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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 11:09 AM

On 16th January, 1975, President Gerald Ford held a luncheon in the White House for the publisher of the New York Times, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, and some of his top editors. During the meeting, A. M. Rosenthal, the paper’s managing editor, asked Ford whether the Rockefeller Commission investigation into the CIA would reveal any important information about its activities. Ford replied that the commission’s mandate was strictly limited as he did not want politicians “rummaging about in the recesses of CIA history”. Ford added that if they did they “might stumble onto things which would blacken the name of the United States and of every President since Truman.”

“Like what?” asked Rosenthal.

“Like assassinations!” Ford replied. Realising what he had said, he quickly added: “That’s off the record!”

The New York Times decided it was morally bound not to publish Ford’s remarks. However, one of the journalists leaked this story to the CBS television news correspondent, Daniel Schorr.

On 27th February, Schorr interviewed William Colby, the Director of the CIA. During the conversation he asked Colby if Ford was right that the CIA had been involved in killing politicians. Colby replied, “Not in this country”.

The following day Schorr went on the CBS Evening News and said: “President Ford has reportedly warned associates that if current investigations go too far they could undercover several assassinations of foreign officials in which the CIA was involved.”

Richard Helms was furious with Daniel Schorr for broadcasting this story. On 28th April, 1975, Helms bumped into Schorr outside the Vice President’s office. Helms exploded: “You sonofabitch! He shouted at Schoor. “You killer! You cocksucker! 'Killer Schoor' – that’s what they ought to call you.”

This incident does not appear in Helms’ autobiography, A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency. That is not surprising, Thomas Powers’ biography of Richard Helms is entitled: ‘The Man Who Kept the Secrets’. Like most autobiographies produced by senior figures in the CIA, you learn as much by what the authors leave out as you do with what they put in.

Helms died in October, 2002 and therefore this autobiography was published posthumously. Helms went to his grave without disclosing details of the CIA’s role in assassinating political leaders. This caused him a great deal of trouble and some believe he was lucky not to be sent to prison for not telling the truth about the dark history of the CIA.

In 1975 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began investigating the CIA. Senator Stuart Symington asked Helms if the CIA had been involved in the removal of Salvador Allende. Helms replied no. He also insisted that he had not passed money to opponents of Allende.

Investigations by the CIA's Inspector General and by Frank Church and his Select Committee on Intelligence Activities showed that Hems had lied to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They also discovered that Helms had been involved in illegal domestic surveillance and plotting the murders of Patrice Lumumba, General Abd al-Karim Kassem and Ngo Dinh Diem. In 1977 Helms was found guilty of lying to Congress and received a suspended two-year prison sentence.

Some people believe Helms knew about CIA involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In his autobiography Helms argues: “I have not seen anything, no matter how far-fetched or grossly imagined, that in any way changes my conviction that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated Kennedy, and that there were no co-conspirators.” (page 229)

Not everyone believed him. This included President Richard Nixon. Howard Baker, who was a member of the Evrin Committee, later commented: “Nixon and Helms have so much on each other, neither of them can breathe.”

In 1969 Nixon sent Ehrlichman to see Helms. He told Helms that Nixon “wanted all the facts and documents the CIA had on the Bay of Pigs”. Ehrlichman later told Haldeman that the “Bay of Pigs” was a coded reference to the assassination of JFK. According to Helms biography, the Bay of Pigs meant the Bay of Pigs.

Helms refused. This is what Haldeman says in his book The Ends of Power about this issue:

About six months after that 1969 conversation, Ehrlichman had stopped in my office. 'Those bastards in Langley are holding back something. They just dig in their heels and say the President can't have it. Period. Imagine that! The Commander-in-Chief wants to see a document relating to a military operation, and the spooks say he can't have it.'

'What is it?

'I don't know, but from the way they're protecting it, it must be pure dynamite.'


During the Watergate crisis Nixon attempted to persuade Helms to participate in the cover-up. He also wanted the CIA to pay the burglars “hush money”. Helms refused, fearing that he would be dragged into this scandal. Haldeman explains what happened next (pages 48-49):

I was puzzled when he (Nixon) told me, 'Tell Ehrlichman this whole group of Cubans is tied to the Bay, of Pigs.'

After a pause I said, 'The Bay of Pigs? What does that have to do with this?'
But Nixon merely said, 'Ehrlichman will know what I mean,' and dropped the subject.

After our staff meeting the next morning I accompanied Ehrlichman to his office and gave him the President's message. Ehrlichman's eyebrows arched, and he smiled. `Our brothers from Langley? He's suggesting I twist or break a few arms?'
'I don't know. All he told me was "Tell Ehrlichman this whole group of Cubans is tied to the Bay of Pigs".'

