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Lucius Conien


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#1 Tim Gratz

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 07:44 AM

According to Gerry Hemming, as noted in my thread of the Veciana incident, Lucien Conien was involved in the assassination and received momey from Madame Nhu to help pay for the assassination.

According to Trento's "The Secret History of the CIA", Conien had worked in Berlin with William Harvey aand he became a key to Shackley's JM/WAVE operation in M iami.

Also according to Trento, Conien, who was in Vietnam in 1963, thought he was running the coup. His plan was to tell Diem, Nhu and their families to go to Taiwan immediately before the coup was to commence. Conien did convince the brothers to go to a Catholic church in the Saigon suburb of Cholon where a personnel carrier was to take them to the airport Of course, they were subsequently murdered. Conien was reportedly shocked at the murders, which had never been part of the CIA plans for the coup. President Kennedy was also shocked at the murders, and was, according to William Corson, "as angry as I have ever seen him".

Since Conien was involved in the coup, it seems strange that Madame Nhu would trust him and give him money to kill JFK. Of course, she presumably knew that Conien had promised her husband and brother safe passage and if Conien was part of the assassination plot he could have blamed the murders on JFK. (According to Jim Hougan's "Spooks", Charles Colson persuaded Conien to blame the assassinations on Kennedy. For his compliance in Colson's plot, Nixon appointed Conein the first head of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Supposedly, Conien put together a team of operatives to assassination narcotics dealers. Also according to "Spooks", our friend Howard Hunt approached Manuel Artime about the possibility of using Cuban exiles for this operation.)

According to William Corson, JFK, who had indeed expected a bloodless coup in Vietnam, ordered William Corson to find out who was responsible for the death of the Diem brothers. Corson determined that the order to kill them originated with W. Averell Harriman and were carried out by the military assistant to Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge.

The effect of the coup in Vietnam was so devestating on U.S. policy and the war effort that some people think there were sinister forces at work, possibly including Harriman himself. James Jesus Angleton, a man I respect, believed that the assassinations were in fact planned to throw American policy into chaos. It is also possible, according to both Gerry Hemming and the authors of the book "Triangle of Death" that the coup in Vietnam played a part in the assassination of JFK.

#2 Tim Gratz

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 09:16 AM

This from the Final Report of the Assassinations Records Review Board:

"Among the major issues involving Vietnam was the assassination of President Diem and his brother in November 1963 shortly before President Kennedy's assassination. The Review Board released classified Church Committee testimony on this issue by CIA officers William Colby and Lucien Conein. The Church Committee's report on the Diem assassination relied heavily on their testimony, which had remained classified for over twenty years."
It would be worthwhile to read Conein's testimony.

Edited by Tim Gratz, 08 February 2005 - 09:17 AM.


#3 Tim Gratz

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 09:22 AM

This information on Conein from the site of the Arlington National Cemetery (where both he and JFK are buried):


Lucien E. Conein, 79, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and covert intelligence agent whose career ranged from landing by aircraft in Nazi-occupied France during World War II to participation in the coup d'etat that brought down South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963, died June 3, 1998 at Suburban Hospital, Virginia. He had heart ailments and had been hospitalized for several months after breaking a hip.

Colonel Conein's career also included orchestrating the infiltration of spies and saboteurs into Eastern Europe after World War II, training paramilitary forces in Iran and a secret mission to organize anti-communist guerrillas in North Vietnam after the country was partitioned following the French defeat in Indochina in 1954.

He retired from the military and CIA in 1968 but later joined the Drug Enforcement Administration, where he directed an intelligence-gathering and operations unit until his civilian retirement in 1984.

Born in Paris, Colonel Conein grew up in Kansas City, having been shipped there alone at age 5 by his widowed mother to live with her sister, a World War I French war bride of an American soldier. While growing up in Missouri, he retained his French citizenship, and when World War II began in 1939, he went to the French consulate in Chicago and joined the French Army.

