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Brian Schmidt

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  1. Brian Schmidt

    Louie Steven Witt: Mafia Guy

    The loans in questions had to do with business dealings primarily in Las Vegas, so Guarantee's Texas footprint would be irrelevant.
  2. Brian Schmidt

    Louie Steven Witt: Mafia Guy

    Lance, It appears you have limited knowledge of the insurance industry and financial instruments in general. Insurance policies, mortgages, and other loans are bought and sold between existing financial institutions that don't merge or go out of business. This all depends on the mix of assets they want to hold, the amount of risk they want in their portfolio, and geographic and regulatory considerations. But companies spin off certain assets and take on others all the time. This is a regular part of business in the financial and insurance sector. This is what happened with Guarantee and Rio Grande. I looked into this years back and some of Guarantee's assets were indeed sold to Rio Grande. In order to do a proper analysis on all of this, one would need to go back and look at specific records to see if this was because of or involving the alleged Mafia loans. And it would probably include going to a physical location and getting a hold of these records - not just searching for them online, where this level of detail likely doesn't exist. In any event, this is an admittedly tenuous connection between Marcello and Rio Grande, let alone Marcello and Witt. But this isn't why I think Witt is suspicious. To my thinking, I already believe there was a conspiracy that killed Kennedy for other reasons. This makes it even more suspicious, IMO, that the exact spot where Kennedy was shot there would be a man pumping an umbrella next to a man pumping his fist in a militant fashion. Witt's statements to the HSCA conflict with what is shown by various films and photographs and his lack of memory of certain things seem dubious to me. That doesn't mean he had anything to do with a conspiracy or was necessarily lying. But it opens two possibilities: that it was really him and the whole circumstance and testimony was somewhat improbable but true, or he wasn't really the Umbrella Man but testified because he was under pressure from someone. Having scant information on him and a clean criminal record, your guess is as good as mine as to why he would have done this. This is why I mentioned the connection between Marcello and his employer at the time in a one-off fashion. You obviously picked up that the connection was probably pretty tenuous and decided TO MAKE SOME SENSATIONAL POST IN A DRAMATIC WAY TO TRY TO DISCREDIT THIS AS "COMPLETELY BOGUS." If that's the card you're going to continue playing, I don't have an interest in having a debate about it because it's not productive. This gets to my final point about selectively challenging some of my information. I also mentioned that David Lifton's friend knew Witt's dentist and that he told his dentist about being the Umbrella Man a year before the HSCA. This suggests that Witt was telling the truth. But could you imagine if I said that Witt told his dentist that he wasn't the umbrella man? You would have immediately attacked it as, "A wild conspiracy theorist who lives in Southern California somehow has a mutual friend to a dentist in Dallas that has Witt as a client?" Show me the proof! Maybe if you were consistent in your scrutiny, you would have mentioned this too.
  3. Brian Schmidt

    Louie Steven Witt: Mafia Guy

    But to a larger point, how come you’re not taking issue with some of the more benign things I found out about Witt? It seems to me you’re the one with the preconceived ideas. I said I was agnostic about Witt. Obviously you’re not. I made the comment that Rio Grande had connections to Marcello via Gaurantee Life (which Rio Grande later took on some assets). But it isn’t certain that these assets were even connected to the loans to Marcello in any way. And even if they were, Witt simply working for the company doesn’t make him guilty of anything, or even suspicious. By saying that I wasn’t implying Witt was mob connected. I was laying out everything I knew about Witt and potential connections to anyone and everything JFK assassination related, because well....this is a JFK assassination message board. I never said for sure Witt was connected to anything (If I was more sure I would have said so. The intent of this message board is to lay out even subtle and remote connections that other experts can research and build upon. It’s been fruitful to the research community about other things over the years. It’s the point of a message board. So to jump the gun and pretend this is a court room is silly. So is using this to try to discredit the whole JFK research community and their research bona fides. And FWIW, not everything can be known by an hour’s worth of Google searching. I suggest reading up on some things before instantly attacking everything in a blanket way. When you said The Umbrella Man is a “highly fictionalized” film...yeah, it IS fiction. It doesn’t even pretend to be about The Umbrella Man. It’s about a conspiracy theorist who becomes obsessed with JFK lore and is a critical look at the conspiracy community. Check it out. You might like it😉
  4. Brian Schmidt

