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John Simkin

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  1. When Lyndon B. Johnson became Vice President in 1960 he decided he would record some of the telephone calls he made or received. He then arranged for his personal assistant Mildred Stegall to make transcripts of these conversations. He told her that he wanted to use them to help him write his memoirs. From what we know of LBJ it is highly probable that he wanted to use this material to blackmail the people who he was talking to. He also exchanged this information with J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the FBI. LBJ later destroyed some of these tapes and transcripts. The rest were handed over to Mildred Stegall with instructions that when he died this material had to be destroyed. Fortunately for us, she did not obey him. Instead, she packaged them up into eight Federal Records Center (FRC) boxes and after marking them “Top Secret”, they were sent to the LBJ Library. After the passing of John F. Kennedy Assassinations Records Collection Act of 1992, requests were made for these transcripts to be released. Around ten per cent were held back on grounds of national security but the rest were released to the public on 30th November, 1993. These transcripts give an insight into the thoughts of LBJ in the days following the assassination. They show that one subject dominated his thinking during that period. The subject that was of primary importance to LBJ was the Senate investigation into the activities of Bobby Baker. LBJ was not the only one interested in the Bobby Baker case. In the weeks leading up to the assassination, the Bobby Baker investigation, was the most important political story of the time. The death of JFK changed all that. It also enabled LBJ to use his position as president to prevent the publication of details of his corrupt relationship with Baker. J. Evetts Haley, a Texas businessman, was the first person to publish a book linking the Bobby Baker scandal with the assassination of John Kennedy (1). ”A Texan Looks at Lyndon” was published in 1964. It was a best seller and it is claimed that in Texas only the Bible outsold Haley's book that year. In the book Haley attempted to expose Johnson's corrupt political activities. This included a detailed look at the relationship between Johnson, Bobby Baker and Billy Sol Estes. Haley pointed out that three men who could have provided evidence in court against Johnson, George Krutilek, Harold Orr and Howard Pratt, all died of carbon monoxide poisoning from car engines. He also argued that Johnson was responsible for the deaths of Henry Marshall and John Douglas Kinser, a man that Mac Wallace was convicted of killing in 1951. Wallace had been working for Johnson since 1950. In May 1998 Walt Brown called a press conference in Dallas to discuss a previously unidentified fingerprint at the "sniper's nest" in the Texas School Book Depository. According to Brown this fingerprint had now been identified as belonging to Wallace. Haley also suggested that Johnson might have been responsible for the death of John F. Kennedy: "Johnson wanted power and with all his knowledge of political strategy and his proven control of Congress, he could see wider horizons of power as Vice-President than as Senate Majority Leader. In effect, by presiding over the Senate, he could now conceive himself as virtually filling both high and important positions - and he was not far from wrong.” (2) The journalist Joachim Joesten, was one of the first journalists to write a book on the Kennedy Assassination. (3) He could not get a publisher in the USA and so had to come to Britain to get “Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy” published in 1964. In the book Joesten claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Dallas Police Department and a group of right-wing Texas oil millionaires conspired to kill Kennedy. (4) In 1968 Joesten published “The Dark Side of Lyndon Baines Johnson”. In the book Joseten claimed: "The Baker scandal then is truly the hidden key to the assassination, or more exact, the timing of the Baker affair crystallized the more or less vague plans to eliminate Kennedy which had already been in existence the threat of complete exposure which faced Johnson in the Baker scandal provided that final impulse he was forced to give the go-ahead signal to the plotters who had long been waiting for the right opportunity." (5) We now know that during this period the FBI and the CIA were putting out rumours that Joseten was a KGB agent who was attempting to undermine the US government. It is true that in 1930s he had been a member of the German Communist Party and had fled to the USA after Adolf Hitler had gained power. It is indeed possible that he had received information from the Soviet Union about the assassination of JFK. We know from recently released documents that following the JFK assassination Soviet leaders were convinced that LBJ was behind the assassination. However, it has only been in recent years that we have become fully aware of just how important the Bobby Baker case was to these events. Bobby Baker was born in Pickens, South Carolina in 1929. (6) At the age of 14 Baker became a page at the Senate. He was befriended by Lyndon B. Johnson and eventually became secretary to the Senate Majority Leader. At this time he obtained the nickname Little Lyndon. Harry McPherson, another Johnson aide, described Baker as: "He was very smart, very quick, and indefatigable. Just worked all the time. He was always running someplace to make some kind of a deal." Johnson also used Baker to obtain political information. He told Jenkins that it was very important to "read" politicians. He constantly told him: "Watch their hands, watch their eyes. Read eyes. No matter what a man is saying to you, it's not important as what you can read in his eyes. The most important thing a man has to tell you is what he's not telling you. The most important thing he has to say is what he's trying not to say." Robert A. Caro quotes Baker as saying: "He (Johnson) seemed to sense each man's individual price and the commodity he preferred as coin." (7) In the early 1950s Baker had also been involved in helping Intercontinental Hotels Corporation to establish casinos in the Dominican Republic. Baker arranged for Ed Levison, an associate of Meyer Lansky and Sam Giancana, to become involved in this deal. When the first of these casinos were opened in 1955, Baker and Johnson were invited as official guests. On the surface it seems surprising that Johnson should allow himself to be linked with leading Mafia figures. However, it has to be remembered just how much power Johnson had at this time. In 1955 Johnson became majority leader of the Senate. This made him the second most powerful man in the US. Only the president had more power than the majority leader of the Senate. His main power came from the control he had over the various Senate committees. It was these committees that made the important decisions. Johnson’s major concern was that these committees made the right decisions about granting federal contracts to commercial companies. At this time J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the FBI, also had close links to people like Meyer Lansky and Sam Giancana. Hoover, like LBJ, thought he was untouchable. The events that followed showed that they were indeed right about this. By the 1950s Bobby Baker was Johnson’s key political adviser. We now know that Bobby Baker played an important role in persuading Johnson to become Kennedy’s running-mate in 1960. The journalist, Milton Viorst, later explained that: “What distinguished Baker from the rest of Lyndon's entourage, however, was that he, almost alone, argued that Johnson, failing to get the top spot, should agree to run with Kennedy as the Vice-Presidential nominee. Johnson's other friends, aware of the power of which the Majority Leader disposed, felt this was nonsense. Why Bobby persisted in this argument is by no means clear. After all, his whole orientation was toward the Senate. He knew the Vice-Presidency was an impotent office.” (8) In his autobiography, Wheeling and Dealing: Confessions of a Capitol Hill Operator (1978), Bobby Baker gives an account of how LBJ became JFK’s running-mate. Baker describes how Johnson told him that Kennedy was coming to see him at his hotel. John Connally was of the opinion that Kennedy would offer him the job. Johnson asked Baker what he should do. Baker replied: “It’s no disgrace to hold the second highest office in the land and be one heartbeat away from the presidency.” Connally added that Johnson would be able to deliver Texas for Kennedy. (9) At this stage Johnson appeared to be against the idea. He told Baker that he would have “trouble with some of my Texas friends if I decide to run.” Sam Rayburn was one of these “Texas friends” who was strongly opposed to the suggestion that Johnson should become Kennedy’s running-mate. He quoted another Texan, John Nance Garner, who held the post under Franklin D. Roosevelt, as saying: “The office ain’t worth a pitcher of warm spit.” However, according to Baker, John Connally and Phil Graham “worked on” Rayburn until he “came round” to the idea that Johnson should become Kennedy’s running-mate. Connally was part of the eventual deal, and became Secretary of the Navy, a key post in getting federal contracts to Texas companies. There still remained a significant number of opponents to Johnson’s strategy. Baker adds in his autobiography that “several Texas congressmen, spoiled by Johnson’s special attentions to their pet legislative schemes, begged him not to leave his powerful Senate post.” According to Baker, one of Johnson’s political friends resorted to threats of violence against Johnson if he became the vice-presidential candidate. This was oil millionaire, Robert S. Kerr. (10) In their book, The Case Against Congress, Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson claim that “Robert S. Kerr, oil millionaire, uranium king, cattle baron and Senator from Oklahoma… dominated the Senate’s back rooms in the late 1950s and early 1960s.” Pearson and Anderson point out that Kerr main concern in Congress was to preserve the oil depletion allowance. (11) In “Wheeling and Dealing” Baker described what happened when Kerr arrived at the meeting in Johnson’s hotel room: “Kerr literally was livid. There were angry red splotches on his face. He glared at me, at LBJ, and at Lady Bird. ‘Get me my .38,’ he yelled. ‘I’m gonna kill every damn one of you. I can’t believe that my three best friends would betray me.’ Senator Kerr did not seem to be joking. As I attempted to calm him he kept shouting that we’d combined to ruin the Senate, ruin ourselves, and ruin him personally.” Johnson responded to this outburst by telling Baker to take Kerr in the bathroom and “explain things to him”. Baker did this and after hearing about the reasons for Johnson’s decision to accept the post, “Senator Kerr put a burly arm around me and said, “Son, you are right and I was wrong. I’m sorry I mistreated you.” What did Baker tell Kerr that dramatically changed his mind on this issue? According to Baker, he told Kerr: “If he’s elected vice-president, he’ll be an excellent conduit between the White House and the Hill.” What is more, if Kennedy is defeated, Johnson can blame it on Kennedy’s religion and be the likely victor in the attempt to be the Democratic Party candidate in the 1964 election. Kerr would have been well aware of this argument before he entered the bathroom with Baker. If Kerr did change his mind about Johnson’s becoming Kennedy’s running-mate, then Baker told him something else in the bathroom. It could be that Johnson would insist that Kennedy did not do anything about the oil depletion allowance. We do know that during the campaign, Kennedy did write to senior figures in Texas promising not to interfere with the oil depletion allowance. Maybe there was something else. Maybe he suggested that Johnson would become president before 1964. In 1960 Johnson's was elected as vice president under John F. Kennedy. Baker remained as Johnson's secretary and political adviser. He continued to do business with Levison, Giancana and Ben Siegelbaum (an associate of Jimmy Hoffa) in the Dominican Republic. Baker argued that Dominican Republic could be a Mafia replacement for Cuba. However, these plans came to an end when the military dictator, Rafael Trujillo, was murdered on the orders of the CIA. President Kennedy now gave his support to Juan Bosch when he was elected to office in December, 1962. Baker had already arranged another source of income. In 1962 he had established the Serve-U-Corporation with his friend, Fred Black, and mobsters Ed Levenson and Benny Sigelbaum. The company was to provide vending machines for companies working on federally granted programs. The machines were manufactured by a company secretly owned by Sam Giancana and other mobsters based in Chicago. The president of Serve-U-Corporation was Eugene A. Hancock, who was a business partner of Grant Stockdale and George Smathers at Automatic Vending Services. Questions were asked about Stockdale's business involvement with Baker. In an interview he insisted he was "absolutely not" a stockholder in Serve-U-Corporation. He also pointed out that he had disposed of his holdings in Automatic Vending Services, more than a year earlier. Rumours began circulating that Baker was involved in corrupt activities. Although officially his only income was that of Secretary to the Majority in the Senate, he was clearly a very rich man. Baker was investigated by Attorney General Robert Kennedy. He discovered Baker had links to Clint Murchison and several Mafia bosses. Evidence also emerged that Lyndon Johnson was also involved in political corruption. This included the award of a $7 billion contract for a fighter plane, the F-111 (TFX), to General Dynamics, a company based in Texas. In 1962 John Williams, the senator from Delaware, began to investigate the activities of Bobby Baker. (12) One of his first discoveries was that Bobby Baker had bought a house for his attractive secretary, Nancy Carole Tyler. (13) Baker later commented in his autobiography, Wheeling and Dealing: Confessions of a Capitol Hill Operator: "Senator Williams was happy to announce such stories to the press. He also presumably enjoyed breaking the story of how I'd bought the $28,000 town house Carole Tyler lived in... It was a nice enough house, but the furnishings were vastly inflated as to worth and style, as were the reports which sounded as if orgies occurred there with the setting of the sun. There was an embarrassment involved, however. I had incorrectly and improperly listed Carole Tyler as my cousin when I applied for the loan, in order to satisfy the Federal Housing Authority's regulation that anyone buying an FHA-underwritten home must either live in it or have a relative living in it." According to W. Penn Jones Jr.: “Bobby Baker was about the first person in Washington to know that Lyndon Johnson was to be dumped as the Vice-Presidential candidate in 1964. Baker knew that President Kennedy had offered the spot on the ticket to Senator George Smathers of Florida... Baker knew because his secretary. Miss Nancy Carole Tyler, roomed with one of George Smathers' secretaries. Miss Mary Jo Kopechne had been another of Smathers' secretaries.” (14) Baker was having an affair with Tyler. What Williams did not find out was that Baker was organizing sex parties in the house he had purchased for Tyler. Both Johnson and Hoover knew about these parties. In fact, it was a “honey pot” blackmail operation. Johnson found it fairly easy to get politicians to do what he wanted if they had been to any of his parties. It was also the place where political bribes were handed over. This was all recorded and added to the files kept by Johnson and Hoover. Baker also owned the Quorum Club, another place that was used to acquire information about politicians that could later be used for blackmail. Johnson used people like Baker, Walter Jenkins and Fred Black to pay money to these politicians. Once they had received money from the sources they became under Johnson’s control. In return, they got positions on important Senate committees. However, they always had to vote the way Johnson told them. According to Anthony Summers (Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover) Bill Thompson asked Bobby Baker if he would arrange a meeting between Ellen Rometsch and John F. Kennedy. Baker later said that: "He (Kennedy) sent back word it was the best time he ever had in his life. That was not the only time. She saw him on other occasions. It went on for a while." (15) Baker then told LBJ and Hoover about Kennedy’s relationship with Ellen Rometsch. (16) In July 1963 Federal Bureau of Investigation agents questioned Romesch about her past. They came to the conclusion that she was probably a Soviet spy. Hoover actually leaked information to the journalist, Courtney Evans, that Romesch worked for Walter Ulbricht, the communist leader of East Germany. When Robert Kennedy was told about this information, he ordered her to be deported. The FBI had discovered that there were several women at the Quorum Club, run by Baker, who had been involved in relationships with leading politicians. This included both John and Robert Kennedy. It was particularly worrying that this included Mariella Novotny (17) and Suzy Chang (18). This was a problem because they had both initially came from communist countries and had been named as part of the spy ring that had trapped John Profumo, the British war minister, a few months earlier. President Kennedy told J. Edgar Hoover that he "personally interested in having this story killed". It also explains why he asked his ambassador to London, David Bruce, to give him daily reports on the Profumo case. When I was checking out this story I made contact with Mandy Rice Davies (19). In July, 1962, Mandy Rice-Davies and Christine Keeler (20) were taken to the USA, by Earl Fenton, a screenwriter (21). In 1962 a FBI memo written by J. Edgar Hoover stated that Felton had taken part in sex orgies that involved Christine Keeler, Mandy Rice-Davies, Mariella Novotny, Douglas Fairbanks, Lord Astor, Eugene Ivanov, John Profumo and Stephen Ward. (22) I suspect that the plan was to use them in the Bobby Baker operation. However, Rice-Davies denies this and says they were to film a television commercial. In fact, she denies ever being a prostitute. According to Christine Keeler’s autobiography, Felton was a CIA agent. (23) The evidence indicates that Felton was also a FBI informant. John Williams, the Republican senator from Delaware, was the main source of information on the corrupt activities of Baker. Williams became known as the "Sherlock Holmes of Capitol Hill" and the "Conscience of the Senate". In 1958 he contributed to the downfall of Sherman Adams, Eisenhower's chief of staff. During a 15 year period his investigations resulted in over 200 indictments and 125 convictions. What makes Williams noteworthy was that he was willing to expose the corruption of both Republicans and Democrats. Because of his integrity Williams received a great deal of information from people who wished to expose corruption. On 3rd October, 1963, Williams went to Senator Mike Mansfield, the majority leader, and to Senator Everett Dirksen, the minority leader, and arranged for them to call Bobby Baker before the leadership at a closed meeting on 8th October. Baker never appeared before the Senate's leadership: the day before his scheduled appearance he resigned his post. Soon afterwards, Fred Korth, the Navy Secretary, also from Texas, and the replacement for John Connaly, when he became Governor of Texas, and a close friend of LBJ, was also forced to resign because of the F-111 contract. (24) Williams now introduced a resolution calling upon the Committee on Rules and Administration to conduct an investigation of the financial and business interests and possible improprieties of any Senate employee or former employee. On 10th October, the Senate adopted this resolution. The committee was made up of three Republican members, Carl Curtis, John Sherman Cooper and Hugh Scott and six Democrats, B. Everett Jordan, Carl Hayden, Claiborne Pell, Joseph S. Clark, Howard W. Cannon and Robert C. Byrd. Johnson had considerable control over the six Democrats and one of the three Republicans, John Sherman Cooper. (25) It is no coincidence that Cooper is also selected by LBJ and Hoover to serve on the Warren Commission. The telephone transcripts between LBJ and Hoover, shows that both men considered Cooper to be a good choice, especially as he had a reputation as a “liberal”. It is not clear what they had on Cooper, but it was clearly enough for him not to cause problems for LBJ. Going by the telephone transcripts, the only people Johnson did not have anything on was Curtis and Scott. However, in a telephone conversation with George Smathers on 10th January, 1964, Johnson claims that Scott was involved with the same women that had entrapped John Kennedy. He tells Smathers to tell Richard Russell to get “Curtis and Scott” to behave. Russell, who was also on the Warren Commission, was Johnson’s main fixer in Congress. Johnson also told Smathers to warn Scott that he would take away some important federal contracts from Philadelphia. The next stage in this story is very interesting. Hoover leaked the information about Ellen Rometsch to the journalist Clark Mollenhoff. On 26th October, 1963 he wrote an article in the Des Moines Register claiming that the FBI had "established that the beautiful brunette had been attending parties with congressional leaders and some prominent New Frontiersmen from the executive branch of Government... The possibility that her activity might be connected with espionage was of some concern, because of the high rank of her male companions". Mollenhoff claimed that John Williams "had obtained an account" of Rometsch's activity and planned to pass this information to the Senate Rules Committee, the body investigating Baker. (26) The following day Robert Kennedy sent La Verne Duffy to West Germany to meet Ellen Rometsch. In exchange for a great deal of money she agreed to sign a statement formally "denying intimacies with important people." Kennedy now contacted Hoover and asked him to persuade the Senate leadership that the Senate Rules Committee investigation of this story was "contrary to the national interest". He also warned on 28th October that other leading members of Congress would be drawn into this scandal and so was "contrary to the interests of Congress, too". Hoover had a meeting with Mike Mansfield, the Democratic leader of the Senate and Everett Dirksen, the Republican counterpart. What was said at this meeting has never been released. However, as a result of the meeting that took place in Mansfield's home the Senate Rules Committee decided not to look into the Rometsch scandal. I believe that Hoover and Johnson leaked this information on John Kennedy as a warning concerning the Bobby Baker case. Had Johnson heard about what Kennedy had said to his personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln? According to Lincoln, Kennedy had decided that because of this emerging scandal he was going to drop Johnson as his running mate in the 1964 election. He told Lincoln that he was going to replace Johnson with Terry Sanford. (27) Maybe, Johnson had also discovered where John Williams had been receiving his information from. Burkett Van Kirk, chief counsel for the Republican minority on the Senate Rules Committee later told Seymour Hersh that Senator John Williams was being fed information by Robert Kennedy about the involvement of Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Baker in a series of scandals. Van Kirk claimed that Robert Kennedy supplied this information because he wanted “to get rid