After the fall of France to Germany in 1940, he made his way back to the United States, joined the U.S. Army and, because of his fluency in French, was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor agency of the CIA. In late 1944, he landed in Nazi-occupied Southern France on a mission to deliver weapons to French Resistance forces who were preparing to attack German forces heading north to intercept the Allied advance across Europe.

After the war ended in Europe, he was transferred to the Pacific theater of operations, where he joined a military unit conducting raids against Japanese-held installations in North Vietnam. He was assigned to the Central Intelligence Agency when it was formed in 1947, keeping his military rank and position as a cover.

During the next two decades, Colonel Conein would become the stuff of legend and romance in the intelligence community. Author David Halberstam, writing in "The Best and the Brightest," described him as "someone sprung to life from a pulp adventure." Stanley Karnow, in "Vietnam: A History," said he was an "eccentric, boisterous, often uncontrollable yet deeply sensitive and thoroughly professional agent." Henry Cabot Lodge, President John F. Kennedy's ambassador to South Vietnam, called him "the indispensable man" and a vital liaison between the U.S. Embassy and the South Vietnamese generals who plotted the overthrow and subsequent assassination of Diem in 1963.

An inveterate and enthusiastic storyteller, Colonel Conein often prefaced his conversations with such statements as: "Now, this one is the double truth, scout's honor, the double truth," or "Don't believe anything I tell you; I'm an expert liar."

He sometimes talked about his OSS service in wartime France, where he lived and worked with the Corsican Brotherhood, which also was part of the Resistance. Before he left France, he was made a member, Colonel Conein said. He added: "When the Sicilians put out a contract, it's usually limited to the continental United States, or maybe Canada or Mexico. But with the Corsicans, it's international. They'll go anywhere. There's an old Corsican proverb: 'If you want revenge and you act within 20 years, you're acting in haste.' "

Part of the mystique about him was the widely held belief that he had once served in the French Foreign Legion. He was a regular at annual French Foreign Legion dinners in Washington. But in fact he had never officially been part of the organization. He had two fingers missing on his right hand, the result, it was generally thought, of a daring and hazardous clandestine operation. In fact, his fingers were cut off by the fan of a stalled automobile he was trying to repair.

Former CIA colleague E. Howard Hunt considered hiring Colonel Conein for the group that bungled the 1972 Watergate burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, which ultimately led to the scandal that resulted in President Richard M. Nixon's resignation. "If I'd been involved, we'd have done it right," Col. Conein once told Karnow.

In Vietnam in the late 1950s, Colonel Conein served in a special action group under General Edward Lansdale in a CIA-directed operation aimed at undermining the communist leadership in Hanoi and the northern part of the country. A common tactic was to organize and stage funerals without a corpse and to bury a coffin filled with weapons for later use by anti-communists. Because of his French background and wartime service against the Japanese in Vietnam, Colonel Conein had the trust and confidence of many of the Vietnamese military officers, but the campaign against the communist leadership in Hanoi never flourished.

Later, when senior military officers in South Vietnam were plotting against Diem, they sought out Colonel Conein as their conduit to the U.S. Embassy. "These men trusted Conein as they would not have trusted another CIA agent," wrote Neil Sheehan in his book about Vietnam, "A Bright Shining Lie."

"He was an old comrade, and his French birth fortified the relationship. When he was with them, he saw that his French side came out, because he lived in both cultures in spirit and he knew that it put them at ease."

After leaving the CIA in 1968, Colonel Conein returned to South Vietnam as a private businessman. In 1972, he joined the DEA.

He was in media headlines in the mid-1970s when then-Senator Lowell Weicker (R-Connecticut) investigated allegations that a DEA unit was preparing to arrange the assassination of drug lords. These charges were denied, and nothing was ever proven.

Colonel Conein's decorations included a Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, a Bronze Star and the CIA's Intelligence Star.


#4 Tim Gratz

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 09:29 AM

According to Steamshovel Press #11, the "hard hat man" in the Altgens photo of the door to the TSBD (the famous Lovelady/Oswald photo) resembes Conein. The article was written by our friend Jack White.

