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Otto Otepka, Robert F. Kennedy, Walter Sheridan and Lee Oswald


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#1 Joan Mellen

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 07:53 AM

Woe to students of the Kennedy assassination were a sitting President ever to have unleashed Walter Sheridan to conduct an investigation of the death of President Kennedy, as David Talbot suggests was likely to have occurred. As Part Three of my essay on Sheridan reiterates (see below), Sheridan was guilty of bribery and blackmail, perjury and the intimidation of witnesses. Among his specialties was the illegal wire tap without a warrant or probable cause. Had Sheridan not been protected by higher authority, he would have spent long years in federal prison for his persistent obstruction of justice.

Sheridan was, in fact, so impeachable, his crimes well known to so many, that he would have been a detriment to such an investigation. No matter what Sheridan's widow claims, it insults Robert Kennedy's intelligence and political acumen for anyone to believe that he would have set "Walt" loose to investigate his brother's death.

In "Brothers," David Talbot eulogizes both Sheridan and Robert Kennedy, a historical cartoon that defies Talbot's fatuous claim that his analysis is "complex." To sanctify Sheridan, as he does, and to ask us to believe that Bobby Kennedy represented a Second Coming, David Talbot had no choice but to destroy, yet again, the character of Jim Garrison.

It is painful for me to observe David Talbot's resurrection of the outright lie that Garrison covered up for Louisiana and Texas mobster Carlos Marcello. Whether this preposterous disinformation issues from a former Canadian diplomat or anyone else, it is simply not true, and to repeat it is calumny. If David Talbot had done any research in New Orleans before writing about Jim Garrison, he would have learned that Garrison's office was scrupulous and vigilant in its pursuit of any and all criminals. Consult Milton Brener, who was no fan of either Garrison or his investigation. Ask former United States Attorney John Volz, who later put Carlos Marcello in jail. Talk to William Alford. I wish I could have found a publisher for the 1500 page manuscript I wrote because it contains a detailed description of the Orleans Parish district attorney's office during the Garrison years. Consult also the Garrison office files and Garrison's memo on his consideration of organized crime as the primary sponsor of the Kennedy assassination.

As for Jim Garrison's motivation, he entrusted the crime fighting to his able assistants, beginning in 1965. All Garrison cared about was learning what had happened to a beloved President. This was Garrison's sole motivation! If Carlos Marcello had planned the assassination of President Kennedy, if he had been seen traveling around Louisiana with Oswald, for example, Garrison would have said so.

If there is complexity to be pondered, it derives from the irony that Jim Garrison profoundly admired President Kennedy, to whom he referred always and fondly as "Jack." Garrison was genuinely perplexed by Bobby Kennedy's efforts to, as Garrison put, "torpedo" his investigation. Garrison knew Sheridan was lying about his claim that he wanted to "find out" what he was up to because Sheridan never requested a meeting with anyone in Garrison's office connected with the investigation. After their meeting, arranged by Richard Billings, Garrison knew that Sheridan was lying when he talked about having come down to New Orleans to investigate the Kennedy assassination.

About Sheridan's criminality, Garrison had no doubt. He had in his possession signed affidavits outlining Sheridan's attempts to bribe them and prevent them from testifying for him from both Perry Russo and Marlene Mancuso. Garrison charged Sheridan with petty bribery and the intimidation of witnesses, there being no statute in Louisiana against obstruction of justice at the time. Sheridan then fled Garrison's jurisdiction.

Note in the essay in progress below the documents relating to Bobby Kennedy's relationship with Courtney Evans. Pity the land that needs a hero, Brecht said. (I'm paraphrasing). The search for the truth might well be all the spiritual sustenance we need. The elevation of ambitious politicians to sainthood is likely to prove disappointing.

If there is a Sherlock out there who would like to help discover where Sidney Goldberg's papers are housed, that would begin a welcome and fruitful addition to this debate.

#2 Joan Mellen

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 08:01 AM

“During the period 1961 to 1964, the activities of Walter and Bobby, germane to the events in this memorandum, are almost inseparable." (Otto F. Otepka, Memorandum, September 20, 1968)

Beginning in 1957, Otto F. Otepka was Deputy Director of the State Department Office of Security. This meant that Otepka was in charge of security clearances for all State Department personnel with a cadre of people working under his supervision. From this position of considerable responsibility, Otepka was plunged into a nightmare world of harassment and personal surveillance until he was fired from government service. He had done nothing wrong. It is an extraordinary tale of a career government officer being framed, his only sin the scrupulous manner in which he performed his mandated duties.

Otto Otepka was born on May 6, 1915 in Chicago of Czech-born immigrant parents. His father had been a blacksmith and worked in America at a forge. He could offer his brilliant son little in the way of material support. Otepka worked his way through college and law school. Following military service, he joined the Civil Service Commission as an investigator on the look-out for Nazis and crypto-fascists. In 1953, he arrived at the Office of Security with the authority to uncover both criminal acts and Communist sympathies in the history of people to be hired by the Department of State.

Otepka was a man of his time, in particular of the Cold War period and the Stalinization of Eastern Europe. Like many, he perceived a danger to the United States from the Soviet outreach. He was a methodical man, fair-minded, exacting and scrupulous. He told the author that he “never overstepped boundaries.” As a personnel security evaluator, he offered no opinions on American foreign policy.

Otepka was not a liberal, even as his case is a reminder that “liberals” hold no monopoly on integrity. He was a man of principle, a category that cuts across ideological lines. Otepka despised Senator Joseph McCarthy and his methods, even as he believed that subversion was a threat to our system of government. “McCarthy didn’t identify Communists in the State Department,” Otepka told me indignantly. “He called people Communists. A Communist is not a Communist because someone calls them that.” There were Communists, Otepka says, “but not those named by McCarthy.”

Although he denied security clearances to some, Otepka was not a man given to frivolous accusations. “I had never approved of Senator McCarthy’s tactics,” he said when his own troubles began. “Everyone in the security field knew that.” Otepka was neither a shady Teamster president nor the imaginative district attorney of Orleans Parish with history and the death of a revered President on his mind.

Walter Sheridan enlisted the same grab bag of illegal and unscrupulous methods against Otto Otepka as he would utilize against Jimmy Hoffa and Jim Garrison. The recent book, “Brothers,” in its effort to sanctify Bobby Kennedy, lies by omission about Sheridan. It ignores his considerable intelligence background, not to mention the litany of criminal acts relating to the obstruction of justice of which Sheridan was guilty, and which are on the public record. (“Brothers” finds its pale precedent in a little-known book about Edward M. Kennedy called “The Senator,” that whitewashes Sheridan as a mere “ex-FBI agent who had worked as a security consultant for Robert Kennedy.” So the distortions of history proliferate).

On behalf of Robert Kennedy, Sheridan, aided by a group of loyalists planted in the Office of Security, successfully drummed Otepka out of the State Department, abruptly ending his nineteen year career. Before it was over, Otepka had concluded that his ruin was based not on his having denied security clearances to some Kennedy appointees, as first seemed to be the case. Rather, his ordeal was based upon his development of a file relating to one “Lee Oswald, tourist,” a name on a list of “defectors.” The quotation marks were added by the CIA for an October 24, 1960 document that marks the beginning of Otto Otepka’s investigation of Lee Harvey Oswald.

“DEFECTORS”

It began that October, 1960. Several offices at the Department of State undertook to identify and research a list of Americans who had defected to the Soviet Union, to Soviet bloc nations, or to Communist China. The assignment to check on Oswald, and to research whether his name appeared in any existing security files, came to Otepka as chief security evaluator at State. Otepka contacted the FBI at once. The CIA was next on his list.