of Johnson.” (28) There is now enough evidence to suggest that in 1963 there was an attempt by the Kennedy brothers to get rid of Johnson as vice-president. Their main weapon was John Williams, a man considered to be the most honest in the Senate. At the same time Kennedy had announced in January, 1963, that he wanted to do away with the oil depletion allowance. It is estimated that the proposed removal of the oil depletion allowance would result in a loss of around $300 million a year to Texas oilmen. A Senate committee was already looking into the General Dynamics F-111 contract and Johnson’s friend, Fred Korth, had just been forced to resign. (Johnson and already trapped Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense, into this scandal and was already under his tight control.) However, Johnson was fighting back and was behind the leaks concerning Kennedy’s relationship with prostitutes linked to the Soviet Union. Despite Johnson’s best efforts, the Kennedy brothers believed that something that was going to happen on 22nd November, 1963, that was finally going to get rid of Johnson. A man named Don B. Reynolds had gone to see John Williams about evidence he had against Johnson and Baker. Williams arranged for Reynolds to appear before a closed session of the Senate Rules Committee on 22nd November. Reynolds, who was a friend of Baker, claimed that LBJ had demanded that he provided kickbacks in return for this business. This included a $585 Magnavox stereo. Reynolds also had to pay for $1,200 worth of advertising on KTBC, Johnson's television station in Austin. Reynolds had paperwork for this transaction including a delivery note that indicated the stereo had been sent to the home of Johnson. (29) Reynolds also told of seeing a suitcase full of money which Baker described as a "$100,000 payoff to Johnson for his role in securing the Fort Worth TFX contract". His testimony came to an end when news arrived that President Kennedy had been assassinated. The telephone transcripts show that as soon as LBJ became president he contacted B. Everett Jordan, the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, to see if there was any chance of stopping Reynolds’ testimony from being published. Jordan replied that he would do what he could but warned Johnson that some members of the committee wanted Reynold's testimony to be released to the public. On 6th December, 1963, Jordan spoke to Johnson on the telephone and said he was doing what he could to suppress the story because "it might spread (to) a place where we don't want it spread." There was also another man who was threatening to tell what he knew about the Bobby Baker case and the assassination of John Kennedy. His name was Edward Grant Stockdale (30). In 1949 Stockdale met Kennedy through George Smathers. The three man became close friends. In 1959 Grant Stockdale was named director of the Florida State committee to elect John F. Kennedy. After Kennedy won the nomination, Stockdale actively campaigned for him in West Virginia, Oregon, and New York. He was also a member of the Democratic Party's National Finance Committee. Grant Stockdale also formed a business partnership with George Smathers and Eugene A. Hancock. Their company, Automatic Vending Services Incorporated, was involved in providing vending machines to government institutions. In March, 1961, President Kennedy appointed Stockdale as Ambassador to Ireland. This decision was criticised by some political commentators. Time Magazine pointed out: "On the campaign trail last fall, Jack Kennedy pledged that U.S. embassies would no longer be political plums for heavy campaign contributors, would be staffed solely "on the basis of ability." But last week, as reports of the Administration's favorites for diplomatic posts filtered through Washington, many of Kennedy's staunchest admirers wondered aloud where reward stopped and ability began.... Among the front runners for top ambassadorial assignments... Grant Stockdale, 45, a Miami real estate dealer and former administrative assistant to Jack Kennedy's old Senate pal, Florida Democrat George Smathers, will be Ambassador to Ireland." (31) Several newspaper began asking questions about Grant Stockdale's relationship with prosperous businessman, Sidney Kessler. It emerged that Kessler gave Stockdale a $5,000 interest-free loan at a time when he had applied for permission to construct a $8 million apartment building in Miami. When this came to the attention of Kennedy he told Stockdale to pay the money back. According to the Chicago Daily News Stockdale claimed in an interview that "the President was afraid the loan could make look like I was finagling around with the FHA." In April 1961 Stockdale was served with papers in a $131,000 damages suit by Pan-Am Tobacco Corporation. The New York Times reported: "The suit alleged that he had used undue influence to gain contracts for Automatic Vending Services, Inc., a Miami company in which he owned stock." Pan-Am claimed it its suit that Stockdale had been instrumental in gaining for his company the vending service contract at Aerodex Incorporated, an aircraft engine maintenance company in Miami. There were also concerns about contracts totalling $500,000 a year at Patrick Air Force Base and the Air Force missile test centre at Cape Kennedy. Stockdale argued that Pan-Am was attempting "to get some publicity because I am a United States Ambassador". The Pan-Am suit was eventually dismissed as "frivolous" in Dade County Circuit Court, and the Florida Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently upheld the lower court. Questions were also being asked about Stockdale's business involvement with Bobby Baker. In an interview he insisted he was "absolutely not" a stockholder in Serve-U-Corporation, the vending company which had figured largely in the Baker investigation. On paper this was true, his investment was controlled by his business partner, Eugene A. Hancock, who was President of Serve-U-Corporation. Stockdale also pointed out that he had disposed of his holdings in Automatic Vending Services, more than a year earlier. However, under pressure from President John F. Kennedy, he resigned as ambassador in July, 1962 and was replaced by Matthew H. McCloskey. Another member of JFK’s Irish Mafia, McCloskey was forced to resign in 1964 over his business relationship with Bobby Baker. (32) According to Seymour Hersh (The Dark Side of Camelot), at the beginning of November, 1963, John Kennedy asked Stockdale to raise $50,000 for his personal use. Stockdale told friends that the money had something to do with the Bobby Baker case. This information came from Stockdale’s son. He said a family friend had gone with his father, Grant said, to the Kennedy compound to deliver the money. "Kennedy said, Thank you, opened a nearby closet door, and threw the briefcase in there," Grant was told. "The closet was full of briefcases." The suggestion is that in November 1963, JFK was being blackmailed by Baker. Stockdale was involved in raising this money. However, at the same time he was a business associate of Baker’s. On 26th November, Grant Stockdale flew to Washington and talked with Robert Kennedy and Edward Kennedy. It is my view that he gave the brothers information about the assassination. I suspect that what he knew came from Baker. However, he told his wife that the brothers were not interested in acting on this information. He found this very disturbing and understandably began to fear for his safety. On his return Stockdale told several of his friends that "the world was closing in." On 1st December, he spoke to his attorney, William Frates who later recalled: "He started talking. It didn't make much sense. He said something about 'those guys' trying to get him. Then about the assassination." Edward Grant Stockdale died on 2nd December, 1963 when he fell (or was pushed) from his office on the thirteenth story of the Dupont Building in Miami. Stockdale did not leave a suicide note but his friend, George Smathers, claimed that he had become depressed as a result of the death of Kennedy. In June 2004 I was put into contact with Grant Stockdale’s daughter, Anne. She claimed that her father had been involved in some undercover activities for JFK: “One thing I do know is that Kennedy asked Daddy to go to the Air Force Base South of Miami to see if (against Kennedy's orders) bombs were being loaded on the planes. Bombs were being loaded on the planes!! I believe one of the reasons Daddy was killed was because he knew that the Government was being run by the Military Complex. The Military Complex didn't want the American People to realize (and still don't ) that they were calling the shots. Daddy knew he was being followed... & he told Mom that they were going to get him... and they did. There was an attempt on my life also several days after Daddy's funeral . I realize now that this was a scare tactic to silence my Mother... i.e. if you speak about anything, Your kids are dead. It worked!!” (33) Lyndon Johnson was obsessed with the Bobby Baker case in the days following the assassination. One of the most fascinating aspect of the Johnson telephone transcripts concerns the cover-up of the case. Abe Fortas, a lawyer who represented both Johnson and Bobby Baker, worked behind the scenes in an effort to keep this information from the public. Johnson also arranged for a smear campaign to be organized against Don Reynolds. To help him do this J. Edgar Hoover passed to Johnson the FBI file on Reynolds. In 1965 Johnson nominated Fortas as a member of the Supreme Court. Fortas was forced to resign from the Supreme Court in May 1969, when he was found guilty of taking a bribe. (34) On 17th January, 1964, the Senate Rules Committee voted to release to the public Reynold's secret testimony. Johnson responded by leaking information from Reynolds' FBI file to Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson. On 5th February, 1964, the Washington Post reported that Reynolds had lied about his academic success at West Point. The article also claimed that Reynolds had been a supporter of Joseph McCarthy and had accused business rivals of being secret members of the American Communist Party. It was also revealed that Reynolds had made anti-Semitic remarks while in Berlin in 1953. (35) Jack Anderson worked with the OSS in China during the war with Paul Helliwell and Ray S. Cline, who later became senior figures in the CIA. Soon after the CIA was established in 1947, Anderson got a job as Drew Pearson’s assistant. (36) In 1966 it was Jack Anderson that published the story about the possible Mafia links with the assassination of JFK. This took place during the Jim Garrison investigation that was showing links between the CIA and anti-Castro Cubans and the assassination. A few weeks later the New York Times reported that Johnson had used information from secret government documents to smear Reynolds. It also reported that Johnson's officials had been applying pressure on the editors of newspapers not to print information that had been disclosed by Reynolds in front of the Senate Rules Committee. Even so, the story failed to make the front-pages of the national newspapers. This is understandable. Two months earlier, the president had been assassinated. The public was in no mood to drive another from office on the grounds of corruption. Don Reynolds also lost his desire to testify against Johnson. Reynolds told John Williams after the assassination: "My God! There's a difference between testifying against a President of the United States and a Vice President. If I had known he was President, I might not have gone through with it." Maybe there were other reasons for this change of approach. Reynolds also appeared before the Committee on Rules and Administration on 1st December, 1964. Before the hearing Reynolds supplied a statement implicating Bobby Baker and Matthew H. McCloskey in financial corruption. However, the Democrats had a 6-3 majority on the Committee and Reynolds was not allowed to fully express the role that Johnson had played in this deal. Eugene Hancock also appeared before the committee. Hancock testified he was president of Serve-U-Corporation "only in name" and knew little about its affairs. He went onto insist he had no personal knowledge that Bobby Baker was a big stockholder in the firm. Hancock swore he never gave Baker any money, and denied that Baker was to share in commissions he expected from a contract with a Washington area defense plant. The Baker investigation continued. In 1964 Nancy Carole Tyler was called before the Senate Rules Committee. Tyler took the fifth amendment and refused to provide any information that would implicate Bobby Baker in any corrupt activities. Tyler moved back to Tennessee but returned in 1965 to work with Baker as his bookkeeper at the Carousel Motel. Tyler believed that Baker would leave his wife. When he refused, she became very angry and according to Baker, made scenes. This included threats to commit suicide. On 10th May, 1965, Tyler, died in a plane crash, near Ocean City, Maryland. Here is Bobby Baker’s account of her death in his autobiography: “On Sunday morning she and her roommate, a young woman named Dee McCartney, began having drinks with a West Virginia man, Robert O. Davis, who had been vacationing at the Carousel for about a week. She originally had intended to take a sightseeing tour over the eleven-mile-long island on which the Carousel was built, in Davis's private plane, but the morning weather was judged too soupy for flying. They continued to drink; observers later told me the pilot appeared to be pretty tipsy. About 2 p.m., Robert Davis and Carole Tyler drove to the Ocean City airport, the weather having turned bright and sunny, and went up in his airplane. Witnesses later said that the single-engine aircraft approached the Carousel, buzzed it a few times at low altitudes, and then began to pull up sharply as it banked into a turn taking it out over the Atlantic. The aircraft failed to come out of the turn. It hit the water nose-first at high speed and sank like a stone, only a couple of hundred yards from the Carousel.” (37) On 26th November, 1963, President Johnson told the Joint Chief of Staffs: “Gentlemen, I want you to know I'm not going to let Vietnam go the way China did. I'm personally committed. I'm not going to take one soldier out of there 'til they know we mean business in Asia… You just get me elected, and I'll give you your damned war.” As president, Johnson used his power to close down the committee looking into the TFX deal. This was very convenient as General Dynamics, the Texas based company that got the contract, had been major Johnson’s donors during his political career. So had two other Texas based companies, Bell Helicopters and Brown & Root (Halliburton). All three were the major beneficiaries of the Vietnam War. Bobby Baker’s lawyer, Edward Bennett Williams, was considered to be a mobster lawyer who had defended amongst others, Jimmy Hoffa. However, he also represented John Connally and Richard Helms, the Director of the CIA. In 1967 Baker was found guilty of seven counts of theft, fraud and income tax evasions. However, he was never charged with the serious corruption offences that would have brought people like Johnson into court. This included accepting large sums in "campaign donations" intended to buy influence with various senators, but had kept the money for himself. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison but served only sixteen months. Nancy Carole Tyler, flatmate, Mary Jo Kopechne, died in Ted Kennedy’s car on 17th July, 1969. Bobby Baker is still alive but except for publishing his self-serving memoirs, Wheeling and Dealing: Confessions of a Capitol Hill Operator (1978) he has kept a low profile and has refused to discuss his relationship with Lyndon Johnson in public. It is highly unlikely that we will ever discover if Joachim Joesten, was right when he said the Baker scandal is the hidden key to the assassination of John Kennedy. Those involved are either dead or unwilling to incriminate themselves. Any important documentary evidence was destroyed long ago. However, the case does highlight the level of corruption that existed in Washington in 1963 and it does raise the possibility that Kennedy died because of his plans to clean the system up. Instead, we got Lyndon Johnson, the most corrupt president in American history. Notes (1) J. Evetts Haley, A Texan Looks at Lyndon (1964) (2) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKhaleyE.htm (3) Joachim Joesten, Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy? (1964) (4) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKjoesten.htm (5) Joachim Joesten, The Dark Side of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1968) (6) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKbakerB.htm (7) Robert A. Caro, Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate (2002) (8) Milton Viorst, Hustlers and Heroes (1971) (9) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing: Confessions of a Capitol Hill Operator (1978) (10) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKkerrR.htm (11) Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson, The Case Against Congress (1968) (12) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKwilliamsJ.htm (13) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKtylerN.htm (14) W. Penn Jones Jr, Texas Midlothian Mirror (31st July, 1969) (15) Anthony Summers, Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover (1993) (16) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKrometsch.htm (17) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKnovotny.htm (18) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKchangS.htm (19) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SPYdavies.htm (20) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SPYkeeler.htm (21) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SPYfelton.htm (22) J. Edgar Hoover, memo, June, 1963 (23) Christine Keeler, The Truth at Last (2001) (24) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKkorth.htm (25) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAcopperJS.htm (26) Clark Mollenhoff, Des Moines Register (26th October, 1963) (27) Evelyn Lincoln, Kennedy and Johnson (1968) (28) Seymour Hersh, The Dark Side of Camelot (1997) (29) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKreynoldsD.htm (30) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKstockdale.htm (31) Time Magazine (17th February, 1961) (32) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKmccloskey.htm (33) Anne Stockdale, email (June, 2004) (34) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKfortasA.htm (35) Jack Anderson, Washington Post (5th February, 1964) (36) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAandersonJ.htm (37) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing: Confessions of a Capitol Hill Operator (1978) (38) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKkopechne.htm
  2. I have never heard the name William Frank Buckley mentioned in relation to the JFK assassination. However, there is evidence to suggest that he was willing to go to extreme measures to get Barry Goldwater elected in 1964. Is it possible that after the Cuban Missile Crisis and the failure of Operation Tilt, Buckley thought that more extreme measures were needed. Buckley has had an interesting career. He is the son of William Buckley Sr., a Texas oil millionaire. After the war Buckley enrolled at Yale University. He joined the Skull and Bones Society. Other members included George H. W. Bush, the future director of the CIA. Buckley soon became involved in right-wing politics and was involved in disrupting the 1948 Henry Wallace presidential campaign. In many ways, Wallace was an early example of JFK. He moved sharply to the left once in power (in Franklin D. Roosevelt's cabinet). Wallace was also horrified by the possibility of nuclear war (the issue that changed JFK's views on the Cold War). During this period Buckley described himself as a "revolutionary against the present liberal order". In 1951 Buckley joined the Central Intelligence Agency and worked with E. Howard Hunt in Mexico City. Despite the fact that Buckley is one of America's most prolific writers, he has said next to nothing about this part of his life. While with the CIA he published God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of Academic Freedom. He also worked with Eudocio Ravines on The Road to Yenan, a book about the communist conspiracy to obtain world domination. According to Buckley, he left the CIA after a few months. In my opinion he never really left the CIA. Instead, it was decided that he would be more useful to the agency as an "independent" journalist. In other words, he was to become a key figure in Operation Mockingbird. Buckley's first job after leaving the CIA was to become editor of The American Mercury. He continued to be active in right-wing politics and in 1953 Buckley established the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists (ISI). This was modeled on the Intercollegiate Socialist Society (ISS) that had been founded by Jack London in 1905. The ISI distributed free copies of right-wing books such as Road to Serfdom (Friedrich A. Hayek) and The Income Tax: Root of all Evil (Frank Chodorov). This also fits into the strategy of the CIA's Operation Mockingbird strategy (see the 1976 Frank Church report). Buckley also joined forces with Willi Schlamm to start up a new right-wing journal entitled the National Review. Schlamm, who had previously been literary editor of The Freeman, a conservative magazine published by Henry Luce. The magazine was funded by right-wing figures including Adolphe Menjou, Spruille Braden, Roger Milliken, Clarence Manion and Robert Welch, the founder of the John Birch Society. I suspect that Tom Braden's CIA funds were also used to keep this journal going. In September, 1960, Buckley, Douglas Caddy and Marvin Liebman established the far right group, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). The first meeting was held at Buckley's home in Sharon, Connecticut. Caddy became YAF's first president. Its first national council included eleven members of the John Birch Society. The main mission of the YAF was to “prepare young people for the struggle ahead with Liberalism, Socialism and Communism”. Tom Hayden and other leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society compared the YAF to the Hitler Youth. The main objective of Buckley and the YAF was to support the efforts of Barry Goldwater to become the Republican Party candidate to take on John F. Kennedy in the forthcoming presidential election. Buckley and Goldwater both believed that the link to Robert Welch and the John Birch Society posed a threat to this objective. As a result Buckley used the National Review to attack the neo-fascist views of Welch. Donald Freed has argued that E. Howard Hunt and Charles Colson were also behind the formation of YAF. Ramparts Magazine documented a wide range of different illegal strategies used by YAF to get Goldwater the Republican nomination in 1960 and 1964. This included bombings and assassination attempts. Is it possible that by November 1963 Buckley knew that Goldwater would not be able to defeat JFK in 1964? After his experiences with the covert actions of YAF, might he have been tempted to use more extreme methods to stop JFK being reelected? The YAF failed in its task to get Goldwater the presidency. However, it is interesting that the same figures in the YAF turn up in the early 1970s carrying out dirty tricks against the Democrats. Buckley has something else in common with David Phillips and E. Howard Hunt. Over the years he has written a series of novels about CIA covert operations. His hero is named: Blackford Oakes. It seems he learnt a lot during his short time in the CIA. In 2001 he published the novel "Spytime: The Undoing of James Jesus Angleton".
