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Gary L. Aguilar

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  1. The latest issue of "The Federal Lawyer," an American publication that is directed toward, and largely read by, federal attorneys, has published my review of Vincent Bugliosi's "Reclaiming History." See: Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy By Vincent Bugliosi W.W. Norton & Co., New York, NY, 2007. 1612 pages plus CD-rom, $49.95. Reviewed by Gary L. Aguilar* It is available on-line at: http://www.ctka.net/bug_aguilar.html The on-line version has many more footnotes than the published version. The editors elected not to publish many of the secondary sources I cited and it elected not to give the page numbers in Bugliosi's book when I cited him. The on-line version is identical with the published version except that in the fifth from the last paragraph, I added three sentences concerning comments by the New York Times' Anthony Lewis and Harrison Salisbury that did not make the printer's deadline and so are not in the "hard" copy. G. Aguilar
  2. As with so many investigations of this nature, it is often impossible to know precisely what pressures may have been brought to bear on the investigators. But the documented record of the Commission's shoddy work, and much else, suggests John is on to something here. For example, the Church Committee reported that “derogatory information pertaining to both [Warren] Commission members and staff was brought to Mr. Hoover’s attention ... .” (*) One needn't be too imaginative to wonder if the notorious Hoover might have sought such information as insurance that the Commission wouldn’t deviate from Hoover’s lone nut theory – one that he announced within 2 hours of Oswald's arrest and before he'd lifted an investigative finger, and one that conveniently exculpated the Bureau and Hoover for not shielding JFK from a successful plot. Gary *Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations, Book V, p. 47. On-line at: http://www.historymatters.com/archive/chur...hVol5_0027a.htm
  3. It is hardly a surprise that as old and loyal a Reagan/Bush soldier as Robert Gates got the nod to replace Rumsfeld. For those interested, I'd be happy to send them sourcenotes and url's detailing how, when he was William Casey's understudy at the CIA, Gates did yeoman's work exaggerating the "imminent threats" the last-gasping USSR posed, exaggerations that kept the coffers of the defense-intelligence sector brimming and kept the USA on an unnecessary war fear footing. (Robert Parry, of Iran-Contra fame, has done the best work on this I've seen.) But I pass along the following because the petard upon which Gates is herein securely hoisted is wielded by a lifelong Republican judge, Lawrence Walsh, who was appointed by a Republican in the Reagan era to investigate Iran Contra. For those who don't happen to have a copy of Walsh's scathing account of the scandal, "Firewall," (Norton, 1997), this short piece by Walsh from Alex Cockburn's site is a worthwhile update on Gates' Iran-Contra contributions. If you want more, Gates is mentioned on over 20 separate pages in Walsh's book, and if anyone's interested in writing about it but doesn't have the book, let me know and I'll fax along the pages. But let me know soon since I'll be out of town for a few days starting Saturday. Plus ca change, plus la meme chose, eh? I wonder what other imminent threats are just over the horizon.
  4. Peter, One of the more interesting aspects of the recent report by Randich and Grant is the backpeddaling by Warren Commission loyalists about the importance of NAA to loyalists. I've heard of several who are distancing themselves from what was recentlywritten in the scientific literature. In the Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, atmosphere chemist, Ken Rahn, Ph.D. and an associate, Mr. Larry Sturdivan, wrote that a review of Guinn’s NAA work, as well as NAA studies done before that by the FBI, lead them to conclude that, “The NAA results …were the most important new physical evidence that surfaced as a result of the House Select Committee on Assassinations investigation.” The significance, they said, was that, “The NAA proved that none of the fragments were planted, that (Oswald’s) rifle was fired that day (not planted) (sic) … (NAA) supported the single-bullet theory and … it knits together the core physical evidence into an airtight case against Lee Oswald. It is, thus, the key to resolving the major controversies in the JFK assassination and putting the matter to rest.” Strong stuff, no? And how did they arrive at such a position? It was NAA’s remarkable capacity to measure the amount of a trace element used to harden lead, antimony (Sb), that gave the technique its power. While NAA also disclosed the amounts of other trace elements, Guinn found that it was the level of antimony that was the key to the Kennedy case. Bits with near-identical Sb quantities were judged to have come from a single bullet; those with different quantities, from different bullets. But as useful as it was here, Guinn reported that the technique does not work with all types of ammunition. It was a peculiar feature of the lead used in Oswald’s Mannlicher Carcano (MC) shells that made the technique applicable in the Kennedy case. MC bullet lead “was found to differ sharply from typical bullet leads,” Guinn reported. “Although individual (MC) bullets were found to be fairly homogenous in their Sb and Ag (silver) concentrations, they differed greatly from bullet to bullet amongst samples taken from the same box.” “If you take most boxes of ammunition,” Guinn testified, “you can’t tell one from the other. They all look like little carbon copies even to activation analysis … not so with the Mannlicher-Carcano.” In other words, Guinn’s tests proved that fragments from most bullets can’t be matched using antimony because the levels are so similar among bullets that they all appear to match. But with MC shells, the amount of Sb in samples taken from different parts of one bullet is much the same while samples from different bullets have differing amounts of Sb. It was on that basis that Guinn testified that it was “extremely unlikely or very improbable” that fragments from the Governor’s wrist had come from anywhere but the near-pristine bullet that had been discovered on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. But in the early 1990s, independent analysts began questioning the reliability of the bullet lead analysis used by the FBI in prosecutions. A 2003 article in the Los Angeles Times detailed cases in which murder convictions gained in part by FBI bullet lead evidence were later reversed on appeal. Testifying for the defense in one such case was Erik Randich, Ph.D., a Lawrence Livermore Lab scientist. Randich told the court that the FBI’s claim that the Bureau had matched bullets from the crime scene to the defendant “had no scientific foundation.” Alerted to the fact that a similar analysis using bullet lead had been used in the Kennedy case, Randich and a Lab associate, Pat Grant, began examining the NAA work Guinn had done on the Kennedy case. Randich and Grant soon realized that it was a fundamental misunderstanding of basic metallurgy – the smelting and manufacturing practices used in the production of standard bullet lead – that underlay the errors made by both the FBI in criminal cases and by Guinn, Rahn and Sturdivan in the Kennedy case. In addition, Randich and Grant also identified problems in Guinn's statistical analysis, problems that had first been noted by Michael Kurtz in his 1982 book, Crime of the Century,” and again in Skeptic Magazine by Arthur and Margaret Snyder from Stanford Linear Accelerator. Using Guinn's own data, both Kurtz and the Snyders concluded that the levels of antimony in samples within a given bullet varied so much that, as the Snyders put it, "it is impossible to falsify (Guinn's) contention that fragments match." Nevertheless, the Snyders accepted that "Guinn's data are consistent with only (Mannlicher Carcano) ammunition being used.” Surprisingly, according to their article in the July 2006 issue of the Journal of Forensic Sciences, Randich and Grant maintain that the relevant metallurgy doesn't even support that key finding. MC bullets do not differ sharply from typical bullet leads, Randich and Grant reported. The varying amounts of antimony (and copper) that Guinn found in “MC bullets are quite similar to other commercial FMJ rifle ammunition.” MC lead had seemed different to Guinn because he had compared the lead in these jacketed rounds with that found in mostly unjacketed, handgun rounds, in which Sb levels are precisely controlled to maintain a particular degree of hardness in the bullets. But MC rounds, like many types of jacketed ammunition, have varying amounts of Sb because the “hardness” of jacketed rounds is determined not by the amount of antimony used in the lead that fills the jackets, but by the jackets themselves. Thus, Guinn’s conclusion that the fragments were solely from the kind of bullets in Oswald’s rifle no longer tenable. The beauty of Randich and Grant’s proof is in the elegance of their demonstration. Using images of bullets cut in cross section and chemically etched to highlight grains of antimony, Randich and Grant demonstrated visually why antimony levels from MC lead samples tend to vary so much. The images show “microcrystals” of lead that are surrounded by microscopic clumps of antimony. They explained that as the molten material cools during smelting, the lead, because it is heavier, stays in the center while the lighter Sb “floats” to the edges. At the margins of the “microcrystals,” Sb is in high concentration; in the middle it is low. Thus, depending on the size of the sample taken, and from precisely where in the bullet it comes, varying quantities of Sb may be found in the same bullet just as similar levels of Sb may be found in different bullets. Chance can play a big role. “We therefore assert,” Randich and Grant concluded, “that from perspectives of standard metallurgical practice and statistical assessment of the fundamental NAA measurements (and despite the opinion of Rahn and Sturdivan that their assessment is definitive and puts the matter to rest) (sic), a conclusion of material evidence for only two bullets in the questioned JFK assassination specimens has no forensic basis.” To be sure, this new report does not invalidate all of JFK’s bullet evidence. It does not, for example, alter the fact there are markings on the “magic bullet” that show it was fired from Oswald’s rifle. But unfortunately files declassified during the 1990s have put CE 399’s chain of possession under a cloud and so it is not entirely clear that the bullet currently in evidence is really the same bullet that was originally picked up off the stretcher in Dallas where the Governor may or may not have lain. Thus, far from it being the ‘key to resolving the major controversies in the JFK assassination and putting the matter to rest,’ as per Rahn, NAA now appears unable to even tell us whether the recovered bullet fragments came from a Mannlicher Carcano. As George Lardner put it in The Washington Post after hearing Randich and Grant present their work in Washington, D.C., “the Livermore scientists said the fragments could have come from one or as many as five bullets and could have been fired by a Remington or some other rifle. The neutron tests, they said, were inconclusive and new technology has shown them to be unreliable.” Gary -
  5. Dear Jack, Thanks for the kind comments. Max Holland tried, and failed, to get his article, "The Lie That Linked CIA to the Kennedy Assassination" published by "The Nation" magazine. When they wouldn't run it, the CIA ran it and it's at: http://www.cia.gov/csi/studies/fall_winter.../article02.html For a time, Holland hung his hat at "The Miller Center." He's apparently no longer there. The "Miller Center's" member roster has led some to wonder what Ageny ties it might have. Apparently the CIA approves of Max Holland! Gary Because he's a very good writer and a scrupulous researcher. His evisceration of TMWKK was delicious and long overdue. If you hadn't noticed, Dr. Aguilar eviscerated Holland's "scrupulous" research. Thank you! I'm glad you noticed. Gary
  6. The SBT proves ITSELF in so many ways (mostly of the "common-sense" variety)....and it's remarkable how so many CTers have been duped into thinking it's an LNer's wet dream. It's nothing of the kind. Myers' work proves the SBT is doable, and the Discovery Channel re-creation came so close to replicating the event, at the VERY LEAST CTers should open up an eye and admit to the SBT's "possibility" if nothing else. Ask yourself (please) -- Could that Australian Discovery Channel re-creation ("JFK: Beyond The Magic Bullet") have possibly come that close to a near-perfect (not perfect to the square-inch, true, but very close) duplication of something that CTers say is UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE? Think about that, please, for a moment. Could ANY true-to-life re-creation (sans the "living bodies" of the victims) -- utilizing an actual WCC/MC bullet fired from an actual MC rifle from a 60-foot-high perch -- have come THAT CLOSE to re-creating a "Wet Dream" invented by Mr. Specter? The fact that the JBC mock torso (during that re-creation) was struck in just exactly the same general locations on the "body" where the real JBC suffered injuries in 1963 -- all AFTER a bullet had gone cleanly through a mock Kennedy torso -- should tell any reasonable person assessing the SBT's viability that the theory is most-certainly far from "impossible". Coupled with Mr. Myers' detailed animated work, which hone in in even more detail re. the angles, etc., these two things (Myers & Disc. Channel) prove beyond doubt that the SBT lives & breathes (regardless of Mr. Speer's "above or below the first rib?" inquiries). An EXACT TO-THE-INCH re-creation of the SBT is not possible and everybody should know why. It's not gonna happen, unless we can somehow get JFK & JBC to come back to life and do the whole nine yards all over again. But the "No Bullets Left In JFK" thing is just not gonna fly from a CTer POV. No way. No how. I want Pat to tell the world -- WHERE ARE THE MULTIPLE BULLETS THAT MUST REPLACE THE SBT?? Re. the more-technical questions, there's no question the SBT works re. the angle through JFK and the one through JBC too. JFK was struck 5.5 in. below the right mastoid, which IS above the anterior portion of the neck where the bullet exited (and where the autopsy report unambiguously says the bullet "exited"). http://www.jfklancer.com/photos/Autopsy_photos/zeroang.jpg And if the SBT is wrong -- then SOMETHING ELSE is right. What the heck is it? Not a single CTer has answered that question in a believable way (following any of the known evidence) in 40+ years. Key word there = "believable". Lots of my other detailed thoughts re. the SBT are in those links above. If the SBT is false -- I'm a monkey's second cousin (or uncle even). (Mark Fuhrman's crazy anti-SBT, pro-LN theory notwithstanding.) Von Pein's discussion, as passionate as it is, entirely misses the point. Rather than actually addressing the doubts I raise about the bona fides of Commission Exhibit #399, he accepts as a premise that which is very much in doubt - that 399 was really the bullet found at Parkland. Perhaps Von Pein is not American, and so assumes one can accept at face value what the FBI says. Pity, that. Gary