According to the same source, the Willis photo shows the "hard hat man" strolling down toward the Umbrella Man.

Can someone post these photos? Does anyone have good photos of Conein himself?

Edited by Tim Gratz, 08 February 2005 - 09:31 AM.


#5 Tim Gratz

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 11:41 AM

Lucius Conein may or may not have participated in the Kennedy assassination, but, according to "Spooks" while he was in Vietnam he saved the life of, of all people, Daniel Ellsberg.

Seems Daniel Ellsberg was romantically involved with a beautiful Eurasian woman whose favors were also being shared by a capo in the Union Corse.

The capo informed Conein that if Ellsberg did not give up the girl, Ellsberg would be killed.

To which Conein replied that if the capo had Ellsberg killed, he, Conein, would have the capo killed.

When the capo raised his eyebrows at that suggestion, implying, of course, the obvious, Conein went on to add that if the Union Corse arranged for his own death, the CIA would have no choice but to kill three Union Corse men for every single CIA officer killed. Conein went on to remark the superiority of the CIA even over the syndicate, noting that the CIA had world-wide offices, over 10,000 employees, a multi-billion dollar budget, satellites, a mercenary army and a secret air force at its command. Conein made it clear the CIA could hardly be challenged in the area of assassinations. Was a single girl worth all that bloodshed, Conein asked the startled capo.

Hougan concludes the story by noting that after Ellsberg published the Pentagon Papers, Conein regretted his intervention.

From "Spooks", pages 144-145.

#6 John Simkin

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 12:30 PM

Can someone post these photos?  Does anyone have good photos of Conein himself?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


See:

http://www.spartacus...k/CIAconein.htm

#7 Ron Ecker

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 04:48 PM

"Hard Hat Man" was construction worker A.J. Millican (who said that he heard 7 shots, and of course was never called to testify). It could not have been Conein, since Conein was standing at the corner of Main and Houston at the time.


Posted Image



The theory that a vengeful Madame Ngo was behind the assassination is considerably weakened by the fact that a plot to assassinate JFK was already in place in Chicago, set for November 2, only one day after Diem's assassination in Vietnam.

This also makes it seem unlikely that the CIA or U.S. military intended for Diem to be assassinated in addition to JFK. Killing both leaders in the space of two days would surely have aroused suspicion that someone was trying hard to influence the Vietnam situation, and it wouldn't have been Lee Harvey Oswald or Castro

Ron

#8 Jack White

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 05:51 PM

According to Steamshovel Press #11, the "hard hat man" in the Altgens photo of the door to the TSBD (the famous Lovelady/Oswald photo) resembes Conein.  The article was written by our friend Jack White.

According to the same source, the Willis photo shows the "hard hat man" strolling down toward the Umbrella Man.

Can someone post these photos?  Does anyone have good photos of Conein himself?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I made it plain in that article that COL. FLETCHER PROUTY identified the man in the construction helmet as Conein. We now believe Conein is the man photographed at Houston and Main, and that Prouty was mistaken. But I still find the man on Elm suspicious. I am not sure he has been positively ID'd.

Jack ;)

#9 James Richards

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 11:42 PM

According to the same source, the Willis photo shows the "hard hat man" strolling down toward the Umbrella Man.

Can someone post these photos? Does anyone have good photos of Conein himself?
(Tim Gratz)

Tim,

I'm not sure about a Willis slide that shows 'Hard Hat Man' strolling toward UM, but in this Willis photo below, 'Hard Hat Man' can be seen on the right of frame in some kind of bizarre pose.

As for Conein, here he is below with Ed Lansdale.

James

Edited by James Richards, 09 February 2005 - 12:20 AM.