    Louie Steven Witt: Mafia Guy

    Lance, I never said the two merged. Both companies were still in existence decades after the assassination. I’ll have to find the documents I referenced, but what I said is true. In any event, I never made the claim that Witt and Marcello were connected. Rather that FBI documents connect Marcello to the Rio Grande Insurance Company.
  5. Lance, Gaurantee Reserve Life Insurace was under FBI investigation for allegedly lending money to mob figure Marcello (and Trafficante and Roselli). Their assets would be spun off to Rio Grande Insurance around the time of the assassination. There are declassified FBI documents about this. The movie quote you found about this was probably one of my old posts in this forum telling people about the movie (The Umbrella Man) and how it was funny they knew about this relatively obscure fact. Right-winger is a synonym for conservative.
  6. I don't think someone can say in good faith that there is nothing suspicious about a guy pumping an umbrella up and down on a clear day in the exact spot in front of where the president gets assassination. People who dismiss a connection of the Umbrella Man to a potential conspiracy outright, IMO, are trying too hard to be "rationally minded." I'm agnostic as to whether the Umbrella Man was really Louie Steven Witt. I've done a bit research on him. He just died in 2014. I checked his criminal record but it was clean. I've interviewed some of his coworkers and his niece. His niece said he was a strange guy who didn't talk much and didn't like to talk about the Umbrella Man. At the time of the assassination, he worked for the Rio Grande Insurance Company, which had connections to Carlos Marcello. After that, he was a warehouse manager. I found a guy who worked for him but he said he never mentioned the Kennedy assassination or that he was there at all. The guy didn't find out he was the Umbrella Man until years later during the HSCA. Also, it turns out Witt was a union representative--so much for being such a right-winger like he said during his testimony (although to be fair, back in the day before the hyper polarization, some conservatives were union supporters). If I remember correctly, one of David Lifton's close friends knew Witt's dentist and claimed he heard Witt tell him he was the Umbrella Man a year before the HSCA.
  7. Brian Schmidt

    Umbrella Man pic?

    The photo is from the filming of Oliver Stone’s JFK. David- could you tell me more about the Vidal/Hargraves correspondence? Did members of their families admit to them being DCM and UM?
  8. Found this article on WhoWhatWhy today. FWIW I don't believe the Zapruder film was tampered with, but the demonstration that Jackie seems farther back on the trunk of the car in the Nix film than the Zapruder film is interesting. I don't really know what to make of it -- could just be an optical illusion. https://whowhatwhy.org/2018/07/12/jfk-assassination-film-proof-of-tampering/
  9. Brian Schmidt

