Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Skorzeny Network in Dallas


Major Ralph P. Ganis and The Skorzeny Papers – (Skyhorse, NY, 2018)

It has been pointed out by a number of reviewers that The Skorzeny Papers book lacks citations and even examples of what the documents contained in them look like, though Ganis says they are mainly letters between Skorzeny and his wife and carbon copies of business documents in different languages that had to be translated.

I met Major Ganis in Dallas, talked to him at length, transcribed one of his radio interviews and have talked to him on the phone a number of times, all of which makes me believe that he is the real deal and has supporting records for everything he says, even though at this point, we have to take his word for it. As a military veteran who has served in three branches of the service, through five wars, I take the man at his word, though you don’t have to.

Dallas Names – the Skorzeny Intelligence Network Overlay

Maj. Ralph Ganis, an experienced and decorated U.S. military officer, says that he used research techniques he learned working in intelligence that allowed him, as he read the Skorzeny Papers, to recognize an intelligence network that was operating as business enterprises, many out of Dallas, Texas. He calls this the “Skorzeny network,” though there appears to be a number of overlapping networks, some of different intelligence agencies, others of different government nationalities.

Major Ganis makes me recall Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer, who was assigned by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to create the Able Danger Counter-Intelligence (CI) computerized program that led to the identity of the network of radical Islamic extremists responsible for the 9/11 attacks, before the attacks occurred.


Ganis however, because of his military training, and our own counter-intelligence review, has the retrospective advantage of hinsight by trying to uncover and decipher the intelligence network responsible for the Dealey Plaza Operation - years, decades – a half century after it occurred. So we have vast resources at our disposal, and can narrow down areas of interest and zero in on those responsible.

According to Ganis: “Skorzeny’s Dallas business and social circles were the critical piece for carrying out the assassination…..By analyzing Skorzeny’s Dallas business network, we can see for the first time a coherent covert assassination operation.”

Years ago I acquired a trade paperback book at a used bookstore called A Money Tree Grows in Dallas that was a rundown of Dallas corporations, including addresses, the names of their boards of directors, and major stockholders, that I used to cross-reference a number of important players – such as Arthur Collins, Leon Jaworski, Jean deMenil, John Connally, and others, documenting their ties and relationships. After all, if you serve on the board of directors with less than a dozen men, you must know them all pretty well.

And Ganis in the Skorzeny Papers plays the same game, and it works, as we have come to the same conclusions though from vastly different backgrounds, and using different sources and research techniques.

As Ganis writes, “….The evidence shows that Skorzeny’s network had access to and control of essential operational elements necessary for an assassination, the structure to deflect participation, and the ability (to) synchronize the entire affair.”

(There are) Ganis continues (p. 302-303), “…three descriptive groups….the action arm, those individuals responsible for the assassination; the deception group, those responsible for the cover story and setup of a scapegoat; and the support elements, those in charge of communications, transportation, logistics, security, safe houses, and other operational necessities.”

If the assassination was a covert intelligence operation, then those who planned, set up and conducted the operation must have had to control the entire scene from beginning to end, and that certainly narrows down the suspects.

And one of the CIA techniques for determining the validity of defectors or new sources of information is the amount of new names, places and events that are provided, and Ganis comes up with quite a few.

One of the Dallas oil men Ganis says is mentioned in the Skorzeny Papers, who I had never heard of before, is Algur H. Meadows, who founded the Meadows Foundation in Dallas in 1948 to promote philanthropic non-profit enterprises, like the Meadows Historic center, which provides office space for non-profit organizations in Dallas.

It just so happens that the CIA, created just the year before, set up a means to fund secret CIA covert operations through such non-profit philanthropic foundations, such as the Meadows Foundation, and the Catherwood Foundation, also established in 1948. While I have not studied the Meadows Foundation activities over the years, as I have the Catherwood Foundation, I am confident that any review will reveal similar operations that Meadows performed for the CIA.



While this secret funding network was kept from the American public until it was exposed by Ramparts Magazine during the LBJ administration, the Soviets knew about it from the very beginning, as Frank Wisner, the head of CIA covert operations, explained the details to Kim Philby, the British MI6 representative in Washington who was also a Soviet double-agent. And Philby wrote about it in his autobiography “My Secret War.”