#10 John Simkin

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 08:42 AM

I have produced a biography of Conein. I have been unable to find any real link between Conein and the assassination. Several researchers have implied this by pointing out Conein's link to other people/organizations suspected of being involved in the assassination:

CIA covert operations that involved assassinations of foreign leaders
Corsican Brotherhood (during the Second World War)
Ted Shackley (at CIA station in Nuremberg)
William Harvey (at CIA station in Berlin)
Edward Lansdale (in Vietnam)
William Colby (CIA station chief in Saigon)
E. Howard Hunt (manufacturing false documents)
Mitchell WerBell (arms salesman)
JM/WAVE CIA station in Miami
Richard Nixon (Drug Enforcement Administration)

Leroy Fletcher Prouty claimed that Conein has been identified as being in Dallas on the day of the assassination. Others have suggested that he was standing at the corner of Main and Houston at the time Kennedy was killed. However, Larry Hancock has investigated Conein and believes he never left Vietnam during 1963.

http://www.spartacus...k/JFKconein.htm

#11 Tim Gratz

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 09:02 AM

John, I will try to clarify from Gerry Hemming his basis for believing that Madam Nhu paid Conein money for the assassination. As you know, I am puzzled she would do this because Conein was up to his neck in organizing the coup that killed her husband and brother-in-law. He even brought $42,000 in funds to the Vietnamese generals planning the coup so they could escape if the coup failed.

There is a lot of interesting material in the book "Triangle of Death" that posits Vietnamese participation in the assassination. But, IMO, the actual evidence in the book of such participation is weak (it relies, for instance, on two anonymous letters suggesting such participation). The book does claim there was a relationship between the Vietnamese ruling family and the drug trade (the French Corsicans). The book does do a good job of detailing the U.S. encouragement of and participation in the coup. It argues that the Kennedys probably sanctioned the murders of the Diem brothers because it feared their public statements against JFK if they had been allowed to live. For instance. it argues that Conein had plenty of opportunity to give the Diems safe passage out of Vietnam had he truly wanted to do so. It suggests that the Kennedys manipulated to get Madame Nhu into the US on a speaking tour so she would not be in Vietnam at the time of the assassination.

Edited by Tim Gratz, 09 February 2005 - 09:06 AM.


#12 Jim Hamilton

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 11:48 AM

hi,are these two people the same.
regards jim.

#13 Jim Hamilton

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 11:57 AM

Sorry I made a mess of that. Are these people the same.

#14 Tim Gratz

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 12:14 PM

Does not look like a match to me.

#15 David Boylan

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 02:26 PM

Tim,

Mary Ferrell noted to me years ago that when Madame Nhu visited Dallas in November 1963, it was Robert Surrey's daughter that presented her with flowers.
Surrey was Walker's right hand man.

When I was doing some research on the far right several years ago, I was looking for anything that they had to say about the assassination. I'm relying on my aging memory here and I'm paraphrasing, but there was a strange one liner in the National Chronicle circa 1965 that said if not for Diem's death, JFK would still be alive. The National Chronicle was the former Shasta County Chronicle, a far right newspaper that was edited by Hal Hunt.

Just a few head scratchers.



John, I will try to clarify from Gerry Hemming his basis for believing that Madam Nhu paid Conein money for the assassination.  As you know, I am puzzled she would do this because Conein was up to his neck in organizing the coup that killed her husband and brother-in-law.  He even brought $42,000 in funds to the Vietnamese generals planning the coup so they could escape if the coup failed.

There is a lot of interesting material in the book "Triangle of Death" that posits Vietnamese participation in the assassination.  But, IMO, the actual evidence in the book of such participation is weak (it relies, for instance, on two anonymous letters suggesting such participation).  The book does claim there was a relationship between the Vietnamese ruling family and the drug trade (the French Corsicans).  The book does do a good job of detailing the U.S. encouragement of and participation in the coup.  It argues that the Kennedys probably sanctioned the murders of the Diem brothers because it feared their public statements against JFK if they had been allowed to live.  For instance. it argues that Conein had plenty of opportunity to give the Diems safe passage out of Vietnam had he truly wanted to do so.  It suggests that the Kennedys manipulated to get Madame Nhu into the US on a speaking tour so she would not be in Vietnam at the time of the assassination.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>






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