The Skorzeny Papers – Evidence For the Plot to Kill JFK, By Major Ralph P. Ganis, USAF, Ret., with an introduction by Dick Russell. (Hot Books/Skyhorse, NY, 2018)
“The Warren Commission was not created to find the answer to the JFK murder but to deflect attention away from all intelligence and operational links to the assassination. Witnesses that should have been called were not, others acted as agents of deception. Superfluous and irrelevant data abounds in the documents, obtained by equally worthless witnesses and individuals called to testify. Mountains of documents were created to confuse, mislead, and divert attention away from the true conspiracy that was linked to a covert paramilitary network operating in Dallas and linked to Otto Skorzeny.” - Major Ralph P. Ganis, USAF, Reserve Retired
By William E. Kelly, Jr.
It’s seldom when researchers from different areas and backgrounds come to the same conclusions at the same time, based on totally different evidence, but that’s what happened when I met Major Ralph P. Ganis USAF (Ret.) at the JFK Lancer conference in Dallas in November.
I opened the conference with a summary of the sealing and release of JFK assassination records by the government and gave a list of my Top Ten records released under the JFK Act. Now I have to expand on those after meeting Maj. Ganis, reading his book The Skorzeny Papers (Skyhorse, 2018) and listening to the fascinating radio interview he did that I transcribed.
It was in the late 1970s at the New York Law School conference on the JFK assassination when I sat in on a lecture by Colonel Fletcher Prouty, who was describing the procedures used in covert intelligence operations, and the differences between assets, operatives, agents and cut-outs, case officers, aliases, code names and safe houses. “You have to understand these things before you can understand what happened at Dealey Plaza,” he said, and it took me a long time, but I got it.
It was only when I began to approach the Dealey Plaza Operation – as I call it – as a covert intelligence operation, that all of the pieces fall into place.
And it was in the 1980s when former FBI agent Bill Turner said at a Dallas COPA conference, “We now know what happened at Dealey Plaza to a fairly good degree of certainty. The motives were piling up – the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, the two-track back channel to Cuba – the motives were piling up to the point they had to assassinate him. I think it’s now pretty obvious, with the information we have today, that the mechanism of it came out of the alliance between the CIA and the Mafia. They already had an assassination apparatus set up for killing Castro, and they just switched targets and they killed JFK instead.”
Then I listened to and partially transcribed the Gene Wheaton interview (w/ William Law), that had been presented at a Lancer Conference a decade earlier, but one that I had missed until a few months ago, in which Wheaton says that his friends and business associates claimed that one of the plans designed by the CIA to kill Castro had been redirected to JFK in Dallas. And we could trace them – the Cubans and their CIA trainers – some of who are still alive.
Now we have Major Ralph Ganis saying pretty much the same thing – that JFK was killed by a covert intelligence operation that was designed to deceive, Oswald was what he said he was – a patsy, and the real culprits are entwined in the intelligence network that was operational in Dallas at the time of the murder. And says Ganis, he learned this from the private papers of former Nazi commando Otto Skorzeny, that he purchased at auction.
I first learned about Otto Skorzeny while researching the background of American ornithologist James Bond, author of The Birds of the West Indies, a book that Ian Fleming kept on his Jamaican breakfast table. And it was from the author of that book from whom Fleming appropriated the name for his secret agent 007, now the most famous spy in history.
And Ian Fleming’s official biography notes that the British naval commander considered Otto Skorzeny his opposite number in the German military, and indeed both Skorzeny and Fleming directed elite commando units that operated behind lines during World War II.
Then when I read the memo (Higgins Report) of the CIA’s Desmond FitzGerald’s briefing of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (on Sept. 25, 1963) informing them that the CIA was “studying in detail” the July 20, 1944 Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler in order to use it against Castro, I began investigating that incident. I learned that the day after they failed to kill him, Hitler had a very public meeting with former Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who Skorzeny and his band of commandos had abducted from his pro-Allied captors in an imaginative glider attack on a mountain castle prison.
In the course of that research I also learned that Skorzeny and his men helped round up and execute some of those co-conspirators involved in the July 20, 1944 plot to kill Hitler, and many were arrested and killed while thousands more were imprisoned.
More recently, while reviewing the last few batches of government records released under the JFK Act I came across one document with redactions, but one redaction had bled through the whiteout so I could barely make out the name of a person I had never heard of – Arnold Silver. I immediately looked him up and learned that he was one of the US Army intelligence officers who had debriefed Skorzeny when he was in the hands of the U.S. military.