  3. A good friend has sent me a copy of a CIA monograph published in October, 1993. It was obtained under the JFK Act in November, 2003. The document is written by Cleveland C. Cram, who worked for the CIA between 1949 and 1975, eventually serving as Chief of Station in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. Cram was a member of the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). Established in February 1975 as an in-house think tank, its publications were used for in-service training. The document is entitled “Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature”. Cram looks at the reliability of information found in books about the American and British intelligence agencies. It is in fact very revealing as it looks at the sources that the authors used and the conclusions they came to in their books. Cram praises certain authors for writing accurate accounts of these covert activities. He is especially complimentary about the following authors: David C. Martin (Wilderness of Mirrors), Gordon Brook-Shepherd (The Storm Birds), Andrew Boyle (The Climate of Treason), David Wise (Molehunt) and Thomas Mangold (Cold Warrior). Cram points out that these authors managed to persuade former CIA officers to tell the truth about their activities. In some cases, they were even given classified documents. Cram is particularly complimentary about the Wilderness of Mirrors, a book about the exploits of William Harvey and James Angleton. He points out that Martin does “not name his sources, footnote the book, or provide a bibliography and other academic paraphernalia” but is invariably accurate about what he says about the CIA. Cram adds that luckily Martin’s book did not sell well and is now a collectors item (I have just managed to order a copy from Abebooks – they still have other copies if you are interested). http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/SearchRe...IRRORS&sortby=2 Cram is particularly critical of the work of Edward J. Epstein (Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald and Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA). Cram makes it clear that Epstein, working with James Angleton, was part of a disinformation campaign. Cram writes: “Legend… gave Angleton and his supporters an advantage by putting their argument adroitly – if dishonestly – before the public first. Not until David Martin responded with Wilderness of Mirrors was an opposing view presented coherently.”
  4. Robin Ramsay, the editor of Lobster Magazine, has sent me this. http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/ This review is from: Programmed to Kill: Lee Harvey Oswald, the Soviet KGB, and the Kennedy Assassination (Hardcover) American readers probably missed the fact that four months after Pacepa's book came out Ludvik Zifcak, the former intelligence officer in Czechoslovakia, published his book "We Killed Kennedy" (Zabili jsme Kennedyho, Nakladatelstvi ELLF). In this book Zifcak, using records from KGB archives in Moscow, fills in essential information supporting Pacepa's hypothesis. See for yourself: Page 14: "The Soviet intelligence service mobilized all active agents and `sleepers' in the USA including those in the highest level in the US government. On November 15 they intercepted important information that preparation for the assassination of the President in the United States has began. Top secret information was delivered the same day to Khrushchev..." Page 48: "As the President's trip to Dallas was approaching the activity in the Soviet Embassy was rising. The Soviet intelligence supplied new information about Kennedy's trip, all of them alarming. In the morning of November 20, 1963 Embassy sent to Moscow last top-secret message: "The assassination will take place probably in Dallas and the forces behind it will use it against the Soviet Union." The Chairman of KGB Semicastnyj received the message the same day at 2PM and immediately contacted Khrushchev. The conversation like this followed: "Hallo Nikita Sergejevjc. Excuse me but I have a very important message from Washington regarding president Kennedy. May I come over?" "OK, come over Vladimir Jefrenovic, but as soon as possible please." When Semicastnyj explained to Khrushchev the content of the message from Washington Nikita Sergejevic was silent for a while. "And what should we do about it now Vladimir Jefremovic?" Khrushchev asked. "We could warn the President directly, Nikita Sergejevic," Semicastnyj offered immediately. "It doesn't look like the best solution to me," Khrushchev replied. "President was briefed about our information already by CIA and I don't think Vladimir Jefrenovic we should be more forthcoming to Americans any more. On the other hand what guarantee we have that this information is not just a provocation against us?" Khrushchev went silent for a while and then he added: "Personally, I believe we should wait what will happen, Vladimir Jefremovic..." Page 146: "...when speculations about possible involvement of Cuban G2 in the Kennedy's assassination surfaced Khrushchev a couple of times said: "If the Cuban involvement in the assassination of the President of the United States would be confirmed the Soviet Union wouldn't be able to support the international terrorism." Page 157: "...At the same time KGB assigned the agent Marina Nikolajevna Prusakova on Oswald. Her assignment was to find out Oswald's objectives in the Soviet Union and to develop the position for the later relocation in the United States and establishing her position there. KGB was doing everything to make this happen including the plan of traveling the US as Oswald's wife. Regardless of Prusakova's cover job in the health sector she was actually the personal office clerk in the 1st Department of GRU. Marina was from the family of Soviet Interior Ministry colonel Prusakov and she was trained, during Seljepin leadership, for covert operation in the US or Canada. For her age she was relatively highly educated, spoke other languages and, following the script written by KGB, she quickly fall in love with Oswald. Following the same script the Soviets announced to Oswald on October 21, 1959 that his visa has expired and he must leave Moscow within 2 hours. Oswald responded by staging suicide attempt cutting his arteries on the left hand. He was hospitalized in the hospital where Prusakova has free access to him purposefully building their relationship.....After detailed debriefing where KGB focused on military information, Soviet intelligence decided leave Oswald in the Soviet Union but don't grant him the citizenship. For a good reason. As the Soviet citizen Oswald would have no value for KGB. The objective was to get him and agent Prusakova back to the USA." Page 158: "After their return to the United States Oswald and his wife Marina attracted attention of CIA and FBI. It is clear from KGB documents that she was in close touch with the Soviet intelligence all the time informing them about the preparation for the assassination. Her activity prevented later indictment of the Soviet Union and Cuba in the assassination plot. Based on Marina's information both countries refused to give visa to Oswald shortly before the assassination. It became clear later that information sent by Marina to the Soviet intelligence probably prevented the war because American intelligence services wanted to blame Soviet Union and Castro's regime for Kennedy's assassination." Page 171: "Embassy in Washington sent following information to Moscow: "Dallas Court is hiding the information about the contact between Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Rubby. According to the court's records both men met on October 4, 1963. During the meeting they discussed options of the President's assassination and it's financing..." According to the information from the Soviet agent the assassination was discussed 50 days in advance." Anyway, Pacepa's book "Programmed to Kill" is an excellent reading for everyone interested in the mystery of Kennedy's assassination. With Zifcak co-incidentally supporting Pacepa's picture this book shines new light on the case, the light nobody else would dare to turn on. Robert Buchar http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A2QF1FJYRW18VZ/ref=cm_cr_pr_pdp
  5. Operation Mockingbird

    I have now been able to reconstruct the early history of Operation Mockingbird. After the Second World War a group of people met on a regular basis in Georgetown. They became known as the Georgetown crowd. Most of them knew each other from before the war. Some had gone to the same schools or universities. Others had worked together as lawyers in New York. Many of them had been members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during the war. The group was united by a shared political ideology. They had become involved in politics during the 1930s. They were Roosevelt supporting Democrats. In fact, they thought FDR had not been radical enough with his policies. They retained these progressive views on domestic issues (in fact, in most cases they held these views until they died). When it came to foreign policy they were staunchly anti-communist. In most cases, these views had been developed while serving in the OSS. However, their anti-communist views was not applied to domestic policy. For example, they did not believe like say J. Edgar Hoover, that American communists posed a threat to national security. They were also intellectuals. They had no time for those rabble rousers who attempted to use anti-left-wing views to put forward racist ideas. This distanced themselves from the Republican Party and the Democratic Party in the Deep South. They supported Harry Truman in 1948 and Adlai Stevenson in 1952. Many of them held posts in the Truman administration. They supported his Fair Deal policies and his tough stance against the Soviet Union. They were keen advocates of the Marshall Plan, as they saw it as the best defence against communism in Europe. The Georgetown crowd included the following: Frank Wisner, Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, Joseph Alsop, Tracy Barnes, Philip Graham, Katharine Graham, Clark Clifford, Walt Rostow, Eugene Rostow, William Bundy, Charles Thayer, Chips Bohlen and Paul Nitze. This group had access to and support of, James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, George Kennan and Adlai Stevenson. This group basically supported Trumans policies. However, they felt he was not pro-active enough with his anti-communist strategy. They were especially concerned about the possible growth of communism in under-developed countries. They therefore came up with a plan of action. This was drawn up by Frank Wisner and George Kennan. It was then shown to the Secretary of Defence, James Forrestal. He approved it and as a result the Office of Special Projects was established in 1948. Soon afterwards it was renamed the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). This became the espionage and counter-intelligence branch of the Central Intelligence Agency. Frank Wisner was made director of OPC. The aim of the OPC was to create an organization that concentrated on "propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world." Wisner realised that propaganda was going to play an important role in this work. This did not only mean propaganda abroad. If this covert action was going to work it had to control the way these events were reported in America. He therefore established Operation Mockingbird, a program to control the media. Wisner recruited Philip Graham (Washington Post) to run the project within the industry. According to Deborah Davis (Katharine the Great): "By the early 1950s, Wisner 'owned' respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles." By 1953 the OPC had a major influence over 25 major newspapers and wire agencies. One of the most important journalists under Wisner's control was Joseph Alsop, whose articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers. Wisner also recruited into the OPC several members of the Georgetown crowd. This included Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, Tracy Barnes and Cord Meyer. Other former members of the OSS such as Arthur Schlesinger worked closely with this group. For Operation Mockingbird to work, Wisner could not just rely on those journalists and publishers who shared the Georgetown Crowd view of the world. It was therefore not too difficult to get right-wingers like William Paley (CBS), C.D. Jackson (Fortune Magazine), Henry Luce (Time Magazine and Life Magazine), Arthur Hays Sulzberger (New York Times), Jerry O'Leary (Washington Star), Hal Hendrix (Miami News), Barry Bingham Sr., (Louisville Courier-Journal), James Copley (Copley News Services) and Joseph Harrison (Christian Science Monitor) involved in the operation. It was also important for Wisner to be able to influence journalists who were respected for their objectivity and their willingness to criticise the government. They did this by providing them with leaks that furthered the cause. Drew Pearson is an example of someone who was used in this way. People like Pearson were important when the OPC wanted to deal with people within the CIA. J. Edgar Hoover grew very concerned with the power that the OPC and the Georgetown Crowd was having over political life. He carried out investigations into their past. It did not take him long to discover that some of them had been active in left-wing politics in the 1930s. This information was passed to Joe McCarthy who started making attacks on people like Dean Acheson, William Bundy, Charles Thayer, Paul Nitze, Chips Bohlen and Cord Meyer. Hoover did not realise what he was taking on. Wisner unleashed Operation Mockingbird on McCarthy. Drew Pearson, Joe Alsop, Jack Anderson, Walter Lippmann and Ed Murrow all went into attack mode and McCarthy was destroyed (although the monster he had created went on). According to Alex Constantine (Mockingbird: The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA), in the 1950s, "some 3,000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts". Wisner was also able to keep newspapers from reporting about certain events. For example, the CIA plots to overthrow the governments of Iran and Guatemala. The overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala is particularly interesting. This was very much a OPC operation. It included the following cast of operators: Frank Winser, Tracy Barnes, Richard Bissell, David Atlee Phillips, Rip Robertson, David Morales and E. Howard Hunt. Wisner was also able to use Operation Mockingbird to keep the true story out of the American media. For example, people like Henry Luce were called into to censor stories that appeared too sympathetic towards the plight of Arbenz. (Journalists working on Time Magazine were shocked to see him taking out articles that had already been approved by the editor). Wisner was also able to use the CIA to stop honest journalists from travelling to Guatemala. This included Sydney Gruson of the New York Times. Eisenhower was very impressed with Wisners work in Guatemala. Eisenhower asked Wisner how much the operation cost ($20m). He then asked how many men Castillo Armas lost during the overthrow of Arbenz. The answer was only one. Eisenhower shook his head, remembering the thousands that had been killed in various operations during the Second World War. Eisenhower could only reply incredible. Wisner suffered a mental breakdown after Eisenhower refused to support the Hungarian Uprising in 1956 (we must not forget that the Georgetown Group were idealists who really believed in freedom and democracy). Bissell eventually took over CIA covert operations from Wisner (he eventually committed suicide). It is no surprise that when Bissell began planning the overthrow of Fidel Castro he called on the same team who had successfully overthrown Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala. Operation Mockingbird was also used to ensure the right sort of coverage in the American media. By 1960 the Georgetown Crowd were still supporters of the Democrats (they had also supported Adlai Stevenson in 1956). Nixon was too closely identified with Eisenhower, a man who had been a great disappointment to them. They had been concerned by his decision to have a summit meeting with Khrushchev in Paris in May, 1960. It was now clear that Khrushchev was willing to negotiate an end to the Cold War. Eisenhower, coming to the end of his time as president, wanted to leave this as his legacy. Bissell decided to undermine the summit by arranging for the U-2 spy plane to go on a mission over the Soviet Union on 1st May, 1960. As this was May Day Soviet airspace was virtually empty and they therefore picked up the U-2 the moment it crossed the border. On 7th May Khrushchev made a speech where he revealed that the U-2 spy plane had been shot down near Sverdlovsk. That put paid to Eisenhowers peace negotiations. The Georgetowns first choice was Lyndon Johnson. However, despite the help given by Philip Graham and other members of Operation Mockingbird, by the summer of 1960 it was clear that LBJ was not going to get the nomination. The strategy had to change. JFK became their candidate. Dulles already had a close relationship with JFK. This is revealed by an incident that took place on 13th March, 1960. Oatsie Charles and Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, attended a dinner party at JFKs house in Georgetown. At the end of the meal JFK asked Fleming how he would get rid of Castro. Fleming outlined several different methods. At 7.45 the next morning, Allen Dulles phoned up Oatsie Charles and asked to be put into contact with Ian Fleming. Dulles said he had heard that Fleming had developed some interesting ideas of how to deal with Castro and he wanted to hear them personally. Bissell asked Joe Alsop to arrange a meeting with JFK. Both men attended a dinner party at Alsops house in August. This was followed by several other meetings. Bissell was impressed with JFK. What he liked was his anti-communism. More importantly, he liked the way he intended to deal with it. Bissell told friends that JFK was action-orientated and impatient with bureaucracy. Bissell was convinced that a JFK presidency would get quick results. Bissell, who had supported Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956, compared the two men. Whereas he saw Stevenson as a Cicero, JFK was a Caesar. However, there were still deals to be done. This is why Philip Graham had his meeting with JFK after he won the nomination. JFK would be given the full support of Operation Mockingbird as long as he took LBJ as his running-mate. They also wanted two of their friends to be given senior posts in his administration. Douglas Dillion as Secretary of the Treasury and David Bruce as Secretary of State. JFK agreed to Dillion but rejected Bruce for this post. Instead he was appointed as Ambassador to London. This was an important post for the CIA to get as Britain was seen as its staunchest ally in its fight against communism. Although I have yet to find any evidence of this I suspect that Bissell got a third person into the administration. This was McGeorge Bundy as National Security Adviser. He proved to be a Bissell loyalist during the problems over Cuba. Arthur Schlesinger was the inside man for this group). Another Bissell supporter was Chester Bowles. In early 1961 he attempted to persuade JFK to appoint Bissell as Secretary of State. JFK refused saying that Bissell was going to take Allen Dulles job as director of the CIA on 1st July, 1961. Why did Bissell want Dillon as Secretary of the Treasury? We know that Bissell and Dillon were close friends (they had met while students at Gorton School). Dillon had been a source of information and encouragement while serving as Under Secretary of State in Eisenhowers administration. He met Lumumba in July, 1960. Dillon came to the conclusion that Lumumba was a communist. He told Bissell about this. A few days later Lumumbas assassination was discussed at a National Security Council meeting (21st July). How does this information help us understand the JFK assassination? First of all, because of the history of the Georgetown Crowd, I dont think any of them were involved in planning the assassination of JFK. However, Operation Mockingbird was used for the cover-up. This I think helps us understand the assassination. It confirms my belief that the Soviets or Castro had anything to do with the assassination. If so, Operation Mockingbird would have been used to fulfil their major objective of destroying communism. Therefore, why did they do it. One possibility is that CIA members outside the Georgetown Group had been involved. Maybe those non-Georgetown people who had helped overthrow Arbenz (Morales, Philips, Hunt, Robertson). Another possibility is that the Georgetown Crowd had joined forces with the Suite 8F Group. Had LBJ brought these two groups together. They were both groups who cared a great deal about military spending. The Suite 8F Group was also concerned about the Texas oil industry. This included getting federal contracts from the Secretary of the Navy. Take a look at the three people who held this post in JFK and LBJs administration: John Connally (January, 1961 December, 1961), Fred Korth (December, 1961 to November, 1963) and Paul Nitze (November, 1963 to June, 1967). The first two were members of Suite 8F and Nitze was a member of the Georgetown crowd. The other thing that Suite 8F cared about was the Oil Depletion Allowance. Dillon, as Secretary of the Treasury was in a good position to block that move. Dillon was eventually replaced by Henry Hammill Fowler in 1965. He was someone who was at Yale with Bissell. He also worked as assistant general counsel of War Production Board in Germany during the war. He was also a member of the National Security Council. I have yet to discover if Fowler was a member of Bissells group but it seems likely and could be further evidence of how the Suite 8F Group and the CIA worked together during the 1960s. Were the CIA therefore involved in covering up the role that Suite 8F Group had played in the assassination? Or were they protecting their own? Or were they doing both of these things? http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKmockingbird.htm '>http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKmockingbird.htm
  6. Thomas John Cardell Martyn was one of the important figures in Operation Mockingbird. However, you will find very little about him on the web. Even Wikipedia does not have an entry for him. That is very strange as he founded Newsweek on 17th February, 1933. Martyn explained that his new magazine "marshals facts against their background, throws revealing light into obscure situations - helps you understand the news." Investors in the venture included John Hay Whitney and Paul Mellon, the son of Andrew W. Mellon. In 1937 Newsweek merged with the weekly journal Today, which was owned by W. Averell Harriman and Vincent Astor. As a result of the deal, Harriman and Astor provided the magazine with $600,000 in venture capital funds. Astor became chairman and the principal stockholder of the company. Malcolm Muir was brought in as editor-in-chief of the magazine. Phil Graham, the owner of the Washington Post, had close links with the Central Intelligence Agency. It has been claimed that Graham played an important role in Operation Mockingbird, the CIA program to infiltrate domestic American media. In 1961 Graham purchased Newsweek. Thomas John Cardell Martyn now retired to Brazil, where he died on 5th February, 1979. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAmartynT.htm There is an interesting video on YouTube about the discovery of his grave in Agrolândia.