  7. This article originally appeared in Probe Magazine. The full version can be found here: http://www.webcom.com/ctka/pr900-holland.html The Nation Magazine has long been one of the most perceptive and eloquent voices for skepticism in publishing. Its revelations over the years have established it as one of the few national media outlets that truly functions as a watchdog in the public interest. It has always been an early voice, often the first, to question official pronouncements -- on Vietnam, on Watergate, on Iran-Contra, on Guatemala, on Haiti, and Chile. When, for example, CIA man Richard Helms told the U.S. Senate that the CIA played no role in demolishing Chile’s democracy in 1973, The Nation called his testimony exactly what it was: perjury.[1] But on JFK’s murder, The Nation has inexplicably kept shut the skeptical eye it normally keeps cocked at outfits like FBI, the CIA and the military – the very groups it has so often caught lying, and the very groups that produced virtually all the evidence the Warren Commission said disproved conspiracy. The Nation raised nary an eyebrow at the apparent ease with which the FBI was able to prove right FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover’s astounding clairvoyance--announced on the very night JFK died and before any investigation--that Lee Harvey Oswald had done it all by himself. It never wondered whether the Warren Commission’s bias toward the FBI’s solution--plainly evident already during the Commission’s very first meeting--might have been abetted by Hoover’s having employed one of his favorite dirty tricks: “file-checking” the Commissioners for dirt. Given that the public hasn’t believed the Warren Commission since the late 60s, and since its no-conspiracy verdict was officially reversed in 1978 by the House Select Committee (HSCA), it is hard to fathom why The Nation, of all magazines, continues to toe the old line. In recent years, its in-house experts have been Alexander Cockburn and Max Holland. Skeptics like Peter Dale Scott and John Newman, whose credentials far surpass those of Cockburn and Holland in this case, have been restricted to limited responses on the letters-to-the-editor page. Cockburn claimed that Kennedy “always acted within the terms of [establishment] institutions and that, against [Oliver Stone’s film JFK’s] assertions, there is no evidence to the contrary … The public record shows JFK was always hawkish.”[2] Thus, “whether JFK was killed by a lone assassin or by a conspiracy has as much to do with the subsequent contours of American politics as if he had tripped over one of Caroline’s dolls and broken his neck in the White House nursery.”[3] Echoing Cockburn, Holland holds that, behind a pacific facade, Kennedy was really a clanking Cold Warrior spoiling for a fight--exactly the opposite of the fantasy held by the kooky conspiracy crowd. It was but a “fantasy that Kennedy was on the verge of pulling out from Vietnam.”[4] A fantasy to suppose, therefore, that radical change--on the USSR, on Cuba, on Vietnam--was ever possible in the early 60s. (More on this later.) The situation is about to get a lot more interesting. Sometime in 2003, Holland will finally unleash his long-promised, 650-page paean to Earl Warren. Early signs are that Holland intends to use the Kennedy case to deliver a sweeping, extraordinary history and civics lesson to the public. After what the Boston Globe described five years ago as “one of the most exhaustive examinations ever conducted into the Warren Commission’s investigation,”[5] Holland announced that, “It’s become part of our popular culture that the Warren Commission was a joke, and that’s not the case.”[6] Holland intends to stop the laughter. Holland has written that ignorance, “cunningly manufactured falsehoods,” and paranoia--but not a suspiciously inadequate investigation--have conspired to unjustly darken the reputation of the Warren Commission’s “no-stone-unturned” murder investigation. It’s a remarkable theory. If his book bears any resemblance to what Holland has already written, and it would be surprising if it didn’t, it appears Holland represents the new wave in Warren apologia: In taking down the Warren Commission, malicious and stupid skeptics have spawned a corrosive public cynicism not only about the government’s honest answer to the Crime of the Century in 1964, but also about government in general. Holland Face to Face Here I must own up to some personal history with Max Holland. On September 13, 1999, I made a formal presentation at The Nation on some of the new JFK medical/autopsy evidence. Also speaking that day were historian John Newman, and researchers John Armstrong and Milicent Cranor. Max Holland, whose words have appeared in The Nation, in mainstream publications, as well as in U.S. government-sponsored publications, such as the CIA’s own website[7] and Voice of America, sat in. The goal of that meeting was to update The Nation on some of the JFK disclosures that had already gotten coverage in outlets like the Washington Post and AP, and to bring some then-unpublished material to the attention of the editors. Max Holland did not appear pleased at what he heard. Newman projected documents showing that Oswald had been impersonated in taped conversations recorded by the CIA in Mexico City six weeks before JFK’s death. Newman showed declassified FBI and CIA documents proving that at least one phone recording to the Russian embassy survived after 11/22/63, despite both the CIA and the FBI later claiming that no such tapes had ever survived routine erasure and recycling. Two Commission lawyers listened to the tapes in 1964. One of them told Peter Dale Scott and the JFK Review Board about it. Peculiarly, the Warren Commission was unable to find space anywhere in its 26 published volumes to devote even a footnote to recordings that seemed to link the supposed Communist assassin to the USSR and to the KGB. Nor did they ever pipe up to refute the CIA’s claim no tapes survived the assassination. The new information Newman had found in the files was that the Oswald recording had been fabricated, almost certainly by the CIA, who found a stand-in to impersonate Oswald on the recordings. Holland scoffed that any tapes had survived; apparently unaware the story had already been publicly confirmed. During the nationally-broadcast Frontline documentary-- “Who was Lee Harvey Oswald?”--Commission lawyer W. David Slawson admitted that he had been permitted to hear at least part of one tape during his tenure with the Commission. John Armstrong gave his usual dramatic presentation of documents showing that on numerous occasions there were two different “Oswalds” appearing simultaneously in different locations. Milicent Cranor provided strong evidence of what was behind autopsy pathologist James Humes' false testimony concerning Kennedy's throat incision. The Rehabilitation of the Warren Commission In a series of articles that have appeared over the past 8+ years, Holland has outlined the skeleton to which one imagines he intends to affix toned muscles and strong sinews in his upcoming opus, A Need to Know: Inside the Warren Commission.[8] “It would be one thing,” he sighed in the respected Reviews in American History, “if conspiracy theories were still only believed by a decided minority of Americans. It’s quite another matter when more than 80% of Americans disbelieve or cannot accept their own history, and when the questions they ask about the past are based on palpable, cunningly manufactured falsehoods.”[9] Conspiracists have been so successful, Holland has lamented, that, “Now the burden of proof [has] shifted decisively and unfairly from critics to defenders of the official story … Almost any claim or theory, regardless of how bizarre or insupportable, [can] now be presented in the same sentence as the Warren Report’s conclusions and gain credence.”[10] (Holland’s emphasis. Holland appears to be suggesting that it is unfair to expect advocates of the official, only-Oswald-did-it, story to bear the burden of proving their theory; that it would be fair to require skeptics to prove a negative, that Oswald did not do it.) Holland, however, isn’t troubled that the virus of mistrust has infected a few crackpots. He’s vexed at the reception of Oliver Stone’s pro-conspiracy film JFK, and the favor accorded pro-conspiracy books by authors such as Peter Dale Scott and former House Select Committee counsel Gary Cornwell. “Even the highest level of education is not a barrier,” he complained, “to judge from the disregard for the Warren Report that exists in the upper reaches of the academy.” In fact, “the professional historians’ most prestigious publication, the American Historical Review, published two articles (out of three) [sic] in praise of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK. The lead piece actually asserted that ‘on the complex question of the Kennedy assassination itself, the film holds its own against the Warren Report.’ In a similar vein, in 1993, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, by an English professor named Peter Dale Scott, a book conjuring up fantastic paranoid explanations, was published by no less respected an institution than the University of California Press.”[11] Rather than explaining why one should embrace the conclusions that bear Earl Warren’s name, Holland instead attacks skeptics by offering only two simple explanations for the skepticism: ignorance and paranoia. Virtually no one (but Holland, apparently) truly grasps the unique Cold War circumstances in which both the President’s murder and its investigation transpired. And without it, one is totally lost. The deranged act of a lonely, pro-Cuban zealot, he maintains, was the unintended consequence of Kennedy’s rabid anti-Castroism. In essence, Kennedy got from Oswald what he’d intended to give Castro through the agency of the CIA and Mafia. The Kennedy murder was a case of simple reprisal. But not from the target of Kennedy’s malice, Castro, but instead from a delusional, self-appointed pro-Castro avenger. The government’s well-intended decision to protect the public from the seamier aspects of this scenario explains why the public has never understood the whole picture. The Warren Commission, for good reason Holland says, withheld this simple and indisputably true explanation: “y effectively robbing Oswald of [his pro-Communist], ideological motive, Warren left a critical question unresolved and provided fodder for conspiracy theorists.”[12] In essence, Cold War jitters during the 60s encouraged the Commission to de-emphasize the ferocity of Oswald’s political ardor, lest an anticommunist backlash overwhelm events, propelling us toward a hot reprisal against innocent Communist countries that had nothing to do with the Lone Nut. So, sure, the government hid facts about Oswald and about the CIA’s plots to murder Fidel Castro. So what? The secrets were kept, Holland argues, not to deny the basic truth of JFK’s death, but instead to calm an electrified public and protect secret, vital, and ongoing, Cold War operations. “[T]he 2 percent [of Warren Commission documents still withheld] doesn’t contradict the Warren Report; like the information omitted by the CIA and Robert Kennedy in 1964, it only helps to affirm Oswald’s sole guilt.”[13] Rather than explaining how he knows what is in still-secret documents, Holland instead presumes to explain their meaning: secrets were kept because they had nothing whatsoever to do with Who struck John. Moreover, there is a key aspect of the secrecy that Holland believes hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves: the destructive self-serving Kennedy family secrecy about JFK’s death. Holland believes that RFK, to protect the Kennedy name, and his own political future, repeatedly blocked the very avenues of investigation whose sloppy coverage in 1964 is taken as proof today that the Warren Commission got it wrong. So, in Holland’s eyes, if the Warren Commission was not entirely successful, the Kennedys deserve no small portion of blame. As examples, Holland maintains that RFK prevented JFK’s autopsy doctors from dissecting the President’s back wound, and so the proof of an Oswald-implicating trajectory was lost. Also lost was the public’s confidence in the post mortem’s conclusions that only two shots, both fired from the rear, hit their mark. Besides that, RFK never told the Commission about murderous CIA plots undertaken under his command to have the Mob whack Castro, while he preserved his option to plausible deny his own role. Thus, Holland says, it was that the ferociously anti-Castro president inadvertently inspired a communist loser’s vengeful act. RFK then orchestrated a protective cover-up of his brother’s death, leaving a legacy of public skepticism that continues to undermine faith in honorable public institutions to this day. (See below.) The Seductions Of Paranoia Ignorance of the bigger picture, whether because of Kennedy subterfuge or for other reasons, is not the only explanation Holland offers for the widely held skepticism. “To understand the JFK phenomenon,” he observes, “it helps to revisit [Richard Hofstadter’s] classic lecture ‘The Paranoid Style in American Politics.’” Holland says that, “the most prominent qualities of the paranoid style, according to Hofstadter, are ‘heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy.’ Propagators don’t see conspiracies or plots here and there in history; they regard ‘a vast or gigantic conspiracy as the motive force in historical events.’”[14] (Holland’s emphasis) Holland singles out historian Arthur Schleshinger, filmmaker Oliver Stone, Professor Peter Dale Scott, and, most importantly, Jim Garrison as especially responsible for the persistence of paranoia. Schleshinger, Holland tells us, “manipulates history as if he were a lifetime employee of the Kennedy White House,” enthusiastically feeding the Kennedy Camelot myth, “his eloquence in the writing of history rivaled only by his skill in dissembling it.”[15] It is not mere national myths that so trouble Holland, for “every nation is sustained by its own myths, which occasionally collide with reality. But when myths are as divorced from reality as these are, they become dangerous. Americans are encouraged to feel nostalgia for a past that never was, wax dreamily about what might have been, or indulge in elaborate paranoid fantasies about their own government.”[16] Oliver Stone, having punctuated Schleshinger’s Camelot fairytale of JFK with a free-handed, black finale, is “one of the worst purveyors of the kind of paranoid nonsense eschewed by [Jack Kennedy himself].” “Although Stone strikes a vaguely leftish pose,” Holland notes, “he in fact uses the familiar rightist logic of those who muttered darkly about black helicopters, fluoridation of the water, one-world government.”[17] As an example, Holland decries Stone’s wild claim that “President Kennedy was ‘calling for radical change on several fronts--the USSR, Cuba, Vietnam … [and so] if nothing else, a motive for [JFK’s] murder is evident.’” This is nothing, as Holland sees it, but pure fantasy, pure paranoia. Professor Scott fares little better. Holland concludes that the “outstanding characteristics” of Scott’s book Deep Politics, “put it squarely in the [paranoid] tradition of most books about the assassination … an unreadable compendium of ‘may haves’ and ‘might haves,’ non sequiturs, and McCarthy-style innuendo, with enough documentation to satisfy any paranoid.”[18] Holland reserves his greatest contempt for the famous New Orleans district attorney, Jim Garrison, who unsuccessfully prosecuted Clay Shaw for conspiracy to murder JFK. In the introduction to an article about Garrison that appeared in the spring 2001issue of the Wilson Quarterly, Holland hangs virtually all responsibility for America’s loss of faith in public institutions on the district attorney. He maintains that the Shaw trial’s “terrible miscarriage of justice was to have immense, if largely unappreciated, consequences for the political culture of the United States … Of all the legacies of the 1960s, none has been more unambiguously negative than the American public’s corrosive cynicism toward the federal government. Although that attitude is commonly traced to the disillusioning experiences of Vietnam and Watergate, its genesis lies in the aftermath of JFK’s assassination … Well before antiwar protests were common, lingering dissatisfaction with the official verdict that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone broadened into a widespread conviction that the federal government was incompetent or suppressing the truth or, in the worst case, covering up its own complicity in the assassination.”