At the Department of State’s “Office of Intelligence/Resources and Coordination,” Robert B. Elwood wrote to CIA’s DDP, Richard Bissell. The subject of his letter was “Request For Information Concerning American ‘Defectors.’” The quotation marks suggest an implied question: were they really defectors or were they American agents?

It was a variation on La Ronde. The files danced from Agency to Agency, component to component. Bissell shipped the file to James Angleton at Counter Intelligence and to Robert L. Bannerman, Deputy Chief of the Office of Security at CIA, who sent Oswald’s name back to Otto Otepka. “It would all have gone through Angleton,” Bannerman told retired military intelligence officer John Newman.

Beginning on June 1, 1960, Oswald’s background and file were examined by employees in the Office of Security at the State Department. On December 5th of that year, the Intelligence Collection and Distribution Division informed Otepka that he and the Office of Security would keep the official list on Americans who had defected to the Communist bloc.

Otepka began the work of determining whether “Lee Oswald” had bearing on any existing security case, either of an applicant for a position with the State Department or of an existing employee. As he would any file, Otepka distributed the one bearing the name “Oswald” to his subordinates, eight or ten people, he told me, whose work he would then review. He sent Oswald’s name over to the Bureau of Soviet Affairs. It was all routine.

Oswald’s file was marked #39-61981. Sitting as it did in the Central File Room of the Office of Security, the “39” denoting an “Intelligence File,” the Oswald file raised questions. As the months and years passed, more questions surfaced. Otepka examined Oswald’s return from the Soviet Union with the unlikely assistance of a State Department loan. By 1963, Otepka was wondering why Oswald was issued a passport for travel to Cuba and the Soviet Union despite a possible “criminal” flag in Oswald’s ONI file. It was at this time that Otepka’s security safe was burgled and the Oswald files disappeared for good.

BOBBY KENNEDY MEETS OTTO F. OTEPKA, DECEMBER 1960

Bobby Kennedy’s hostility to Otto Otepka began in December 1960, before the inauguration of John F. Kennedy and after Otepka had begun to evaluate Lee Oswald. At 7 P.M. one evening, in the gathering winter darkness, Dean Rusk, Kennedy’s Secretary of State designate, requested that Otepka meet with him. Otepka assumed that the purpose of the meeting was a discussion of security clearances for Kennedy appointees. What turned out to be the case was that Rusk, whom Otepka had just cleared, was only an intermediary. It was Bobby Kennedy who wanted to meet with Otepka.

Bobby was late. Otepka and Rusk sat twiddling their thumbs until Robert Kennedy finally appeared. Offering no apologies, he complained about having become lost in the corridors, the same corridors where nearly three years later Bobby’s “confidential assistant,” Walter Sheridan, would be handed tapes of the illegal surveillance of Otepka’s telephone and office.

Eschewing preliminaries, Bobby came to the point. He was concerned that W. W. Rostow be granted security clearance for a cabinet appointment. On two previous occasions, in 1955 and 1957, Otepka had refused to clear Rostow as a foreign policy expert. There was something not quite right about this man, Otepka thought. He pointed out to Bobby that Air Force Intelligence had raised doubts about Rostow.

Those people are “nuts,” Bobby burst out. His anger seemed inappropriate and surprised Otto Otepka, a calm, reasoned man who was not accustomed to such expressions of emotion in the course of his work.

Otepka’s instincts regarding Rostow were both correct and incorrect. Otepka was incorrect in believing that Rostow was a Communist or a Socialist of any kind, despite his family background. He was right that the man was not what he seemed. John F. Kennedy’s inexperience and political naivete – he circumvented the security problem by appointing Rostow to the White House staff – emerged when Rostow revealed his true colors.

Before long, Rostow began to beat the drums for a ground war in Vietnam, a policy John F. Kennedy did not and would never favor. Rostow’s bleating for war would be heeded once Kennedy was dead and Lyndon Johnson became president. By 1965, Rostow was demanding that 500,000 troops at the least be sent to Vietnam.

Bobby emerged enraged from the only face to face meeting he would ever have with Otto Otepka. He perceived that he had confronted a man who would not be bullied or influenced. As for Otepka, he at first believed that Bobby’s hostility was based on his refusal to clear Rostow, as well as a shadowy figure named William Wieland, who had once sold arms to Fidel Castro. It was not so. It is not clear when Robert Kennedy became aware of Otepka’s handling of the investigation of Lee Harvey Oswald, but Otepka would become certain that it was this investigation that led to his ruin rather than his unwillingness to clear minor Kennedy appointees.

OTTO OTEPKA IS PLACED UNDER SURVEILLANCE

In November 1961, five months after Oswald reclaimed his passport for return to the United States, and nearly a year after Otepka’s meeting with Bobby Kennedy, Otepka was told that the Office of Security was being re-organized. His job as Deputy Director would be eliminated. In January 1962, he was made chief of a newly-created Division of Evaluations, a position with fewer responsibilities.

Four months later, in April 1962, Robert Kennedy sent a long-time family loyalist named John Francis Reilly to head the Office of Security. With no experience either in security work or in personnel evaluation, Reilly seemed an odd choice. He was a Justice Department lawyer and Massachusetts Irishman who had been recommended, it later emerged, by Bobby Kennedy’s own executive assistant, Andy Oehmann. By Reilly’s own later admission, he was “sent over here to do a job, and by God I’m going to do it!”

Another four months elapsed. Then, in August 1962, a month after Oswald returned to the United States, Reilly was promoted to the newly created position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Security, the more easily for him to proceed against Otto Otepka. Now four more Kennedy people arrived at the Office of Security to keep watch over Otepka. They included Joseph E. Rosetti, who had served in John F. Kennedy’s congressional office; Massachusetts Kennedy intimate, Robert J. McCarthy; and Charles W. Lyons, also from Massachusetts. They were joined by David I. Belisle, a National Security Agency operative and friend of Walter Sheridan’s from his days at NSA. Belisle was to serve as Otepka’s immediate superior.

So the effort to ruin Otepka began. Eventually he would be charged with prosecution under the Espionage Act, not for providing intelligence to the Soviet Union, or to “Peiping,” as Dean Rusk was always to refer to the capital of China. No, it was to a subcommittee of the United States Senate that Otepka would be charged with providing secret information.

The charge was entirely bogus. No documents Otepka presented to the subcommittee were classified, and he had obtained permission to testify from the Secretary of State himself. Moreover, it was against the law for a public official to refuse to cooperate with a committee of Congress.

Now under watchful eyes, Otepka continued to compile his Oswald file. More details raised a “red flag,” Otepka remembers. Oswald obtained a visa to the Soviet Union in Helsinki in two days – normally it took at least thirty. (The State Department would lie to the Warren Commission and tell them that it took one to two weeks). Otepka wondered what Oswald actually did in the Soviet Union. He examined Marina’s propitious exit; it was known to take wives of U.S. citizens five months to a year for official permission to leave. He would have liked to have examined Marina’s family history, he told me, and her connections to the Soviet secret police.

On April 4, 1962, Otepka consulted the Passport Office, inquiring whether “there has been a change in the Subject’s citizenship.” He requested any other information which might be of assistance to the Navy in considering Oswald’s case. Otepka says he had hoped to have examined the anomaly that Oswald had received an exit visa a month and a half before he actually left Russia, and, again, there was the matter of that State Department loan.

When Otepka learned in June 1963 that Oswald received a U.S. passport on one day’s notice, it confirmed his uneasiness. He did not blame Francis Knight in the passport office. Knight later told Otepka that “she would issue a passport to a baboon if she knew that was the policy.”