    The Shooters

    Below is the Frank Sturgis section from my (unfinished) essay on Hunt's confession: Frank Sturgis gained brief fame during the Watergate scandal by being one of the burglars, but he was also involved in CIA exploits much earlier – in the 1950’s and 60’s. Sturgis (born Frank Fiorini) was born in Norfolk, Virginia and served in the Pacific as a Marine during the Second World War. He did a stint in the Norfolk Police Department and U.S. Army before moving to Latin America in the mid-50’s. Sometime in 1958, Sturgis made contact with the CIA through the U.S. consulate in Santiago and went on to become to a contract agent and informant in the intelligence world for the next 12 years. Unlike most of the other conspirators named by Hunt, Sturgis was never an actual CIA agent. The best word to describe Sturgis’ role would be that of a mercenary. Indeed during his time working as an intelligence asset, Frank was involved in gun running and had well known mob connections. In 1958, he was arrested for illegal possession of arms in Cuba but was released without charge. He went on to become Castro’s gambling czar in the nascent communist state before gambling was outlawed and Castro was revealed to be a communist. Subsequent to these revelations, Sturgis formed the Anti-Communist Brigade, which was funded in large part by gambling interests and hotel owners linked to Batista. It was around this time it was alleged that Sturgis became a member of Operation 40, a Richard Nixon-backed CIA in-house assassination program to dispose of unfriendly leaders around the world. As part of this work, he became involved with Marita Lorenz, a 19 year old American who was having an affair with Fidel Castro. In January 1960, Sturgis passed along poison to Lorenz in an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Castro. Lorenz would later accuse Sturgis and Hunt of being involved in a plot to kill President Kennedy, which will be covered at greater length later in this essay. Frank Sturgis was associated with some unsavory characters in the anti-Castro Cuban community around the time of JFK’s murder including Felipe Vidal Santiago, Virgilio Gonzalez (future Watergate co-conspirator), Felix Rodriguez (of Iran Contra fame), Nestor Sanchez, Rafael Quintero, and John Martino. These same cast of characters would become of interest to researchers as potentially involved in the JFK assassination. Other soldiers of fortune Sturgis worked with, including Roy Hargraves and Gerry Patrick Hemming, were interviewed by the FBI following the assassination as potential suspects and we now know their names were actually in the Secret Service Protective Research File. Sturgis himself was questioned by the FBI two weeks following Kennedy’s murder over a December 4th article in the Florida Sun Sentinel claiming he had met Lee Harvey Oswald in Miami shortly prior to the assassination. Its author, Jim Buchanan, also claimed Oswald had tried to infiltrate the Anti-Communist Brigade, both of which claims Sturgis denied. One of the people with whom Sturgis worked extensively around the time of the assassination was Bernard Barker. Barker, who would also later turn up at the Watergate, was a Cuban American who worked as an undercover FBI agent and later as a CIA agent responsible for recruiting Cubans who eventually took part in the Bay of Pigs invasion. He was also Sturgis’ case officer during the time immediately prior to the assassination. Barker’s boss in 1962 was E. Howard Hunt. During the Watergate trials, Hunt denied knowing Sturgis prior to 1971 when they became acquainted as part of the ‘plumbers unit.’ This is almost certainly false, given Barker’s close connection to Sturgis as well as Hunt’s prominence in the anti-Castro Cuban community, where he was known as Eduardo. Interestingly, in Hunt’s 1949 novel Bimini Run, the main character’s name is Hank Sturgis whose biography closely mirrors the early adventures of Frank Sturgis. When assessing Sturgis’ possible involvement in the conspiracy, it is important to note that David Morales didn’t trust Sturgis or Barker to not gossip about big missions and questioned their competency in paramilitary operations. In fact, Morales didn’t even trust Hunt, a career CIA officer. It is therefore hard to imagine a cautious operator and senior officer like Morales working alongside Sturgis on something as sensitive as killing a sitting president. Furthermore, knowing the names of some of the conspirators and their seniority in the CIA, one can reasonably infer a chain of command and how a plot might materialize. In this light, a soldier of fortune and low level informant bringing in a top CIA assassinations expert to an existing plot is comical at best. As is Sturgis and Morales purportedly offering Hunt a role in the plot, which he turned down and walked away with no consequence. The CIA as an institution was skeptical of Sturgis and in internal documents doubt some of the information he relayed, and in others expressed concern over his Mafia connections. Nevertheless, Sturgis was undeniably involved in some very serious activities throughout his career. It is possible that Sturgis may have played some role in the assassination, given his contacts in the early 1960’s. It is unlikely that he played the role described by Hunt, however. It is important to note that in Hunt’s audio confession, he names Frank as a conspirator but in American Spy he said Sturgis was too simple minded to be trusted to be part of any conspiracy. Sturgis was among those in the immediate aftermath of the assassination to push the story that Lee Harvey Oswald was a Castro agent, which he continued to do throughout the 1970’s and 80’s up until his death. In John Martino’s confession to a journalist, he named someone who “wasn’t well known at the time but would become famous years later,” implying that someone was Sturgis. Whenever Kennedy was mentioned in Frank’s presence, he liked to joke, “You mean that guy I killed?” Notoriously unreliable, Sturgis liked to tell wild stories but by the 1980’s he was reportedly making outrageous claims in the hopes a journalist would publish them so he could turn around and sue the publication under libel laws. Sturgis died in 1993.
  10. Brian Schmidt