[19] [20] And who was responsible for germinating all that dissatisfaction in the 60s? None other than the fiendishly clever chaps in the Russian KGB, whose clever conspiracy only succeeded in seducing the public because of the gullibility of a vainglorious dupe, Jim Garrison. Holland’s theory is pretty straightforward. Holland says that in 1967 the KGB slipped a bogus story into a ‘crypto-Communist’ Italian newspaper, Paese Sera, that tied Clay Shaw to an a CIA front organization in Italy, “Centro Mondiale Comerciale.” (More on this below.) Lacking even a valid scintilla with which to move forward against Shaw, the bogus story was all the loose cannon in New Orleans needed. Garrison grabbed it ruthlessly. From there, events followed an inexorable, downward spiral as Garrison painted an incredible courtroom sketch of Shaw and Oswald clutched in the CIA’s malefic embrace as they danced toward destiny in Dallas. Had Garrison not gone wobbly on the KGB’s concoction, Holland believes that the Shaw-CIA-Oswald fairy tale would have vanished like a dream, taking the nightmarish prosecution of Shaw with it. But the communist Mickey Finn worked. The final upshot was a senseless catastrophe for Shaw, and a loss of faith in America. Holland, it should be emphasized, does not deny that some cynicism about government is justified. “Commentators usually ascribe the public’s [legitimate] paranoia to the disturbing events that followed Kennedy’s murder: Vietnam, other assassinations, Watergate, exposure of FBI and CIA abuses in the 1970s, and finally the Iran-contra scandal, all of which undermined Americans’ trust in their elected government.”[21] The distrust, however, should not be taken too far. For not only on the Kennedy case is it true that, “a more sophisticated or mature understanding is necessary among the public to realize that the government does keep secrets, but it doesn’t mean that what they say isn’t the truth.”[22] Of course no one argues it’s always untruthful. But the government’s problem is that, as with any proven xxxx, the government has already been caught telling myriad, big lies, and it takes only a few small lies to foster an atmosphere of mistrust. An illustrative example is one Holland cites himself: the edifying parallels between the JFK case and the government’s white lies about the Cold War-related events at Roswell, New Mexico over 50 years ago. The suppression of information about our use of high-tech spy balloons, he says, allowed flying-saucer and conspiracy buffs to ‘adorn the Roswell incident with mythic significance.’ In the Kennedy case, similarly, “the suppression of a few embarrassing but not central truths encouraged the spread of myriad farfetched theories.”[23] In both cases, the government’s white lie-encased good intentions backfired, creating more skepticism than confidence. And in the Kennedy case, “[t]he assassination and its aftermath have never been firmly integrated into their place and time, largely because of Cold War exigencies.” And so “Americans have neither fully understood nor come to grips with the past.”[24] This amusing nonsense is assailable on so many levels one scarcely knows where to begin. First, the public didn’t “adorn” the Roswell incident with paranoid mythic significance because the government told the truth but not the whole truth; it did so because the government invited farfetched theorizing by offering three different “factual” explanations for what really happened there, at least two of which were lies. A more “sophisticated understanding” doesn’t lead one to trust the government more, as Holland would have it, but less. Confining his gaze to the myriad government conspiracies betokened by the words Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and CIA and FBI abuses, doesn’t give the government its due. And it doesn’t reflect the changing nature of what properly constitutes “paranoia” today. Since Hofstadter delivered his famous lecture in 1963, “paranoia” has been beating a steady retreat. Had Hofstadter read in 1963 that in 1962 the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff had unanimously approved a plan to commit acts of terrorism against U. S. citizens on American soil, he might have withheld his sermon on the foolhardiness of paranoia. ABC recently publicized the story that was first disclosed in investigative reporter, James Bamford’s book, Body of Secrets. In a once-secret operation codenamed Operation Northwoods, ABC.com reported that, “America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war … to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro.”[25] Luckily, the plans (which can be read in the original on the web at George Washington University’s National Security Archive[26]) “apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership” of the Kennedy administration, and never carried out.[27] In the year Hofstadter spoke, it would have been considered pure paranoia to believe--especially after the Nuremberg convictions of Nazis for grotesque human experiments--that our government was then conducting and covering-up ongoing dangerous and secret drug, LSD, radiation and syphilis experiments on unwitting, law-abiding, American citizens.[28] Had the documents themselves not been declassified, Hofstadter would likely have called crackpot a recent AP report that cited secret FBI memos linking the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover to breathtaking lawlessness. On July 28, 2002, AP reported, “For more than 20 years, FBI headquarters in Washington knew that its Boston agents were using hit men and mob leaders as informants and shielding them from prosecution for serious crimes including murder.” It also reported that a known murderer was allowed by the FBI to go free, “as four innocent men were sent to prison in his place.”[29] Whereas in 1963, Hofstadter would have howled, today no one calls The Nation paranoid when it reports, “[Once secret] ‘archives of terror’ (sic)… demonstrate that a US military official helped to draw up the apparatus of the Paraguayan police state while he was ostensibly merely training its officers. They also conclusively prove an official US connection to crimes of state committed in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia, under Operation Condor … The moral callousness exhibited in the US response to these disclosures is shocking.”[30] Given that these appalling acts occurred during the very era in which he delivered his reassuring admonitions, Hofstadter’s advice today seems foolishly naïve and misguided. He was encouraging Americans to feel nostalgic for a past that never was, to wax dreamily about what might have been. And he discouraged “paranoid fantasies” about government that were often vastly less “paranoid” than the suppressed reality. Hofstadler, alas, is obsolete because it has long since ceased being “paranoid” to believe that the government has lied to the public about its secret wars abroad; that it has lied about its illegal support of murderers at home and murderous totalitarian dictatorships abroad in Central America and elsewhere; that it has lied about the immoral and illegal assaults on citizens who took lawful exception to its misguided policy in Vietnam,[31] and even on citizens whose only crime was to be accidentally in the wrong place at the wrong time and so fodder for clandestine human experimentation If Holland is right that there is a “widespread conviction” that the federal government has suppressed the truth or covered up its own complicity in myriad, lawless acts, that conviction exists entirely independently of the efforts of Schleshinger, Stone, Scott and Garrison. In fact, so many deplorable government conspiracies have been proven that Hofstadter would never have dreamed of, most detailed eloquently in The Nation, one can’t help but wonder if conspiracy-exorcist Holland ever reads even the magazine he writes for. The True History of a Remarkable Investigation By putting the “extraordinary investigation” into its historical context, it appears Holland expects to redeem the checkered reputation of Earl Warren’s most famous accomplishment. “The Warren Commission’s inquiry occurred at what we now know was the height of the Cold War, and it must be judged in that context. Perhaps with its history understood, the Warren Commission, instead of being an object of derision, can emerge in a different light, battered somewhat but with the essential integrity of its criminal investigation unscathed[32] … In time the Warren Commission will be seen for what it truly was … a monumental criminal investigation carried to its utmost limits and designed to burn away a fog of speculation. It did not achieve perfection, and in the rush to print (there was no rush to judgment) (sic) the language on pivotal issues, such as the single bullet, was poorly crafted … the accuracy of the report’s essential findings, holding up after three decades, is testimony to the commission’s basic integrity.”[33] (emphasis added) Commission Appointments: The Wisdom of LBJ’s Tricky Balancing Act Holland attributes much of the Commission’s success to the wily LBJ, whose conscription of two reluctant appointees was especially inspired. Chief Justice Earl Warren and Senator Richard Russell, staunch political enemies, were essentially coerced. Holland sees enormous wisdom in Johnson’s move. If Warren, a liberal Republican, could cobble together a consensus conclusion about the tragedy with a well-respected political enemy, the conservative Democrat Russell, there would be no doubting the fundamental integrity of the investigation and the nonpartisan nature of the conclusions. “If Richard Russell could possibly have disagreed with Earl Warren he would have,” observed Holland. “Yet they did agree--it’s a unanimous report.”[34] Holland hastens to remind readers that the unanimity was the end product of an honest process that was established at the outset. On the day the Commission met for the first time--January 20th 1964--Warren set the tone when he admonished the assembled staff: “Truth is our only client here.” That phrase became, as Holland put it, “the commission’s unofficial motto.”[35] Earl Warren’s No-Stone-Left-Unturned Investigation With that mandate, the Commission began “a probe that truly spanned the globe.”[36] Holland described as especially clever the Commission’s use of intelligence agencies. These groups were of incalculable value to perhaps the most sensitive aspect of the investigation: the possibility that Oswald had been a tool of Cuba or the USSR. “New intelligence reports from Mexico City suggested a link between Oswald and the Cuban government. The supersecret National Security Agency and allied eavesdropping agencies went into overdrive to decipher intercepted conversations, cable traffic, radio, and telephone communications at the highest levels of the Soviet and Cuban governments … In about forty-eight hours the intercepts showed beyond a reasonable doubt that both the Soviet and Cuban governments had been as shocked as anyone by the news from Dallas.”[37] This fabulous intelligence coup, Holland argues, allowed cooler American heads to prevail. And yet the Commission has been criticized for having been too reliant on the intelligence apparatus, rather than on its own independent investigators. Holland has little patience for such nonsense. “The lawyers on the staff were investigators of a sort. I mean they went out in the field, they interviewed witnesses, they deposed witnesses, they conducted a first hand evaluation of evidence … [While] you can say [the Commission staff] weren’t trained homicide investigators--that’s true--but the FBI didn’t also [sic] investigate a lot of murders either. Murder was a state problem … so, number one, the staff of the Warren Commission were investigators. Number two … the Commission realized that the FBI had a lot of sensitivities about the assassination because they had the largest file on Lee Harvey Oswald and once they realized this they tried to double check and sometimes triple check the reliability of the FBI’s information by also getting it thorough the Secret Service and/or the CIA.”[38] To prove his point, he says that the Commission, for example, “did an extremely thorough check of the indices [they were shown] at FBI headquarters. There was no Lee Harvey Oswald listed as an informant.” And if that wasn’t adequate disproof of rumors Oswald had ties to the Bureau, Holland adds that, “All the FBI agents who ever came into contact with Oswald signed affidavits saying they had never attempted to recruit Oswald. Hoover signed an affidavit saying the Bureau had never recruited or attempted to recruit Oswald.” And so, after reviewing files the FBI supplied, files Holland can’t imagine Hoover would have sanitized, and after getting affidavits from agents, affidavits Holland can’t imagine might not be true, “insofar as possible, I believe the Commission put that rumor to rest.”[39] Thus, Holland maintains it is wrong-headed to believe that the Commission was too dependent on intelligence agencies that were biased toward the single-assassin theory from the beginning. Instead, Holland holds that not only did the investigation greatly benefit from the remarkable data federal snoops gathered, the Commission was also satisfactorily able to cross check any important information from them it doubted. The Crux and Crucible In a crucial sense, this may be the crux of Holland’s pro-Warren case: The Commission was a splendid, if imperfect, national effort to solve the JFK’s murder, but it doesn’t get the respect it deserves because of the misunderstandings, lies and paranoia of critics. In many ways, Holland’s defense marks a new tact in defending the Warren Commission: characterizing the Commission as a monumental criminal investigation carried to its utmost limits, while dismissing skeptics on the grounds they are either too stupid to grasp the Cold War circumstances of both the murder and its investigation, or on grounds they are liars or paranoid, or both. It isn’t surprising that such a novel defense has never been tried before by anyone--except, perhaps, by ex-Commissioners Gerald Ford and David Belin. Instead, skepticism about the Warren Commission has been the rule. And perhaps the most scathing critiques to come along have not come from “paranoid” skeptics, but from two groups of skilled government investigators: Frank Church’s Senate Select Committee in 1976, and the House Select Committee in 1978 (HSCA). Those critiques, it should be noted, bear an eerie similarity to the critiques of skeptics such as historian Michael Kurtz, journalist Henry Hurt, Sylvia Meagher, Notre Dame law professor and former HSCA chief counsel, Robert Blakey, Peter Dale Scott, as well as many others. There is no denying that the Commission learned little about Oswald’s associates. Though the FBI had Jack Ruby’s phone records, it failed to spot Ruby’s suspicious, and atypical, pattern of calls to known Mafiosi in the weeks leading up to the assassination. The Commission’s “investigators” didn’t know enough to triple-check the FBI, or to check themselves, and so the Commission learned next to nothing about Ruby, or his calls. Basing its conclusions on FBI-supplied “character references” from, among others, two known mob associates (Lenny Patrick and Dave Yaras),[40] the Commission ultimately concluded Ruby was not connected to the mob. Then in 1977, the HSCA performed the rudimentary task of actually analyzing Ruby’ calls and exposing Lenny Patrick’s and Dave Yaras’ mob ties. It made the obvious connection--one that fit other compelling, and previously ignored, evidence that tied Ruby to the Mafia, and the Mafia to the crime. The importance of this reversal was entirely lost on Holland, who wrote, “[The HSCA] corroborated every salient fact developed by the Warren Commission.”[41] Perhaps the connection had been missed in 1964 because the FBI’s senior mafia expert, Courtney Evans, was excluded from the probe. (Evans told the HSCA: “They sure didn’t come to me. … We had no part in that that I can recall.”[42]) Instead, the Bureau turned to FBI supervisor Regis Kennedy, who then professed to believe Carlos Marcello, the New Orleans capo to whom Ruby had ties, was a “tomato salesman and real estate investor.”[43] And perhaps the Commissioners also willingly averted their gaze, lest they agitate the sensitive FBI director. “The evidence indicates that Hoover viewed the Warren Commission more as an adversary than a partner in a search for the facts of the assassination,” the HSCA concluded in 1978.[44] Speaking for all the Commissioners in 1977, chief counsel J. Lee Rankin admitted that in 1964, the Commissioners were naïve about Hoover’s honesty and yet were afraid to confront him when he wouldn’t properly fetch for them. “Who,” Rankin sheepishly asked, “could protest against what Mr. Hoover did back in those days?”[45] Apparently not the President’s commissioners. And so, “The Commission did not investigate Hoover or the FBI, and managed to avoid the appearance of doing so.” This had repercussions on possibly the most explosive rumor the Warren Commission ever dealt with--that Oswald had been an FBI informant. The HSCA found that, “The Warren Commission] ended up doing what the members had agreed they could not do: Rely mainly on FBI’s denial of the allegations [that Oswald had been an FBI informant].”