In those years, wire taps were illegal unless there was probable cause that national security was being compromised. By 1962, Otepka’s telephone was being tapped. The tap was instituted by an electronics expert hired personally by Reilly named Elmer Dewey Hill, who would be assisted by others. Out of a room directly across from Otepka’s new hole-in-the-wall office, Hill made his tapes.

Every evening Otepka’s trash was confiscated. One night at ten P.M., David Belisle and a subordinate named Terence Shea broke into Otepka’s office – only to discover Otepka sitting at his desk. Undaunted, they claimed they were searching for evidence that Otepka had provided classified information to the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, although there was absolutely no evidence that he had done so.

An Otepka colleague named Stanley Holden, who would soon be fired from the electronics unit, confirmed to Otepka that the bugging had included not merely his telephone, but every word spoken in his office. Holden named Rosetti, Belisle and Shea as having led the surveillance, both of Otepka in his office, and Otepka out of the office. (Much later a mastermind of an electronics expert named Bernard Spindel would reveal that a “Justice Department Agency” had a permanent tap into the main telephone line in Washington, D. C).

On the day after Dean Rusk had ordered Reilly to find out how Otepka had managed to obtain proof that tapes were being made of his conversations, Stanley Holden met with a strange “accident.” His face and tongue were slashed so badly that stitches were required. Holden claimed, not very persuasively, that a heavy spring had come loose in his lab and hit him in the face.

As if this weren’t enough, Joe Rosetti and Robert McCarthy showed up at Holden’s home. McCarthy soon began to shout so loudly that the neighbors became witnesses. “Where is your loyalty?” he screamed at Holden for having revealed the wire taps to Otepka. “Don’t you have any loyalty at all? Don’t you think you owe Joe Rosetti any loyalty?” McCarthy concluded his tirade with a threat. “I’ll get you for this!”

It strains credulity to believe that such a campaign could have anything to do with Otepka’s providing the Internal Security subcommittee with unclassified information, which is what he did, and what he was within the law to do. It is equally unlikely that Otepka was being treated as if he were a criminal because he denied a security clearance to some political has-beens, as he did in the case of Kennedy’s Ambassador designate to Ireland, the owner of a construction business who turned out to be covered in graft and corruption.

Otepka was relieved of any responsibility for security. Before he was fired for good, he spent years first updating the Office of Security handbook, and then summarizing each day’s Congressional Record. Otepka was not a man to give up and suffer injustice without a struggle. From the moment he was driven from his job, and tossed into what would become a four year career limbo, Otepka was determined to learn who was responsible for his political demise – and why.

OTTO OTEPKA INVESTIGATES HIS OWN CASE

Otepka first approached contacts in the FBI. He was being investigated by “higher authority in the Department of Justice,” he was told. Otepka was too experienced not to perceive what this meant. The “higher authority,” he told me, could not have been J. Edgar Hoover, who was always identified with the “Bureau.” It could only mean Robert Kennedy.

It was in June 1963 that Otepka’s Oswald files were stolen from his safe. The culprits, Otepka was to write in a 1976 letter to author Edward J. Epstein, then at “Reader’s Digest” magazine, were his superiors, people close to Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Otepka’s crime had been studying Oswald, as it had been his responsibility to do. That June, Otepka was fired. In September 1963, ten criminal charges were leveled against him.

Still he kept trying to determine why this had happened to him, to collect information, to investigate his own case. In a Memorandum dated January 9, 1964, Otepka writes of his interview with William R. Cathey, Chief Special Agent for Southern Bell. Cathey told him that a company named “Five Eyes” had “contracts with several Government agencies including one with the Department of Justice.” Otepka learned too that home telephones as well were being bugged with the help of an employee of the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company.

Under oath at his 1967 hearing, Otepka finally articulated for the record what he had long believed but never voiced publicly. Asked who was out to get rid of him, he named “a high official of another government agency…the person was Robert Kennedy.” Elmer Dewey Hill, who had done much of the wire tapping, admitting that the tapes of Otepka’s conversations had been given to “some stranger” at Reilly’s behest. The name of that stranger would eventually emerge.

John Francis Reilly stated under oath that it had been Bobby Kennedy himself who had appointed him to head the Office of Security in 1962. He admitted as well that he planned to intercept all conversations in Otepka’s office, not merely his telephone calls. Asked for the name of the mysterious stranger to whom Elmer Hill had revealed that the tapes of Otepka’s telephone and office had been delivered, Reilly refused to provide it.

Ultimately, Hill, Reilly and Belisle, all of whom had broken the law, escaped without punishment, although Hill and Reilly were charged with perjury. Sheridan stepped in and requested of both Under Secretary of State George Ball and Deputy Under Secret of State J. Crockett that David Belisle not be “asked to resign,” despite Belisle’s apparent malfeasance. Under the protection of Kennedy and Sheridan, Belisle was spirited off to a job at the American Embassy at Bonn.

THE NAME OF THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER IS REVEALED

It was in an unlikely venue that the truth emerged about who ordered the surveillance of Otto Otepka. It was not the “New York Times” or the “Washington Post” that produced the name of the “stranger” to whom the surveillance tapes of Otto Otepka had been delivered. Rather, it was a Washington, D.C.-based weekly newsletter called the “Government Employees Exchange” run by a man named Sidney Goldberg. It was Goldberg, a one-man editorial staff, who broke the case and solved the mystery.

In an extraordinary piece of investigative journalism, in the issue of the “Exchange” dated September 4, 1968, Goldberg wrote that a source had come forward with the truth about who was behind the harassment and firing of Otto Otepka. Goldberg learned that the Otepka surveillance tapes had been prepared by one Clarence Jerome Schneider, an electronics expert on Reilly’s staff. They were delivered into the hands of -- Bobby Kennedy’s right-hand man, Walter Sheridan.

This same “knowledgeable source,” as Goldberg describes him, also identified Sheridan as “one of the chief contacts” for Robert F. Kennedy with International Investigators Incorporated out of Indianapolis, a “hush-hush” organization providing “industrial security services” both to the federal government and to private employers. Among their specialities were “wire tap” operations.

Outsiders called them “The Three Eyes,” Goldberg learned. Employees used the name “The Five Eyes.” They were paid in “unvouchered funds” and provided with immunity from prosecution. So Justice Department records would never reveal the role either Robert Kennedy or Sheridan played in the surveillance of Otto Otepka.

Goldberg notes that although Sheridan was on the payroll of the Justice Department, Sheridan’s office was physically located at the White House. “Through a series of interconnected transfers of funds,” Goldberg writes, “Walter Sheridan disposed over the personnel and currency of whole units of the Central Intelligence Agency.” Wire tap tapes, including “voice profiles” made at the White House by the Secret Service and at the Department of State, were passed on to Sheridan, and retained in a separate facility.

Goldberg’s source also reported that Bobby Kennedy had attempted to plant an anti-Hoffa article in “Life” magazine. This ploy was exposed in the “New York Times” on March 3, 1965. The source had discovered that the disgruntled Teamster Bobby planned to use against Hoffa was one Sam Baron, referred to as “Brown” in an exchange of letters between Hank Suydam of Time/Life in Washington and Life editor Edward K. Thompson.

Walter Sheridan did not miss Goldberg’s extraordinary article. Incensed, Bobby’s operative made a personal appearance at Goldberg’s tiny office. Denying any involvement in the Otepka case, Sheridan demanded a complete retraction. Sheridan threatened Goldberg that he would sue him unless Goldberg furnished him with the name of his source. Goldberg held his ground.

A decade later, author Jim Hougan interviewed Goldberg for his acclaimed investigative book, “Spooks,” published in 1978. Hougan found Goldberg a frightened man, his newsletter having long since folded. He reiterated to Hougan that Walter Sheridan was “the chief contact” between the “Five Eyes” and Robert Kennedy.

