not his country, and let JFK eat the bullets.

I later learned that McCarthy’s advance man who I had met when McCarthy came to Atlantic City, was one of the CIA men who supported McCarthy and gave his campaign a sense of professionalism that effectively utilized the army of youthful students who came out against the war.

And I now know the CIA doesn’t function as one unit, but is divided into many divisions and they, like any big bureaucracy are divided among themselves, as Thomas Powers points out in his book “Intelligence Wars,” and James Jesus Angleton implied when he said, “A house has many rooms. I do not know who shot John.”

But Angleton knew that John was shot by somebody in his house. 

JFK, after being elected president, met with Robert Lovett and some very respected Conservative Republican power brokers, and on their advice, included conservatives and Republicans in his administration. He broke party ranks to appoint Republicans to key posts, including Robert McNamara, McGeorge Bundy, CIA director John McCone and former Republican presidential candidate Henry Cabot Lodge as Ambassador to Vietnam. And they all betrayed him. 

According to Roger Stone it was “Cabot’s” role in the November 1, 1963 coup in Vietnam that led to the assassinations of the Diem brothers, that exposed the problems between the policies the Ambassador was trying to implement and the CIA. As Stone mentions, Richard Starnes wrote an article in the Washington Daily News – “’Spooks’ Make Life Miserable for Ambassador Lodge,” with the subtitle “Arrogant CIA Disobeys Orders in Viet Nam,” that “chronicles the turf war between US Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge and the CIA.”

More than that, Henry Cabot Lodge was one of the first JFK administration insiders who told the anti-Castro Cubans about JFK’s intention to establish a backchannel – unofficial communications link to Castro, re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, and keep Castro in power. That, according to Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in an interview with Anthony Summers, would have been enough to give them a motive to kill JFK.

As psychologists have demonstrated, everyone has a “threshold” point for committing murder, and as Bill Turner said, “the motives were piling up,” after the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, when William Harvey's advance Pathfinder crews were called back by RFK, and the fact that JFK was changing his Cuban policy to negotiate with Castro, that was enough to convince the anti-Castro Cubans to redirect their guns from Castro and kill JFK at Dealey Plaza. 

And it was Henry Cabot Lodge who tipped them off that JFK’s policy was one of accommodation, rather than assassination. 

Now to explain how we know LBJ was not the mastermind behind the Dealey Plaza operation. For starters, he was too crude and not smart enough to do it, as the plan, adopted from the CIA's PATHFINDER plan to kill Castro, or one very much like it, was "convoluted but not complicated." 

The convoluted part, as Gene Wheaton put it, was the security deception and diversion part to blame the assassination on Oswald and Castro - spark an invasion of Cuba and overthrow of Castro, an aspect of the assassination plan that did not work. 

It was LBJ himself who, after learning that Asst. Dallas DA Bill Alexander was preparing to charge Oswald with "furthering a communist conspiracy"  called Texas to inform DA Henry Wade NOT to charge Oswald with conspiracy, reject the Castro responsibility because it could lead to nuclear war, and instead go with the "Phase Two" deranged Lone-Nut scenario instead. 

Since LBJ didn't go along with the original Castro Cuban Cover-Story, he certainly was not the Mastermind of the plot or the prepared plan that was used. 

Even though Stone gets the LBJ role wrong, LBJ was the Que Bono? beneficiary of the crime, and if not the mastermind of the assassination, he controlled the cover-up and protected those responsible for executing the President. 

And Stone also adds a few other gems to the "Family Jewels," by confirming the story of LBJ's first phone call from Air Force One, before it was airborne, before the tape recorders rolled. 

J. Waddy Bullion was LBJ's attorney for financial matters, and the first person LBJ reached out to in the aftermath of the assassination. According to Stone a Texas attorney who worked in the same office as
J. Waddy Bullion, picked up an inter-office phone and listened in as LBJ talked to Bullion, a trusted legal advisor who handled many of LBJ's business assets. So it isn't surprising that LBJ is quoted as saying he will now, as President, have to sell his Halliburton stocks. 