[46] The FBI never informed the Commission of Oswald’s threatening note to Hosty, which it destroyed. The Commission never heard about the mafia threats against JFK and RFK that had been picked up in FBI wiretaps. Nor did they ever learn that even before the Commission started, Hoover already had a secret informant in place: Representative Gerald Ford.[47] The record also suggests the CIA had been little better than the FBI. Two years before the HSCA issued its report, the Senate Select Committee reported on its own examination of the process employed by both agencies. It reported, “The Committee has developed evidence which impeaches the process by which the intelligence agencies arrived at their own conclusions about the assassination, and by which they provided information to the Warren Commission. This evidence indicates that the investigation of the assassination was deficient and that facts which might have substantially affected the course of the investigation were not provided the Warren Commission or those individuals within the FBI and the CIA, as well as other agencies of Government, who were charged with investigating the assassination.”[48] Thus, Holland’s most threatening enemies aren’t the informed skeptics, or even the university-published skeptics who mistrust the government, but the government itself. That is, two government bodies that--armed in abundance with the one key capacity the Commission needed but lacked, a staff of experienced and proven criminal investigators--uncovered good reasons to incline any reasonable person toward skepticism. The HSCA vs. The Warren Report The list of Commission shortcomings the HSCA assembled is not short. A brief summary of them runs some 47 pages in the Bantam Books version of the report (p. 289--336), which outlines what required all 500+ pages of volume XI to cover. To cite a particularly important one, the HSCA found that, “Even though [the Commission’s] staff was composed primarily of lawyers, the Commission did not take advantage of all the legal tools available to it. An assistant [Commission] counsel told the committee: ‘The Commission itself failed to utilize the instruments of immunity from prosecution and prosecution for perjury with respect to witnesses whose veracity it doubted.’”[49] And despite Earl Warren’s bold declaration, “Truth is our only client here,” it was no less than the Chief Justice himself who recommended relying on the FBI’s investigation instead of conducting an independent investigation. Warren inexplicably refused to seek one of the most essential tools necessary for any serious criminal investigation: the authority to issue subpoenas and to grant balky witnesses immunity from prosecution. His opposition had to be overcome by the other Commissioners.[50] But in practice, they proved no more courageous than Warren. For although they admitted doubting, and with good reason, the truthfulness of some of the witnesses, the Commissioners freely admitted they never once found even a single occasion to offer a grant of immunity to pursue their only client.[51] The HSCA’s chief counsel, Robert Blakey, an experienced criminal investigator and prosecutor himself, was impressed with neither the Commission’s vigor nor its independence. “What was significant,” Blakey wrote, “was the ability of the FBI to intimidate the Commission, in light of the bureau’s predisposition on the questions of Oswald’s guilt and whether there had been a conspiracy. At a January 27 [1964] Commission meeting, there was another dialogue [among Warren Commissioners]: John McCloy: … the time is almost overdue for us to have a better perspective of the FBI investigation than we now have … We are so dependent on them for our facts … . Commission counsel J. Lee Rankin: Part of our difficulty in regard to it is that they have no problem. They have decided that no one else is involved … . Senator Richard Russell: They have tried the case and reached a verdict on every aspect. Senator Hale Boggs: You have put your finger on it. (Closed Warren Commission meeting.)”[52] The HSCA gave a compelling explanation for how the case was so swiftly solved: “It must be said that the FBI generally exhausted its resources in confirming its case against Oswald as the lone assassin, a case that Director J. Edgar Hoover, at least, seemed determined to make within 24 hours of the of the assassination.”[53] (The Bureau’s ability to prove is legendary. It proved that Nixon was innocent of Watergate after what then-Attorney General Richard Kleindienst, with unintended irony, described as the greatest (FBI) effort since the assassination of President Kennedy.[54]) In essence, the HSCA concluded that Hoover had divined the solution to the crime before the investigation, and then Hoover’s agents proved his epiphany. The intimidated Commission didn’t put up much of a fight. (Who could protest against what Mr. Hoover did back in those days?) Despite the Commission’s admission that it would probably need an independent investigative staff to properly investigate certain intelligence “tender spots,” it chose not to get one. As the HSCA succinctly put it, “[T]he Commission did not go much beyond the agencies in investigating the anticipated [intelligence] ‘tender spots.’”[55] J. Lee Rankin explained the Commission’s spinelessness: An independent investigative staff would have required an inordinate amount of time, and “the whole intelligence community in the government would feel that the Commission was indicating a lack of confidence in them … .”[56] Echoing Rankin, Allen Dulles pressed his fellow commissioners to accept the FBI’s investigation so as to, as Dulles’ biographer Peter Gross put it, “avoid frictions within the intelligence community.”[57] The HSCA’s criticism is particularly damning given the fact it was delivered by an official body. Holland, however, is unlikely to be impressed. Complaining in The Nation that HSCA deputy chief counsel Gary Cornwell “recycles some of the hoariest clichés regarding the Warren Commission (in his book Real Answers),”[58] Holland seems disinclined to accept any of the HSCA’s critique of the Commission. For Cornwell had made an admission that one imagines would have immediately disqualified him as far as Holland is concerned: “Before joining the Select Committee, I had been a federal prosecutor with the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Justice Department, and Chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force in Kansas City. I had investigated numerous conspiracies, and indicted and tried the organized crime members who participated in those conspiracies, including the head of the Mafia in Kansas City, and the head of the Mafia in Denver. I believe criminal conspiracies do exist. Unlike [pro-Warren columnist] Tom Wicker, my bias ran toward a belief that conspiracies are a very integral part of ‘how the world works.’”[59] Certainly anyone with Cornwell’s sterling credentials as a murder investigator, someone who had so often proved conspiracies actually exist, could not possibly have been relied upon to investigate JFK’s murder, or the Warren Commission’s investigation of it. Notes [1] The Nation. 11/19/77. [2] Alexander Cockburn, letter in reply. The Nation, March 9, 1992, p. 318. [3] Alexander Cockburn. J.F.K. and JFK. The Nation, January 6/13/1992, p. 6. [4] Max Holland. After Thirty Years: Making Sense of the Assassination. Reviews in American History 22(1994):208-209. [5] Adam Pertman. Researcher says Cold War shaped Warren Commission conclusions. The Boston Globe, 12/8/98. [6] Quoted by Adam Pertman, in: Researcher says Cold War shaped Warren Commission conclusions. The Boston Globe, 12/8/98. [7] Max Holland, The Lie That Linked CIA to the Kennedy Assassination. Available at: http://www.cia.gov/csi/studies/fall_winter.../article02.html [8] Adam Pertman, in: Researcher says Cold War shaped Warren Commission conclusions. The Boston Globe, 12/8/98. [9] Max Holland. After Thirty Years: Making Sense of the Assassination. Reviews in American History 22(1994):209. [10] Max Holland. After Thirty Years: Making Sense of the Assassination. Reviews in American History 22(1994). [11] Max Holland. The Key to the Warren Report. American Heritage Magazine. November, 1995, p. 50--52. [12] Adam Pertman. Researcher says Cold War shaped Warren Commission conclusions. The Boston Globe, 12/8/98. [13] Max Holland. After Thirty Years: Making Sense of the Assassination. Reviews in American History 22 (1994). [14] Max Holland. Paranoia Unbound. Wilson Quarterly, Winter, 1994, p. 88. (See also Max Holland. The Key to the Warren Report. American Heritage Magazine. November, 1995, p. 50.) [15] Max Holland. Stokers of JFK Fantasies. Op-Ed. The Boston Globe, 12/6/98, p. D-7. [16] Max Holland. Paranoia Unbound. Wilson Quarterly, Winter, 1994, p. 90. [17] Max Holland. Stokers of JFK Fantasies. Op-Ed. The Boston Globe, 12/6/98, p. D-7. [18] Max Holland. Paranoia Unbound. Wilson Quarterly, Winter, 1994, p. 87. [19] Max Holland. The Demon in Jim Garrison. Wilson Quarterly, Spring, 2001, p. 10. [20] Max Holland has published an article detailing his case that the KGB duped Garrison into linking Shaw to the CIA that is titled, The Lie That Linked CIA to the Kennedy Assassination . It appears at: http://www.cia.gov/csi/studies/fall_winter.../article02.html Holland makes much the same argument in an article, Was Jim Garrison Duped by the KGB?, that appeared in the February, 2002 edition of New Orleans Magazine. [21] Max Holland. Paranoia Unbound. Wilson Quarterly, Winter, 1994, p. 88. [22] Max Holland interview with Chip Selby in Washington, D.C., July 26, 1997, p. 9. [23] Max Holland. The Key to the Warren Report. American Heritage Magazine. November, 1995, p. 50. [24] Max Holland. Paranoia Unbound. Wilson Quarterly, Winter, 1994, p. 88. [25] David Ruppe. Friendly Fire--Book: U.S. Military Drafted Plans to Terrorize U.S. Cities to Provoke War With Cuba, November 7, 2001. Available at: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNew...efs_010501.html [26] George Washington University’s National Security Archive, April 30, 2001: Pentagon Proposed Pretexts for Cuba Invasion in 1962. Documents can be viewed at: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/20010430/ [27] The Northwoods plan is discussed in detail by James Bamford in his book, Body of Secrets, [New York: Anchor Books, a division of Random House, 2002] on pages 82--91. [28] “[A]fter a half-century of official denial and derision, the government is just now beginning to admit its responsibility for poisoning its own citizens” with wildly immoral and illegal Plutonium injections. (The Nation, 2/28/00) “After decades of denials, the government is conceding that since the dawn of the atomic age, workers making nuclear weapons have been exposed to radiation and chemicals that have produced cancer and early death.” (New York Times, 1/29/00) “The Treasury Department shredded 1262 boxes of potential evidence in a multibillion-dollar lawsuit over Native American trust funds, then covered it up for more than three months.” (AP, 12/7/99) [29] Jeff Donn, “Top FBI officials knew of mob deals--Director’s office commended agents for shielding Mafia hit men.” AP, July 28, 2002. In: Marin Independent Journal, 7/28/02, p. A-3. [30] The Nation, 9/6-13/99. [31] Frank Donner. Protectors of Privilege. Berkeley: University of California Press , 1991. [32] Max Holland. The Key to the Warren Report. American Heritage Magazine. November, 1995, p. 52. [33] Max Holland. The Key to the Warren Report. American Heritage Magazine. November, 1995, p. 64. [34] News from Brown. The Brown University News Bureau, distributed 11/11/98. [35] Max Holland. The Key to the Warren Report. American Heritage Magazine. November, 1995, p. 57. [36] Max Holland. The Docudrama that is JFK. The Nation Magazine. 12/7/98, p.26. [37] Max Holland. The Key to the Warren Report. American Heritage Magazine. November, 1995, p. 54. [38] Max Holland interview with Chip Selby in Washington, D.C., July 26, 1997, p. 4. [39] Max Holland interview with Chip Selby in Washington, D.C., July 26, 1997, p. 4. [40] Curt Gentry. J. Edgar Hoover--The Man and His Secrets. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1991, p. 552. [41] Max Holland. After Thirty Years: Making Sense of the Assassination. Reviews in American History 22 (1994) [42] HSCA, Final Report, p. 242. [43] “[FBI agent Regis Kennedy told the HSCA that] he believed Marcello was not engaged in any organized crime activities or other illegal actions during the period from 1959 until at least 1963. He also stated that he did not believe Marcello was a significant organized crime figure and did not believe that he was currently involved in criminal enterprises. Kennedy further informed the committee that he believed Marcello would ‘stay away’ from any improper activity and in reality did earn his living as a tomato salesman and real estate investor.” In: HSCA, vol. 9:70-71. See also Curt Gentry. J. Edgar Hoover--The Man and His Secrets. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1991, p. 530. [44] HSCA, vol. 11, p. 53. [45] HSCA, vol. 11, p. 49. [46] HSCA, vol. XI, p. 41. [47] 12/12/63 memorandum from C. D. DeLoach to Mr. Mohr. (“Ford advised that he would keep me thoroughly advised as to the activities of the Commission. He stated this would have to be on a confidential basis.” See also: Curt Gentry. J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and His Secrets. New York: W W Norton & Co., 1991, p. 557. [48] The Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: Performance of the Intelligence Agencies, Book V, Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, United States Senate, p. 6. [49] In: The Final Assassinations Report--Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations, U.S. House of Representatives. New York: Bantam Books edition, 1979, p. 334. [50] Full quote: “At the very first meeting of the Commission, on December 5, 1963, Warren announced his belief that the Commission needed neither its own investigators nor the authority to issue subpoenas and grant immunity from prosecution to witnesses if they were compelled to testify, after first having chosen to take the Fifth Amendment on grounds of self-incrimination. The Chief Justice was overruled by the Commission on the subpoena and immunity authority, thorough immunity was never used; but he held sway on his insistence that evidence that had been developed by the FBI would form a foundation for the Commission investigation.” (In: R. Blakey and R. Billings. Fatal Hour--The Assassination of President Kennedy by Organized Crime. New York, Berkley Books, 1992, p. 82) [51] “Immunity under these provisions (testifying under compulsion) was not granted to any witness during the Commission’s investigation.” (In: Report of the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964, p. xi.) [52] In: R. Blakey and R. Billings. Fatal Hour--The Assassination of President Kennedy by Organized Crime. New York, Berkley Books, 1992, p. 29. This testimony was also published in: Mark North. Act of Treason. New York, 1991, Carroll and Graf, p. 515--516. [53] The Final Assassinations Report--Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations, U.S. House of Representatives. New York: Bantam Books edition, 1979, p. 150. [54] Fred Emery. Watergate--The Corruption of American Politics and the Fall of Richard Nixon. New York: A Touchstone Book for Simon & Shuster, 1995, p. 217. [55] HSCA, vol. XI, p. 33. [56] R. Blakey and R. Billings. Fatal Hour--The Assassination of President Kennedy by Organized Crime. New York, Berkley Books, 1992, p. 82--83.) [57] “Supported by the commission’s cautious counsel and staff director, J. Lee Rankin, [Allen Dulles] urged that the panel confine its work to a review of the investigation already being made by the FBI. In taking this stand he implicitly turned his back on the sentiments of his old friend, Hamilton Fish Armstrong, who wrote Allen that the truth must come out, ‘no matter who it affects, FBI included.’ Allen argued, to the contrary, that a new set of investigations would only cause frictions within the intelligence community and complicate the ongoing functions of government on unspecified matters of national security.” In: Peter Grose. Gentleman Spy--the Life of Allen Dulles. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1994, p. 544--555.
