Monday, June 15, 2020

The Divine Skein at Dealey Plaza

The Divine Skein at Dealey Plaza
By William Kelly

robert j donovan - the assassins of american presidents - AbeBooksThe Craft of Intelligence: America's Legendary Spy Master on the ...

Allen Dulles took a book with him to the first meeting of the Warren Commission. “The Assassins” (1964) was written by Robert J. Donovan, the same guy who wrote “PT-109” about JFK’s wartime exploits that was made into a movie.

Dulles explained to the other commissioners that unlike European assassins, Donovan said that American assassins were usually deranged loners or radical extremists.

Commissioner McCloy took exception noting that a half-dozen people were hung for their roles in the Lincoln assassination.

If Dulles really wanted to cut to the heart of the matter he would have passed around copies of his own book The Craft f Intelligence:  America’s Legendary Spy Master on the Fundamentals of Intelligence Gathering for a Free World” (1963) in which he early on he calls attention to Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” one of the oldest books known to man.

As Sun Tzu says, one aspect of the intelligence network is foreknowledge. “Foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience or by deductive calculation, it must be obtained from men who know the enemy situation.”

In the Chapter (13) Sun Tzu describes the use of spies and secret agents, what is now known as “Human Intelligence” (as opposed to ELENT – Electronic Intelligence and Aerial (Photo) Recn., etc.), and says there are five types of spys – 1) Native, 2) Inside, 3) Living, 4) Doubled, 5) Expendable. Native spies are natives of the target countries (ala Cubans); Inside agents work in the target country; Living agents go somewhere and return with important information; Doubled agents work for the opposition’s intelligence service and are turned; while Expendable agents are no longer useful.

At different times in his short 24 year long life Lee Harvey Oswald played each of those five roles, and was eventually expendable.

When they are all working together at the same time, Sun Tzu calls them “The Divine Skein” and “the treasure of the sovereign.”

They are divine because to the untrained eye, they appear to be magic or an act of God. Skein is a net, a fisherman’s net and the Divine Skein is an intelligence network, one that can be pulled by the master who controls the network – who pulls the strings of the puppets? Who moves the players around the chessboard? Who is the wizard behind the curtain? Who calls the shots?

The head of French Intelligence said what happened at Dealey Plaza was like a magic trick, complete with props, smoke and mirrors, while a propaganda pamphlet was passed around the Cuban community in Florida shortly before the assassination that said “An act of God will put a friend of the Cuban Community in the White House.”

Former CIA intelligence officer Rolf Mowatt-Larssen said at the 2019 CAPA conference in Dallas that he is looking for The Mastermind of the whole scheme and has narrowed down the list of possible suspects to a handful of the usual suspects - Allen Dulles, David Atlee Phillips, William Harvey, James Jesus Angleton, Richard Bissell, and one not usually mentioned - Jacob "Jake" Easterline, the former head of the Guatemala Operation Success and the Bay of Pigs. 


Before looking for the Mastermind of the Dealey Plaza Operataion, it would be useful to look more closely at Lee Harvey Oswald – because he fits – he is the prototype of what I call the COP – Covert Operational Profile personality.

Both Ian Fleming and David Atlee Phillips (in Careers in Intelligence) described the type of person that makes the best secret agents, and as Phillips fondly points our – a college degree isn’t necessary, as he rose to the number three position in the CIA without one.

When the Secret Service commissioned a study of all of those who had killed or assaulted a President, they went looking for a psychological profile that they could use to help identify potential assassins. I was disappointed in that they considered Oswald a deranged loner, and being from New Jersey where racial profiling was so successful it was outlawed, I decided to devise a new category of potential assassins – The Covert Operational Profile personality.

And the specific attributes, as Oswald provides them are numerous – 1) Military background; 2) Use of Aliases; 3) Use of Post Office boxes for mail; 4) Fluency in a second language; 5) Training in specific specialty (Communications, radar, etc.); 6) Use of codes and ciphers; 7) Use of Covert Operational techniques and procedures (what Dulles called the Crafts of Intelligence); 8) Use of covert operational lexicon and language; 9) Maintenance of an apartment away from family; 10) the Need to Know and answer to a Case Officer.

Besides Oswald, others who fit the COP profile include Gerry Patrick Hemming, Frank Forini Sturgis, Frank Turpil, Timothy McVeign, James McCord, Eugeni Martinez, Virgili Gnzalez, Bernard Barker, Felix Rodriguez, Eugene Hasenfus, Tosh Plumly, Rafael “Chi Chi” Quintero, Gene Wheaton, Carl Jenkins, John Harper, etc.

While these are street agents and operators, above them are the Case Officers and Intelligence Officials – such as Allen Dulles, E. Howard Hunt, David Atlee Phillips, James Jesus Angleton, William Harvey, Cord Meyer, Jr., et al.

In the centuries since Sun Tzu first outlined the essence of “The Divine Skein” intelligence network, the intelligence profession has grown immensely, especially in regards to utilizing new developments in science – radio, radar, aerial surveillance, photography, electronic interception, microdots, etc..