As a result of this valuable interview, Hougan was able to add further detail to the story of the Otepka tapes. Apparently, the tapes were sent first to CIA to eliminate background noise, then back to John Francis Reilly. It was
Reilly himself who passed the tapes to an “unidentified man in the corridors of the State Department.” This was Walter Sheridan. Goldberg’s source also was aware that David Belisle, while he was a National Security Agency employee, had done “certain favors” for the Kennedys.

Goldberg had been a courageous, and bold journalist, as witnessed by an article in the “Exchange” detailing how, after the Bay of Pigs, the CIA’s “New Team” used secret cooperating and liaison groups in the large foundations, banks and newspapers to change U. S. domestic and foreign relations through the infiltration of these organizations.” Goldberg even named a “New York Times” Executive Vice-President, Harding Bancroft.

To Hougan, Goldberg now seemed a shattered man. When Hougan asked to read Goldberg’s Otepka files, Goldberg refused. Hougan begged Goldberg to give him the name of the source who had identified Sheridan. Goldberg refused this request as well, protecting his source to the end. Yet there was no question in Hougan’s mind that Goldberg was telling the truth. When Hougan later sought microfilms of the “Government Employees Exchange” weekly from the Library of Congress, he was told that they had been “misplaced.”

Over the years, Otto Otepka told me, he talked to Sidney Goldberg many times. He found Goldberg “a bit eccentric,” a man full of passion, but credible. Had he asked Goldberg for the name of the person who revealed that Walter Sheridan had taken possession of the surveillance tapes?

“You can’t ask a newsman for his sources,” Mr. Otepka says.

The fragments of the story of what happened to Otto Otepka emerged slowly and incompletely. Only in the wake of press indignation about Otepka’s harsh treatment, did Senator Thomas J. Dodd add another piece to the puzzle of Bobby Kennedy’s and Walter Sheridan’s persistent obstruction of justice. Dodd admitted that in 1967 he had called off four days of scheduled hearings regarding Edward Grady Partin’s relationship with Fidel Castro “because Bobby Kennedy told me to do so.” Partin had already been reimbursed for his appearance when the hearings were canceled. Bobby and Sheridan had come far enough with Partin to make certain that he not be afforded any opportunity to change his mind about implicating Jimmy Hoffa.

Senator Dodd elaborated: Bobby Kennedy had told him that “he and the Justice Department had a personal interest in Partin and didn’t want to have the hearings held…Bobby was the attorney general and you don’t say no to him. He made the request a personal matter and I honored it.”

Otto Otepka drew the only conclusion available to him: “Bobby Kennedy still ensconced at Justice following the death of his brother wielded his power and sought the aid of his chief investigator, Walter Sheridan, to get what he was after, no matter how it was done.” The end justified the means. It was in 1968 that Otepka finally realized that it was “the influence of [Bobby] Kennedy [that] caused the failure of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee to call material witnesses like Schneider and prevented the thorough and timely resolution of my case.”

#3 Joan Mellen

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 10:35 AM

OTTO OTEPKA STUDIES THE HOFFA CONVICTION

With time on his hands, Otepka began to examine Sheridan’s methods in his effort to convict Jimmy Hoffa. He made no judgment on the guilt or innocence of Hoffa himself. He was interested only in the means by which the Hoffa conviction was obtained. In a 1968 Memorandum, Otepka writes that “it became generally known throughout the government intelligence community in Washington that the free-wheeling Sheridan had FBI agents perform electronic surveillance operations for the ostensible purpose of gathering evidence on which to prosecute Teamster Union President James Hoffa.” His tone is measured, like the man himself.

George Bush’s persistent surveillance of American citizens unimpeded by either warrants or probable cause finds an antecedent in Sheridan’s relentless wire tapping. So Otepka noted that “government intruders intercepted conversations of American citizens in no way connected with Hoffa, nor in any way related to national security, and compiled dossiers for future reference.”

Lauded as the historian of historians, Arthur Schlesinger went on to lie for Sheridan and Robert Kennedy. “In the entire investigation in connection with the Hoffa cases,” Schlesinger would write, “there has not been one instance of wiretapping or bugging of Hoffa.” Schlesinger had to have known that the truth was otherwise. Readers might consult the three part series on the Hoffa trial by Fred Cook published in “The Nation” magazine.

Otepka perused a 1964 “Life” magazine article written, he had discovered, with Walter Sheridan’s cooperation. It described Edward Grady Partin as “a high-minded man having been involved only in some inconsequential brushes with the law, but now working on the side of justice and law and order.” Partin was in jail “because of minor domestic difficulties,” “Life” wrote of the man who had committed crimes ranging from first degree manslaughter, rape, and kidnapping to
assault and battery and forgery. For Partin, perjury was a misdemeanor.

Otepka noted that on the witness stand during the Hoffa trial, Sheridan swore under oath that he knew of no payments of money to Partin, an outright lie. Sheridan denied that he had authorized payment for Partin’s services as a federal undercover agent, which would have been against the law. When Partin, not easily controllable, admitted that he was indeed paid, then added, “they still owe me!” Sheridan passed the responsibility onto his assistant, A. Frank Grimsley.

Then Grimsley, a former FBI agent obviously less comfortable with perjury than Walter Sheridan, admitted that the plan to pay Partin originated with Sheridan himself. The government produced a Justice Department memorandum dated July 3, 1963, signed by Sheridan and requesting that a check be made out to A. Frank Grimsley, Jr. Grimsley was to “give this money to a confidential source,” it read.

There were others whom Sheridan was unable to silence. Frederick Michael Shobe testified that Sheridan had hired him to harass and embarrass Hoffa and the Teamsters Union. Shobe testified that he was paid in cash, sometimes directly by Sheridan; he was ableo to produce Sheridan’s unlisted home number in Bethesda. Shobe had served time for burglary, forgery and armed robbery, rendering him vulnerable to blackmail.

Sheridan had threatened him, Shobe testified. Hadn’t he associated with questionable people, violating his parole? Instead of returning to prison, Sheridan had promised, Shobe could join Sheridan’s special investigative squad. A presidential pardon and a federal job were dangled before him (Sheridan was to enlist the identical technique in his attempts to bribe Jim Garrison’s witnesses). When Shobe discovered that the job was in Japan, he balked, and went on to testify for the defense instead.

Hoffa’s lawyer asked Shobe whether Sheridan had made it plain to him that his plan was to “get Hoffa.” Shobe said that it was. Sheridan had told him that Hoffa should be in jail anyway, “and that…if we have to resort to unfair tactics, well, that’s where a person like myself came in at…to get him by any means, fair or foul.”

Did Walter Sheridan say this to him directly?

“That is correct,” Shobe said.

Shobe also revealed that Sheridan had attempted to intimidate a Hoffa co-defendant named Thomas E. Parks, a funeral home employee, to force Parks to testify against Hoffa. Unless Parks agreed, he would be falsely implicated in a bribery attempt. In another Sheridan-inspired scam, a fake arrest of Parks would occur and Parks would then be taken into the woods. His abductors would be identified as Hoffa’s strongmen, and they would dig a hole….Parks would be rescued at the penultimate moment.

Shobe gave this testimony to the judge out of the hearing of the jury. He said he knew that the penalty for kidnapping in Tennessee was death. The prosecution did not challenge Shobe’s testimony. It was Sheridan’s modus operandi, the use of bribery, blackmail, and the intimidation of witnesses. After the Otepka case and the Hoffa case, not to mention his obstruction of justice in New Orleans, Sheridan was so impeachable that it is inconceivable that Robert Kennedy, even as President, would have set him loose to lead an investigation into his beloved brother’s death.