  8. This article originally appeared on the History Matters website: http://www.history-matters.com/essays/viet...ver%20Stone.htm Oliver Stone would scarcely have elicited more righteous indignation by lecturing Baptist ministers on the evils of Christianity than he did among journalists and historians by releasing his popular film JFK. Pundits by the pack bristled at Stone’s contempt for the Warren Commission. One of the outrages that provoked particular vehemence was Stone’s revisionist representation of Kennedy as a president who threatened The Establishment because he would not have taken the country to war over Vietnam. But the outcry wasn’t just about his bad history. It had at least as much to do with the director’s chutzpah in trespassing onto turf owned by career journalists and historians. In the Washington Post, George Will called JFK a "three hour lie from an intellectual sociopath."[1] Noam Chomsky dedicated an entire book – “Rethinking Camelot” – to debunking Stone’s notion that under Kennedy the history of Southeast Asia would have been altogether kinder and gentler.[2] Leslie Gelb sneered from the pages of the New York Times that the "torments" of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson over Vietnam "are not to be trifled with by Oliver Stone or anyone."[3] A banner headline on the cover of Newsweek barked: "Why Oliver Stone’s New Movie Can't Be Trusted."[4] Stone’s crackpot history had apparently imperiled the public not only by throwing mud at perhaps America’s most respected murder investigation, but also by rewriting American history to push his leftist, anti-American agenda. The message was that there was danger when moviemakers forgot their place. Theirs was the business of entertaining, not interpreting history. That business was best left in the capable hands of credentialed authorities. Across the political spectrum those authorities derided Stone’s war-wary peacenik on grounds his “JFK” bore no resemblance whatsoever to the historical JFK. Behind a pacific façade, received wisdom had it, Kennedy was really a clanking Cold Warrior spoiling for a fight – in Southeast Asia, in Cuba and perhaps elsewhere. In the context of his treatment of Diem, Stone's critics placed JFK's occasionally fierce, if conflicted, rhetoric. "By November, sanctioning a coup against an ally in the name of winning the war had been added," wrote Robert Bartley in The Wall St. Journal. "Then withdraw? Joe Kennedy's competitive kid? The 'bear any burden' guy? Give me a break. Acolytes love this myth dearly … ." [5] Another historian, William Gibbons, said that it “is absurd” to imagine that Kennedy would have pulled out.[6] In The Nation Magazine, Alexander Cockburn wrote, “The public record shows JFK was always hawkish.”[7] And in no less than the respected Reviews in American History, Max Holland, a Nation Magazine contributing editor, declared that it was a “fantasy that Kennedy was on the verge of pulling out from Vietnam.”[8] The years that followed have not been kind to those who had stoned the director. “Received wisdom” has been swamped by a tsunami of new and credible scholarship brought about by the declassifications of literally millions of pages of government secrets. The impetus for their release came directly from Stone, who publicly nagged about the absurdity of the government saying the case was “open and shut” while suppressing mountains of the evidence. No doubt to the dismay of Stone’s detractors, a strikingly different and more favorable – even more Oliver Stone-like - view of Kennedy has recently emerged. In March 2005, long after similar accounts had been widely reported elsewhere, The Nation finally acknowledged that the real JFK, despite his considerable personal peccadillos, was worlds away from the hawkish hooligan The Nation had been peddling for so long. On March 14, 2005 The Nation reported: “We also now know that Kennedy that same spring [1963] ordered the Pentagon to plan to have all US troops out of Vietnam by early 1965, shortly after what he assumed would be his re-election – and further ordered that the troop pullout begin by the late fall of 1963. But he did not, of course, live to see their withdrawal.”[9] This was an amazing metanoia for the leftist outlet that had not only hard-pitched the opposite a decade earlier, but had also used its letters pages to savagely beanball two well-known advocates of the withdrawl thesis: it’s originator, Peter Dale Scott, and Oliver Stone’s consultant-historian, John Newman.[10] Tardy or no, The Nation had finally joined the growing consensus of recognized historians and journalists. Naval War College historian David Kaiser, for example, wrote that his book, American Tragedy,[11] documented the “numerous occasions during 1961, 1962, and 1963 on which Kennedy did exactly that [‘stopped the United States from going to war in Southeast Asia’], rejecting the near unanimous proposals of his advisers to put large numbers of American combat troops in Laos, South Vietnam, or both.”[12] That conclusion was not at all what some informed observers had expected to find among the secrets. University of Alabama historian Howard Jones said that when he began his study he “was dubious” about the assertions of “Kennedy apologists [that] he would not have sent combat troops to Vietnam and America’s longest war would never have occurred.” But “what strikes anyone reading the veritable mountain of documents relating to Vietnam,” Jones admitted to his own surprise, “is that the only high official in the Kennedy administration who consistently opposed the commitment of U.S. combat forces was the president.”[13] “The materials undergirding this [Jones’] study demonstrate that President Kennedy intended to reverse the nation’s special military commitment to the South Vietnamese made in early 1961.”[14] Echoing Jones, journalist Fred Kaplan wrote that, “the argument that Kennedy would have withdrawn from Vietnam becomes truly compelling only when you place [JFK’s] skepticism about the war in the context of his growing disenchantment with his advisers … .”[15] Historian Robert Dallek came to much the same conclusion. “Toward the end of his life John F. Kennedy increasingly distrusted his military advisers and was changing his views on foreign policy. A fresh look at the final months of his presidency suggests that a second Kennedy term might have produced not only an American withdrawal from Vietnam, but also rapprochement with Fidel Castro’s Cuba.”[16] Dallek produced a quote that gives a sense of the newly visible JFK: “The first advice I’m going to give my successor is to watch the generals and to avoid feeling that just because they were military men their opinions on military matters were worth a damn.”[17] This is much closer to the crazy director’s version of JFK than Noam Chomsky’s, George Will’s or The Nation’s. Once-secret records demonstrate a pattern in Kennedy we are unaccustomed to seeing in presidents: rather than JFK following his senior advisers on critical issues – the way “good” presidents usually do, the way LBJ did – Kennedy often ignored it. He withstood pressure from the CIA and the military to follow-up the foundering Bay of Pigs invasion with a military assault on Cuba.[18] He rejected advice to use force in Laos, pushing against the defense establishment to achieve an ultimately successful negotiated settlement.[19] He shouldered aside the defense and intelligence establishments to advance a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviets.[20] And as historians Ernest May and Philip Zelikov discovered from live voice recordings made during the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK was often “the only one in the room [full of the highest officers in the country] who is determined not to go to war.”[21] This is the same Kennedy we discover in Perils of Dominance, an important new book by Gareth Porter.[22] Porter documents in chilling detail that, in isolation and with virtually no real allies to help him, Kennedy orchestrated numerous Machiavellian ruses to frustrate the “national security bureaucracy’s” determination to march headlong into war. So Oliver Stone, the brash, Bronze Star-winning, Vietnam veteran mountebank, turns out to have been right all along: JFK wasn’t going to budge on Vietnam; just as he wouldn’t budge on the Bay of Pigs invasion; on the war in Laos; on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and on the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was precisely because Kennedy was not a hawk that he was a threat to The Establishment. He did represent change – right up until the moment the shots rang out in Dealey Plaza. Given that Stone’s vindication comes directly from secret government files that the director himself had forced into the light, files that “credentialled authorities” now agree prove that Stone’s JFK had gotten JFK and Vietnam right, could the “intellectual sociopath’s” victory be any sweeter?[*] ***************** [*]Those inclined to dismiss Stone’s victory as “beginner’s luck” would do well to pick up a copy of the Kansas University Press-published book, “Oliver Stone’s USA.” [Robert Brent Toplin, ed. University Press of Kansas, 2000.] In fascinating and spirited exchanges, the director defends himself against respected historians charging that he has irresponsibly “stoned” history in his films on El Salvador, Nixon, and Vietnam and, yes, JFK. Although Stone’s version of history is not always as successful as his version of JFK and Vietnam, he more than holds his own against the experts. In the process, he has demonstrated that, to borrow from JFK, one must watch the historians and journalists and avoid feeling that just because they are recognized authorities that their opinions on history matters are worth a damn. [editor's note: for a forceful presentation of the argument that JFK was indeed proceeding with an unconditional withdrawal from Vietnam in 1963, see James K. Galbraith's essay Exit Strategy at http://www.bostonreview.net/BR28.5/galbraith.html]. Notes [1] George F. Will. ‘JFK’: Paranoid History. Washington Post, 12/26/91, p. A- 23. [2] Noam Chomsky. Rethinking Camelot - JFK, the Vietnam War, and U.S. Political Culture. Boston: South End Press, 1993. http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/rc/rc-contents.html [3] Leslie H. Gelb. Kennedy and Vietnam. Op-ed, New York Times, 1/9/92. Reproduced in: Oliver Stone & Zachary Sklar. JFK – The Book of the Film. New York: Applause Books, 1992, p. 391-392. [4] Cited by Roger Ebert in The Chicago Sun Times, 12/21/91. On-line at: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.d...EOPLE/212010306 [5] Robert L. Bartley. "Kennedy's Vietnam", Wall St. Journal, 6/16/03, p. A-15. [6] Quoted by George Lardner, Jr. in: “Or Just a Sloppy Mess.” Washington Post Outlook, 6/2/91. On-line at: http://www.jfk-online.com/lardner91.html [7] Alexander Cockburn. “Cockburn Replies” [to Michael Parenti]. The Nation, 3/9/92. Reproduced in: Oliver Stone & Zachary Sklar. JFK – The Book of the Film. New York: Applause Books, 1992, p. 479. [8] Max Holland. After Thirty Years: Making Sense of the Assassination. Reviews in American History 22(1994):208-209. On-line at: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/holland.htm [9] Richard Parker. “Galbraith and Vietnam.” The Nation Magazine, March 14, 2005. Available on-line at: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20050314/parker. Accessed on October 24, 2005. [10] See: Jousting After Camelot. The Nation. Volume: 254 • Issue #: 0009, 3/9/92. Letters by Cockburn, Alexander & Scott, Peter Dale & Sklar, Zachary & Parenti, Michael. On-line at The Nation magazine archive: https://ssl.thenation.com/archive/individual/. [11] David Kaiser. American Tragedy. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 2000. [12] David Kaiser, letter to the editor, Harper’s Magazine, June, 2000, p. 15. [13] Howard Jones. Death of a Generation – How the Assassinations of Diem and JFK Prolonged the Vietnam War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 1. [14] Howard Jones. Death of a Generation – How the Assassinations of Diem and JFK Prolonged the Vietnam War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 11. [15] Fred Kaplan. The War Room -What Robert Dallek's new biography doesn't tell you about JFK and Vietnam. Slate/ MSNBC. Posted on-line, May 19, 2003, at 7:31 PM ET. Available at: http://www.slate.com/id/2083136/ [16] Robert Dallek. JFK’s Second Term. Atlantic Monthly, June 2003, p. 58. [17] Robert Dallek. JFK’s Second Term. Atlantic Monthly, June 2003, p. 61. [18] Robert McNamara. In Retrospect – The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. New York: Times Books for Random House, 1995, p. 96 – 97. [“During the Bay of Pigs crisis in April 1961, against intense pressure from the CIA and the military chiefs, [JFK] kept to his conviction—as he had made explicitly clear to the Cuban exiles beforehand—that under no conditions would the United States intervene with military force to support the invasion. He held to this position even when it became evident that without that support the invasion would fail. I saw the same wisdom during the tense days of the Cuban Missile Crisis … .”] [19] See: David Kaiser, American Tragedy, Chapter 2, “No War in Laos,” Cambridge: The Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 2000, p. 36 – 57. See also: Gareth Porter. Perils of Dominance – Imbalance of Power and the Road to Vietnam. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005, p. 143 – 152. [20] Michael Bescholss. The Crisis Years - Kennedy and Khrushchev 1960 – 1963. New York: Edward Burlingame Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, 1991 p. 632. [“McNamara privately told the Joint Chiefs, ‘If you insist in opposing [the Nuclear Test Ban] treaty, well and good, but I am not going to let anyone oppose it out of emotion or ignorance.’ … [JFK] was told that congressional mail was running 15 to 1 against the treaty. His aides were astonished when [JFK] told them that, if necessary, he would ‘gladly’ forfeit his reelection for the sake of the treaty.”] And see Beschloss at pp. 620 – 632 for a good discussion of JFK’s spirited campaign to win approval of the Test Ban Treaty. [21] Ernest R. May & Philip D. Zelikow. The Kennedy Tapes--Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997, p. 692. [22] Gareth Porter. Perils of Dominance. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.