My interest in Skorzeny increased even more when I read one of the newly released records that one of the JMWAVE anti-Castro Cuban commandos we have been tracing from the Wheaton names, had contacted Skorzeny in Spain. These commandos had raided Cuban industrial targets from Florida, and were paid and trained by the CIA to kill Castro. Now I learned that one of them was sent to Europe shortly after the assassination to meet in Spain with Ottor Skorzeny.
So now my interest in Skorzeny has peaked, and I was quite surprised to learn that Major Ralph Ganis purchased Skorzeny’s private papers at auction and Ganis says that they implicate Skorzeny in the assassination of President Kennedy.
While originally incredulous, I now believe Ganis is on to something as Skorzeny adds another big piece to the Dealey Plaza puzzle – the overlapping covert intelligence network that supported the Dealey Plaza Operation.
In the author’s Comments on Sources, Ganis says, “Through the 1950s and 1960s, Skorzeny’s special experience and skills in covert operations were increasingly utilized by the most secret agencies of multiple governments, including the United States. It’s very clear that he enjoyed the confidence of highly-placed western intelligence officials eager to use his special skills in highly classified operations to combat the Communist threat in the Cold War. At an early point, it also became apparent, due to Skorzeny’s business relationships that linked him intimately to Dallas, that there was at least the potential for a link to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.”
“This line of research continued to expand dramatically,” Major Ganis writes, “until I was convinced that either Skorzeny was directly involved in the Dallas affair or that those he was connected to were. The hypothesis was confirmed.”
Major Ganis’ new book The Skorzeny Papers, could be a game changer, as he shifts the approach to the assassination of President Kennedy from viewing what happened at Dealey Plaza as the result of deranged loser or a few disgruntled CIA-Mafia-Oil men sitting around conspiring to kill the President. Instead of such a conspiratorial plot, it was a plan, a detailed plan that was already in place and taken off the shelf.
From what we can now understand, this plan was devised, ordered, practiced, carried out and paid for as a very distinct and disciplined covert intelligence operation, and they have left a paper trail that we are following.
In evaluating the bonafides of a source, if supplying new places, events and names that pan out is the barometer, then Ganis comes through in spades, as his book is full of new names, places and events, that will be delved into.
But the most important aspect of this book is in redirecting the approach to the crime from that of a typical homicide investigation to that of a counter-intelligence one.
By recognizing what happened at Dealey Plaza as a covert intelligence operation – a covert action conducted by an intelligence network, Ganis narrows the pool of suspects to those who were trained in and practiced such covert black ops, and those who were operating in Dallas at the time of the crime.
If a silly conspiracy theorist had put forth this notation it could be easily dismissed, but Maj. Ganis is a distinguished and respected, retired Air Force officer who has also served through five wars in the Army and Marines. He also had the spare time and savings to purchase, at public auction, the personal papers of former German military commando commander Otto Skorzeny, and the intelligence training to recognize their significance.
Ganis reminds me of Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, the military intelligence officer who was assigned by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to compile a computerized open source data mine they called Able Danger - an operation led him to the militant Arab networks responsible for 9/11, before it occurred. Now Ganis is using the same type of intelligence analysis in retrospect, applying it to what happened at Dealey Plaza.
Ganis, a military historian, knew Skorzeny from his World War II exploits – the freeing of deposed Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and commanding the English speaking Germans, dressed in American Army uniforms who operated behind the lines during the Battle of the Bulge. For that he was tried at Nuremberg, but found not guilty, thanks to the testimony of American intelligence officers who wanted to use Skorzeny in the Cold War.
I knew of Skorzeny’s role in the rounding up some of the co-conspirators of the failed July 20, 1944.
But Ganis was interested in what Skorzeny did after the war, and that’s what led him to Dallas.
Major Ganis was surprised he submitted the best bid for the papers and took custody of them, finding most of them in foreign languages and many copies on carbon paper, so he had to have them transcribed, copied and translated. But as he deciphered them he saw the patterns in the intelligence net that led from Skorzeny’s papers into the heart of the Dealey Plaza Operation that resulted in the murder of President Kennedy.
One of the oldest books known to man, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War has a chapter devoted to Secret Agents and describes what he called “The Divine Skein,” or “Godly Net,” as a skein is a fisherman’s net. And Sun Tzu’s net, when all five types of secret agents are working simultaneously, it is like key information being pulled in like a net, and what Sun Tzu called “The treasure of the soverign.” To those unfamiliar with the skein, or such covert operations, it seems like a magic trick or of divine origin – hence, the divine net.
And today, thousands of years later, we still use the term “Intelligence Network,” a term that stems from Sun Tzu’s “Divine Skein.”
And now we know JFK's death was not an act of God but an act of man, one that can be solved and understood.