BOBBY KENNEDY, WIRE TAPPER EXTRAORDINAIRE

After the death of his brother, Robert Kennedy persistently lied about his encouragement of unauthorized wire tapping. A telling set of documents regarding Bobby’s attempt to conceal his knowledge about and sanction of illegal wire tapes resides at the LBJ library in Austin. The file opens with a 1964 letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Bill Moyers.

A deputy attorney general had requested a name check and an Internal Revenue Service check “concerning Walter James Sheridan,” who needed to be cleared for re-employment as “confidential assistant” to Robert Kennedy, Hoover writes. He notes that on November 13, 1964, the House Judiciary Committee had approved a resolution inquiring into the Justice Department’s handling of “individual rights and liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution.” The Otepka case hovers below the surface of this sentence, along with the knowledge that it was Walter Sheridan who, in masterminding the surveillance and firing of Otepka, had violated his rights.

Courtney A. Evans, an assistant FBI director, had been responsible for handling “liaison with the office of the Attorney General.” Evans had established a “close relationship” with Robert Kennedy, whom he met with repeatedly to discuss “the use of microphones [wire tapping] by the FBI” and “microphone surveillances in criminal-type as well as security-type investigations.” Evans presented Kennedy with written information about wire taps and it met with his “enthusiastic approval,” Evans recounted. The rights of citizens under the law was of small moment as the FBI and Bobby Kennedy pooled their knowledge of the latest technology in illegal wire taps.

By December 24, 1965, Courtney Evans had retired from the Bureau and joined the law firm of another Kennedy acolyte, Herbert J. Miller, Jr., who would serve as Walter Sheridan’s lawyer on more than one occasion. It was Herbert J. Miller, Jr. who extracted Walter Sheridan when he was indicted by Jim Garrison for petty bribery and intimidation of witnesses.

After Sheridan’s death, during the period of ARRB, the National Archives sought to have Sheridan’s papers as Kennedy assassination records transferred from the Kennedy Library where they had been deposited to the National Archives. Herbert J. Miller, Jr. stepped in, seized Sheridan’s papers from the Kennedy library, and removed them to the bosom of the Sheridan family, far from the prying eyes of historians. Miller’s taped interview with Jeremy Gunn of the ARRB is a masterpiece of obfuscation; on the subject of his now deceased client, Sheridan, and his antics in New Orleans, Miller refused to answer a single question for the historical record.

One day Courtney Evans, at Bureau headquarters, shared with two FBI officials details of the contacts he had and written information he had furnished to Robert Kennedy “and other Justice Department officials” who had served under Kennedy. The subject was the FBI’s use of microphone surveillances.

Then something odd occurred. After this meeting, Courtney Evans furnished Robert Kennedy with a letter denying that the two ever had any discussions about wire taps. Evans also lied and denied he had ever provided Kennedy with written material about the FBI’s use of microphone wire taps.

Believing that Evans’ lies would protect him, defending himself in the press against persistent charges that he had sanctioned wire taps, Robert Kennedy, now no longer Attorney General, denied he knew anything about the FBI’s use of surveillance microphones. To demonstrate his veracity, Bobby released to the press the fraudulent letter that Evans had obligingly written for him.

The letter is dated February 17, 1966. In it, Evans states falsely that he “did not discuss the use of microphones by the FBI with Robert Kennedy during his tenure as Attorney General.” Evans also denies he knew of any written material that was sent to Robert Kennedy “at any time” concerning microphone surveillances.

Opening a second front, Bobby now sent Herbert J. Miller, Jr. to testify before the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Miller argued that wire taps should be permitted, that legislation should be passed to authorize “limited and controlled interception and disclosure of telephone conversations.” Miller then went on to request that the FBI monitor and tape record a meeting between three people, one a former lieutenant governor of Nevada. The FBI denied the request.

On September 26, 1966, Hoover wrote to Lyndon Johnson’s Special Assistant Marvin Watson, that the FBI had written evidence not only of Robert Kennedy’s authorization but of his “insistence on the usage of microphones as an investigative technique.” It was an example of the contradictory policies pursued by the Kennedys. Kennedy lobbied for greater use of wire taps, even as he denied being knowledgeable on the subject, just as John F. Kennedy pursued sabotage against Cuba while his emissary,William Attwood, pursued rapprochement with Fidel Castro.

On December 11, 1966, the FBI released to the press two memoranda which had been personally prepared by Courtney Evans in 1961 for then Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Bobby at once ceased to speak to Courtney Evans, as if he were the one who had betrayed him. Assigned to damage control, Herbert J. Miller, Jr. dashed off a letter to Judiciary Committee chairman, Sam Evin. He doubted, Miller wrote, that anyone in the Justice Department knew about the FBI surveillances. “I did not know and I wager that the Attorney General did not know there was trespass,” Miller says. The ambiguous word “wager” tells it all. Herbert J. Miller, Jr. was nothing if not clever.

As for Bobby Kennedy’s motive in spearheading his destruction, Otto Otepka has never gone beyond the statement that he believes that Bobby was involved in keeping Oswald’s activities secret. After the murder of his brother, Bobby had demanded of Frank Mankiewicz,”do you think any of our people were involved?” and Mankiewicz, taken by surprise, had thought, he told me, do you think there might have been? Bobby was well aware of Oswald and had kept silent before the assassination. The “our people” might well have included Oswald.

In 1963, Bobby Kennedy had invoked the argument that “if the American people knew the truth about Dallas, there would be blood in the streets,” a preposterous idea and one purportedly used by Lyndon Johnson to persuade a reluctant Earl Warren to head his Presidential Commission. Bobby in the last year of his life, as he campaigned in California, stated over and over that he believed the Warren Commission and that Oswald had acted alone. It may well be that in private, accountable to no one, Bobby had murmured to bewildered friends that he would investigate his brother’s death once he was President. Later, he might discover reasons why reopening the issue was not such a good idea after all.

After Robert Kennedy’s death, the Kennedy family continued to obstruct any investigation into the death of the President. Jim Garrison went into federal court to gain access to X-Rays and autopsy photographs for the Clay Shaw trial. Garrison’s assistant Numa Bertel actually won the case, only for the Justice Department lawyer opposing the release of the documents to be asked whether he planned to appeal. He had to consult the Kennedy family before he could make any decision, the lawyer said. The answer came back from the Kennedys. Yes, he would appeal. Time ran out, and the point became moot.

In 1968, Richard Nixon appointed Otto Otepka to a Subversive Activities Control Board, not a very active body, and obviously an attempt to give the impoverished State Department officer some employment. Confirmation did not come easily. Falsely, Otepka was labeled a Birchite and an anti-Semite, although he was neither of these. Leading the attack against Otepka’s confirmation in committee was Edward M. Kennedy, fighting like a tiger to consign Bobby’s old adversary to oblivion. The full Senate eventually approved Otepka’s confirmation, 67-21.

So it should not be surprising that Edward Kennedy would offer a flamboyant eulogy at Walter Sheridan’s 1995 funeral. Kennedy calls Sheridan an “extraordinary human being” with “a heart as large as his ability, and his courage and dedication to justice.” The most telling line in Teddy’s eulogy is this one: “When Walter surfaced with his catch, all the networks and reporters were there, ready to record it at our hearings.” Manipulation of the press was the least of Sheridan’s skullduggery.