  9. This is part of an article co-written with Josiah Thompson. The full article, with illustrations, can be found here: http://www.history-matters.com/essays/fram...MoreMagical.htm Among the myriad JFK assassination controversies, none more cleanly divides Warren Commission supporter from skeptic than the “Single Bullet Theory.” The brainchild of a former Warren Commission lawyer, Mr. Arlen Specter, now the senior Senator from Pennsylvania, the theory is the sine qua non of the Warren Commission’s case that with but three shots, including one that missed, Lee Harvey Oswald had single handedly altered the course of history. Mr. Specter’s hypothesis was not one that immediately leapt to mind from the original evidence and the circumstances of the shooting. It was, rather, born of necessity, if one sees as a necessity the keeping of Oswald standing alone in the dock. The theory had to contend with the considerable evidence there was suggesting that more than one shooter was involved. For example, because the two victims in Dealey Plaza, President Kennedy and Governor John Connally, had suffered so many wounds – eight in all, it had originally seemed as if more than two slugs from the supposed “sniper’s nest” would have been necessary to explain all the damage. In addition, a home movie taken by a bystander, Abraham Zapruder, showed that too little time had elapsed between the apparent shots that hit both men in the back for Oswald to have fired, reacquired his target, and fired again. The Single Bullet Theory neatly solved both problems. It posited that a single, nearly whole bullet that was later recovered had caused all seven of the non-fatal wounds sustained by both men. [1] But the bullet that was recovered had one strikingly peculiar feature: it had survived all the damage it had apparently caused virtually unscathed itself. The shell’s near-pristine appearance, which prompted some to call it the “magic bullet,” left many skeptics wondering whether the bullet in evidence had really done what the Commission had said it had done. Additional skepticism was generated by the fact the bullet was not found in or around either victim. It was found instead on a stretcher at the hospital where the victims were treated. Mr. Specter’s idea was that, after passing completely through JFK and Governor Connally, the bullet had fallen out of the Governor’s clothes and onto a stretcher at Parkland Hospital. But it was never unequivocally established that either victim had ever lain on the stretcher where the bullet was discovered. [2] Nevertheless, studies done at the FBI Laboratory seemed to unquestionably link the missile to Oswald’s rifle, and the FBI sent the Warren Commission a memo on July 7, 1964 detailing how it had run down the bullet’s chain of possession, which looked pretty solid. According to the FBI, the two hospital employees who discovered the bullet originally identified it as the same bullet six months later in an FBI interview That a bullet, fired from Oswald’s weapon and later identified by hospital witnesses, had immediately turned up on a stretcher in the hospital where the victims were treated struck some as perhaps a little too convenient. Suspicions it had been planted ensued. But apart from its peculiar provenance, there was little reason in 1964 to doubt the bullet’s bona fides. But then in 1967, one of the authors reported that one of the two hospital employees who had found the bullet, Parkland personnel director O.P. Wright, had told him that the bullet he saw and held on the day of the assassination did not look like the bullet that later turned up in FBI evidence. That claim was in direct conflict with an FBI memo of July 7, 1964, which said that Wright had told an FBI agent that the bullet did look like the shell he’d held on the day of the murder. For thirty years, the conflict lay undisturbed and unresolved. Finally, in the mid 1990s, the authors brought this conflict to the attention of the Assassinations Records Review Board, a federal body charged with opening the abundant, still-secret files concerning the Kennedy assassination. A search through newly declassified files led to the discovery of new information on this question. It turns out that the FBI’s own, once-secret files tend to undermine the position the FBI took publicly in its July, 1964 memo to the Warren Commission, and they tend to support co-author Josiah Thompson. Thompson got a further boost when a retired FBI agent, in a recorded telephone interview and in a face-to-face meeting, flatly denied what the FBI had written about him to the Warren Commission in 1964. The story begins in a ground floor elevator lobby at the Dallas hospital where JFK and John Connelly were taken immediately after being shot. According to the Warren Commission, Parkland Hospital senior engineer, Mr. Darrell C. Tomlinson, was moving some wheeled stretchers when he bumped a stretcher “against the wall and a bullet rolled out.” [3] He called for help and was joined by Mr. O.P. Wright, Parkland’s personnel director. After examining the bullet together, Mr. Wright passed it along to one of the U.S. Secret Service agents who were prowling the hospital, Special Agent Richard Johnsen. [4] Johnsen then carried the bullet back to Washington, D. C. and handed it to James Rowley, the chief of the Secret Service. Rowley, in turn, gave the bullet to FBI agent Elmer Lee Todd, [5] who carried it to agent Robert Frazier in the FBI’s Crime Lab. [6] Without exploring the fact that the HSCA discovered that there may have been another witness who was apparently with Tomlinson when the bullet was found, what concerns us here is whether the bullet currently in evidence, Commission Exhibit #399, is the same bullet Tomlinson found originally. The early history of the bullet, Commission Exhibit #399, is laid out in Warren Commission Exhibit #2011. This exhibit consists of a 3-page, July 7, 1964 FBI letterhead memorandum that was written to the Warren Commission in response to a Commission request that the Bureau trace “various items of physical evidence,” among them #399. #2011 relates that, in chasing down the bullet’s chain of possession, FBI agent Bardwell Odum took #399 to Darrell Tomlinson and O.P. Wright on June 12, 1964. The memo asserts that both men told Agent Odum that the bullet “appears to be the same one” they found on the day of the assassination, but that neither could “positively identify” it. Positive identification” of a piece of evidence by a witness means that the witness is certain that an object later presented in evidence is the same one that was originally found. The most common way to establish positive identification is for a witness to place his initials on a piece of evidence upon first finding it. The presence of such initials is of great help later when investigators try to prove a link through an unbroken chain of possession between the object in evidence and a crime. Understandably, neither Tomlinson nor Wright inscribed his initials on the stretcher bullet. But that both witnesses told FBI Agent Odum, so soon after the murder, that CE 399 looked like the bullet they had found on a stretcher was compelling reason to suppose that it was indeed the same one. However, CE #2011 included other information that raised questions about the bullet. As first noted by author Ray Marcus, [7] it also states that on June 24, 1964, FBI agent Todd, who received the bullet from Rowley, the head of the Secret Service, returned with presumably the same bullet to get Secret Service agents Johnsen and Rowley to identify it. #2011 reports that both Johnsen and Rowley advised Todd that they “could not identify this bullet as the one” they saw on the day of the assassination. # 2011 contains no comment about the failure being merely one of not “positively identifying” the shell that, otherwise, “appeared to be the same” bullet they had originally handled. Thus, in #2011 the FBI reported that both Tomlinson and Wright said #399 resembled the Parkland bullet, but that neither of the Secret Service Agents could identify it. FBI Agent Todd originally received the bullet from Rowley on 11/22/63 and it was he who then returned on 6/24/64 with supposedly the same bullet for Rowley and Johnsen to identify. Given the importance of this case, one imagines that by the time Todd returned, they would have had at least a passing acquaintance. Had it truly been the same bullet, one might have expected one or both agents to tell Todd it looked like the same bullet, even if neither could “positively identify” it by an inscribed initial. After all, neither Tomlinson nor Wright had inscribed their initials on the bullet, and yet #2011 says that they said they saw a resemblance. And there the conflicted story sat, until one of the current authors published a book in 1967. Two Different Accounts from One Witness Six Seconds in Dallas reported on an interview with O.P. Wright in November 1966. Before any photos were shown or he was asked for any description of #399, Wright said: “That bullet had a pointed tip.” “Pointed tip?” Thompson asked. “Yeah, I’ll show you. It was like this one here,” he said, reaching into his desk and pulling out the .30 caliber bullet pictured in Six Seconds.”[8] As Thompson described it in 1967, “I then showed him photographs of CE’s 399, 572 (the two ballistics comparison rounds from Oswald’s rifle) (sic), and 606 (revolver bullets) (sic), and he rejected all of these as resembling the bullet Tomlinson found on the stretcher. Half an hour later in the presence of two witnesses, he once again rejected the picture of 399 as resembling the bullet found on the stretcher.”[9] Thus in 1964 the Warren Commission, or rather the FBI, claimed that Wright believed the original bullet resembled #399. In 1967, Wright denied there was a resemblance. Recent FBI releases prompted by the JFK Review Board support author Thompson’s 1967 report. A declassified 6/20/64 FBI AIRTEL memorandum from the FBI office in Dallas (“SAC, Dallas” – i.e., Special Agent in Charge, Gordon Shanklin) to J. Edgar Hoover contains the statement, “For information WFO (FBI Washington Field Office), neither DARRELL C. TOMLINSON [sic], who found bullet at Parkland Hospital, Dallas, nor O. P. WRIGHT, Personnel Officer, Parkland Hospital, who obtained bullet from TOMLINSON and gave to Special Service, at Dallas 11/22/63, can identify bullet … .” Whereas the FBI had claimed in CE #2011 that Tomlinson and Wright had told Agent Odum on June 12, 1964 that CE #399 “appears to be the same” bullet they found on the day of the assassination, nowhere in this previously classified memo, which was written before CE #2011, is there any corroboration that either of the Parkland employees saw a resemblance. Nor is FBI agent Odum’s name mentioned anywhere in the once-secret file, whether in connection with #399, or with Tomlinson or with Wright. A declassified record, however, offers some corroboration for what CE 2011 reported about Secret Service Agents Johnsen and Rowley. A memo from the FBI’s Dallas field office dated 6/24/64 reported that, “ON JUNE TWENTYFOUR INSTANT RICHARD E. JOHNSEN, AND JAMES ROWLEY, CHIEF … ADVISED SA ELMER LEE TODD, WFO, THAT THEY WERE UNABLE TO INDENTIFY RIFLE BULLET C ONE (# 399, which, before the Warren Commission had logged in as #399, was called “C ONE”), BY INSPECTION (capitals in original). Convinced that we had overlooked some relevant files, we cast about for additional corroboration of what was in CE # 2011. There should, for example, have been some original “302s ” – the raw FBI field reports from the Agent Odum’s interviews with Tomlinson and Wright on June 12, 1964. There should also have been one from Agent Todd’s interviews with Secret Service Agents Johnsen and Rowley on June 24, 1964. Perhaps somewhere in those, we thought, we would find Agent Odum reporting that Wright had detected a resemblance between the bullets. And perhaps we’d also find out whether Tomlinson, Wright, Johnsen or Rowley had supplied the Bureau with any additional descriptive details about the bullet. In early 1998, we asked a research associate, Ms. Cathy Cunningham, to scour the National Archives for any additional files that might shed light on this story. She looked but found none. We contacted the JFK Review Board’s T. Jeremy Gunn for help. [Fig. 7] On May 18, 1998, the Review Board’s Eileen Sullivan, writing on Gunn’s behalf, answered, saying: “[W]e have attempted, unsuccessfully, to find any additional records that would account for the problem you suggest.”[10] [Fig. 8] Undaunted, one of us wrote the FBI directly, and was referred to the National Archives, and so then wrote Mr. Steve Tilley at the National Archives. On Mr. Tilley’s behalf, Mr. Stuart Culy, an archivist at the National Archives, made a search. On July 16, 1999, Mr. Culy wrote that he searched for the FBI records within the HSCA files as well as in the FBI records, all without success. He was able to determine, however, that the serial numbers on the FBI documents ran “concurrently, with no gaps, which indicated that no material is missing from these files.”