  7. I have recently become interested in exploring the links between the deaths of John Heinz, John Tower and the assassination of JFK. Here is an interesting passage from an article written by Victor Thorn, George Bush & John Kerry: Blood Brothers, World Independent News Group (2004). http://69.28.73.17/thornarticles/bloodbrothers.html According to researcher Rodney Stich in Defrauding America, when George Bush Sr. and CIA Director William Casey engineered the October Surprise to bribe Iranian officials into retaining U.S. hostages until after the 1980 elections, two of the passengers on Bush’s BAC 111 flight to Paris were Senator John Heinz, along with Senator John Tower from Texas. Even more intriguing is the fact that John Heinz chaired a three-man presidential review board that probed the Iran-Contra affair and had in his possession all the damning documents from that sordid affair, while John Tower led the infamous Tower Commission that investigated a variety of different CIA criminal activities and dirty dealings. Coincidentally, both John Heinz and John Tower died in plane wrecks on successive days in 1991 – Tower in Georgia, and Heinz in Montgomery County, Pa. Once again I must ask: what are the odds of such an occurrence, especially when both men had close ties to George Bush Sr., who was a former CIA director in the mid-1970s? Did both of these men uncover information that they refused to keep silent about any longer? Before you answer, consider that after Senator John Heinz died, his wife married Senator John Kerry, who was chairman of the 1988 Kerry Commission, described in the Senate Committee Report on Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy as “focusing on allegations of illegal gun-running and narcotics trafficking associated with the Contra war against Nicaragua” in relation to the CIA, Department of Justice, the U.S. State Department, and the office of the President and Vice President. The testimony that took place during these trials (both in open and closed door sessions) was quite possibly the most damning ever against our federal government, yet mysteriously, nearly all of it was suppressed and not widely reported in the mainstream media. Why? Senator Kerry as a Democrat, had every opportunity to blast a Republican administration out of the water, yet he inexplicably remained silent and the status quo prevailed. Could it be that someone tapped him on the shoulder and told him that if he played his cards right and kept these sordid matters hush-hush, he would be rewarded sometime in the future?
  8. I am a great admirer of Jefferson Morley’s What Jane Roman Said. I think it is so good it deserves its own thread. In the summer of 1994 I became curious if a retired employee of the Central Intelligence Agency named Jane Roman was still alive and living in Washington. I was curious because I had just seen Jane Roman’s name and handwriting on routing slips attached to newly declassified CIA documents about Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy. This is what I found significant: these documents were dated before November 22, 1963. If this Jane Roman person at CIA headquarters had read the documents that she signed for on the routing slips, then she knew something of Oswald’s existence and activities before the itinerant, 24 year-old ex-Marine became world famous for allegedly shooting President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. In other words, Jane Roman was a CIA official in good standing who knew about the alleged assassin in advance of Kennedy’s violent death. What self-respecting Washington journalist wouldn’t be interested? Of course, I knew enough about the Kennedy assassination to know that many, many, many people knew something of Lee Oswald before he arrived in Dealey Plaza with a gun—a small family, an assortment of far-flung buddies from the Marines, family and acquaintances in New Orleans and Dallas, some attentive FBI agents, not to mention the occasional anti-Castro Cuban, and even some CIA officials. But Jane Roman was not just any CIA official. In 1963 she was the senior liaison officer on the Counterintelligence Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia. That set her apart. At the height of the Cold War, the counterintelligence staff was a very select operation within the agency, charged with detecting threats to the integrity of CIA operations and personnel from the Soviet Union and its allies. The CI staff, as it was known in bureaucratic lingo, was headed by James Jesus Angleton, a legendary Yale-educated spy, who was either a patriotic genius or a paranoid drunk or perhaps both. Jane Roman’s responsibilities in the fall of 1963 included handling communications between the CI staff and other federal agencies. I was excited, perhaps foolishly, in June of 1994, when I learned that the CIA’s Jane Roman was living not far from me, on Newark Street in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington DC.... You can find the full article here: http://www.history-matters.com/essays/fram...RomanSaid_1.htm
  9. Song Lyrics

    http://www.lyricstrax.com/
  10. Frank Sturgis

    I thought it might be worth starting a thread on Frank Sturgis. Frank Fiorini (Sturgis) was born on 9th December, 1924. As a child his family moved to Philadelphia. In 1942 Sturgis joined the United States Marines and during the Second World War he served in the Pacific. After the war Sturgis attended the Virginia Polytechnic Institute before becoming the manager of the Whitehorse Tavern. He also served in the U.S. Army (1950-52). This was followed by a spell as the owner-manager of Tophat Nightclub in Virginia Beach. In 1956 Frank Sturgis moved to Cuba. He also spent time in Mexico; Venezuela, Costa Rica; Guatemala, Panama and Honduras. It is believed that during this time Sturgis became a secret agent for the CIA. Sturgis also became involved in gunrunning to Cuba. On 30th July, 1958, Sturgis was arrested for illegal possession of arms. However, he was released without charge. There is some evidence that in 1959 Sturgis had contact with Lewis McWillie, the manager of the Tropicana Casino. After Fidel Castro gained control of Cuba, Sturgis formed the Anti-Communist Brigade. In his book, Counter-Revolutionary Agent, Hans Tanner claims that the organization was "being financed by dispossed hotel and gambling owners" who operated under Fulgencio Batista. In 1959 Sturgis began a relationship with Marita Lorenz, who was also having an affair with Fidel Castro at the time. In January 1960, Sturgis and Lorenz took part in a failed attempt to poison Castro. Sturgis was also a member of Operation 40. He later explained: "this assassination group (Operation 40) would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military or the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of your own members who were suspected of being foreign agents... We were concentrating strictly in Cuba at that particular time. Actually, they were operating out of Mexico, too." In an article published in the Florida Sun Sentinel on 4th December, 1963, Jim Buchanan claimed that Sturgis had met Lee Harvey Oswald in Miami shortly before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Buchanan claimed that Oswald had tried to infiltrate the Anti-Communist Brigade. When he was questioned by the FBI about this story, Sturgis claimed that Buchanan had misquoted him regarding his comments about Oswald. According to a memo sent by L. Patrick Gray, Director of the FBI, to H. L. Haldeman in 1972: "Sources in Miami say he (Sturgis) is now associated with organized crime activities". In his book, Assassination of JFK (1977), Bernard Fensterwald claims that Sturgis was heavily involved with the Mafia, particularly with the criminal activities of Santos Trafficante and Meyer Lansky in Florida. On 17th June, 1972, Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker and James W. McCord were arrested while removing electronic devices from the Democratic Party campaign offices. In January, 1973, Sturgis was convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping. While in prison Sturgis gave an interview to Andrew St. George. Sturgis told St. George: "I will never leave this jail alive if what we discussed about Watergate does not remain a secret between us. If you attempt to publish what I've told you, I am a dead man." St. George's article was published in True Magazine in August, 1974. Sturgis claims that the Watergate burglars had been instructed to find a particular document in the Democratic Party offices. This was a "secret memorandum from the Castro government" that included details of CIA covert actions. Sturgis said "that the Castro government suspected the CIA did not tell the whole truth about this operations even to American political leaders". In 1976 Sturgis gave a series of interviews where he claimed that the assassination of John F. Kennedy had been organized by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. According to Sturgis, Oswald had been working in America as a Cuban agent. In November, 1977, Marita Lorenz gave an interview to the New York Daily News in which she claimed that a group called Operation 40, that included Sturgis and Oswald, were involved in a conspiracy to kill both Kennedy and Castro. In August, 1978, Victor Marchetti published an article about the assassination of Kennedy in the liberty Lobby newspaper, Spotlight. In the article Marchetti argued that the House Special Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) had obtained a 1966 CIA memo that revealed Sturgis, E. Howard Hunt and Gerry Patrick Hemming had been involved in the plot to kill Kennedy. Marchetti's article also included a story that Marita Lorenz had provided information on this plot. Later that month Joseph Trento and Jacquie Powers wrote a similar story for the Sunday News Journal. The HSCA did not publish this CIA memo linking its agents to the assassination of Kennedy. Hunt now decided to take legal action against the Liberty Lobby and in December, 1981, he was awarded $650,000 in damages. Liberty Lobby appealed to the United States Court of Appeals. It was claimed that Hunt's attorney, Ellis Rubin, had offered a clearly erroneous instruction as to the law of defamation. The three-judge panel agreed and the case was retried. This time Mark Lane defended the Liberty Lobby against Hunt's action. Lane eventually discovered Marchetti’s sources. The main source was William Corson. It also emerged that Marchetti had also consulted James Angleton and Alan J. Weberman before publishing the article. As a result of obtaining of getting depositions from David Atlee Phillips, Richard Helms, G. Gordon Liddy, Stansfield Turner and Marita Lorenz, plus a skillful cross-examination by Lane of E. Howard Hunt, the jury decided in January, 1995, that Marchetti had not been guilty of libel when he suggested that Kennedy had been assassinated by people working for the CIA. Lorenz also testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations where she claimed that Sturgis had been one of the gunmen who fired on Kennedy in Dallas. Sturgis testified that he had been engaged in various "adventures" relating to Cuba which he believed to have been organized and financed by the CIA. Sturgis denied that he had been involved in the assassination of Kennedy. Sturgis testified that he was in Miami, Florida, throughout the day of the assassination, and his testimony was supported by that of his wife and a nephew of his wife. The committee dismissed Lorenz's testimony, as they were unable to find any other evidence to support it. Frank Sturgis died on 4th December, 1993.
  11. Ku Klux Klan

    At the end of the American Civil War radical members of Congress attempted to destroy the white power structure of the Rebel states. The Freeman's Bureau was established by Congress on 3rd March, 1865. The bureau was designed to protect the interests of former slaves. This included helping them to find new employment and to improve educational and health facilities. In the year that followed the bureau spent $17,000,000 establishing 4,000 schools, 100 hospitals and providing homes and food for former slaves. Attempts by Congress to extend the powers of the Freemen's Bureau was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson in February, 1866. In April 1866, Johnson also vetoed the Civil Rights Bill that was designed to protect freed slaves from Southern Black Codes (laws that placed severe restrictions on freed slaves such as prohibiting their right to vote, forbidding them to sit on juries, limiting their right to testify against white men, carrying weapons in public places and working in certain occupations). The election of 1866 increased the number of Radical Republicans in Congress. The following year Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act. The South was now divided into five military districts, each under a major general. New elections were to be held in each state with freed male slaves being allowed to vote. The act also included an amendment that offered readmission to the Southern states after they had ratified the Fourteenth Amendment and guaranteed adult male suffrage. Johnson immediately vetoed the bill but Congress re-passed the bill the same day. The first branch of the Ku Klux Klan was established in Pulaski, Tennessee, in May, 1866. A year later a general organization of local Klans was established in Nashville in April, 1867. Most of the leaders were former members of the Confederate Army and the first Grand Wizard was Nathan Forrest, an outstanding general during the American Civil War. During the next two years Klansmen wearing masks, white cardboard hats and draped in white sheets, tortured and killed black Americans and sympathetic whites. Immigrants, who they blamed for the election of Radical Republicans, were also targets of their hatred. Between 1868 and 1870 the Ku Klux Klan played an important role in restoring white rule in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. At first the main objective of white supremacy organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, the White Brotherhood, the Men of Justice, the Constitutional Union Guards and the Knights of the White Camelia was to stop black people from voting. After white governments had been established in the South the Ku Klux Klan continued to undermine the power of blacks. Successful black businessmen were attacked and any attempt to form black protection groups such as trade unions was quickly dealt with. Radical Republicans in Congress such as Benjamin Butler urged President Ulysses S. Grant to take action against the Ku Klux Klan. In 1870 he instigated an investigation into the organization and the following year a Grand Jury reported that: "There has existed since 1868, in many counties of the state, an organization known as the Ku Klux Klan, or Invisible Empire of the South, which embraces in its membership a large proportion of the white population of every profession and class. The Klan has a constitution and bylaws, which provides, among other things, that each member shall furnish himself with a pistol, a Ku Klux gown and a signal instrument. The operations of the Klan are executed in the night and are invariably directed against members of the Republican Party. The Klan is inflicting summary vengeance on the colored citizens of these citizens by breaking into their houses at the dead of night, dragging them from their beds, torturing them in the most inhuman manner, and in many instances murdering." Congress passed the Ku Klux Act and it became law on 20th April, 1871. This gave the president the power to intervene in troubled states with the authority to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in countries where disturbances occurred. However, because its objective of white supremacy in the South had been achieved, the organization practically disappeared. The Ku Klux Klan was reformed in 1915 by William J. Simmons, a preacher influenced by Thomas Dixon's book, The Ku Klux Klan (1905) and the film of the book, Birth of a Nation, directed by D.W. Griffith. The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) became the main opponent of the Ku Klux Klan. To show that the members of the organization would not be intimidated, it held its 1920 annual conference in Atlanta, considered at the time to be one of the most active Ku Klux Klan areas in America. After the First World War the Ku Klux Klan also became extremely hostile to Jews, Roman Catholics, socialists, communists and anybody they identified as foreigners. In November 1922 Hiram W. Evans became the Klan's Imperial Wizard. Under his leadership the organization grew rapidly and in the 1920s Klansmen were elected to positions of political power. This included state officials in Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Oregon and Maine. By 1925 membership reached 4,000,000. Even on the rare occasions they were arrested for serious crimes, Klansmen were unlikely to be convicted by local Southern juries. After the conviction of the Klan leader, David C. Stephenson, for second-degree murder, and evidence of corruption by other members such as the governor of Indiana and the mayor of Indianapolis, membership fell to around 30,000. This trend continued during the Great Depression and the Second World War and in 1944 the organization. was disbanded. In the 1950s the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement resulted in a revival in Ku Klux Klan organizations. The most of important of these was the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan led by Robert Shelton. In the Deep South considerable pressure was put on blacks by klansmen not to vote. An example of this was the state of Mississippi. By 1960, 42% of the population were black but only 2% were registered to vote. Lynching was still employed as a method of terrorizing the local black population. On Sunday, 15th September, 1963, a white man was seen getting out of a white and turquoise Chevrolet car and placing a box under the steps of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Soon afterwards, at 10.22 a.m., the bomb exploded killing Denise McNair (11), Addie Mae Collins (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Cynthia Wesley (14). The four girls had been attending Sunday school classes at the church. Twenty-three other people were also hurt by the blast. A witness identified Robert Chambliss, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, as the man who placed the bomb under the steps of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. He was arrested and charged with murder and possessing a box of 122 sticks of dynamite without a permit. On 8th October, 1963, Chambliss was found not guilty of murder and received a hundred-dollar fine and a six-month jail sentence for having the dynamite. In 1964 the NAACP, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized its Freedom Summer campaign. Its main objective was to try an end the political disenfranchisement of African Americans in the Deep South. Volunteers from the three organizations decided to concentrate its efforts in Mississippi. The three organizations established 30 Freedom Schools in towns throughout Mississippi. Volunteers taught in the schools and the curriculum now included black history, the philosophy of the civil rights movement. During the summer of 1964 over 3,000 students attended these schools and the experiment provided a model for future educational programs such as Head Start. Freedom Schools were often targets of white mobs. So also were the homes of local African Americans involved in the campaign. That summer 30 black homes and 37 black churches were firebombed. Over 80 volunteers were beaten by white mobs or racist police officers and three men, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan on 21st June, 1964. These deaths created nation-wide publicity for the campaign. The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing was unsolved until Bill Baxley was elected attorney general of Alabama. He requested the original Federal Bureau of Investigation files on the case and discovered that the organization had accumulated a great deal of evidence against Chambliss that had not been used in the original trial. In November, 1977 Chambliss was tried once again for the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing. Now aged 73, Chambliss was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1981 the trial of Josephus Andersonan, an African American charged with the murder of a white policeman, took place in Mobile. At the end of the case the jury was unable to reach a verdict. This upset members of the local Ku Klux Klan who believed that the reason for this was that some members of the jury were African Americans. At a meeting held after the trial, Bennie Hays, the second-highest ranking official in the Klan in Alabama said: "If a black man can get away with killing a white man, we ought to be able to get away with killing a black man." On Saturday 21st March, 1981, Bennie Hays's son, Henry Hays, and James Knowles, decided they would get revenge for the failure of the courts to convict the man for killing a policeman. They travelled around Mobile in their car until they found nineteen year old Michael Donald walking home. After forcing him into the car Donald was taken into the next county where he was lynched. A brief investigation took place and eventually the local police claimed that Donald had been murdered as a result of a disagreement over a drugs deal. Donald's mother, Beulah Mae Donald, who knew that her son was not involved with drugs, was determined to obtain justice. She contacted Jessie Jackson who came to Mobile and led a protest march about the failed police investigation. Thomas Figures, the assistant United States attorney in Mobile, managed to persuade the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to look into the case. James Bodman was sent to Mobile and it did not take him long to persuade James Knowles to confess to the killing of Michael Donald. In June 1983, Knowles was found guilty of violating Donald's civil rights and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Six months later, when Henry Hays was tried for murder, Knowles appeared as chief prosecution witness. Hays was found guilty and sentenced to death. With the support of Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin at the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), Beulah Mae Donald decided that she would use this case to try and destroy the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama. Her civil suit against the United Klans of America took place in February 1987. The all-white jury found the Klan responsible for the lynching of Michael Donald and ordered it to pay 7 million dollars. This resulted the Klan having to hand over all its assets including its national headquarters in Tuscaloosa. After a long-drawn out legal struggle, Henry Hayes was executed on 6th June, 1997. It was the first time a white man had been executed for a crime against an African American since 1913. On 17th May, 2000, the FBI announced that the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing had been carried out by the Ku Klux Klan splinter group, the Cahaba Boys. It was claimed that four men, Robert Chambliss, Herman Cash, Thomas Blanton and Bobby Cherry had been responsible for the crime. Cash was dead but Blanton and Cherry were arrested. In May 2002 the 71 year old Bobby Cherry was convicted of the murder of Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley and was sentenced to life in prison. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAkkk.htm
  12. I have been attempting to find out more about the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. All the books I have on the JFK assassination have very little to say about the organization except the Vincent T. Lee was its founder and that he established offices in New York. The web is not very useful either although it does have an interview between Lee and J. Lee Rankin on 17th April, 1964. http://jfkassassination.net/russ/testimony/lee_v1.htm In the interview Lee claims that he kept no membership records. He only had a mailing list but this is of no help as it mainly contains the names of politicians and other national figures. Surprisingly, Rankin dies not ask Lee to estimate how many people were members of the organization. Nor does he ask how many chapters the FPCC had. Yet in his letter to Oswald, Lee says: "I have just gone through our files and find that Louisiana seems somewhat restricted for Fair Play activities." On 26th May, 1963, Oswald wrote to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and proposed "renting a small office at my own expense for the purpose of forming a FPCC branch here in New Orleans". Three days later, without waiting for a reply, Oswald ordered 1,000 copies of a handbill from a local printers. It read: "Hands Off Cuba! Join the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, New Orleans Charter Member Branch, Free Literature, Lectures, Everyone Welcome!" Oswald also rented an office for the FPCC at 544 Camp Street. No one joined the FPCC in New Orleans but Oswald did send out two honourary membership cards to Gus Hall and Benjamin Davis, two senior members of the American Communist Party. Gus Hall was general secretary of the party. Ben Davis was the leading black member of the party. This seems to have been an important part of the original conspiracy as Oswald also tried to link himself with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Another organization Hoover especially disliked. According to the latest edition of Anthony Summers’ The Kennedy Conspiracy (2002), recently released documents show that both the CIA and FBI penetrated the organization. Summers points out that the CIA side of the operation was directed by David Attlee Phillips and quotes CIA officer, Joseph Smith as saying: "We did everything we could to make sure it was not successful - to smear it... to penetrate it. I think Oswald may have been part of a penetration attempt." Does anyone have any further information on the FPCC? Did these released files reveal membership numbers? What was Vincent Lee’s background? What happened to him after he closed the organization down in December, 1963?