#4 Joan Mellen

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 10:37 AM

INTERVIEW WITH OTTO OTEPKA

In April 2006, I drove for three hours across the swamp land of Alligator Highway in central Florida in search of Otto Otepka. His ordeal now forty years in the fog of history, Mr. Otepka was about to celebrate his ninety-first birthday. His directions were impeccable. Without incident, I drove into a sleepy Florida town, and up to the door of a modest stucco cottage.

Mr. Otepka greeted me from his leather recliner, his welcome clear, and booming. He apologized for not rising to his feet. He had suffered a muscle pull that hampered his walking, he explained. His hair was still black, his back broad, his stature as it must have been in the days when he was driven from office by enemies whose motive for years would elude him. He showed me into his study, a small room crammed with books and filing cabinets. More file boxes reached to the ceiling. All contained the story of his case, along with transcripts of the hearings that resulted, finally, in Otto Otepka’s vindication.

Prominently displayed in Mr. Otepka’s study is a commendation for meritorious service awarded to him by President Eisenhower. On the wall is a sign reading, “This job is so secret I don’t know what I’m doing!” A photograph of Bill Clinton and the White House bears this legend: “No Enemy Would Dare Bomb This Place And End The Chaos.” Otto Otepka’s sense of humor has remained intact.

He removed a bulging file devoted to the career of Walter Sheridan. There is no doubt in Mr. Otepka’s mind now that Bobby Kennedy and Walter Sheridan had been behind the theft of the defector files from his office safe. On a rickety copier, page by page, Mr. Otepka copied for me his Sheridan file. It includes Sidney Goldberg’s newsletter where Sheridan is identified, conclusively, as the person behind the destruction of Otto Otepka. Mr. Otepka began to keep his Sheridan file when he realized that Robert Kennedy’s secret connection to Oswald lay “at the root of his troubles.”

He had no doubt that Sheridan’s role in his destruction was connected to a problem Robert Kennedy had with Oswald. As Warren Commission documents began to dribble into the National Archives, he began a file on Oswald and his defection. He had made no copies of the Oswald documents he collected when he investigated Oswald for the Department of State, he told me emphatically. Those he now had in his possession had come from the Archives. For Otto Otepka, based on his experience, the use of illegal methods to accomplish political ends began not with Richard Nixon and the Watergate conspiracy, but with the Kennedys.

What sounded alarms, Mr. Otepka told me, what drove Robert Kennedy to cast him into oblivion, was that he had requested of the CIA that it look into the defectors to the Soviet Union whose names sat in his office safe. It had been a routine request, he said, whenever a name elicited questions. Mr. Otepka’s experience suggests that Robert Kennedy was aware of Lee Oswald considerably before Angelo Murgado, working for Kennedy, ran into Oswald in New Orleans during the summer of 1963, and again in late September in the company of his fellow veteran of the Bay of Pigs, Bernardo de Torres, at the Dallas home of Sylvia Odio.

All Mr. Otepka could figure out when his safe was burgled was that someone wanted to know what he had found out about Oswald. He concluded that John Francis Reilly and David Belisle had been assigned to steal the defector files to help Robert Kennedy cover up his use of Oswald. There was no question in Mr. Otepka’s mind that Robert Kennedy had selected the people who suddenly became his superiors.

The Oswald question remained perplexing. We went over the subject once more: Oswald was not an applicant for work in the State Department; it was a matter over which Mr. Otepka had no jurisdiction. CIA was on the distribution list. His job was to correlate the existing files of people whose names were on the list of defectors, Oswald, “tourist,” among them. Other files, such as those from the Bureau of Soviet Affairs, needed to be consulted. Did the Oswald file have bearing on an existing security case, either on the file of an applicant or an already approved employee?

Mr. Otepka told me that much that had been written about him was false. Journalist Sarah McClendon had written in her memoir, “Mr. President, Mr. President,” that Otto Otepka had told her he knew who had killed President Kennedy. Mr. Otepka told me he never said any such thing. All he might have done was reiterate the conclusion of the Warren Report. And of course he had never provided classified information to anyone.

“I am at a loss as to why CIA didn’t receive distribution,” he says, returning to the trajectory of the Oswald file.

Robert F. Kennedy had enlisted Walter Sheridan to destroy his career in his effort to conceal that he was using Oswald in his anti-Castro activities, Mr. Otepka concluded. Otepka was a threat because he could expose who Oswald was. It was at least “plausible,” he says, remaining cautious, that Oswald was a false defector in the Soviet Union. Had they allowed him to uncover Oswald, investigate him as he investigated all those whose names were sent to him in his capacity as Deputy Director, and then Chief of Evaluations, at the State Department Office of Security, history might have been different.

Through no choice of his own, Otto Otepka went a long way to exposing Robert Kennedy and Walter Sheridan for their flagrant disregard of the law. They had not counted on his tenacity, or on his unbroken record of integrity and honesty. In his simple dignity and pride, he has outlasted them both.


NOTES

For a general history of the Otepka case, see William J. Gill, “The Ordeal of Otto Otepka” (Arlington House: New Rochelle, New York, 1969).

Jim Hougan exposes Walter Sheridan’s role in the Otepka case, and in facilitating Robert Kennedy’s wire tapping efforts, in “Spooks: The Haunting of America – The Private Use of Secret Agents” (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1978).

See also, for the trajectory of the Oswald file: John Newman, “Oswald And The CIA” (Carroll & Graf Publishers: New York, 1995), pp. 170-172.

Walter Sheridan issues his unconvincing denials in “The Fall and Rise of Jimmy Hoffa” (New York: Saturday Review Press, 1972). Sheridan repeats the falsehood that Otepka had broken a law by furnishing information to the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (“he had been caught in the act”). This was simply not true: Dean Rusk as Secretary of State had granted Mr. Otepka permission to testify.

Sheridan admits to no responsibility for the wire taps, but terms it a “mistake” that Security Division personnel had placed a bug on Otepka’s telephone. Sheridan recounts as well his confrontation with Sidney Goldberg at his “small” office, noting, gleefully, that Goldberg was the only employee on the paper. If he had any questions, Sheridan says he told Goldberg later on the telephone, he should send them to “Jack Miller.” Sheridan denies every charge made against him. He concludes the discussion of the Otepka case with the nasty speculation that Goldberg was in “dire financial straits”when he wrote the article and hoped to obtain money from the teamsters Pension Fund or the Manchester “Union Leader.” Indeed, Union leader publisher Loeb had come down hard on Sheridan for his wire tapping of Jimmy Hoffa and his lawyer, and for his general obstruction of justice in the Hoffa case.

See also: Otto F. Otepka, “MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD.” September 20, 1968, Subject: Robert F. Kennedy, Walter Sheridan, Edward Grady Partin, et. al. Courtesy of Mr. Otepka.

Otto F. Otepka to Hon. Orrin Hatch. February 16, 1981. 7 pages. Courtesy of Mr. Otepka.

My interview with Mr. Otepka in Florida was on April 13, 2006.

I also have drawn from: Interview with Irv Heineman, April 9, 2006. Mr. Heineman had interviewed Mr. Otepka earlier.

Interview with Jim Hougan, May 17, 2007.

Interview with Otto Otepka, May 23, 2007.

Documents relating to Otepka and the Oswald file:

HSCA. Record Number 180-10102-10298. From: Otepka, Otto F. To: Epstein, Edward, Reader’s Digest. 3/28/78. 3 pages. NARA.

Document id number: 1993. 06.19.10:31:00:090000. JFK. Agfileno: 201-289248. JFK BOX #OSW13. Fol/Folder V53B. Title: AMERICAN DEFECTORS TO SINO-SOVIET BLOC COUNTRIES. 12/2/1960. From: WILLIAM MCAFFE/INR/CS/STATE. To: Mr. Otepka, SY/STATE. NARA.