Ehrlichman leaned back in his chair, tapping a pencil on the edge of his desk. 'All right,' he said, 'message accepted.'


Ehrlichman did not seem to have any luck in obtaining this information. On 23rd June, 1972, Nixon sent Haldeman to see Helms (page 61):

Then I played Nixon's trump card. 'The President asked me to tell you this entire affair may be connected to the Bay of Pigs, and if it opens up, the Bay of Pigs may be blown....'

Turmoil in the room. Helms gripping the arms of his chair leaning forward and shouting, 'The Bay of Pigs had nothing to do with this. I have no concern about the Bay of Pigs.'

Silence. I just sat there. I was absolutely shocked by Helms' violent reaction.

Again I wondered, what was such dynamite in the Bay of Pigs story? Finally, I said, 'I'm just following my instructions, Dick. This is what the President told me to relay to you.'


What was this Bay of Pigs/Kennedy assassination story? According to Haldeman, he was told what it was about by the CBS journalist Daniel Schorr (pages 62-63):

After Kennedy was killed, the CIA launched a fantastic cover-up. Many of the facts about Oswald unavoidably pointed to a Cuban connection.

1. Oswald had been arrested in New Orleans in August, 1963, while distributing pro-Castro pamphlets.

2. On a New Orleans radio programme he extolled Cuba and defended Castro.

3. Less than two months before the assassination Oswald visited the Cuban consulate in Mexico City and tried to obtain a visa.

In a chilling parallel to their cover-up at Watergate, the CIA literally erased any connection between. Kennedy's assassination and the CIA No mention of the Castro assassination attempt was made to the Warren Commission by CIA representatives. In fact, Counter-intelligence Chief James Angleton of the CIA called Bill Sullivan of the FBI and rehearsed the questions and answers they would give to the Warren Commission investigators, such as these samples:

Q. Was Oswald an agent of the C.I.A?

A. No.

Q. Does the CIA have any evidence showing that a conspiracy existed to assassinate Kennedy?

A. No.

And here's what I find most interesting: Bill Sullivan, the FBI man that the CIA called at the time, was Nixon's highest-ranking loyal friend at the FBI (in the Watergate crisis, he would risk J. Edgar Hoover's anger by taking the 1969 FBI wiretap transcripts ordered by Nixon and delivering them to, Robert Mardian, a Mitchell crony, for safekeeping).

It's possible that Nixon learned from Sullivan something about the earlier CIA cover-up by Helms. And when Nixon said, 'It's likely to blow the whole Bay of Pigs' he might have been reminding Helms, not so gently, of the cover-up of the CIA assassination attempts on the hero of the Bay of Pigs, Fidel Castro - a CIA operation that may have triggered the Kennedy tragedy and which Helms desperately wanted to hide.


#2 John Simkin

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 02:30 PM

Name Base on Richard Helms:

http://www.namebase....rrah-Helms.html

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#3 John Simkin

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 08:00 AM

On 19th November, 1963, Richard Helms and a CIA Latin America expert named Hershel Peake had a meeting with RFK and JFK. The historian, Michael R. Beschloss, interviewed Helms about this meeting. According to Helms, he provided the brothers with evidence that Castro was attempting to overthrow President Romulo Betancourt of Venezuela. The evidence was a rifle with “its Cuban coat-of-arms that had been sanded off”. It seems that JFK was not very impressed with this evidence. Helms reported it was clear that JFK “wasn’t going to invade Cuba, for goddamn sure.”

It is interesting that during the negotiations with Castro, the main stumbling block had been JFK’s fear that the Cubans would try to spread its revolution to other countries in the region. Helms would have known this via the wire-taping of William Attwood at the UN building.

Was this the last attempt by the conspirators to persuade JFK to invade Cuba? Was it JFK’s reaction to Helms that was the trigger for the assassination?

Soon after he took power, LBJ also had a visit from Helms. He was also unimpressed with this evidence and refused to order the invasion of Cuba. In fact, LBJ was very busy at the time covering up the “faked” evidence that linked Castro to the JFK assassination. He of course preferred a war with Vietnam than Cuba. He knew it would last longer and would make more money for his friends in Texas.

#4 John Simkin

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 12:20 PM

On 12th March, 1964, Richard Helms had a meeting with J. Lee Rankin and senior members of the Warren Commission staff. The general purpose of the meeting was to discuss how the CIA could assist the WC. How helpful was Helms? If he did play an important role in the cover-up, what was his motive?

#5 Tim Gratz

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 12:45 PM

He was not as helpful as he could have been.

Clearly the CIA wanted to hide its involvement in plots to kill Castro.

If indeed as many think LHO was a CIA agent, I doubt that Helms wanted the WC to discover that either.