[11] [Fig. 10] In other words, the earliest and apparently the only FBI report said nothing about either Tomlinson or Wright seeing a similarity between the bullet found at the hospital and the bullet later in evidence, CE #399. Nor did agent Bardwell Odum’s name show up in any of the files. [editor's note: Dr. Aguilar followed up in 2005 with the National Archives, asking them in letters dated March 2 and March 7 to search for any FBI "302" reports that would have been generated from CE399 being shown to those who handled it. On March 17, 2005 David Mengel of NARA wrote back reporting that additional searches had not uncovered any such reports.] Stymied, author Aguilar turned to his co-author. “What does Odum have to say about it?” Thompson asked. “Odum? How the hell do I know? Is he still alive?” “I’ll find out,” he promised. Less than an hour later, Thompson had located Mr. Bardwell Odum’s home address and phone number. Aguilar phoned him on September 12, 2002. He was still alive and well and living in a suburb of Dallas. The 82-year old was alert and quick-witted on the phone and he regaled Aguilar with fond memories of his service in the Bureau. Finally, the Kennedy case came up and Odum agreed to help interpret some of the conflicts in the records. Two weeks after mailing Odum the relevant files – CE # 2011, the three-page FBI memo dated July 7, 1964, and the “FBI AIRTEL” memo dated June 12, 1964, Aguilar called him back. Mr. Odum told Aguilar, “I didn’t show it [#399] to anybody at Parkland. I didn’t have any bullet … I don’t think I ever saw it even.” [Fig. 11] Unwilling to leave it at that, both authors paid Mr. Odum a visit in his Dallas home on November 21, 2002. The same alert, friendly man on the phone greeted us warmly and led us to a comfortable family room. To ensure no misunderstanding, we laid out before Mr. Odum all the relevant documents and read aloud from them. Again, Mr. Odum said that he had never had any bullet related to the Kennedy assassination in his possession, whether during the FBI’s investigation in 1964 or at any other time. Asked whether he might have forgotten the episode, Mr. Odum remarked that he doubted he would have ever forgotten investigating so important a piece of evidence. But even if he had done the work, and later forgotten about it, he said he would certainly have turned in a “302” report covering something that important. Odum’s sensible comment had the ring of truth. For not only was Odum’s name absent from the FBI’s once secret files, it was also it difficult to imagine a motive for him to besmirch the reputation of the agency he had worked for and admired. Thus, the July 1964 FBI memo that became Commission Exhibit #2011 claims that Tomlinson and Wright said they saw a resemblance between #399 and the bullet they picked up on the day JFK died. However, the FBI agent who is supposed to have gotten that admission, Bardwell Odum, and the Bureau’s own once-secret records, don’t back up #2011. Those records say only that neither Tomlinson nor Wright was able to identify the bullet in question, a comment that leaves the impression they saw no resemblance. That impression is strengthened by the fact that Wright told one of the authors in 1966 the bullets were dissimilar. Thus, Thompson’s surprising discovery about Wright, which might have been dismissed in favor of the earlier FBI evidence in #2011, now finds at least some support in an even earlier, suppressed FBI memo, and the living memory of a key, former FBI agent provides further, indirect corroboration. But the newly declassified FBI memos from June 1964 lead to another unexplained mystery. Neither are the 302 reports that would have been written by the agents who investigated #399’s chain of possession in both Dallas and Washington. The authors were tempted to wonder if the June memos were but expedient fabrications, with absolutely no 302s whatsoever backing them up. But a declassified routing slip turned up by John Hunt seems to prove that the FBI did in fact act on the Commission’s formal request, as outlined in # 2011, to run down #399s chain of possession. The routing slip discloses that the bullet was sent from Washington to Dallas on 6/2/64 and returned to Washington on 6/22/64. Then on 6/24/64, it was checked out to FBI Agent Todd. What transpired during these episodes? If the Bureau went to these lengths, it seems quite likely that Bardwell Odum, or some other agent in Dallas, would have submitted one or more 302s on what was found, and so would Agent Elmer Todd in Washington. But there are none in the files. The trail ends here with an unexplained, and perhaps important, gap left in the record. Besides this unexplained gap, another interesting question remains: If the FBI did in fact adjust Tomlinson and Wright’s testimonies with a bogus claim of bullet similarity, why didn’t it also adjust Johnsen and Rowley’s? While it is unlikely a certain answer to this question will ever be found, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the FBI authors of #2011 would have been more reluctant to embroider the official statements of the head of the Secret Service in Washington than they would the comments of a couple of hospital employees in Dallas. In a memo to the Warren Commission [C. E. #2011] concerning its investigation of the chain of possession of C.E. #399, the FBI reported that two Parkland Hospital eyewitnesses, Darrell Tomlinson and O. P. Wright, said C.E. #399 resembled the bullet they discovered on the day JFK died. But the FBI agent who is supposed to have interviewed both men and the Bureau’s own suppressed records contradict the FBI’s public memo. Agent Odum denied his role, and the FBI’s earliest, suppressed files say only that neither Tomlinson nor Wright was able to identify the bullet in question. This suppressed file implies the hospital witnesses saw no resemblance, which is precisely what Wright told one of the authors in 1967. What we are left with is the FBI having reported a solid chain of possession for #399 to the Warren Commission. But the links in the FBI’s chain appear to be anything but solid. Bardwell Odum, one of the key links, says he was never in the chain at all and the FBI’s own, suppressed records tend to back him up. Inexplicably, the chain also lacks other important links: FBI 302s, reports from the agents in the field who, there is ample reason to suppose, did actually trace #399 in Dallas and in Washington. Suppressed FBI records and recent investigations thus suggest that not only is the FBI’s file incomplete, but also that one of the authors may have been right when he reported in 1967 that the bullet found in Dallas did not look like a bullet that could have come from Oswald’s rifle. Notes [1] The eighth wound, JFK’s head wound, accounted for one of the bullets. And evidence from the scene and from a home movie taken of the murder by a bystander, Abraham Zapruder, suggests that a third bullet had missed entirely. [2] Josiah Thompson. Six Seconds in Dallas. Bernard Geis Associates for Random House, 1967, p. 161 – 164. [3] The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy – Report. Washington, D.C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1964, p. 81. See also 6H130 – 131. [4] 18H800. See also: Thompson, J. Six Seconds in Dallas. New York: Bernard Geis Associates for Random House, 1967, p. 155. [5] 24H412. [6] 3H428; 24H412. [7] See Ray Marcus monograph, The Bastard Bullet. [8] Text of email message from Josiah Thompson to Aguilar, 12/10/99. [9] Thompson, Josiah. Six Seconds in Dallas. New York: Bernard Geis Associates for Random House, 1967, p. 175. [10] 5/11/98 email message from Eileen Sullivan re: “Your letter to Jeremy Gunn, April 4, 1998.” [11] Personal letter from Stuart Culy, archivist, National Archives, July 16, 1999.
  10. http://hnn.us/roundup/comments/18394.html http://hnn.us/comments/72181.html Initially published on the History Network website: Among myriad ironies in Mel Ayton’s review of “A Farewell to Justice,” perhaps the greatest is Mel Ayton’s offering author Max Holland’s CIA-published work as an answer to Joan Mellen’s exhaustive elucidation of the myriad CIA ties to the Kennedy case. For example, Ayton trots out Holland’s remarkable discovery that the sole reason Jim Garrison had for suspecting the CIA in the events in Dallas was because he’d been duped by fiendishly clever KGB dezinformatsiya planted in a Rome daily, Il Paese Sera. Ayton apparently has more faith in the theory than even its supposed author does. For Holland refused to defend it in a public debate with me last September in Washington, D.C. before a live audience and rolling C-SPAN cameras. [1] On why he might have chosen not to, one scarcely knows where to begin. But perhaps it’s worth starting with the fact that Holland’s famous breakthrough isn’t Holland’s, something he has never disclosed (apparently even to Ayton), but was forced to admit when I confronted him during our debate. Steve Dorril was the first one to make “Holland’s” argument in an article published by Lobster Magazine in 1983, something Ayton could have easily found in a simple search of the web. [2] “Holland’s” discovery apparently next surfaced when Warren Commission defender, John McAdams, ran it in a 1999 newsgroup post, [3] two years before Holland presented it for the first time. The “proof” Dorril, McAdams and Holland offered that Il Paese Sera was a communist conduit consisted mostly of testimony the CIA’s Richard Helms delivered during a 1961 Senate appearance. [3] As this author has shown, Helms’s sworn assertions during this 1961 Senate appearance are no more credible than the testimony he gave during another Senate hearing that led to his conviction and the page 1 New York Times headline, “Helms Is Fined $2,000 and Given Two-Year Suspended Prison Term--U.S. Judge Rebukes Ex-C.I.A. Head for Misleading (Senate) Panel.” [4] Without offering a shred of proof, Ayton recycles Holland’s dubious claim that, “the (Il Paese Sera) articles were NOT (sic) already in the works long before Shaw’s arrest, as Mellen claims … It was Shaw’s arrest that prompted [il Paese Sera to write] those stories.” How Ayton knows that the articles “were NOT already in the works long before Shaw’s arrest,” he does not say. But had Ayton (or Holland) bothered to contact Il Paese Sera’s editors, they would probably have told him what they have told others: that the six-part series had nothing to do with (and said nothing about) the KGB or the JFK assassination; that they had never heard of Jim Garrison when they assigned the story six months before [which was also six months before Garrison had charged Shaw]; and that they were astonished to see that Shaw might have any connection to the assassination. Finally, echoing Holland, Ayton claims that the Italian articles were Garrison’s sole reason for suspecting the Agency. If they really were the sole source of his seduction, one would have expected some contemporaneous evidence of it. But there is none. As Edward Epstein has pointed out, during his twenty-six-page interview in Playboy Magazine’s October 1967 issue, Garrison’s most comprehensive review of his case that year, the D.A. ticked off eight reasons to suspect the CIA. None of them included Il Paese Sera or the subject of the articles, the still-mysterious Rome World Trade Center, Centro Mondiale Commerciale (CMC). [5] Nor did he even mention Clay Shaw, although perhaps because of the pending legal wrangle. [6] Moreover, Garrison wrote the foreword to Harold Weisberg’s 1967-published book, entitled “Oswald in New Orleans--Case of Conspiracy with the CIA.” (my emphasis) Despite the perfect opportunity, as with Playboy, Garrison again uttered not a word about Il Paese Sera, Shaw or the CMC. [7] Finally, it is unhelpful for the central role Holland and Ayton have the Rome daily playing that Garrison never once cited or referred to those reports during the Shaw trial. Nor did he even use them as a basis for questioning Shaw. He never asked Shaw, for example, whether he had worked for CMC or for the CIA, both of which were the focus of all six stories. [8] Ayton next rallied to the defense of a former Miami Herald reporter, Donald Bohning, who Mellen had described as “CIA linked.” In response, Ayton quoted from a complaining email from the man: “(I) never took a cent from the CIA,” Bohning apparently wrote, “and was outraged by the implication – along with the terms ‘writer asset’ and ‘utilized’ … Top editors at the [Miami] Herald were well aware – and approved – of my contacts with the CIA during the 1960s.” Tellingly, Ayton omits the most damning portion of Mellen’s account. Even if money never changed hands, and Mellen nowhere suggests it did, Bohning’s relationship with The Agency was far from the routine and casual relationship reporters have with government insiders. As Mellen points out, Bohning was apparently so useful to The Agency it gave him his own, unique cryptonym, “AMCARBON-3.” Bohning “had received his Provisional Covert Security Approval as a CIA confidential informant on 8/21/67,” Mellen wrote, “then Covert Security Approval itself on 11/14/67.” And no less than the CIA’s Deputy Director of Plans himself “approved the use of Bohning in the CIA’s Cuban operations.” [9] For those who have forgotten Carl Bernstein’s cautionary tale about the corrosive effect such relationships can have on credible and honest journalism [10], or the New York Times’s Christmas week 1977 mea culpa for having compromised itself and its readers by engaging in similar unhealthy relationships with the CIA, a recent scandal is worth mention. Judy Miller, the recently disgraced New York Times reporter, was such a darling of the Bush Administration and the military that she was granted a security clearance not unlike Bohning’s. [11] Her bogus, prewar scare stories about the imminence of the Iraqi threat that the “leftist” New York Times published on the front page were a boon to the Neocons in the Bush Administration bent on manufacturing consent for war. That Bohning’s higher-ups at the Miami Herald knew and approved of his cozy relationship only compounds the impropriety. At least The New York Times’ “top editors” publicly donned hair shirts and apologized to readers for betraying their trust. And not without reason. Bernstein documented that the problem wasn’t the occasional tainting tie between the rare, lowly stringer and the CIA. It was the myriad, compromising arrangements between The Agency and the higher-ups in outfits such as CBS, NBC, ABC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The L. A. Times, etc. that really took the bark out of our press watchdogs. This is not to say Bohning was corrupt, but that Mellen’s concern is well founded. Ayton puts Holland in service of downplaying the links Mellen details between Clay Shaw and The Agency. “In reality, Clay Shaw had simply been one of thousands of businessmen who had once been a source for the CIA through its Domestic Contact Service … Shaw was a Kennedy supporter (and a) decorated war veteran.” Here, flag-waving is substituted for dealing with Mellen’s great spadework on this interesting question. Ayton