  13. Danny Casolaro

    I thought it might be a good idea to start a thread on Danny Casolaro. 1. According to John Connolly of Spy, Casolaro worked for two years in the late 1970s on an alternative explanation for Watergate. Does anyone know what conclusions he came to on this? 2. Could his death be connected to Ted Shackley's "Secret Team" who worked for George H. W. Bush in their campaign to remove Jimmy Carter from office. During his investigation into the Inslaw affair Casolaro met Michael Riconosciuto. According to David Corn ("The Dark World of Danny Casolaro;" The Nation, October 28, 1991) Riconosciuto "asserted that he and [Earl] Brian had traveled to Iran in 1980 and paid $40 million to Iranian officials to persuade them not to let the hostages go before the presidential election." Corn adds that for his help in removing Carter, Brian was allegedly allowed to profit from the illegal pirating of the PROMIS system. Earl Brian was a close friend of Ed Meese, Reagan's Attorney General. Knowing what I do about Shackley's people, Casolaro would have been murdered if he had this story.
  14. James McCord

    One of the things that has always intrigued me is the large number of mistakes that were made during the Watergate operation. This is in direct contrast to other Nixon dirty tricks campaigns. Some people have speculated that there were individuals inside the operation who wanted to do harm to Nixon. I thought it might be a good idea to list these 24 “mistakes” to see if we can identify these individuals. Could it have been Bernard Barker? (1) The money to pay for the Watergate operation came from CREEP. It would have been possible to have found a way of transferring this money to the Watergate burglars without it being traceable back to CREEP. For example, see how Tony Ulasewicz got his money from Nixon. As counsel for the Finance Committee to Re-Elect the President, Gordon Liddy, acquired two cheques that amounted to $114,000. This money came from an illegal U.S. corporate contribution laundered in Mexico and Dwayne Andreas, a Democrat who was a secret Nixon supporter. Liddy handed these cheques to E. Howard Hunt. He then gave these cheques to Bernard Barker who paid them into his own bank account. In this way it was possible to link Nixon with a Watergate burglar. (2) On 22nd May, 1972, James McCord booked Alfred Baldwin and himself into the Howard Johnson Motor Inn opposite the Watergate building (room 419). The room was booked in the name of McCord’s company. During his stay in this room Baldwin made several long-distance phone calls to his parents. This information was later used during the trial of the Watergate burglars. (3) On the eve of the first Watergate break-in the team had a meeting in the Howard Johnson Motor Inn’s Continental Room. The booking was made on the stationary of a Miami firm that included Bernard Barker among its directors. Again, this was easily traceable. (4) In the first Watergate break-in the target was Larry O’Brien’s office. In fact, they actually entered the office of Spencer Oliver, the chairman of the association of Democratic state chairman. Two bugs were placed in two phones in order to record the telephone conversations of O’Brien. In fact, O’Brien never used this office telephone. (5) E. Howard Hunt was in charge of photographing documents found in the DNC offices. The two rolls of film were supposed to be developed by a friend of James McCord. This did not happen and eventually Hunt took the film to Miami for Bernard Barker to deal with. Barker had them developed by Rich’s Camera Shop. Once again the conspirators were providing evidence of being involved in the Watergate break-in. (6) The developed prints showed gloved hands holding them down and a shag rug in the background. There was no shag rug in the DNC offices. Therefore it seems the Democratic Party documents must have been taken away from the office to be photographed. McCord later claimed that he cannot remember details of the photographing of the documents. Liddy and Jeb Magruder saw them before being put in John Mitchell’s desk (they were shredded during the cover-up operation). (7) After the break-in Alfred Baldwin and James McCord moved to room 723 of the Howard Johnson Motor Inn in order to get a better view of the DNC offices. It became Baldwin’s job to eavesdrop the phone calls. Over the next 20 days Baldwin listened to over 200 phone calls. These were not recorded. Baldwin made notes and typed up summaries. Nor did Baldwin listen to all phone calls coming in. For example, he took his meals outside his room. Any phone calls taking place at this time would have been missed. (8) It soon became clear that the bug on one of the phones installed by McCord was not working. As a result of the defective bug, McCord decided that they would have to break-in to the Watergate office. He also heard that a representative of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War had a desk at the DNC. McCord argued that it was worth going in to see what they could discover about the anti-war activists. Liddy later claimed that the real reason for the second break-in was “to find out what O’Brien had of a derogatory nature about us, not for us to get something on him.” (9) Liddy drove his distinctive Buick-powered green Jeep into Washington on the night of the second Watergate break-in. He was stopped by a policeman after jumping a yellow light. He was let off with a warning. He parked his car right outside the Watergate building. (10) The burglars then met up in room 214 before the break-in. Liddy gave each man between $200 and $800 in $100 bills with serial numbers close in sequence. McCord gave out six walkie-talkies. Two of these did not work (dead batteries). (11) McCord taped the 6th, 8th and 9th floor stairwell doors and the garage level door. Later it was reported that the tape on the garage–level lock was gone. Hunt argued that a guard must have done this and suggested the operation should be aborted. Liddy and McCord argued that the operation must continue. McCord then went back an re-taped the garage-level door. Later the police pointed out that there was no need to tape the door as it opened from that side without a key. The tape served only as a sign to the police that there had been a break-in. (12) McCord later claimed that after the break-in he removed the tape on all the doors. This was not true and soon after midnight the security guard, Frank Wills, discovered that several doors had been taped to stay unlocked. He told his superior about this but it was not until 1.47 a.m. that he notified the police. (13) The burglars heard footsteps coming up the stairwell. Bernard Barker turned off the walkie-talkie (it was making a slight noise). Alfred Baldwin was watching events from his hotel room. When he saw the police walking up the stairwell steps he radioed a warning. However, as the walkie-talkie was turned off, the burglars remained unaware of the arrival of the police. (14) When arrested Bernard Barker had his hotel key in his pocket (314). This enabled the police to find traceable material in Barker’s hotel room. (15) When Hunt and Liddy realised that the burglars had been arrested, they attempted to remove traceable material from their hotel room (214). However, they left a briefcase containing $4,600. The money was in hundred dollar bills in sequential serial numbers that linked to the money found on the Watergate burglars. (16) When Hunt arrived at Baldwin’s hotel room he made a phone call to Douglas Caddy, a lawyer who had worked with him at Mullen Company (a CIA front organization). Baldwin heard him discussing money, bail and bonds. (17) Hunt told Baldwin to load McCord’s van with the listening post equipment and the Gemstone file and drive it to McCord’s house in Rockville. Surprisingly, the FBI did not order a search of McCord’s home and so they did not discover the contents of the van. (18) It was vitally important to get McCord’s release from prison before it was discovered his links with the CIA. However, Hunt or Liddy made no attempt to contact people like Mitchell who could have organized this via Robert Mardian or Richard Kleindienst. Hunt later blamed Liddy for this as he assumed he would have phoned the White House or the Justice Department who would in turn have contacted the D.C. police chief in order to get the men released. (19) Hunt went to his White House office where he placed a collection of incriminating materials (McCord’s electronic gear, address books, notebooks, etc.) in his safe. The safe also contained a revolver and documents on Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Kennedy and State Department memos. Hunt once again phoned Caddy from his office. (20) Liddy eventually contacts Magruder via the White House switchboard. This was later used to link Liddy and Magruder to the break-in. (21) Later that day Jeb Magruder told Hugh Sloan, the FCRP treasurer, that: “Our boys got caught last night. It was my mistake and I used someone from here, something I told them I’d never do.” (22) Police took an address book from Bernard Barker. It contained the notation “WH HH” and Howard Hunt’s telephone number. (23) Police took an address book from Eugenio Martinez. It contained the notation “H. Hunt WH” and Howard Hunt’s telephone number. He also had cheque for $6.36 signed by E. Howard Hunt. (24) Alfred Baldwin told his story to a lawyer called John Cassidento, a strong supporter of the Democratic Party. He did not tell the authorities but did pass this information onto Larry O’Brien. The Democrats now knew that people like E. Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy were involved in the Watergate break-in. Several individuals seem to have made a lot of mistakes. The biggest offenders were Hunt (8), McCord (7), Liddy (6), Barker (6) and Baldwin (3). McCord’s mistakes were the most serious. He was also the one who first confessed to what had taken place at Watergate.
  15. As members know, I believe the Gene Wheaton story that a CIA operation that used Cuban exiles trained to kill Fidel Castro was turned against JFK. However, the problem is that it has been difficult to identify this operation. The CIA story is that the plot against Castro involved the Mafia and not Cuban exiles. However, a recently released document reveals that there was indeed a CIA-Cuban Exile operation to kill Castro. This evidence appears in a report entitled “Separate Tracks: Agency Planning – Mafia Plotting” that had been written by Jack Pfeiffer, the CIA’s in-house historian, in September 1983. Pfeiffer writes: “For purposes of this report, CIA’s records have been searched for evidence of a direct relationship between the invasion planning and plans to assassinate Fidel Castro or his key associates.” During his research Pfeiffer interviewed Richard D. Drain, Chief of Operation WH/4. The tape of this interview still remains classified but some really interesting comments from Drain appear in the report. For example, Drain raises questions about the supposed CIA/Mafia plot to kill Castro: “Well, I promise you that until it came out in 1975, this allegation… that Shef Edwards and Mr. Maheu were working with the Mafia to assassinate Castro, concurrent with the Bay of Pigs operation, that is the first time I ever heard about it.” Why Drain is so surprised about this is that as head of WH/4, he was in charge of the operation to kill Castro. Pfeiffer quotes from a memo written by Drain that is dated 24 February 1961: “Asked Ed (Edward Lansdale), Dave P., Hinkle, Moore, and Jake (Jacob Esterline) why not proceed with Operation AMHINT to set up a program of assassinations.” Dave P. is obviously David Atlee Phillips. When questioned about this memo, Drain cannot explain why Phillips did not tell him about the Mafia-CIA plot. He also pointed out that he worked closely with Richard Bissell over the plan to kill Castro. Once again he is shocked that Bissell, who apparently oversaw the Mafia plan, never told him about the operation. A note in the report claims that “AMHINT was related to the work of the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (DRE).” Pfeiffer then goes on to say that he found a document that included AMHINT request of 14 January 1961 for “Silenciadores”. These were rifles with silencers and telescopic sights. In another part of the interview Drain says: “We put out an awful lot of bullxxxx to the Cubans about the restoration of democracy and all that. Those Cubans that were working with us were not, I submit, working for the re-establishment of the Mafia as a controlling factor in Havana. I had a helluvalot rather, in contemplating the assassination of Castro, contemplated it the way that we were contemplating it – that is, can we get a Rip Robertson close to him.”
  16. Alfred C. Baldwin

    Alfred C. Baldwin is one of the most interesting characters involved in the Watergate story. Yet he is rarely mentioned. I have been doing some research on Baldwin. He studied law but repeatedly failed the Connecticut bar examination. He then served with the United States Marines before joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Tampa. Baldwin resigned from the FBI and was living in Hartford when he was recruited by James W. McCord in May, 1972, to work for the Committee to Re-elect the President. His first job was to work as a bodyguard for Martha Mitchell, the wife of John Mitchell, who was living in Washington. According to McCord's testimony he selected Baldwin's name from a registry published by the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI. As Jim Hougan (Secret Agenda) pointed out, this was a strange decision because despite hundreds of FBI retirees in the Washington area, McCord selected a man living in Connecticut. Hougan speculates that "Baldwin was somehow special and perhaps well known to McCord". Baldwin accompanied Martha Mitchell to Chicago. Mitchell did not like Baldwin and described him as the "gauchest character I've ever met". Baldwin was quickly replaced by another security man. On 11th May, 1972, McCord arranged for Baldwin to stay at Howard Johnson's motel, across the street from the Watergate complex. The room 419 was booked in the name of McCord’s company. The plan was to wiretap the conversations of Larry O'Brien, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. On 28th May, 1972, McCord and his team broke into the DNC's offices and placed bugs in two of the telephones. It became Baldwin’s job to eavesdrop the phone calls. Over the next 20 days Baldwin listened to over 200 conversations. These were not recorded. Baldwin made notes and typed up summaries. Nor did Baldwin listen to all phone calls coming in. For example, he took his meals outside his room. Any phone calls taking place at this time would have been missed. It soon became clear that the bug on one of the phones installed by McCord was not working. As a result of the defective bug, McCord decided that they would have to break-in to the Watergate office again. He also heard that a representative of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War had a desk at the DNC. McCord argued that it was worth going in to see what they could discover about the anti-war activists. Liddy later claimed that the real reason for the second break-in was “to find out what O’Brien had of a derogatory nature about us, not for us to get something on him.” Baldwin was the look out during the second break-in. However, because Barker turned off his walkie talkie Baldwin was unable to warn the burglars of the arrival of the police. Baldwin told his story to a lawyer called John Cassidento, a strong supporter of the Democratic Party. He did not tell the authorities but did pass this information onto Larry O’Brien. The Democrats now knew that people like E.Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy were involved in the Watergate break-in. As Edward Jay Epstein has pointed out: "By checking through the records of phone calls made from this listening post, the FBI easily located Alfred Baldwin, a former FBI agent, who had kept logs of wiretaps for the conspirators and acted as a look-out." On 25th June, Baldwin agreed to cooperate with the government in order to escape going to prison. It was Baldwin that enabled the police to discover what the Watergate burglars were up to. He also gave them evidence that the first successful break-in took place on 26th May rather than 28th May. Why has this testimony been ignored. It was Baldwin and not Woodward who exposed the Watergate operation. This took place on 25th June. Mark Felt, who interviewed Baldwin, never passed this information onto Woodward (or if he did, he did not publish it in the Washington Post). This is one of the main reasons why researchers have always refused to believe that Felt was Deep Throat.