According to Ganis: “A third man who was deeply involved with the (Algur H.) Meadows oil deal was Colonel Jack Crichton, vice president and director of DeGolyer & MacNaughton. Crichton too was a veteran OSS officer from the European Theater during World War II. Crichton remained in the U.S. Army Reserve after the war and in 1956 had organized a U.S. Army Intelligence unit in Dallas – the 488th Military Intelligence Detachment. The 488th was tasked with strategic analysis but by virtue Colonel Crichton’s ties to Skorzeny through the Spanish oil venture it opens up the possibility that Colonel Crichton’s unit was somehow connected to the Skorzeny network. Certainly, Crichton had a communications channel to Skorzeny via the General American Oil Company.” (p. 160 – not listed in the index)

Skyhorse books in New York City published Ganis’ book, and also published another book on the assassination of President Kennedy in 2013 by Republican political dirty trickster Roger Stone, that blames the assassination on LBJ. Stone also lists Jack Crichton in the index, but none of the references are included in the text narrative, which means they were intentionally censored from Stone’s manuscript.

According to Stone’s index, Crichton, John Alston is mentioned on eleven pages under the headings of Bush (315-16), Castro assassination plot (305), Mamantov (273, 317), in motorcade (235), Operation 40 (299), papers of (317) and Texas connections (316-17), but if you go to each of those pages, there is no mention of Crichton at all.

There are two different spellings of Crichton’s name in the Skorzeny book index – Crichton and Critchton, with the former being the correct one, and the one that I will use.

Now we can surmise what some of these index references were about – such as the fact that (Ilya) Mamantov was recruited by Crichton to serve as a translator for Marina Oswald in the hours after the assassination, but I don’t know of any association between Crichton and Operation 40 or a Castro assassination plot, though I’m sure those references would be interesting.

There are other listings for Jack Crichton in Ganis’ book however (p. 225), in which he mentions three other men I have never heard of before – Clifford Forster, James Burnham, and Archibald Roosevelt, Jr., and their political action organizations.

As Ganis writes: “In February 1960, (attorney Clifford) Forster, along with James Burnham, a contract CIA officer, founded the American Committee for France and Algeria….Later, Forster would also be involved with ‘The Committee for Aid to Katanga Freedom Fighters,’ another CIA-associated pressure group for the Congo. This group included CIA station chief Archibald Roosevelt, Jr. and Colonel Jack Crichton of Dallas, among other linked to this story….all represent the exact geographical areas, precisely the right time, for Skorzeny’s covert operations in these areas.”

As has been pointed out before, one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist, so it’s hard to discern who is on the right side here.

Now it certainly is curious that Jack Crichton was interested in the situation in the Congo as well as Algeria, as both come into play in the assassination.

Both President Kennedy and Fidel Castro also held interest in the situation in the Congo, originally a Belgian colony. Certain areas of the Congo – and I suspect it is Katanga, held important uranium reserves used in making nuclear reactions and atomic bombs. Castro sent some of his military to the Congo and some of those JMWAVE Cubans went to the Congo after the assassination.

Although I’m not acquainted with the political situation in the Congo at the time, though I will beef up on it as soon as possible, I believe President Kennedy supported the independence of African nations from their European imperialists, as he did with Algerian independence from France, another hot spot that had the attention of JFK, as well as those suspects in his assassination.

It is certainly interesting that the Dallas oil men like Crichton would be concerned about the foreign affairs of both the French in Algeria and Belgians in the Congo.

Another Dallas oil man – Jean deMenil, was head of the French Schulemburger company, whose Huma, Louisiana facility had an underground arms bunker where explosives, dynamite, arms and ammunition were kept. Before the Bay of Pigs and French Algerian crisis, both of which occurred in mid-1961, the Huma arms bunker was burglarized, by David Ferrie and his band of bozos, and the booty taken to Guy Bannister’s office and Ferrie’s apartment in New Orleans. Some of the burglars said that they had a key, and it was not a burglary, but a gift, and the arms were to be used either for Cubans fighting Castro or the OAS terrorists fighting deGaul to keep Algeria French.

The CIA’s Catherwood Foundation philanthropic front, besides covertly funding the Cuban Aid Relief and Catholic Welfare charities supporting Cuban refugees, also funded the Columbia-Catherwood Award for journalism. In 1963 the New York Times reporter won the award for his reporting on the Algerian crisis.

According to Ganis, the Skorzeny Papers reveal that: “The American Committee for France and Algeria’s first publication, called ‘Integration,’ did not appear until September 1960. The organization’s mission statement read, ‘The American Committee for France and Algeria has been organized to explain to the American people the reasons why we, a group of American citizens, believe that, in the interest of humanity and Western civilization, American policy is, as that of our allies will, be best served by an Algeria integrated with France.” (p. 225-226)

Of course once President Kennedy assumed office, that did not jive with his policies, which encouraged French President deGaul to free Algeria as a French colony, and led to a number of assassination attempts on deGaul, including some by the OAS. One such assassination attempt on deGaul by the OAS was a “military style” ambush of his motorcade that failed.