does not dispute that, as Mellen reported, Shaw had been cleared by the Agency for project “QKENCHAT (which) authorized trusted CIA personnel for clearance to recruit or enlist ‘civilians,’ people not officially with the Agency, to discuss ‘projects, activities and possible relationships.’” [p. 133] If Ayton is right that Shaw’s arrangement was unexceptional, and that “thousands” of other American businessmen had similarly been empowered by the CIA to “recruit or enlist ‘civilians,’” there is no record of it. Moreover, the CIA called QKENCHANT an “operational project,” not an intelligence-gathering project. And Shaw’s records were kept in The Agency’s “operational files,” not with the “innocent” Domestic Contact files that housed the routine debriefings of ‘simple’ returning American businessmen. Ironically, Ayton ignores what even Max Holland has acknowledged: Shaw lied under oath in denying his association with the CIA. “Have you ever worked for the Central Intelligence Agency?” Shaw’s own defense attorney F. Irvin Dymond asked him. “No, I have not,” replied Shaw.” [11] Against the interests of his own Agency, CIA director, Richard Helms, put the lie to that. Holland relates that Shaw had had an [at least] eight-year relationship with the CIA, sending The Agency information on 33 separate occasions that the CIA invariably graded as “of value” and “reliable.” [12] One might have expected that, if only for political reasons, a Warren Commission loyalist bent on diverting suspicion from the CIA and focusing it instead on Garrison would have avoided citing Holland’s essay, “The Lie That Linked the CIA to the Kennedy Assassination.” For that poorly conceived, anti-Garrison tirade was published by the CIA itself after his fellows at The Nation Magazine, where Holland works as a contributing editor, rejected the paper from their magazine. [13] To undermine the important revelations of Thomas Edward Beckham, a House Select Committee witness Mellen features, Ayton describes him as a “semi-literate,” implying that the memory of a poor reader could be safely ignored. During a visit to New Orleans, Mellen interviewed former House Select Committee investigator, L. J. Delsa, a murder investigator with more than 30 years experience working variously as a federal, state or local official. In an interview on December 7, 2005, Delsa opined that, on the basis of his personal knowledge, he believed that Beckham was a credible witness. Similar problems mar the rest of Ayton’s review. But at the end of the day, still standing are Mellen’s demolitions of the myths that the CIA played no part in JFK’s demise and that Oswald was a loner. And she has established quite convincingly that Clay Shaw’s International Trade Mart in New Orleans was a hornet’s nest of activity undoubtedly related to The Agency in ways known only to those with access to still-sealed files. With what we’ve already learned from declassified files, it’s no mystery why the government has remained so passionate about maintaining secrecy concerning JFK’s demise. For it is information that has been painfully extracted from once-secret files over the past 41 years that has steadily eroded the fables upon which the Warren Commission built its case. Mellen’s book has completed a demolition that Ayton’s valiant efforts can’t hope to stave off. It’s past time he understood that. For when keepers of the flickering flame have to resort to Agency-abetted disquisitions to defend The Agency’s innocence, the gig is up and it’s time to sent up a white flag. 1] The proposition, “Was Garrison Duped by the KGB?” was the subject of our debate held during a conference hosted by the Assassination Archives and Research Center in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, September 18, 2004 at the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel. Holland was to have defended that proposition but did not. He chose instead to argue that Jim Garrison had “lied” when he said in his book, “On the Trail of the Assassins,” that he’d not heard of the Il Paese Sera articles until after the Clay Shaw trial. While Holland established that Garrison had indeed seen the Il Paese Sera articles before trial, he was less convincing that Garrison’s inaccurate statement was really a lie rather than a mistake. As noted in the text, Garrison never used any of the material in the articles during the trial, and his book was published 21 years after he’d seen them. [2] Steve Dorril, Permindex: The International Trade in Disinformation. Lobster: the journal of parapolitics, intelligence and State Research, #3, 1983. On-line at: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/lobster.htm [Had Ayton but google-searched the obvious words, “Il Paese Sera, CMC,” the second “hit” would have taken him directly to this article.] [3] See: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/siss.txt In its entirety, John McAdams’s newsgroup post read as follows: From - Fri Oct 15 12:22:19 1999 From: 6489mcadamsj@vms.csd.mu.edu (John McAdams) Newsgroups: alt.assassination.jfk Approved: jmcadams@execpc.com Subject: IL PAESE SERA and Communist disinformation Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 17:19:56 GMT Message-ID: <38075e84.4563189@mcadams.posc.mu.edu> X-Newsreader: Forte Free Agent 1.11/32.235 NNTP-Posting-Host: 134.48.30.18 Lines: 79 Path: mcadams.posc.mu.edu!134.48.30.18 From "Communist Forgeries," a Senate Internal Security Sub-Committee hearing on 2 June 61, testimony of Richard Helms, pp. 2-4: <Quote on> In recent days we have seen an excellent example of how the Communists use the false news story. In late April rumors began to circulate in Europe, rumors charging that the Algerian-based generals who had plotted the overthrow of President De Gaulle had enjoyed support from NATO, the Pentagon, or CIA. Although this fable could have been started by supporters of General Challe, it bears all the earmarks of having been invented within the bloc. In Western Europe this lie was first printed on the 23rd of April by a Rome daily called Il Paese. Senator KEATING: Is Il Paese a Communist paper? Mr. HELMS: It is not a Communist paper, as such. We believe it to be a crypto-Communist paper but it is not like Unita, the large Communist daily in Rome. It purports to be an independent newspaper, but obviously it serves Communist ends. The story charged -- "It is not by chance that some people in Paris are accusing the American secret service headed by Allen Dulles of having participated in the plot of the four 'ultra' generals * * * Franco, Salazar, Allen Dulles are the figures who hide themselves behind the pronunciamentos of the 'ultras'; they are the pillars of an international conspiracy that, basing itself on the Iberian dictatorships, on the residue of the most fierce and blind colonialism, on the intrigues of the C.I.A. * * * reacts furiously to the advance of progress and democracy * * *." We found it interesting that Il Paese was the starting point for a lie that the Soviets spread around the world. This paper and its evening edition, Paese Sera, belong to a small group of journals published in the free world but used as outlets for disguised Soviet propaganda. These newspapers consistently release and replay anti-American, anti-Western, pro-Soviet bloc stories, distorted or wholly false. Mario Malloni, director of both Il Paese and Paese Sera, has been a member of the World Peace Council since 1958. The World Peace Council is a bloc-directed Communist front. On the next day Pravda published in Moscow a long article about the generals' revolt. Senator KEATING: May I interrupt there? Did Pravda pick it up as purportedly from Il Paese? Did they quote the other paper, the Italian paper, as the source of that information? Mr. HELMS: Pravda did not cite Il Paese. But instead of having this originate in Moscow, where everybody would pinpoint it, they planted the story first in Italy and picked it up from Italy and this is the way it actually went out in point of time [sic]. <Quote off> This is important context for understanding the PAESE SERA articles that linked Clay Shaw (correctly) to CMC/Permindex, and connected CMC/Permindex (falsely) to support for the OAS attempts against De Gaulle, various fascist and Nazi forces, etc. The PAESE SERA stories were quickly picked up and repeated by leftist journals in France, Moscow, and Canada. This by no means proves that the CMC/PERMINDEX stuff was a KGB disinformation operation. The left-wing journalists at the paper would have been happy to smear what they considered to be the "forces of capitalist imperialism" without any direct orders from Moscow. Indeed, Helms is only *inferring* that the earlier story about anti-De Gaulle generals was a KGB operation. But this episode does put the 1967 articles on Shaw/Permindex into context. The articles were, in one way or another, motivated by a communist ideological agenda. .John [4] * Anthony Marro. Helms Is Fined $2,000 and Given Two-Year Suspended Prison Term--U.S. Judge Rebukes Ex-C.I.A. Head for Misleading Panel. New York Times, 11/5/77, p.1. * See also: Gary Aguilar. Max Holland Rescues the Warren Commission and The Nation. Probe Magazine, Sept-Oct. 2000 (vol. 7 No.6) On-line at: http://www.webcom.com/ctka/pr900-holland.html#_edn151 * See also Richard Helms’ obituary, on-line at: www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/10/23/national/main526654.shtml+Helms+Is+Fined+">http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cache:VPzZ_xFFRh4J:www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/10/23/national/main526654.shtml+Helms+Is+Fined+%242,000+and+Given+Two-Year+Suspended+Prison+Term&hl=en&client=firefox-a [5] In: The Assassination Chronicles--Inquest, Counterplot, and Legend by Edward J. Epstein. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1992, p. 250--263. [6] Playboy interview of Jim Garrison is on-line at: http://www.jfklancer.com/Garrison2.html, ff [7] Harold Weisberg. Oswald in New Orleans--Case of Conspiracy with the C.I.A. New York: Canyon Books, 1967, p. 7--14.] [8] See the text supported by footnotes 138 to 146 in the essay, “Max Holland Rescues the Warren Commission and the Nation” by Gary L. Aguilar. Probe Magazine, Sept-Oct. 2000 (vol. 7 No.6) On-line at: http://www.webcom.com/ctka/pr900-holland.html#_edn151 [9] Joan Mellen. A Farewell to Justice. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, 2005, p. 253. [10] Carl Bernstein. The CIA and the Media. Rolling Stone Magazine, 10/20/77. Excerpts available on line at: http://www.webcom.com/~lpease/media/ciamedia.htm [11] William E. Jackson, Jr.. The Mystery of Judy Miller's 'Security Clearance' Deepens. Editor & Publisher, 10/26/05. On-line at: http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/co...t_id=1001390654 [12] Max Holland. The Lie that Linked the CIA to the Kennedy Assassination. On-line at the CIA’s website at: http://www.cia.gov/csi/studies/fall_winter.../article02.html [13] On condition I not disclose his identity, a former editor at The Nation told me that Holland’s CIA-published article had been rejected by Holland’s fellow editors. I asked Holland about the rejection in person at a Washington, D.C. JFK conference on November 19 2005. “Politics,” he said, explained the rejection.
  11. Gary L. Aguilar is an ophthalmologist specializing in plastic and reconstructive surgery, he is also Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco. He has lectured extensively on the assassination of John F. Kennedy and has a special interest in the medical evidence, on which he is a leading authority, including especially eyewitness reports from Parkland Memorial Hospital and Bethesda Medical Center. He is the author of The Converging Medical Case for Conspiracy in the Death of JFK that appeared in Murder in Dealey Plaza (2000). Gary L. Aguilar is one of only a handful of non-government physicians ever allowed by the Kennedy family privileged access to JFK's still-restricted medical and autopsy evidence that is housed at the National Archives. From a letter to the editor published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1992 [Vol. 268(13):1681-1682] to a recently-published, 16-page refutation of a pro-Warren Commission analysis that was published in the peer-reviewed journal Neurosurgery in 2005 [Neurosurgery, Vol. 57(3):e601 ff], Dr. Aguilar has continued an active engagement on the JFK topic for many years. Among his JFK writings are: 1."How Five Investigations Into JFK's Medical/Autopsy Evidence Got It Wrong" (with Cathy Cunningham), available at Historymatters.com at: http://www.history-matters.com/essays/jfkm...sGotItWrong.htm 2. "The Medical Case for Conspiracy," a 100-page essay co-written with Cyril Wecht, MD, JD and published in: Trauma Room One by Charles Crenshaw; New York: Paraview Press, 2001. 3. "The Converging Case for Conspiracy in the Death of JFK," published in: Murder in Dealey Plaza, edited by James Fetzer, Chicago: Catfeet Press, 2000. 4. Max Holland Rescues the Warren Commission and The Nation. Probe Magazine, September-October 2000 issue (Vol. 7 No. 6): http://www.webcom.com/ctka/pr900-holland.html 5."The Magic Bullet: Even More Magical Than We Knew?" (with Josiah Thompson, author of Six Seconds in Dallas), available at historymatters.com at: http://www.history-matters.com/essays/fram...MoreMagical.htm 6."JFK, Vietnam, and Oliver Stone." Available at historymatters.com at: http://www.history-matters.com/essays/viet...ver%20Stone.htm In November 2003, Dr. Aguilar publicly debated JFK's medical/autopsy evidence with Dr. Michael Baden, former coroner of New York City and former head of the panel of forensic experts who examined JFK's medical/autopsy evidence for the House Select Committee in 1978. The debate was held at a national symposium hosted by Cyril Wecht, MD, JD in Pittsburgh, PA and was attended by over 1300 people. In 2004, Dr. Aguilar engaged Max Holland in a public debate in Washington, D.C. on the subject, "Was Jim Garrison Duped by the KGB?" Dr. Aguilar practices in San Francisco and lives nearby with his wife and three children.
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