Document id number: 1993.06.10.18:04:90000. JFK 201-289248. OSW12 VOL/FOLDER V53B. TITLE: COMPARATIVE STATISTICS CONCERNING BLOC AND US DEFECTORS. 9/23/60. WHOFROM: RICHARD D. GATEWOOD, IRC/STATE WHOTO: WILLIAM B. MACMBER, JR./STATE. NARA.

1993. 05.19.10:15:01:210000. JFK. 201-289248. OSW13. VOL/FOLDER V53B. TITLE: AMERICAN DEFECTORS TO SOVIET BLOC COUNTRIES – LIST OF SEVEN NAMES. 10/18/60. WHOFROM: OTTO F. OTEPKA, SY/STATE. WHOTO: MR. RICHARD GATEWOOD, IRC/STATE. October 18, 1960.

See also: CIA. 104-10007-10274. JFK 201-289248. TO: WIGREN, L. TITLE: OSWALD COMMISSION TO MEET 1 FEBRUARY. 12/18/63. SUBJECTS WC MTG.

Documents regarding Robert F. Kennedy’s attempts to conceal his wire tap program. These documents are available at the LBJ library in Austin:

--letter of J. Edgar Hoover to Honorable Bill D. Moyers, November 13, 1964. Agency: DOJ. Record Number: 177-10002-10074. Records Series: FILES OF MILDRED STEGALL, “SHERIDAN, WALTER.” LBJ LIBRARY.

-----Memorandum of Courtney Evans and his meetings with Robert Kennedy: Agency: Department of Justice. 177-10002-10170. FILES OF MILDRED STEGALL, “MILLER, HERBERT J.” 4 pages. L BJ LIBRARY.

---letter of J. Edgar Hoover to Honorable Marvin Watson. June 23, 1965. AGENCY: Department of Justice. 177-10002-10071. FILES OF MILDRED STEGALL, “MILLER, HERBERT J.” LBJ LIBRARY.


---letter of J. Edgar Hoover to Honorable Marvin Watson, September 23, 1966. Agency: Department of Justice. 177-10002-10124. FILES OF MILDRED STEGALL, “EVANS, COURTNEY.” LBJ LIBRARY.

---Agency, LBJ. 177-10002-10123. FILES OF MILDRED STEGALL, “EVANS, COURTNEY.” September 27, 1966. LBJ LIBRARY.

See also:
Ben H. Bagdikian, “Big Brother Is Listening,” Saturday Evening Post. June 6, 1964.

C. P. Trussell, “Hoffa Expose Bid Laid To Kennedy.” The New York Times. March 3, 1965.

Arthur C. Egan, Jr. “Bobby Kennedy Made Me Call Off Subversion Probe.” Bridgeport Herald. March 19, 1967.

Sidney Goldberg,” “’5 Eyes’ and ‘Doodlegrams’ Used by Depts. For Tapping.” The Government Employees Exchange. September 4, 1968.

Edith Kermit Roosevelt, “Government’s Private Spy Net.” The Catholic News. January 20, 1977.

#5 J. Raymond Carroll

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 04:14 PM

[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103738' date='May 26 2007, 07:49 AM']Had Sheridan not been protected by higher authority, he would have spent long years in federal prison for his persistent obstruction of justice.[/quote]

The higher authority protecting Sheridan could only have been the Federal Government headed by Lyndon Johnson. Can't we all just see LBJ issuing instructions to "protect Bobby and his people at all costs."

Pull the other one, Joan, it's got bells on!

[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103738' date='May 26 2007, 07:49 AM'][I]t insults Robert Kennedy's intelligence and political acumen for anyone to believe that he would have set "Walt" loose to investigate his brother's death.[/quote]

When I think of people who have insulted Robert Kennedy's intelligence, one of the first names that comes to mind is Joan Mellen

[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103738' date='May 26 2007, 07:49 AM']It is painful for me to observe David Talbot's resurrection of the outright lie that Garrison covered up for Louisiana and Texas mobster Carlos Marcello.[/quote]

I agree that a surprising number of respected critics have given Garrison a bum rap on this one. There is no credible evidence that covering up Carlos Marcello's supposed involvement in the JFK assassination was ever on Garrison's agenda, and the arguments against Garrison on this issue defy logic and common sense.

[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103738' date='May 26 2007, 07:49 AM']As for Jim Garrison's motivation, he entrusted the crime fighting to his able assistants.[/quote]

Anyone who thinks that Moo Moo Sciambra et al were able men should read the transcript of the Clay Shaw Shaw trial. It's a real howler.

[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103738' date='May 26 2007, 07:49 AM']Garrison knew Sheridan was lying ... because Sheridan never requested a meeting with anyone in Garrison's office..

. After their meeting... Garrison knew that Sheridan was lying when he talked about having come down to New Orleans to investigate the Kennedy assassination.[/quote]

So let me get this straight Joan: Garrison knew Sheridan was lying because he didn't request a meeting, and when Sheridan DID request a meeting Garrison knew he was lying because he said he was investigating the assassination?

Your Mr. Garrison has a funny way of reasoning. It seems that Sheridan (and RFK by implication) was damned either way.


[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103738' date='May 26 2007, 07:49 AM']About Sheridan's criminality, Garrison had no doubt.[/quote]

It was part of Garrison's enduring charm that he never doubted his own theories, especially when they were wrong.

[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103738' date='May 26 2007, 07:49 AM']He had in his possession signed affidavits outlining Sheridan's attempts to bribe them and prevent them from testifying for him from both Perry Russo and Marlene Mancuso.[/quote]

I don't think Marlene Mancuso had any evidence relevant to the assassination, so why would anyone want to bribe her. As for Perry Russo, I don't believe Sheridan was dumb enough to think anyone would ever believe a word that Russo said. The jury certainly did not.

[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103738' date='May 26 2007, 07:49 AM']Pity the land that needs a hero[/quote]

Well, let's say pity the land that needs a hero like Earling Carruthers Garrison.

There is definitely something cartoonish going on here, as Joan Mellen suggests. Joan Mellen's theory that Jim Garrison was JFK's real brother, and that Bobby Kennedy was an imposter, is right up there with the Best of Looney Tunes.

#6 Paul Rigby

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 05:08 PM

What sounded alarms, Mr. Otepka told me, what drove Robert Kennedy to cast him into oblivion, was that he had requested of the CIA that it look into the defectors to the Soviet Union whose names sat in his office safe. It had been a routine request, he said, whenever a name elicited questions.


Most likely despatcher of bogus defectors to Russia? Ah, yes, the CIA - so trusting old Otto, bureaucratic naif, sends request to, er, yes, Langley, for...well, what exactly, an honest response?

Forsooth, she must think us all stupid.

Goodness, you couldn't make this woman up.

#7 Joan Mellen

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 05:11 PM

There is definitely something cartoonish going on here, as Joan Mellen suggests. Joan Mellen's theory that Jim Garrison was JFK's real brother, and that Bobby Kennedy was an imposter, is right up there with the Best of Looney Tunes.


I smiled when I read the comment, meant sarcastically, that Jim Garrison was John F. Kennedy's "real brother." Well, Jim Garrison sacrificed his political career to investigate the murder of a beloved President. He paid little attention to crime in Orleans Parish, leaving that to his assistants, and not, by the way, Andrew Sciambra, who was a very young staff member. The President's own brother hedged.