In addition Stone says that the 1947 report that Jack Ruby served as an informant on the Chicago mob to the House Committee on Un-American Activities and Kefauver Committees is true. The one document linking Ruby with then Congressman Richard Nixon is real. According to Stone, Nixon did know and remember Jack Ruby. 

"Nick Ruwe told me that, on November 24, 1963, he arrived at Nixon's Fifth Avenue apartment - an addrrss he shared with Nelson Rockefeller ironically, to accompany Nixon to a lunch with Mary Roebling, a New Jersey socialite and Nixon family friend, at Cote Basque. It was 12:30. Ruwe came into the room as Nixon turned the TV off. He had just witnessed Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald. Ruwe told me, 'The Old Man was white as a ghost. I asked him if everything was all right.' "I know that guy,' Nixon muttered. Ruwe said that Nixon didn't elaborate. He knew better than to ask questions.'" 

Nixon had been in Dallas the previous few days as an attorney for Donald Kendell, president of Pepsi Cola, and both attended the Soft Drink Bottlers Convention that was held in Dallas the weekend of the assassination. 

"Incrediblay," Stone writes, "a US Justice Department document provided by the FBI regarding Jack Ruby's connection to Richard Nixon in the late 1940s proved Nixon's recollections correct." 

That doesn't mean we don't know better than to ask questions. And I will. 

For one, New Jersey socialite Mary Roebling is almost a neighbor of mine, as the former industrial city of Roebling is only a few miles away, but Ms. Roebling has passed away so she can't recalls being with Richard Nixon when he witnessed Ruby killing Oswald on live television. 

But even more incredible than the Nixon connection to Oswald is what Roger Stone has to say about John Alston Crichton, the Dallas oilman and founder of the 488th US Army Reserve military intelligence unit. Crichton maintained an emergency communications bunker under the Dallas State Fairgrounds museum, and his special intelligence unit included half of the Dallas police department's Special Services bureau, that also maintained an office at the Dallas State Fairgrounds, where they debriefed undercover agents and informants. 

Crichton also provided the Russian language interpreter Illya Manatov, who mis-translated Ruth Paine's first statements to the Dallas Police on the day of the assassination. 

What's really incredible isn't what Roger Stone has to say about Jack Crichton, it's what he is being prevented from saying, as his book has apparently been vetted by someone who completely eliminated every mention of John Alston Crichton in the main text, but failed to strike his name from the index, which reads: 

Crichton, John Alston 

Bush and, 315-16 
Castro assassination plot, 305 
Mamantov and, 273, 317
in motorcade, 235 
Operation 40, 299 
papers of, 317 
Texas connections, 316-17 

But if you go to each one of those pages, there is no mention of John Alston Crichton at all.

So the only conclusion I can come to is that there are two versions of this book, one written by Roger Stone and the vetted and edited version, that does not include any reference to John Alston Crichton, even though Stone apparently, according to the index, connects him to Bush, Castro assassination plots, the translator Mamantov, in the motorcade, Operation 40, the Texas connections and the location of his papers, which would be of interest to researchers.

So in the end, it isn't what the officially approved Commission reports and vetted books and edited records say, but what they don't say that counts.

Peter Dale Scott notes that rich people like Jack Crichton find it easy to sue for libel, so even though Crichton died five years before Stone wrote the book, his family may have threatened the publisher, and I will ask Tony Lyons of Skyhorse what he knows about this.

Roger Stone himiself vacations in nearby Margate, New Jersey, and I know some of his pals, and will try to get the real story direct from the horse's mouth.

So stay Tuned - BK


Anonymous said...

I don’t believe it is possible to identify Ruby from the televised killing of Oswald. Was Ruby’s identity released to the public by 12:30 PM so that Nixon could haved learned his identity by that time?

William Kelly said...

According to Stone, Nixon RECOGNIZED Ruby as someone he worked with in Congress. Sounds fanciful to me too.