Human Intelligence however, remained much as it was in days of Sun Tzu, except as it was updated and refined by the British, Germans and Russians secret services. While all secret services – and even secret societies utilize the same basic principles and “crafts” as Dulles put it, the British emphasized training.


When it became clear that the United States was to enter WWII, before Pearl Harbor, the British took it upon themselves to train the Americans in the arts and crafts of intelligence. The nominal head of the fledgling American secret service – General Bill Donovan, commander of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), was given a written tutorial on what an intelligence service should look like by Ian Fleming, the assistant to the director of British Naval Intelligence.

James Jesus Angleton, the OSS officer who would be sent to Italy and become entrenched for decades as the head of CIA Counter-Intelligence, was personally trained by MI6 officer Kim Philby, one of the Cambridge Soviet spy ring who betrayed all the secrets he knew to the KGB as one of history’s most notorious double agents.

Canadian industrialist and British intelligence officer Sir William Stevenson (INTREPID) set up Camp X in Canada where OSS officers were trained before being deployed overseas. Loren Singer, the author of the novel The Parallax View, that was made into the movie staring Warren Beaty, was a former OSS officer who was trained at Camp X and says that some of the “testing” in the book was based on his real OSS experiences.

The arts and crafts of intelligence, like all master crafts, are not to be found in books but are passed on by a master-apprentice relation-ship, the Donovan had the OSS prepare pamphlets for various phases of intelligence work, manuals that were also used to train CIA officers, the Bay of Pigs brigade, Mongoose operatives and the JMWAVE Pathfinders.

David Atlee Phillips in Nightwatch, Antonio Veciana in Trained to Kill and Felix Rodriguez in Shadow Warrior all make detailed references to the training that they received by the CIA.

One aspect of the training, they say, was psychological warfare and propaganda. Many of the post-WWII Cold Warriors were trained in such things by Paul Linebarger, a former US Army officer who wrote the textbook on Propaganda – breaking it down into levels of categories from white to black, black being a devised deception made to appear as if it originates with the opposition. Linebarger taught his classes at the Center for International Studies, but according to one of his students – Joseph Smith (Portrait of a Cold Warrior), he also gave smaller, intense classes at his home in Washington D.C.

When General Odum, former head of the NSA – National Security Agency and ACSI – Assistant Chief of Staff Intelligence (US Army intelligence) was asked about what makes the best intelligence case officers, who direct other agents and operatives, he responded with “The Sting.”

That means he took Linebarger’s class because according to Joe Smith, besides his own U.S. Army text book  Propaganda, he had his students read David Maurer’s “The Big Con,” the book that was used as a basis for the movie “The Sting.”

When I read “The Big Con,” and noticed the similarities with “The Sting,” I called Maurer on the phone but he had passed away. His replacement and former assistant in the Language Department of the University of Kentucky acknowledged that Maurer had sued the producers of “The Sting,” and when the screenwriters claimed they had not read his book, they had to explain where they got the name for Gondorf, the Paul Newman character and Big Con ace.

They could not come up with any other published source, as Gondorf’s story is only told in Maurer’s “Big Con,” so the judge ruled in Maurer’s favor.

Maurer expains in his book that he began to study the unique slang of common thieves, street punks and confidence men, and by doing so he learned the secrets of the Big Con – as displayed in the movie. When The Big Con confidence games are pulled off perfectly they appear to be like magic tricks, the secrets of which the magicians never betray. But Maurer learned the secrets of the Big Con from the confidence men themselves in the course of his study of their slang.

And in order to understand how covert intelligence operations work you must become familiar with their lexicon, the slang and language of covert intelligence operations beginning with the differences between a intelligence official, case officer, agent, operative and asset, each one with a different role.

An intelligence official works out of an office and controls policy and strategy and directs all operations. An intelligence officer also works out of an office but goes “into the field” to interact with agents and others. A case officer may control as many as a dozen agents and operatives. All agents are tested and trained and some are paid though others do things for personal or patriotic reasons. An asset such as a media reporter, is usually sympathetic with the operational missions he supports though sometimes not all assets know they are assets. All of them are given crypts, such as those listed in the Mary Ferrell Archive, when they are mentioned in official records.

Clandestine – “Kept secret or done secretively, especially because it is illicit.”

When a clandestine operation is successfully conducted it doesn’t make the news or media, it’s participants celebrate their anonymity and history fails to record the fact it even occurred.

Since shooting the President in the head in front of hundreds of spectators could not be done in a clandestine fashion, it was a covert intelligence operation designed with deceptions to shield the participants and actual sponsors.

Covert – “Not openly acknowledged or displayed.” “An operation that is so planned and executed as to conceal the identity or permit plausible denial by the sponsor. A covert operation differs from a clandestine operation in that emphasis is placed on concealment of the identity of the sponsor rather than on concealment of the operation.”

“Covert action is codified as an activity or activities of government to influence political, economic, or military conditions.

Congressional Research Service: Selected Definitions:

See Mary Ferrell: CIA Cryptonyms:
DOD Dictionary of Military Terms:

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