  17. Henry Hecksher

    I thought I should start a thread on Henry Hecksher. He is one of those CIA agents who kept in the shadows and was not known as an important figure until Thomas Powers named him in "The Man Who Kept the Secrets" in 1979. Larry Hancock has probably written the most detailed account of Hecksher in the second edition of "Somebody Would Have Talked". There is also a brief account on his life at Wikipedia. I would be very grateful if anyone can add anything to the following information. Henry Hecksher was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1910. His father served in the government of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Hecksher emigrated to the United States in 1938. On the outbreak of war he joined the United States Army and took part in the Normandy invasion and was wounded in Antwerp. Hecksher joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and interrogated some of the top leaders of the Nazi Party, including Julius Streicher. The OSS was disbanded by President Harry Truman, on September 20, 1945. Hecksher now joined the Department of War's Secret Intelligence (SI). In 1946 Hecksher became head of its counter-intelligence section in Berlin where he worked with Theodore Shackley, David Sanchez Morales and William Harvey. In 1947 Hecksher joined the Central Intelligence Agency and during the 1953 Berlin Riots that followed the death of Joseph Stalin, Hecksher cabled for permission to arm the East Berlin rioters with rifles and stun guns. However, despite being supported by C.D. Jackson, the request was refused. In the early 1950s Hecksher worked undercover as a coffee buyer in Guatemala. He became part of PB/SUCCESS, a CIA operation to overthrow President Jacobo Arbenz. Other CIA officers involved in this operation included David Atlee Phillips, Tracy Barnes, William (Rip) Robertson and E. Howard Hunt. Hecksher's role was to supply front-line reports and to bribe Arbenz's military commanders. It was later discovered that one commander accepted $60,000 to surrender his troops. Ernesto Guevara attempted to organize some civil militias but senior army officers blocked the distribution of weapons. With the help of President Anastasio Somoza, Colonel Carlos Castillo had formed a rebel army in Nicaragua. It has been estimated that between January and June, 1954, the CIA spent about $20 million on Castillo's army. Jacobo Arbenz now believed he stood little chance of preventing Castillo gaining power. Accepting that further resistance would only bring more deaths he announced his resignation. According to David Atlee Phillips (The Night Watch), President Dwight Eisenhower was so pleased with the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz he invited Hecksher, Tracy Barnes, David Sanchez Morales, and Allen Dulles to a personal debriefing at the White House. In 1958 Hecksher became Chief of Station in Laos. Hecksher disagreed with the official U.S. neutrality policies in the country and his covert activities resulted in a request from Ambassador Horace Smith for his early removal. Allen Dulles refused and he served his full assignment. He later moved to Thailand where he supervised covert trans-border activities in the area of the Golden Triangle. Hecksher was CIA Station Chief in Japan (1959-60) before becoming involved in the project to overthrow Fidel Castro. As the case officer of Manuel Artime, Hecksher became involved in AM/WORLD in 1963. Carl E. Jenkins oversaw paramilitary support and also served as case officer Artime's second in command, Rafael Quintero. According to Larry Hancock (Someone Would Have Talked), Hecksher and Jenkins were both "involved in the Artime's initial travel to Europe for contact" with Rolando Cubela. In 1967 Hecksher became Chief of Station in Santiago. He worked closely with Edward M. Korry, the US Ambassador to Chile, in an attempt to prevent Salvador Allende from being elected as president. According to Joseph Trento (The Secret History of the CIA), Korry discovered that Hecksher was working with Patria y Libertad (Fatherland and Liberty). CIA associate, Michael V. Townley, who also worked closely with this organization, was later involved in the assassination of Carlos Prats, Bernardo Leighton and Orlando Letelier. Salvador Allende was elected as president of Chile in 1970. Hecksher, Chief of Station in Santiago, played a major role in FUBELT, the covert operation to overthrow Allende. Thomas H. Karamessines, chairman of the Chile Task Force, sent a secret cable to Henry Hecksher, dated 16th October, 1970, stating: "It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup ... it is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG (Unites States Government) and American hand be well hidden." Henry Hecksher retired from the CIA in 1971. He died of complications of Parkinson's disease at the Medical Center of Princetown, on 2nd March, 1990. Does anyone know what Hecksher got up to after he retired from the CIA? I wonder if he became involved in Ted Shackley's business activities. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKhecksher.htm
  18. George De Mohrenschildt

    George De Mohrenschildt, the son of a wealthy noble, was born in Russia on 17th April, 1911. After the Russian Revolution his father, Sergius Alexander von Mohrenschildt, was imprisoned by the Bolsheviks. In 1921 he was sent to Siberia but managed to escape with his family to Poland. His wife died soon afterwards from typhoid fever. While a young man De Mohrenschildt left Poland and after travelling around Europe. He later claimed that he was involved in a pro-Nazi plot to kill Joseph Stalin. De Mohrenschildt reached the United States in 1938. The British intelligence services warned the American government that they suspected that De Monrenschildt was working for German intelligence. De Mohrenschildt went to work for the Shumaker company in New York. He worked under Pierre Fraiss who was connected with French intelligence. De Mohrenschildt agreed to collect information on people involved in "pro-German activity". In 1939 he went to work for Humble Oil, a company founded by Prescott Bush. In 1941 De Mohrenschildt went to work for his cousin, Baron Maydell, and his company, Film Facts, in New York. Maydell was also known to have pro-Nazi sympathies. During this period he made a documentary about the resistance movement in Poland. He also failed in his attempt to join the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). After the Second World War De Mohrenschildt settled in Dallas where he worked for the oil millionaire, Clint Murchison. During this period he got to know Jackie Kennedy. Ruth continued to live in Irving and at a party in February, 1963 she was introduced to Marina Oswald and Lee Harvey Oswald by George De Mohrenschildt. On 24th April, 1963, Marina and her daughter went to live with Ruth Paine. Lee Harvey Oswald rented a room in Dallas but stored some of his possessions in Ruth Paine’s garage. Ruth also helped Oswald to get a job at the Texas Book Depository. In October, 1962 De Mohrenschildt became friends with Lee Harvey Oswald in Fort Worth. He suggested that Oswald should move to Dallas. In February, 1963 he introduced Marina Oswald and Lee Harvey Oswald to Ruth Paine. On 24th April, 1963, Marina and her daughter went to live with Paine. Oswald rented a room in Dallas but stored some of his possessions in Ruth Paine’s garage. Ruth also helped Oswald to get a job at the Texas Book Depository. In 1963 De Mohrenschildt moved to Haiti. After the assassination of John F. Kennedy De Mohrenschildt was recalled to America to testify before the Warren Commission. He was asked about the claim of Marina Oswald that he knew about Oswald's attempt to kill General Edwin Walker. After giving evidence he returned to Haiti. De Mohrenschildt returned to the United States in 1977. He approached Edward Jay Epstein complaining that he was short of money. Epstein offered him $4,000 for an interview. During their talks De Mohrenschildt admitted that in 1962 he had been contacted by J. Walton Moore, who was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency in Dallas. De Mohrenschildt was asked by Moore to find out about Oswald's time in the Soviet Union. In return he was given help with an oil deal he was negotiating with Papa Doc Duvalier, the Haitian dictator. In March 1963, De Mohrenschildt got the contract from the Haitian government. He had assumed that this was because of the help he had given to the CIA. On 29th March, 1977, Epstein and De Mohrenschildt, broke for lunch and decided to meet again at 3 p.m. George De Mohrenschildt returned to his room where he found a card from Gaeton Fonzi, an investigator working for the Select House Committee on Assassinations. George De Mohrenschildt's body was found later that day. He had apparently committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth.
  19. http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/07/14/Som...97711216070029/ LOS ANGELES, July 14 (UPI) -- There are valid reasons to re-examine the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy to determine if Sirhan Sirhan really acted alone, conspiracy proponents say. Paul Schrade, the labor adviser to Kennedy's presidential campaign who also was wounded in the shooting that left Kennedy dead in Los Angeles 40 years ago, said today's technology can help prove others were involved, the New York Daily News reported Monday. "I'm convinced we can make the case," said Schrade, who is assembling a legal team to challenge the verdict that put Sirhan, now 64, behind bars. Shane O'Sullivan, author of "Who Killed Bobby?," questions the verdict based on evidence he says shows multiple shots came from more than one direction. A security guard implicated by audio analysis of the shots has denied he shot Kennedy, the Daily News said. The Kennedy clan is reluctant to push to have the case reopened. Bobby Kennedy Jr. told the News that while he suspects the assassination of his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, may have been a conspiracy, he has "never seen particularly compelling evidence" that was the case in his father's death. Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, said while she didn't know if prosecutors knew of the recent analyses, they "believe Sirhan's conviction is valid and supported by the evidence presented to a jury at trial."
  20. On 5th September, 1976, George de Mohrenschildt wrote the following letter to George H. W. Bush: Dear George, You will excuse this hand-written letter. Maybe you will be able to bring a solution to the hopeless situation I find myself in. My wife and I find ourselves surrounded by some vigilantes; our phone bugged; and we are being followed everywhere. Either FBI is involved in this or they do not want to accept my complaints. We are driven to insanity by the situation. I have been behaving like a damn fool ever since my daughter Nadya died from (cystic fibrosis) over three years ago. I tried to write, stupidly and unsuccessfully, about Lee H Oswald and must have angered a lot of people I do not know. But to punish an elderly man like myself and my highly nervous and sick wife is really too much. Could you do something to remove the net around us? This will be my last request for help and I will not annoy you any more. Good luck in your important job. Thank you so much. George de Mohrenschildt Several questions are raised by this letter: 1. Who had he been talking to about Oswald? 2. What had he been saying? 3. Why should he contact the director of the CIA about this?
  21. One of the most interesting aspects of Jeff Morley's book, Our Man in Mexico, is that he has access to David Phillips' unpublished novel on the JFK assassination. Jeff reveals that the title of this novel was "The AMLASH Legacy". We now know that AMLASH was the code-name for the CIA operation to kill Fidel Castro. On page 238 Jeff points out: The notion that David Phillips or Angleton and his Counterintelligence team ran a closely held operation involving Oswald in the weeks before Kennedy was killed has become less implausible as more records have come into public view. Phillips himself entertained such a scenario later in life. In addition to two nonfiction memoirs, Phillips also wrote novels of espio¬nage. When he died in 1987, he left behind an outline for a novel about the Mexico City station in 1963, entitled "The AMLASH Legacy" The leading characters were explicitly based on Win Scott, James Angleton, and David Phillips himself. The role of the Phillips character in the events of 1963 was described as follows: I was one of the two case officers who handled Lee Harvey Oswald. After working to establish his Marxist bona fides, we gave him the mission of killing Fidel Castro in Cuba. I helped him when he came to Mexico City to obtain a visa, and when he returned to Dallas to wait for it I saw him twice there. We rehearsed the plan many times: In Havana Oswald was to assassinate Castro with a sniper's rifle from the upper floor window of a building on the route where Castro often drove in an open jeep. Whether Oswald was a double-agent or a psycho I'm not sure, and I don't know why he killed Kennedy. But I do know he used precisely the plan we had devised against Castro. Thus the CIA did not anticipate the President's assassination but it was responsible for it. I share that guilt. The outline for a novel cannot be taken as proof of anything save the workings of Phillips's imagination, but it is tantalizing. "The CIA did not anticipate the President's assassination but it was responsible for it. I share that guilt." Phillips was not one to impugn the agency just to make a buck. After his retirement he founded the Association of Foreign Intelligence Agents and served as its chief spokesman, ably defending the CIA from its critics without much compensation. He always insisted that his espionage fiction was realistic and denounced those who sought to cash in on JFK conspiracy scenarios. The outline for the novel suggests that the notion that a CIA officer like himself would recruit a schemer like Oswald in a conspiracy to kill Castro did not strike Phillips as too improbable to sell or too unfair to the agency to market under his own name.
  22. In most discussions about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, it is very difficult to come to any definite conclusions. The main problem is the evidence is often incomplete and is of the type that is open to different interpretations. Therefore, the participants in any discussions, view the information mainly from their own established position on the assassination. As a result, it is very difficult to have any really meaningful discussion on the subject. However, thanks to the opening up of the KGB archives, we can look at some of this evidence and come to some definite conclusions. This includes the information provided by Yuri Nosenko, who defected to the United States in 1964. Before I look at what the KGB archives say about Nosenko's defection I want to consider the way senior figures in the CIA and FBI, such as Richard Helms, James Jesus Angleton and J. Edgar Hoover, dealt with this evidence. In doing so, I will show that their own interpretations were overwhelmingly influenced by their own ideological views and more importantly, their own political needs, at the time. In discussing this issue I will also show that this case shows that we have very little chance of discovering who planned and carried out the assassination of President Kennedy. In January 1964, Yuri Nosenko, deputy chief of the Seventh Department of the KGB, contacted the CIA in Geneva and said he was willing to defect to the United States. Once in custody he was interviewed by CIA officers (26th-27th February). He claimed that he had been put in charge of the KGB investigation into Lee Harvey Oswald when he defected in 1959. After interviewing Oswald it was decided by the KGB that he was not intelligent enough to work as an agent. They were also concerned that he was "too mentally unstable" to be of any use to them. It was Nosenko's department that recommended that Oswald's application for a re-entry visa be denied. Nosenko also claimed that he had the opportunity to see the KGB file on Oswald shortly after the assassination and it was clear that the Soviet Union was not involved in the death of John F. Kennedy. (1) Richard Helms, the CIA's Deputy Director of Plans, was one of those who was not convinced by Nosenko. In his autobiography, A Look Over My Shoulder (2003), he points out that Nosenko had been providing information to the CIA since June 1962. "From a security viewpoint, Nosenko's alleged background and Moscow assignment - he served in the American Department of the internal counter-intelligence service of the KGB - made him an extremely attractive source. His targets were American diplomatic and consular personnel, journalists, and tourists in the USSR. As an agent, he appeared to offer an inside view of high-priority KGB operations against the United States." (2) However, Helms and other senior figures in the CIA began to have doubts about the credibility of Nosenko. One of the reasons for this was the testimony of another Soviet defector, Anatoli Golitsyn, who had walked into the American embassy in December 1961 and asked for political asylum. (3) In these interviews Golitsyn argued that as the KGB would be so concerned about his defection, they would attempt to convince the CIA that the information he was giving them would be completely unreliable. He predicted that the KGB would send false defectors with information that contradicted what he was saying. Was this then the role of Yuri Nosenko? Richard Helms pointed out that even before Nosenko's arrival in February, the CIA had been having severe doubts about the truth of his testimony. Nosenko's case officer in June 1962, was Tennant H. Bagley. Later that year he was appointed as chief of counter-intelligence for the Soviet Bloc Division. On 19th December, 1963, he had circulated a twelve-page memo on the subject, recommending that if Nosenko recontacted the CIA he "should be regarded as under Soviet control". (4) Helms goes on to argue: "It was nineteen months... before Nosenko returned to Geneva. To our complete surprise, and contrary to his earlier statement, Nosenko abruptly announced that he now wanted to defect immediately. He insisted that his security had been compromised, that he would be arrested if he returned to Moscow. Then, with barely a pause, he delivered another surprise. In the days following President Kennedy's assassination. Nosenko informed us, he had reviewed the entire KGB file on Lee Harvey Oswald's three-year residence in the USSR. Nosenko assured us that the KGB had found Oswald unstable, had declined to have anything to do with him, and he was not in any way involved in President Kennedy's assassination." (5) According to Thomas Powers, the author of The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA (1979), Helms had a private meeting with Chief Justice Earl Warren in 1964, to tell him about the doubts he had about Nosenko. (6) Helms also later told a Senate Committee about the CIA's views on Nosenko in 1964: "Since Nosenko was in the agency's hands this became one of the most difficult issues that the agency had ever faced. Here a President of the United States had been murdered and a man had come from the Soviet Union, an acknowledged Soviet intelligence officer, and said his service had never been in touch with Oswald and knew nothing about him. This strained credulity at the time. It strains it to this day." (7) The main opponent of Nosenko at the CIA was James Jesus Angleton. Before looking at his thoughts on the defector it is worth looking at Angleton's state of mind at the time. 1963 had been a traumatic year for Angleton. On 23rd January, Kim Philby, had defected to the Soviet Union. Angleton was shattered by the news. Philby had been his close friend since 1942 when Angleton, an Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer, was sent to England for his training. It was the start of a long friendship: "Once I met Philby, the world of intelligence that had once interested me consumed me. He had taken on the Nazis and Fascists head-on and penetrated their operations in Spain and Germany. His sophistication and experience appealed to us... Kim taught me a great deal." (8) In 1949 Kim Philby became SIS representative in Washington, as top British Secret Service officer working in liaison with the CIA and FBI. He also handled secret communications between the British prime minister, Clement Attlee and President Harry S. Truman. According to Ray Cline, it had been left to the Americans to select their preferred candidate and it was Angleton who was the main person advocating appointing Philby. (9) Philby wrote in My Secret War (1968): "At one stroke, it would take me right back into the middle of intelligence policy making and it would give me a close-up view of the American intelligence organisations." (10) Philby's home in Nebraska Avenue became a gathering place for Washington's intelligence elite. This included Walter Bedell Smith (Director of the CIA), Allen Dulles (Deputy Director of the CIA), Frank Wisner (head of the Office of Policy Coordination), James Jesus Angleton (head of staff Office of Policy Coordination), William K. Harvey (CIA counter-intelligence) and Robert Lamphere (FBI Soviet Section). Philby made a point of dropping in on the offices of American intelligence officers in the late afternoon, knowing that his hosts would sooner or later "suggest drifting out to a friendly bar for a further round of shop talk." (11) As one CIA officer pointed out: "Intelligence officers talk trade among themselves all the time... Philby was privy to a hell of a lot beyond what he should have known." (12) Philby was especially close to Angleton. Philby later explained they had lunch at Harvey's Restaurant every week: "We formed the habit of lunching once a week at Harvey's where he