Helms famous response to why he failed to reveal an obviously salient fact to the WC was that he was never specifically asked.

John, I assume you are aware that the Church Committee Report has a complete section on the degree of co-operation (or lack thereof) between the CIA and the WC.

#6 Robert Howard

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 12:11 AM

He was not as helpful as he could have been.

Clearly the CIA wanted to hide its involvement in plots to kill Castro.

If indeed as many think LHO was a CIA agent, I doubt that Helms wanted the WC to discover that either.

Helms famous response to why he failed to reveal an obviously salient fact to the WC was that he was never specifically asked.

John, I assume you are aware that the Church Committee Report has a complete section on the degree of co-operation (or lack thereof) between the CIA and the WC.

I wanted to float a question, that pertains both to Watergate and the JFK Assassination. In the Watergate affair, I am under the impression (from what little I know) that at some point (1969) Nixon attempted to obtain a perusal of any and all documents the CIA had on the Bay of Pig's only to be rebuffed by the then-Director himself, Richard Helms; as far as I know, Nixon was not successful in his efforts.

I have a theory that the reason Nixon was desperate to view this material was to see if there was any information in it that he could use to obtain political leverage over the Agency and/or Helms, and to see what type of paper trail was left in the wake of the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Helms, I understand (according to "The CIA - A Photographic History) was DCI from 6/30/66 to 2/3/73. Helms and Nixon were both already ostensibly involved in "illegal activities" since the implementation of the "Huston Plan" violated the CIA's prohibition of "domestic activity" and was "Nixon's baby," so to speak. After Watergate, political leverage over the CIA might have been the difference between continuing in office and resigning in disgrace, as of course he eventually would.
DCI Helms, helping Nixon use the CIA as a buffer to the Watergate Investigation, citing "national security concerns" as an excuse to withhold portions of the infamous tapes, etc.. The premise may seem far-fetched inlight of the fact that this would have been some 2 or 3 years before Watergate, but with Operation Huston, Nixon and Helms were already in deep waters, as far as political skullduggery is concerned.
My reason for bringing this up is in response to information in Joan Mellen's Farewell to Justice which asserts that Helms and Angleton were conspirators in the JFK Assassination. The theory, about Nixon's wanting to view BOP Doc's may seem inconsequential or even unoriginal, but if I am right, it would perhaps explain the Dallas-Watergate "connection" beyond the "Plumbers" and onto another level.

Edited by Robert Howard, 14 November 2005 - 12:26 AM.


#7 Lynne Foster

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 12:15 AM

I think this website cover Watergate and the Kennedy assassination very nicely.

It's all new to me, too much information to discuss there !

I did not realize that richard Nixon was so heavily involved.

#8 Tim Gratz

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 06:53 AM

From Wilson's article:

We have all heard the popular claim that Sam Giancana won the election for John F. Kennedy, but that proved to be an erroneous conclusion. Sam Giancana may have supported Kennedy's re-election bid, but he did not influence the result.

Who in the heck believes THAT? Read, for instance, "Sons and Brothers", by noted Kennedy historian Richard Mahoney, whose father was a strong Kennedy supporter and later an ambassador appointed by JFK, that details the Giancana and Daley vote machinations in Illinois.

Or read Tip O'Neill's account of the corruption in the West Virginia primary.


***********************************


Robert wrote:

Helms and Nixon were both already ostensibly involved in "illegal activities" since the implementation of the "Huston Plan" violated the CIA's prohibition of "domestic activity" and was "Nixon's baby," so to speak.

Robert, you are wrong about the "Huston plan". It was never implemented, due to strenuous obnjection by that great proponent of civil liberties, J. Edgar Hoover.


These meetings produced a plan, the Huston Plan, which advocated the systematic use of wiretappings, burglaries, or so-called black bag jobs, mail openings and infiltration against antiwar groups and others. Some of these activities, as Huston emphasized to Nixon, were clearly illegal. Nevertheless, the president approved the plan. Five days later, after opposition from J. Edgar Hoover, the plan was withdrawn, but the president's approval was later to be listed in the Articles of Impeachment as an alleged abuse of presidential power.

Edited by Tim Gratz, 14 November 2005 - 06:54 AM.


#9 Pat Speer

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 08:23 AM

Robert wrote:

Helms and Nixon were both already ostensibly involved in "illegal activities" since the implementation of the "Huston Plan" violated the CIA's prohibition of "domestic activity" and was "Nixon's baby," so to speak.

Robert, you are wrong about the "Huston plan". It was never implemented, due to strenuous obnjection by that great proponent of civil liberties, J. Edgar Hoover.