Whatever you believe happened at Dealey Plaza, and regardless of Lee Harvey Oswald’s role, whether lone gunman or patsy – it doesn’t matter, once the assassination is perceived and recognized as a covert intelligence operation, everything falls into place.
From that very basic realization and verifiable hypothesis, it can also be deduced that the Dealey Plaza Operation (DPO) was in some way connected to Cuba, the plots to kill Castro, and as we have seen, more specifically to the Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler and the Pathfinder plans to kill Castro.
It was the CIA’s plans to topple Castro that led them to Skorzeny, early on – in 1959-60, during the Eisenhower administration, when Operation Tropical was reportedly considered as a contingency plan to capture (or kill) Castro, and utilize the talents of the former German military commando extradonaire to do it.
Operation Tropical, according to the Skorzeny Papers and a single published report, expended millions of dollars and included the training of special commandos over many months, but was not approved by JFK and the National Security Council (NSC) and its leaders distracted, diverted to emergency crisis response in the Congo, precisely where some of the JMWAVE commandos were sent in the months after the assassination of President Kennedy.
While Larry Hancock has noted that the only published reference to Operation Tropical, a copy of which was apparently among The Skorzeny Papers, is from a Latin American newspaper and is probably disinformation and propaganda, I think that’s okay too. Either its real or someone went way out of their way to manufacture a fake but believable news story and get it published, and Skorzeny himself thought it important enough to keep it.
Ganis says there were three distinct aspects to the Dealey Plaza Operation – the Action part – the team of snipers who were led by French assassin Jean Rene Souetre. Then there was the Deception part - that set up Oswald as the patsy. And finally there was the Support part, the intelligence apparatus that took care of communications, safe houses, cover stories, travel, etc. And each aspect of the operation engaged different people, but according to Maj. Ganis, all were connected in some way to Skorzeny’s network, according to The Skorzeny Papers.
In the radio interview Ganis says, “These businesses that are in these papers are Dallas businesses and Dallas personalities. So the earliest businesses association between Otto Skorzeny and these businesses that were intelligence and clandestine cover – starting in 1950-51, were coming out of Dallas. So when the President came into Dallas in 1963 there were businesses that were performing operational cover for an intelligence and clandestine network that included assassinations, years before he ever got there.”
“So Kennedy was killed by an in-house US capability that was managed by Otto Skorzeny. Now I know I must say that when a lot of people jump to the conclusion that Nazis killed the President, and that’s the furthest from the truth. Nazis did not kill Kennedy.”
“The correct way to say it is this - there was an assassination capability inherent and located within one office of the CIA – that was highly compartmented and highly controlled. So, it’s not like the entire CIA was involved. It was literally only one office, and even then, within the office it was probably on a need to know basis… The capability itself, the Executive Action capability itself, I equate in the book to the use of Atomic Weapons. The only way to launch this capability would have been by Executive Order – by the President, or the National Command authority – that level, - the Secretary of Defense, at that level. It was a presidential, national command authority level capability. Somebody at the CIA couldn’t use it. It would even have been impossible for even rogue use. This was a Command and Control situation. A target would be designated. But in other words, to use this capability would have required Executive Approval.”
“So this small office within the CIA – called Staff D. And the guy who ran it was a man named William K. Harvey, during that time period. He managed the program. He managed that program – much like maintaining a nuclear bomber. There are US Air Force personal who man the bomber, and there’s people who maintain the bomber, but they can’t launch the bomber. That comes from the President. The same with this capability.”
And this capability – that can only be activated from the highest executive levels of government, confirms my thesis that elements of the Valkyrie plan to kill Hiltler were used, especially the aspect of that plan that had the victim sign off and actually approve the plan and the operation, as Hitler approved Valkyrie as an emergency measure to call out the Home Guard, and with the CIA seeking JFK’s approval of their plans to kill Castro, especially AMLASH and the Pathfinder Operation.
While Ganis doesn’t get into ballistics, forensics or even bothering to identify the actual assassins, he does provide the basic backdrop, the overall outline of the covert intelligence network operating in Dallas at the time. He also details its history from the end of World War II, and shows how it is all connected by The Skorzeny Papers.
In his radio interview, Ganis says that the Skorzeny Papers provides the "Cut-Outs" used in the Dealey Plaza Operation, and that if they didn't provide the answers to the assassination of President Kennedy, they are the KEY to understanding it.
And I agree, they are a key that will open a lot of new doors, shining some light into some dark corridors that some would prefer to leave locked and dark.
(BK NOTES: I will be going into the names in the Skorzeny Papers in detail ASAP and elaborate further on this line of inquiry. )