I did not write anywhere, not least on the Forum, that Jim Garrison was a "hero." (See the Brecht quotation again!). As Garrison said in his closing statement in federal court before his acquittal on bribery charges, the last perfect person walked the earth two thousand years ago. His point was that he was not a perfect person. Let's get back to the issue of protecting the most valuable components of this democracy, among them due process, equal treatment under the law, and the rule of law itself. I would argue that these are far more important even than releasing a guilty person because his conviction came at the expense of the Constitution.

http://www.joanmellen.net/OTEPKA.htm

#8 John Simkin

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 05:17 PM

Most likely despatcher of bogus defectors to Russia? Ah, yes, the CIA - so trusting old Otto, bureaucratic naif, sends request to, er, yes, Langley, for...well, what exactly, an honest response?

Forsooth, she must think us all stupid.

Goodness, you couldn't make this woman up.


You may disagree with Joan Mellen but please treat her with respect. At least she has the courage to face her critics, unlike the "lone-gunman" theorists who have always refused to defend their work on the forum.

#9 Michael Hogan

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 05:50 PM

You may disagree with Joan Mellen but please treat her with respect. At least she has the courage to face her critics, unlike the "lone-gunman" theorists who have always refused to defend their work on the forum.

Thanks John. I think that needed to be said.

#10 J. Raymond Carroll

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 10:54 PM

[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103741' date='May 26 2007, 08:01 AM']Otepka was not a man given to frivolous accusations.
On behalf of Robert Kennedy, Sheridan ... successfully drummed Otepka out of the State Department[/quote]

Let's hope this is not another of the many frivolous accusations that have bedevilled this case, and that Mellen/Otepka will back it up with evidence

[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103741' date='May 26 2007, 08:01 AM']His ordeal was based upon his development of a file relating to one “Lee Oswald, tourist,” a name on a list of “defectors.”[/quote]

I can hardly wait to hear Ms. Mellen's theory of why RFK would have the slightest interest in "Lee Oswald" prior to November 22nd, 1963.

John Newman studied the records of government people who were interested in Lee Oswald around the time of Otepka's removal. Curiously enough, I do not recall Robert Kennedy's name, nor the names of any known Kennedy loyalists, among those whom Newman identified as people curious about the ongoing movements of Lee Oswald.


[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103741' date='May 26 2007, 08:01 AM']By 1963, Otepka was wondering why Oswald was issued a passport for travel to Cuba... It was at this time that Otepka’s security safe was burgled and the Oswald files disappeared for good.

It is not clear when Robert Kennedy became aware of Otepka’s handling of the investigation of Lee Harvey Oswald, but Otepka would become certain that it was this investigation that led to his ruin...[/quote]



So far the evidence against RFK consists entirely of the OPINION of Otto Otepka, who could spot a commie pinko a mile away.



[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103741' date='May 26 2007, 08:01 AM']He would have liked to have examined Marina’s family history, he told me, and her connections to the Soviet secret police.[/quote]

Ah, yes, Marina. Now there's a commie agent if ever there was one. Of course, the Russians have come a long way since Otepka's day. Nowadays their agents learn fluent English before being launched into western space.


[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103741' date='May 26 2007, 08:01 AM']Otepka first approached contacts in the FBI. He was being investigated by “higher authority in the Department of Justice,” he was told.

It could only mean Robert Kennedy.[/quote]

Well if someone or other in the FBI thinks so, why there is nothing left to say, really.

[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103741' date='May 26 2007, 08:01 AM']It was in June 1963 that Otepka’s Oswald files were stolen from his safe. The culprits,..., were his superiors, people close to Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Otepka’s crime had been studying Oswald....

Under oath at his 1967 hearing, Otepka finally articulated ...what he had long believed .. Asked who was out to get rid of him, he named ... Robert Kennedy.”[/quote]

So far, we are still relying entirely on the OPINION of Uncle Otto, and the second -hand opinion of somebody in Hoover's bureau. Isn't there ever going to be any actual EVIDENCE?

[quote name='Joan Mellen' post='103741' date='May 26 2007, 08:01 AM']It was Goldberg, a one-man editorial staff, who broke the case and solved the mystery.

Goldberg wrote that a source had come forward with the truth about who was behind the harassment and firing of Otto Otepka. .... Bobby Kennedy’s right-hand man, Walter Sheridan.



When Hougan asked to read Goldberg’s Otepka files, Goldberg refused.

“You can’t ask a newsman for his sources,” Mr. Otepka says.[/quote]

Well there you have it, folks. Joan Mellen DOES have evidence besides Uncle Otto's original and unwavering suspicion, but she cannot show the evidence to us, because you cannot ask a newsman for his sources.

#11 James Richards

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 12:19 AM

In 1968, Richard Nixon appointed Otto Otepka to a Subversive Activities Control Board, not a very active body, and obviously an attempt to give the impoverished State Department officer some employment. Confirmation did not come easily. Falsely, Otepka was labeled a Birchite and an anti-Semite, although he was neither of these. (Joan Mellen)

Joan,

James M. Stewart from the American Defense Fund (a fund with the John Birch Society association) said that $22,000 had been given to Otepka which at the time was about 80% of his legal costs. It should be pointed out though that accepting the legal fees was not illegal.

Otepka allegedly spoke to gatherings at the homes of Birch Society activists. He also spoke at a large meeting in the auditorium of the Flick-Reedy Education Enterprises, an ultra-conservation organization.

Gordon Hall, an authority on extremist groups and Medford Evans, book review editor for the Birch Society Magazine both place Otepka at a Birch Society organized rally in Boston.

FWIW.

James

#12 Chuck Robbins

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 12:53 AM

Joan,

I take it that you believe that Oswald was working in some intelligence capacity for the Kennedy's?

Can you give me a condensed outline of who hired him, when he was hired and what he had been hired to do?

I have an open mind and would like to consider all evidence available in this matter.

With George DeM knowing Jackie's family, Jackie being married to the President, George DeM becoming friends with Oswald, and then Oswald being accused of killing JFK...I guess there could have been some kind of connection.

Was George DeM working for the CIA, as most people believe, or was he working for the Kennedy's, or was he working for both?

Edited by Chuck Robbins, 27 May 2007 - 12:58 AM.


#13 David Boylan

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 12:52 AM

In 1968, Richard Nixon appointed Otto Otepka to a Subversive Activities Control Board, not a very active body, and obviously an attempt to give the impoverished State Department officer some employment. Confirmation did not come easily. Falsely, Otepka was labeled a Birchite and an anti-Semite, although he was neither of these. (Joan Mellen)

Joan,

James M. Stewart from the American Defense Fund (a fund with the John Birch Society association) said that $22,000 had been given to Otepka which at the time was about 80% of his legal costs. It should be pointed out though that accepting the legal fees was not illegal.

Otepka allegedly spoke to gatherings at the homes of Birch Society activists. He also spoke at a large meeting in the auditorium of the Flick-Reedy Education Enterprises, an ultra-conservation organization.

Gordon Hall, an authority on extremist groups and Medford Evans, book review editor for the Birch Society Magazine both place Otepka at a Birch Society organized rally in Boston.

FWIW.

James


Gordon Hall, along with his friend, Grace Hoag, were long time..er...monitors of the right and left wing extremists. Gordon was very close to some of them. Hell, when George Lincoln Rockwell was arrested, who was the first person he called? Gordon Hall.

Gordon was also very much aware of Oswald, most likely through Banister.

Otepka was close to Julien Sourwine, Robert Morris, and Ray Rocca.

#14 J. Raymond Carroll

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 02:54 AM

Gordon was also very much aware of Oswald, most likely through Banister.

Otepka was close to .... Ray Rocca.


Any further info. or sources on these two items?

#15 J. Raymond Carroll

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 04:23 AM

Bobby was well aware of Oswald and had kept silent before the assassination.


Sure they knew each other, says good old uncle Otto.
They were both Commies, weren't they?
Birds of the same Pinko Feather.




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