demonstrated regularly that overwork was not his only vice. He was one of the thinnest men I have ever met, and one of the biggest eaters. Lucky Jim! After a year of keeping up with Angleton, I took the advice of an elderly lady friend and went on a diet, dropping from thirteen stone to about eleven in three months. Our close association was, I am sure, inspired by genuine friendliness on both sides. But we both had ulterior motives. Angleton wanted to place the burden of exchanges between CIA and SIS on the CIA office in London - which was about ten times as big as mine. By doing so, he could exert the maximum pressure on SIS's headquarters while minimizing SIS intrusions into his own. As an exercise in nationalism, that was fair enough. By cultivating me to the full, he could better keep me under wraps. For my part, I was more than content to string him along. The greater the trust between us overtly, the less he would suspect covert action. Who gained most from this complex game I cannot say. But I had one big advantage. I knew what he was doing for CIA and he knew what I was doing for SIS. But the real nature of my interest was something he did not know." (13) When Donald Maclean defected in 1951 Philby became the chief suspect as the man who had tipped him off that he was being investigated. The main evidence against him was his close friendship with Guy Burgess (they had lived together in Washington), who had gone with Maclean to Moscow. Philby was recalled to London. CIA chief, Walter Bedell Smith ordered any officers with knowledge of Philby and Burgess to submit reports on the men. William K. Harvey replied that after studying all the evidence he was convinced that "Philby was a Soviet spy". (14) James Jesus Angleton reacted in a completely different way. In Angleton's estimation, Philby was no traitor, but an honest and brilliant man who had been cruelly duped by Burgess. According to Tom Mangold, "Angleton... remained convinced that his British friend would be cleared of suspicion" and warned Bedell Smith that if the CIA started making unsubstantiated charges of treachery against a senior MI6 officer this would seriously damage Anglo-American relations, since Philby was "held in high esteem" in London. (15) Bedell Smith, had been convinced by the report produced by Harvey and wrote directly to Stewart Menzies, the head of MI6, and made it clear that he considered that Philby was a Soviet spy and would not be permitted to return to Washington and urged the British government to "clean house regardless of whom may be hurt". Burton Hersh, the author of The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIA (1992), has claimed that the underlying message was blunt: "Fire Philby or we break off the intelligence relationship." (16) Dick White also wrote to Menzies suggesting that MI6 take action as a matter of urgency. Menzies refused to believe Philby was a Soviet spy but realised he would have to dismiss him. He agreed to give him a generous payoff, £4,000, equivalent to more than £32,000 today. Angleton was devastated when Philby defected in 1963. Philby and Angleton had thirty-six meetings at CIA headquarters between 1949 and 1951. Every one of the discussions were typed up by Angleton's secretary Gloria Loomis. This was also true of the weekly meeting they had at Harvey's Restaurant in Washington. Angleton was so ashamed about all the CIA secrets he had given to Philby he destroyed all these documents. Angleton told Peter Wright: "I had them burned. It was all very embarrassing." (17) It was not the last time that Angleton destroyed evidence to protect his reputation. CIA agent, Miles Copeland, was aware of these regular meetings. He later commented: "What Philby provided was feedback about the CIA's reactions. They (the KGB) could accurately determine whether or not reports fed to the CIA were believed or not... what it comes to, is that when you look at the whole period from 1944 to 1951, the entire Western intelligence effort, which was pretty big, was what you might call minus advantage. We'd have been better off doing nothing." (18) Ted Shackley, a senior figure in the CIA, believed that the Philby case had contributed to his paranoia and had been a major contribution to his hostile reaction to Yuri Nosenko. (19) Evan Thomas, the author of The Very Best Men (1995), attempts to explain Angleton's state of mind. "Angleton never got over suspecting that the Russians or Cubans plotted to kill Kennedy. He thought that the Russians or Cubans plotted to kill Kennedy. He thought the Russian defector, Yuri Nosenko, who claimed that the Kremlin was innocent, was a KGB plant to throw the CIA off the trail. But most reputable students of the Kennedy assassination have concluded that Khrushchev and Castro did not kill Kennedy, if only because neither man wanted to start World War III." (20) J. Edgar Hoover held very different views to those of Helms and Angleton concerning Nosenko. "Nosenko's assurances that Yekaterina Furtseva herself had stopped the KGB from recruiting Oswald gave Hoover the evidence he needed to clear the Soviets of complicity in the Kennedy murder - and, even more from Hoover's point of view, clear the FBI of gross negligence. Hoover took this raw, unverified, and untested intelligence and leaked it to members of the Warren Commission and to President Johnson." (21) Members of the Warren Commission were pleased to hear this information as it helped to confirm the idea that Oswald had acted alone and was not part of a Soviet conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy. Once again we have to consider Hoover's state of mind in 1964 to show why he was so keen to accept Nosenko's story. To do this we have to go back to events that took place thirty years previously. In the early 1930s NKVD agents based in the United States began recruiting American citizens as spies. Hoover was not unaware of this. As early as 1933 the FBI identified Gaik Ovakimyan, an engineer at Amtorg (American-Soviet Trading Corporation) in New York City, as being in control of NKVD activities in the United States. Although occasionally Ovakimyan was followed, the FBI only had 50 agents dealing with Soviet espionage and for most of the time his activities went unrecorded. (22) On 5th November 1938, Walter Krivitsky, a senior NKVD agent, defected to America. David Shub, a supporter of Leon Trotsky, put him in touch with journalist, Isaac Don Levine, who had good contacts with the American media. Levine told Krivitsky that he could get him a lucrative deal for a series of articles. The first of these articles appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in April 1939. Hoover was very angry when he read the article. He was extremely annoyed that the American public had discovered in the article that Joseph Stalin was "sending NKVD agents into the United States as if the the FBI did not exist". (23) Krivitsky was eventually interviewed by the FBI on 27th July 1939. Krivitsky claimed that there were about 15 Soviet agents in New York City. He named Boris Bykov as one of the main agents in the country. The FBI was not convinced by Krivitsky's testimony: "Krivitsky accepts his own conclusions as facts and so relates them and that in reply to a question he would state his opinion as a fact, rather than admit a lack of definite knowledge." (24) The FBI was also concerned that Krivitsky's lawyer, Louis Waldman, was a well-known socialist. (25) The view was that Krivitsky was a disinformation agent. Walter Krivitsky was reluctant to give the names of spies who he considered to be "ideological". Krivitsky was opposed to what Joseph Stalin was doing in the Soviet Union, he was still a Marxist and so he was unwilling to betray those who shared his beliefs. However, he was willing to name spies who were taking money for providing information. For example, he gave the names of Soviet spies, John Herbert King and Ernest Holloway Oldham, who were based in London. Krivitsky was also invited to appear before Martin Dies and the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) on 11th October, 1939. In the closed session Krivitsky explained that the American Communist Party was under the control of the Soviet Union. According to Joseph Brown Matthews, who was an investigator for the HUAC: "Krivitsky told me that the OGPU was determined to assassinate Trotsky and himself." Krivitsky added: "If I am ever found dead and it appears to be suicide, please don't accept that belief. It will just appear to be a suicide. But it really will be murder. Trotsky is to be murdered and I am too. Please go to Mexico City and warn Trotsky." Matthews later recalled: "I went to Mexico City soon after this conversation, and saw Trotsky... I told Trotsky what the General had said." Trotsky apparently replied: "General Krivitsky is right. We are the two men the OGPU is sworn to kill." (26) In 1940 the FBI decided to take a closer interest in Gaik Ovakimyan. On one occasion he was seen meeting with Jacob Golos, who ran a travel agency, World Tourists in New York City. The FBI was aware that it was a front for Soviet clandestine work and his office was raided by officials of the Justice Department. (27) Some of these documents showed that Earl Browder, the leader of the Communist Party of the United States, had travelled on a false passport. Browder was arrested and Golos told his girlfriend, and fellow agent, Elizabeth Bentley: "Earl is my friend. It is my carelessness that is going to send him to jail." Bentley later recalled that the incident took its toll on Golos: "His red hair was becoming grayer and sparser, his blue eyes seemed to have no more fire in them, his face became habitually white and taut." (28) According to Bentley, United States officials agreed to drop the whole investigation, if Golos pleaded guilty. He told her that Moscow insisted that he went along with the deal. "I never thought that I would live to see the day when I would have to plead guilty in a bourgeois court." He complained that they had forced him to become a "sacrificial goat". On 15th March, 1940, Golos received a $500 fine and placed on four months probation. (29) Once again it was a botched operation. Golas was the most important Soviet spy in the United States. We now know that he ran agents that included Victor Perlo, Harry Dexter White, Nathan Silvermaster, Abraham George Silverman, Nathan Witt, Marion Bachrach, Julian Wadleigh, William Remington, Harold Glasser, Charles Kramer, Elizabeth Bentley, Duncan Chaplin Lee, Joseph Katz, William Ludwig Ullmann, Henry Hill Collins, Frank Coe, Abraham Brothman, Mary Price, Cedric Belfrage and Lauchlin Currie. The FBI was also not doing a very good job protecting Walter Krivitsky. He was found dead on 9th February, 1941, in Bellevue Hotel in Washington. The police declared that he had committed suicide. Frank Waldrop of The Washington Times-Herald ridiculed the police investigation: "Anybody'd rather be a second-guessing citizen than Chief of Police Ernest W. Brown, with such a staff of lunkheads to do the field work in homicide matters." (30) However The Daily Worker disagreed: "The capitalist press is desperately trying to make a frame-up murder case out of what is clearly established in the suicide of General Walter Krivitsky." (31) Louis Waldman campaigned for the FBI to treat the case as murder. "The issue is much deeper than the discovery of whether the general's death was the result of murder or suicide... When one considers that General Krivitsky was a witness, giving valuable information as to foreign espionage in our own country to a legislative committee, to the State Department, and to the FBI itself, then in my opinion, there is the clear duty of the FBI to track down those malevolent forces which were responsible for his death." (32) Waldman told the FBI that he had evidence that Hans Brusse was the killer. When the FBI reopen the case he went to the press with his evidence. Recently released documents show that in March 1941 a certain Lee Y. Chertok, a Russian living in the United States, claimed to have information on the killers of Krivitsky. J. Edgar Hoover sent a memo telling the FBI not to follow up this evidence: "The Bureau is not interested in determining whether Krivitsky was murdered or whether he committed suicide." (33) Whittaker Chambers, a Soviet spy, who like Walter Krivitsky, was disillusioned by the policies of Joseph Stalin, definitely believed that he had been killed by the NKVD: "He had left a letter in which he gave his wife and children the unlikely advice that the Soviet Government and people were their best friends. Previously he had warned them that, if he were found dead, never under any circumstances to believe that he had committed suicide." Krivitsky once told Chambers: "Any fool can commit a murder, but it takes an artist to commit a good natural death." (34) Chambers had for some time been trying to inform the authorities about the Soviet spy ring operating in the United States. In August 1939, Isaac Don Levine arranged for Chambers to meet Adolf Berle, one of the top aides to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. After dinner Chambers told Berle about government officials spying for the Soviet Union: "Around midnight, we went into the house. What we said there is not in question because Berle took it in the form of penciled notes. Just inside the front door, he sat at a little desk or table with a telephone on it and while I talked he wrote, abbreviating swiftly as he went along. These notes did not cover the entire conversation on the lawn. They were what we recapitulated quickly at a late hour after a good many drinks. I assumed that they were an exploratory skeleton on which further conversations and investigation would be based." (35) According to Levine the list of "espionage agents" included Alger Hiss, Donald Hiss, Laurence Duggan, Lauchlin Currie, Harry Dexter White, John Abt, Marion Bachrach, Nathan Witt, Lee Pressman, Julian Wadleigh, Noel Field and Frank Coe. Chambers also named Joszef Peter, as being "responsible for the Washington sector" and "after 1929 the "head of the underground section" of the Communist Party of the United States. Chambers later claimed that Berle reacted to the news with the comment: "We may be in this war within forty-eight hours and we cannot go into it without clean services." Berle, who was in effect the president's Director of Homeland Security, later claimed that he raised the issue with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, "who profanely dismissed it as nonsense." J. Edgar Hoover claims that it was not until 1943 that the FBI received a copy of Berle's memorandum. Whittaker Chambers was now interviewed by the FBI but Hoover concluded, after being briefed on the interview, that Chambers had little specific information. However, this information was sent to the State Department security officials. One of them, Raymond Murphy, interviewed Chambers in March 1945 about these claims. Chambers now gave full details of Hiss's spying activities. A report was sent to the FBI and in May, 1945, they had another meeting with Chambers. In August 1945, Elizabeth Bentley walked into an FBI office and announced that she was a former Soviet agent. In a statement she gave the names of several Soviet agents working for the government. This included Harry Dexter White and Lauchlin Currie. Bentley also said that a man named "Hiss" in the State Department was working for Soviet military intelligence. In the margins of Bentley's comments about Hiss, someone at the FBI made a handwritten notation: "Alger Hiss". In 1947 Hede Massing told Robert Lamphere (FBI Soviet Section), that she was a member of a spy network that included Vassili Zarubin, Boris Bazarov, Elizabeth Zarubina, Laurence Duggan, Alger Hiss, Joszef Peter, Earl Browder and Noel Field. Massing repeated the allegations of a Soviet network in the United States at the trial of her husband, Gerhart Eisler in July 1947. During this evidence Eisler's lawyer, Carol Weiss King, pointed at Robert Lamphere and shouted, "This is all a frame-up by you." (36) On 3rd August, 1948, Whittaker Chambers appeared before the House of Un-American Activities Committee. He testified that he had been "a member of the Communist Party and a paid functionary of that party" but left after the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact in August 1939. He explained how the Ware Group's "original purpose" was "not primarily espionage," but "the Communist infiltration of the American government." Chambers claimed his network of spies included Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, Lauchlin Currie, Abraham George Silverman, John Abt, Lee Pressman, Nathan Witt, Henry H. Collins and Donald Hiss. Silverman, Collins, Abt, Pressman and Witt all used the Fifth Amendment defence and refused to answer any questions put by the HUAC. (37) The FBI still took no action against the people. The main reason was that Hoover was unwilling to expose the fact that the FBI had completely failed in preventing Soviet espionage in the United States. Robert Lamphere worked closely with Hoover on these cases: "Director Hoover had his faults and idiosyncrasies - but he was indeed a great man." Lamphere believed that Hoover's main weakness was that he could not take criticism. "Hoover... believed that the organization he had built, the FBI, should repulse all attacks on it, whatever the source." This was especially true "in the area that he made mistakes". Hoover would do anything to stop the exposure of these mistakes. This included the destruction of documents. (38) 1948 was the year that Meredith Gardner and his team at Arlington Hall began successfully decode a backlog of over 200,000 communications between Moscow and its foreign missions. The project, named Venona (a word which appropriately, has no meaning), began identifying over 200 American citizens who had been spying for the Soviet Union since the early 1930s. (39) The people exposed by Venona included Cedric Belfrage, Elizabeth Bentley, Marion Bachrach, Joel Barr, Abraham Brothman, Earl Browder, Karl Hermann Brunck, Louis Budenz, Whittaker Chambers, Frank Coe, Henry Hill Collins, Judith Coplon, Lauchlin Currie, Hope Hale Davis, Samuel Dickstein, Martha Dodd, Laurence Duggan, Harry Gold, David Greenglass, Ruth Greenglass, Gerhart Eisler, Noel Field, Harold Glasser, Vivian Glassman, Jacob Golos, Theodore Hall, Alger Hiss, Donald Hiss, Joseph Katz, Charles Kramer, Duncan Chaplin Lee, Harvey Matusow, Hede Massing, Paul Massing, Boris Morros, William Perl, Victor Perlo, Joszef Peter, Lee Pressman, Mary Price, William Remington, Julius Rosenberg, Alfred Sarant, Abraham George Silverman, Helen Silvermaster, Nathan Silvermaster, Alfred Dean Slack, Morton Sobell, Alfred Stern, William Ludwig Ullmann, Julian Wadleigh, Harold Ware, William Weisband, Nathaniel Weyl, Donald Niven Wheeler, Harry Dexter White, Nathan Witt and Mark Zborowski. It was argued that you could not use Venona material in court as it would let the Soviets know that their secret code had been broken. However, one of the senior figures at Arlington Hall, William Weisband was also a Soviet spy. In February 1948 a Soviet official wrote an internal memorandum about the work of Weisband. "For one year, a large amount of very valuable documentary material concerning the work of Americans on deciphering Soviet ciphers, intercepting and analyzing open radio-correspondence of Soviet institutions (the Venona project), was received from (Weisband). From these materials, we came to know that, as a result of this work, American intelligence managed to acquire important data concerning the stationing of the USSR's armed forces, the productive capacity of various branches of industry, and work in the field of atomic energy in the USSR... On the basis of Weisband's materials, our state security organs carried out a number of defensive measures, resulting in the reduced efficiency of the American deciphering service. This has led to the considerable current reduction in the amount of deciphering and analysis by the Americans." (40) To make sure that the FBI was unaware that they knew that the code had been broken, they continued to use it. The "operatives" were instructed "every week to compose summary reports or information on the basis of press and personal connections to be transferred to the Center by telegraph." As Allen Weinstein, the author of The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) has pointed out the "Soviet intelligence's once-flourishing American networks, in short, had been transformed almost overnight into a virtual clipping service." (41) Those identified in the Venona transcripts were interviewed by the FBI but unless they broke down and confessed, charges could not be made against them. Harry Gold, David Greenglass and Ruth Greenglass did confess and this led to the conviction of Julius Rosenberg, Ethel Rosenberg (innocent) and Morton Sobell. Abraham Brothman and Miriam Moskowitz (innocent) were charged and convicted of “conspiracy to obstruct justice.” Others such as Alger Hiss and William Remington, were found guilty of perjury. Remington paid a heavy price for this as he was murdered in prison for being a "communist". William Weisband, the man who gave away the Venona secret, was convicted of contempt and sentenced to a year in prison after failing to appear before the grand jury. Judith Coplon was one of the most important Soviet spies in the United States. She worked for the FBI in the Justice Department and was able to warn any agents under investigation. Coplon's main attention was focused on the main Justice Department counter-intelligence archive that collected information from the various government agencies - FBI, OSS, and naval and army intelligence. She passed to her NKVD contact a number of documents from this archive. This included FBI materials on Soviet organizations in the United States and information on leaders of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA). A