    Ted Kennedy

    I’ve been “locked out” of the forum because I couldn’t remember my password and the ‘forgot password’ function wasn’t working but I somehow got logged on, on my other computer. In any event, I’m glad this topic came up because I was going to start a new topic on it. My boss was Ted Kennedy’s chief economist in the late 80’s. I’ve never discussed Chappaquiddick with him previously, but about three weeks ago we went out for drinks and the topic came up because of the Chappaquiddick movie that recently came out. According to him, what really happened at Chappaquiddick was something of an open secret in Ted Kennedy’s office and Kennedy’s longtime personal bodyguard told my boss the following: Ted Kennedy was having an affair with one of the women there that night, but it wasn’t Mary Jo Kopechne. At the dinner party, Kopechne had too much to drink and wandered out to lie down somewhere, and the closest place she found was the backseat of Kennedy’s car. A while later, Kennedy and his mistress left the party after having some drinks. It was dark out when they got in the front two seats of the car and neither one noticed Kopechne, who was in the back seat passed out. After he crashed in the water, both him and his mistress swam to shore, but Kopechne was still in the backseat and not having known she was back there, didn’t think to rescue her. They didn’t call for help or report it immediately because they didn’t even know she was there. Later on, dinner guests must have realized she was missing. Once it started to become clear to Kennedy and his confidants what had happened, it was all cover-up because he didn’t want it coming out that he was having an affair while his wife was pregnant. He could have said he didn’t know Kopechne was in the car, but it wouldn’t have been very believable considering the deputy saw him in the car with a female in the passenger seat, so he said he was driving Kopechne home. (This last sentence is my interpretation – my boss ended with “it was all cover up after that”). This scenario doesn’t preclude any kind of meddling, however. It seems like the perfect storm of events, which raises the possibility that Kopechne was drugged and/or encouraged to go into the backseat. Perhaps once she was, a car then drove Kennedy off the road to ensure he ended up in the water.
  11. I know, it’s quite ironic
  12. At the time, I found it odd that Trump’s first official visit as president was to CIA headquarters for a speech to its officers. It seemed obvious it was meant as an olive branch to mend fences after Trump had publicly criticized them. But I wondered whose idea it was. I’m in the process of reading Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury and in it he talks about all the calls Trump got after he won the election from influential people inside and outside government warning him about the “deep state” and telling him not to piss off the intelligence agencies, who will get revenge on him (a lot of stuff similar to that Chuck Schumer quote from earlier this year). But what struck me was that Henry Kissinger called Jared Kushner and told him Trump needed to make nice with the CIA and that’s why Trump went there immediately after becoming president.
  13. This has been known to researchers for decades (and published in books about the assassination). It's funny how the mainstream meadia picks up on stories like this that have been out there for a long time. Imagine what kind of stories there could be if the MSM were actually fair and paying attention.
  14. Brian Schmidt

    Delay in release of records.

    Yeah it's real, Paul. I wonder what changed. We all know Trump is impulsive but it was just announced that apparently Mueller is filing charges Monday. Kinda makes you go "hmmm..."
  15. Brian Schmidt

    Delay in release of records.

    Trump's taking advice from CIA and FBI and withholding/redacting some of the files for a six month review period. Official statement to come from the White House soon.
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