These meetings produced a plan, the Huston Plan, which advocated the systematic use of wiretappings, burglaries, or so-called black bag jobs, mail openings and infiltration against antiwar groups and others. Some of these activities, as Huston emphasized to Nixon, were clearly illegal. Nevertheless, the president approved the plan. Five days later, after opposition from J. Edgar Hoover, the plan was withdrawn, but the president's approval was later to be listed in the Articles of Impeachment as an alleged abuse of presidential power.


Actually, I'm pretty sure it wasn't that Hoover objected so much as he wanted political protection from the fall-out. He insisted that before he could embark upon such a plan, whereby the FBI would perform domestic spying at the beck-and-call of other agencies, he needed a letter from the attorney general ordering him to do so. Mitchell, I believe, refused to sign such a letter, and Nixon, afraid of the eventual fall-out, refused to order Mitchell to sign it. Hoover then fired Nixon's man in the FBI, William Sullivan, for conspiring with Nixon behind his back. Sullivan then smuggled out the transcripts of Nixon's illegal wiretaps in order to prevent Hoover from blackmailing Nixon. At this point, Hoover, formerly a Nixon ally, became a pariah, with Nixon loyalists such as Pat Buchanan and Gordon Liddy writing extensive reports on the need for his removal. Hoover, evidently, continued to spy on Nixon, as he told a journalist a few months before the Watergate break-in that Nixon had hired some ex-CIA agents and had formed his own black bag squad. Then Hoover was dead. Hmmm... If he wasn't such a geezer his death would be mighty suspicious..

Edited by Pat Speer, 14 November 2005 - 04:16 PM.


#10 Tim Gratz

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 08:51 AM

Pat I am certain you are correct about why Hoover objected to the Huston plan.

Good post.

Carter should build you a vacation home as well.

#11 Robert Howard

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 01:47 PM

Pat I am certain you are correct about why Hoover objected to the Huston plan.

Good post.

Carter should build you a vacation home as well.

I stand corrected, Tim. Thanks for clarifying that.

#12 Robin Finn

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 05:19 AM

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This is from when Helms was interviewed on a CBS television program about the assassination and the JFK film.The interviewer asked why he could be sure of no CIA involvement,and he answered that it had done its own invesitigation at the time.The interviewer did not know,or care,enough to press him on why there is no evidence of this.

#13 Nathaniel Heidenheimer

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 05:16 PM

RE: Helms relationship with Ted Shackley

I was highly sceptical of Joseph Trento's reliance on Angleton in his Secret History. Nevertheless, I found his latest book Prelude to Terror fascinating, and would urge sceptics to give it a try. One of the more intersting aspects is its depiction of the Helms- Shackley end run around attempted reforms of Turner and the Pike Commision c1976.

Trento says that essentially Shackley worked from Langley with Helms in Iran and Saudi Arabia to create a second hub for the cia in the middle east, so that things could get done around the back of Turner.


How close were these two in 1963? I know that Shackley was head of JM-WAVE in Miami. As such what type of contact did he have with Helms?

Also are there other names that have been long-time associates with this duo?

#14 Steve Rosen

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 03:51 AM

Nathaniel, I believe Jeff Morley has shown in his articles about George Joannides and his book Our Man in Mexico that Richard Helms hand-picked Joannides to be the DRE's case officer at JM/WAVE, after contract officer Ross Crozier failed to adequately control the anti-Castro student group to the satisfaction of station chief Ted Shackley. Tom Karamessines, a fellow Greek-American patron of Joannides and close confidant of Helms, probably recommended Joannides to Helms.

Shackley describes in his memoirs Spymaster: My Life in the CIA that he worked closely with his paramilitary chief / chief of staff / chief of operations at JMWAVE, David Morales (whom he also served with in Laos and Vietnam). See also David Corn's Blond Ghost. Larry Hancock's Someone Would Have Talked, among other books, suggests Morales ranked high enough to sit down with Helms.

Tony Sforza is a another high-level covert operator who worked with Shackley at JM/WAVE, according to Spymaster. One of Sforza's agency codenames was Henry J. Sloman. Sforza / Sloman was one of the false-flaggers inserted into Chile in 1971 to pass money to the groups plotting the overthrow of Salvador Allende. Sforza was so deep-cover that he would meet high level officials on a Sunday at CIA headquarters, where he had been less than a dozen times in a 20-year career, according to Seymour M. Hersh's article (and later book) The Price of Power - Kissinger, Nixon, and Chile, in the December 1982 issue of the The Atlantic. Hersh states that Sloman was "well known to Helms, who awarded him at least two CIA medals".

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Jefferson Morley wrote a good article on Richard Helms titled The Gentlemanly Planner of Assassinations. Linked at http://www.slate.com/id/2073470/.

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Edited by Steve Rosen, 06 October 2009 - 12:58 AM.





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