review of the data shocked NKVD. "The materials show how thoroughly the smallest facts from conversations, correspondence, and telephone talks held by our organizations, individual representatives, and workers in the country are recorded." (42) Coplon was arrested on 4th March, 1949 in Manhattan as she met with Valentin Gubitchev, her Soviet contact. They discovered that she had in her handbag twenty-eight FBI memoranda. This included details of the intensive monitoring of individuals such as David K. Niles, Frederic March, Edward G. Robinson and Edward Condon, who were all supporting Henry Wallace in his 1948 Presidential Campaign. Judith Coplon was charged with espionage. At her trial that began on 25th April 1949 Coplon claimed "she was meeting Gubitchev because they were in love and was not planning to give him the documents. But he was married, and prosecutors brought out that she had spent nights in hotels with another man at about the same time." (43) Coplon was helped in her defence by the decision of Judge Albert Reeves to rule that in order to convict her on the charge of unauthorized possession of classified documents, government prosecutors must produce in open court the originals of the FBI documents found in her handbag at the time of her arrest. During the trial, Coplon's lawyer, Archie Palmer, argued that the evidence from the confidential informant was in fact from illegal telephone taps. Then, over the strenuous objections of the FBI, he succeeded in getting raw FBI data collected on many famous people admitted as evidence, although they had nothing to do with the case. At the end of her trial Coplon was found guilty of espionage. The following year Coplon and Valentin Gubitchev were charged with conspiracy. As Hayden B. Peake has pointed out: "The alleged telephone taps became a major element in the second trial in New York, when Coplon and her case officer, Gubitchev, were convicted together. During the first trial, FBI special agents had denied direct knowledge of the taps. At the second, however, one of them admitted that taps had been used to collect evidence presented at trial. Later, the authors found a memorandum acknowledging the recordings and indicating that they had been intentionally destroyed to avoid having to reveal their existence." (44) Both Coplon were found guilty and Gubitchev was deported. However, Coplon appealed against both convictions. "The appellant judge in New York concluded that it was clear from the evidence that she was guilty, but the FBI had lied under oath about the bugging. Moreover, he wrote, the failure to get a warrant was not justified. He overturned the verdict, but the indictment was not dismissed. In the appeal of the Washington trial, the verdict was upheld, but, because of the possible bugging, a new trial became possible." (45) The case caused considerable embarrassment to the FBI. As Athan Theoharis, the author of Chasing Spies (2002) has pointed out : "Their public release confirmed that FBI agents intensively monitored political activities and wire-tapped extensively - with the subjects of their interest ranging from New Deal liberals to critics of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and with information in fifteen of the twenty-eight reports coming from wiretaps. And because Coplon's own phone had been wiretapped, her conviction was later reversed on appeal. The appeals judge concluded that FBI wiretapping had possibly tainted Coplon's indictment, under the Supreme Court's 1937 and 1939 rulings in Narclone v. U.S., requiring the dismissal of any case based on illegal wiretaps." (46) Once again, the FBI had failed to get a conviction of a Soviet spy. In 1963 Hoover was petrified that it would be discovered that Lee Harvey Oswald was part of a Soviet conspiracy that assassinated John F. Kennedy. No wonder he was overjoyed to hear about the defection of Yuri Nosenko and the story he had to tell. The Warren Commission welcomed the news and enabled them to provide a report wanted by President Lyndon Baines Johnson. As he told Richard B. Russell when he asked him to serve on the commission on 29th November, 1963: "It has already been announced and you can serve with anybody for the good of America and this is a question that has a good many more ramifications than on the surface and we've got to take this out of the arena where they're testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and chuck us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour." (47) So who was right about Yuri Nosenko - J. Edgar Hoover or James Jesus Angleton? The Mitrokhin Archive shows us that Nosenko was indeed a genuine defector. So also was Anatoli Golitsyn (at least Angleton got that one right). The KGB gave orders for both men to be assassinated. As late as 1975 they had found a gangster willing to take out a contract on Nosenko for $100,000. But before he could do so the gangster was arrested for other crimes. (48) References (1) Gerald D. McKnight, Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why (2005) pages 388-389 (2) Richard Helms, A Look Over My Shoulder (2003) pages 238-39 (3) Christopher Andrew, The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 (2009) page 435 (4) David Martin, Wilderness of Mirrors (1980) page 153 (5) Richard Helms, A Look Over My Shoulder (2003) pages 240 (6) Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA (1979) page 328 (7) John Ranelagh, The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA (1987) page 320 (8) Joseph Trento, The Secret History of the CIA (2001) page 37 (9) Anthony Cave Brown, Treason of Blood (1995) page 386 (10) Kim Philby, My Secret War (1968) page 145 (11) Kim Philby, letter to Leonard Mosley (April, 1977) (12) Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends (2014) page 131 (13) Kim Philby, My Secret War (1968) page 151 (14) Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends (2014) page 156 (15) Tom Mangold, Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton: The CIA's Master Spy Hunter (1991) page 45 (16) Burton Hersh, The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIA (1992) page 321 (17) Tom Mangold, Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton: The CIA's Master Spy Hunter (1991) page 46 (18) Michael Howard Holzman, James Jesus Angleton, the CIA, and the Craft of Counterintelligence (2008) page 125 (19) Ted Shackley, Spymaster: My Life in the CIA (2005) page 93 (20) Evan Thomas, The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA (1995) page 308 (21) Joseph Trento, The Secret History of the CIA (2001) page 284 (22) Robert J. Lamphere, The FBI-KGB War (1986) page 25 (23) Walter Krivitsky, Saturday Evening Post (April 1939) (24) Gary Kern, A Death in Washington: Walter G. Krivitsky and the Stalin Terror (2004) page 213 (25) Louis Waldman, Labor Lawyer (1944) pages 344-346 (26) The Chicago American (2nd November, 1941) (27) Silvermaster FBI File 65-56402-1976 (28) Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, The Secret World of American Communism (1995) page 11 (29) The Washington Post (15th March, 1940) (30) Frank Waldrop, The Washington Times-Herald (1st Aptil, 1941) (31) The Daily Worker (2nd November, 1941) (32) Gary Kern, A Death in Washington: Walter G. Krivitsky and the Stalin Terror (2004) page 289 (33) J. Edgar Hoover, memorandum to B. E. Sackett (15th March, 1941) (34) Whittaker Chambers, Witness (1952) page 485 (35) Whittaker Chambers, Witness (1952) page 464 (36) Robert J. Lamphere, The FBI-KGB War (1986) pages 59-60 (37) Sam Tanenhaus, Whittaker Chambers: A Biography (1997) page 246 (38) Robert J. Lamphere, The FBI-KGB War (1986) page 69 (39) David Stout, The New York Times (18th August, 2002) (40) Yuri Bruslov, memorandum on William Weisband (February, 1948) (41) Allen Weinstein, The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) page 286 (42) Venona File 35112 page 131 (43) Jim Fitzgerald, The Washington Post (4th March, 2011) (44) Hayden B. Peake, The Spy Who Seduced America: Lies and Betrayal in the Heat of the Cold War— The Judith Coplon Story (14th April, 2007) (45) Hayden B. Peake, The Spy Who Seduced America: Lies and Betrayal in the Heat of the Cold War— The Judith Coplon Story (14th April, 2007) (46) Athan Theoharis, Chasing Spies (2002) page 87 (47) President Lyndon Baines Johnson, telephone conversation to Richard B. Russell (29th November, 1963) (48) Mitrokhin Archive (Volume 2, Appendix 3)
  23. On another thread Shanet Clark pointed out that the Forum was "getting to be quite an international research consortium". In no particular order we have Peter Dale Scott, Barr McClellan, Anthony Summers, Lamar Waldron, Gerald McKnight, William Pepper, Joe Trento, Alfred McCoy, Joan Mellen, G. Robert Blakey, Larry Hancock, Barr McClellan, Josiah Thompson, Matthew Smith, Jim Feltzer, Dan E. Moldea, Don Bohning, William Turner, Jim Marrs, William Reymond, Dick Russell, Nina Burleigh, Craig Roberts, David Talbot, Walt Brown, Jeff Morley, James Richards, Ron Ecker, Pat Speer, Nick Cullather, Joel Bainerman, Lee Israel, William E. Kelly, Robert Charles Dunne, John Hunt, Robin Ramsay, J. Raymond Carroll, Jack White, David Mantik, Greg Parker, Martin Shackelford, Alan J. Weberman, Steve Thomas, Gary Buell, Ryan Crowe, Lee Forman, Tosh Plumlee, Gerry Hemming, Stephen Roy, Doug Caddy, Mark Knight, Alan Kent, Robin Unger, Peter Lemkin, David Boylan, Dawn Meredith, Robert Howard, Al Carrier, Harry J. Dean, Vaughn Marlowe, Antii Hynonen, Nathaniel Heidenheimer, Mark Stapleton, Doug Horne, Pamela McElwain-Brown, Bill Miller, David Healey, Stephen Turner, Michael Hogan, Duke Lane, etc. etc. I am currently trying to persuade Philip Agee to join our discussions (that might frighten a few observers). Gaeton Fonzi, Garry Cornwell, Mark Lane, David Lifton, Richard D. Mahoney, Norman Redlich, Victor Marchetti, Noel Twyman, Nigel Turner, Jim Hougan, Peter Kornbluh, Billy Sol Estes, are others I have been trying very hard to get involved in these debates. My main disappointment has been my failure to persuade “lone gunman” theorists to join the Forum. Gerald Posner, Gus Russo, Dale Myers, John McAdams, Edward Jay Epstein, Kenneth A. Rahn (he said it was not academic enough), Hugh Aynesworth, David Reitzes and Dave Perry have all turned me down. One thing is clear, lone gunman theorists are much more reluctant to join open debate on these cases. Dan E. Moldea is an exception and is much admired for showing his courage in joining the Dragons Den.
  24. Is it possible that Clint Murchison helped to fund the JFK assassination? Murchison was a close friend of both Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover. His relationship with LBJ dates back to the 1948 Senate election. Murchison was one of his largest financial backers. Texas oil millionaires such as Murchison, fought hard to maintain its tax concessions. The most important of these was the oil depletion allowance. It allowed producers to use the depletion allowed to deduct just 5 per cent of their income and the deduction was limited to the original cost of their property. However, in 1926 the depletion allowance was increased to 27.5 per cent. As Robert Bryce pointed out in his book, Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, America's Superstate: "Johnson's 1948 race was reportedly the most expensive political campaign ever wages in Texas. The money flowed to Johnson like an inexhaustible river. By befriending Richardson, Murchison, Hunt, and other oilmen like Amon Carter of Fort Worth, Wesley West of Austin, and R. J. Parten of Houston, Johnson assured himself of nearly unlimited funding." Philip F. Nelson, the author of LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination (2011) has pointed out that the oil depletion allowance, "allowed them to retain 27.5 percent of their oil revenue tax-tree; its loss, according to World Petroleum magazine, stood to cost the industry as much as $280 million in annual profits. The original rationale for such an allowance was that the product that their investments yielded yeas a finite resource that would require continual investments in exploration and recovery in order to extend the flow of raw material; the more the companies produced, the less was available. Recognition of this depletion of the asset was intended as an incentive for finding and recovering more oil fields. (How this particular commodity was materially different from other forms of mining, or commercial ocean fishing, or even farming, was never fully explained, other than perhaps the oilmen having better lobbyists than the others.)" Murchison also became friends with J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was the start of a long friendship. According to Anthony Summers, the author of The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover (1993): "Recognizing Edgar's influence as a national figure, the oilmen had started cultivating him in the late forties-inviting him to Texas as a houseguest, taking him on hunting expeditions. Edgar's relations with them were to go far beyond what was proper for a Director of the FBI." Hoover and his boyfriend, Clyde Tolson, were regular visitors to Murchison's Del Charro Hotel in La Jolla, California. The three men would visit the local racetrack, Del Mar. Allan Witwer, the manager of the hotel at the time, later recalled: "It came to the end of the summer and Hoover had made no attempt to pay his bill. So I went to Murchison and asked him what he wanted me to do." Murchison told him to put it on his bill. Witwer estimates that over the next 18 summers Murchison's hospitality was worth nearly $300,000. Other visitors to the hotel included Richard Nixon, John Connally, Lyndon B. Johnson, Meyer Lansky, Santos Trafficante, Johnny Rosselli, Sam Giancana and Carlos Marcello. Clint Murchison was also closely liked to the Mafia. In 1955 a Senate committee discovered that 20 per cent of the Murchison Oil Lease Company was owned by Vito Genovese and his family. The committee also discovered Murchison had close financial ties with Carlos Marcello. Later, Bobby Baker claimed that. "Murchison owned a piece of Hoover. Rich people always try to put their money with the sheriff, because they're looking for protection. Hoover was the personification of law and order and officially against gangsters and everything, so it was a plus for a rich man to be identified with him. That's why men like Murchison made it their business to let everyone know Hoover was their friend. You can do a lot of illegal things if the head lawman is your buddy." In 1958 Murchison purchased the publishers, Henry Holt and Company. He told the New York Post: "Before I got them, they published some books that were badly pro-Communist. They had some bad people there.... We just cleared them all out and put some good men in. Sure there were casualties but now we've got a good operation." One of the first book's he published was by his old friend, J. Edgar Hoover. The book, Masters of Deceit: The Story of Communism in America (1958), was an account of the Communist menace and sold over 250,000 copies in hardcover and over 2,000,000 in paperback. It was on the best-seller lists for thirty-one weeks, three of them as the number one non-fiction choice. William Sullivan was ordered to oversee the project, claimed that as many as eight agents worked full-time on the book for nearly six months. Curt Gentry, the author of J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets (1991) points out Hoover claimed that he intended to give all royalties to the FBI Recreational Association (FBIRA). However, he claims that the "FBIRA was a slush fund, maintained for the use of Hoover, Tolson, and their key aides. It was also a money-laundering operation, so the director would not have to9 pay taxes on his book royalties." Gentry quotes Sullivan as saying that Hoover "put many thousands of dollars of that book.... into his own pocket, and so did Tolson." In 1955 Lyndon B. Johnson became majority leader of the Senate. Johnson and Richard Russell now had complete control over all the important Senate committees. This was proving to be an expensive business. The money used to bribe these politicians came from Russell’s network of businessmen. These were men usually involved in the oil and armaments industries. According to John Connally, large sums of money was given to Johnson throughout the 1950s for distribution to his political friends. “I handled inordinate amounts of cash”. A great deal of this came from oilmen like Murchison. In 1956 there was another attempt to end all federal price control over natural gas. Sam Rayburn played an important role in getting it through the House of Representatives. This is not surprising as according to Connally, he alone had been responsible for a million and a half dollars of lobbying. Paul Douglas and William Langer led the fight against the bill. Their campaigned was helped by an amazing speech by Francis Case of South Dakota. Up until this time Case had been a supporter of the bill. However, he announced that he had been offered a $25,000 bribe by the Superior Oil Company to guarantee his vote. As a man of principal, he thought he should announce this fact to the Senate. Johnson responded by claiming that Case had himself come under pressure to make this statement by people who wanted to retain federal price controls. Johnson argued: “In all my twenty-five years in Washington I have never seen a campaign of intimidation equal to the campaign put on by the opponents of this bill.” Johnson pushed on with the bill and it was eventually passed by 53 votes to 38. However, three days later, Dwight D. Eisenhower, vetoed the bill on grounds of immoral lobbying. Eisenhower confided in his diary that this had been “the most flagrant kind of lobbying that has been brought to my attention”. He added that there was a “great stench around the passing of this bill” and the people involved were “so arrogant and so much in defiance of acceptable standards of propriety as to risk creating doubt among the American people concerning the integrity of governmental processes”. Murchison and Sid Richardson began negotiations with President Eisenhower. In June, 1957, Eisenhower agreed to appoint their man, Robert Anderson, as his Secretary of the Treasury. According to Robert Sherrill in his book, The Accidental President: "A few weeks later Anderson was appointed to a cabinet committee to "study" the oil import situation; out of this study came the present-day program which benefits the major oil companies, the international oil giants primarily, by about one billion dollars a year." During the 1960 presidential election John F. Kennedy gave his support for the oil depletion allowance. In October, 1960, he said that he appreciated "the value and importance of the oil-depletion allowance. I realize its purpose and value... The oil-depletion allowance has served us well." However, two years later, Kennedy decided to take on the oil industry. On 16th October, 1962, Kennedy was able to persuade Congress to pass an act that removed the distinction between repatriated profits and profits reinvested abroad. While this law applied to industry as a whole, it especially affected the oil companies. It was estimated that as a result of this legislation, wealthy oilmen saw a fall in their earnings on foreign investment from 30 per cent to 15 per cent. On 17th January, 1963, President Kennedy presented his proposals for tax reform. This included relieving the tax burdens of low-income and elderly citizens. Kennedy also claimed he wanted to remove special privileges and loopholes. He even said he wanted to do away with the oil depletion allowance. It is estimated that the proposed removal of the oil depletion allowance would result in a loss of around $300 million a year to Texas oilmen. Rumours began to circulate that Murchison might have been involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A friend of Murchison, Madeleine Brown, claimed in an interview on the television show, A Current Affair that on the 21st November, 1963, she was at his home in Dallas. Others at the meeting included Haroldson L. Hunt, J. Edgar Hoover, Clyde Tolson, John J. McCloy and Richard Nixon. At the end of the evening Lyndon B. Johnson arrived. Brown said in this interview: "Tension filled the room upon his arrival. The group immediately went behind closed doors. A short time later Lyndon, anxious and red-faced, reappeared. I knew how secretly Lyndon operated. Therefore I said nothing... not even that I was happy to see him. Squeezing my hand so hard, it felt crushed from the pressure, he spoke with a grating whisper, a quiet growl, into my ear, not a love message, but one I'll always remember: "After tomorrow those goddamn Kennedys will never embarrass me again - that's no threat - that's a promise." Gary Mack has argued that this party never took place: "Could LBJ have been at a Murchison party? No. LBJ was seen and photographed in the Houston Coliseum with JFK at a dinner and speech. They flew out around 10pm and arrived at Carswell (Air Force Base in northwest Fort Worth) at 11:07 Thursday night. Their motorcade to the Hotel Texas arrived about 11:50 and LBJ was again photographed. He stayed in the Will Rogers suite on the 13th floor and Manchester (William Manchester - author of The Death of a President) says he was up late. Could Nixon have been at Murchison’s party? No. Tony Zoppi (Entertainment Editor of The Dallas Morning News) and Don Safran (Entertainment Editor of the Dallas Times Herald) saw Nixon at the Empire Room at the Statler-Hilton. He walked in with Joan Crawford (Movie actress). Robert Clary (of Hogan’s Heroes fame) stopped his show to point them out, saying “. . . either you like him or you don’t.” Zoppi thought that was in poor taste, but Safran said Nixon laughed. Zoppi’s deadline was 11pm, so he stayed until 10:30 or 10:45 and Nixon was still there." http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKmurchison.htm
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