Ganis says that, “One last facet of the Congo saga that is a unique and important link connecting Otto Skorzeny to the CIA efforts in the country is a private psychological warfare group formed in the wake of Lumumba’s death. This was a pressure group aligned with conservative elements within the United States government supporting an independent Katanga, called ‘The Committee for Aid to Katanga Freedom Fighters.’ The committee was a small, but powerful lobby directed at garnering U.S. public support for the breakaway province in the Congo. It appeared on the scene in the fall of 1961, months after Skorzeny’s jaunt down to the Congo to conduct his Lumumba assassination assessment, but well within the CIA’s continued period of covert action in the country. That interest actually never abated, and the Congo Crisis went on for years. Skorzeny is directly linked to The Committee for Aid to Katanga Freedom Fighters and, from all available evidence in the Skorzeny papers, was a hidden advisor to the group. His principal contact to the group was one of his main business partners, Cliford Forster, the well seasoned veteran of the psychological warfare and political operations such as those in France in 1949 involving Paix et Liberte. Forster will also support a similar pressure group for the French Algerian crisis.”

As Ganis points our, “Significantly, a member of the Katanga committee was Dallas, Texas oil executive, and U.S. Army Reserve intelligence officer, Colonel Jack Crichton. Crichton also knew Skorzeny from the Delta oil drilling project in Spain beginning in 1953 and continuing through 1963. Crichton’s involvement with the Congo pressure group brings him even deeper into the covert operations of the Skorzeny network.”

“To gain international attention,” Ganis writes, “the committee took out a full-page ad in the New York Times in December 1961, explaining the mission and goals of the organization and declaring, ‘Katanga is the Hungary of 1961.’ The stated purpose was ‘a wholehearted desire to keep alive the spirit of resistance of the Katanga people, who only wish to live their lives in peace, without outside interference.”

It should be noted that the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC), to which the accused assassin belonged, also took out a full page ad in the New York Times in order to explain its mission and goals and garner public support. And Ganis comes up with yet another new name – Michel Stuelens, when he writes: “The committee operated in conjunction with a Belgian expatriate named Michel Stuelens. He ran the Katanga Information Service (KIS), a Katangese government organization, from its headquarters on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. The KIS engaged in a massive press campaign directed at the American public, including Washington politicians, business leaders, and academia….” (p. 289)

According to Ganis (p. 225-226), “Oddly, the last issue of the US/France Report appears to be Number 11, December 1963.. That issue carried the headline article ‘The Assassination.’ The article, on ‘the conspiracy’ which it explains is a vast communist network within the United States, aligned with the left. According to the article, the reason the assassination took place, was to lay blame on the far right, and this would have happened if not for the capture of Lee Harvey Oswald before his intended escape.” 

Then Ganis and the Skorzeny Papers come up with two new companies – new to me – Premier Petrochemical and Delta Drilling, and a few new names – Lewis W. McNaughton and Joe Zeppa, and then sets them down at the same board table with Jack Crichton and – Colonel D. Harold Byrd, the owner of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD).

It is also of passing interest that George H. W. Bush was in Dallas on the day of the assassination, staying at the Dallas Sheraton Hotel, the scene of many curious events, and was in Tyler, Texas at the time of the assassination, flying there on Joe Zeppa's plane. 

 Ganis informs us that the Skorzeny Papers mention the fact that: “On January 9, 1963, Dallas papers announced the formation of the new petrochemical company called Premier Petrochemical. The company was to deal in synthetic fertilizers. An important factor for this book is the chairman of the new company was Algur H. Meadows and that one of the companies’ stockholders was Colonel D. Harold Byrd. Others included Lewis W. McNaughton and Joe Zeppa of Delta Drilling, overseen by Colonel Jack Crichton.”

Ganis (p. 335) concludes that, “It should also be pointed out here that the Skorzeny papers also confirm he too was involved in synthetic fertilizer. The importance of the company formation is its potential use by Skorzeny in manipulating the support pieces to the Dallas operation. In fact, on October 12, 1963, the Dallas papers carried an article on Meadows, stating he was to receive a medal from the Spanish government for his oil work in the country…..There is yet much to be investigated in these connections. But clearly the Skorzeny Dallas business network was active in Madrid just prior to the assassination.”

Indeed, there is much more to be investigated in these connections, but clearly there was a covert intelligence network operating in Dallas at the time of the assassination, and Colonel Jack Crichton and Colonel D. Harold Byrd were in the thick of it. 

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