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John Simkin

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  1. I thought that it might be a good idea to look at the evidence that suggests that the assassination of JFK was organized by the governments of the Soviet Union or/and Cuba. I think the idea makes no political sense at all but I know some members of the forum do believe this theory. The history of this theory is an interesting one. The first person to put this theory forward was John Martino, an electronics expert, who was employed by Santos Trafficante. He also worked as a CIA agent and took part in its Black Operations. In an article published in January, 1964, Martino argued that in 1963 Castro discovered an American plot to overthrow his government. He retaliated by employing Oswald to kill JFK. Shortly before his death in 1975 Martino confessed to a Miami Newsday reporter, John Cummings, that he had been guilty of spreading false stories implicating Oswald and the Soviets in the assassination. In fact, he had himself been part of the conspiracy to kill JFK. He claimed that two of the gunmen were Cuban exiles. It is believed the two men were Herminio Diaz Garcia and Virgilio Gonzalez. Cummings added: "He told me he'd been part of the assassination of Kennedy. He wasn't in Dallas pulling a trigger, but he was involved. He implied that his role was delivering money, facilitating things.... He asked me not to write it while he was alive." Martino made a similar confession to his wife, son and business partner. The next person to spread this story was Billy James Hargis, the founder of Christian Crusade ("a Christian weapon against Communism and its godless allies"). In 1964 he wrote a book called The Far Left. In it he argued: What are the lies that are confronting the American people today as a result of this internal Communist conspiracy, and in connection with this murder of the President of the United States? The first lie is that there is no conspiracy, that the Communist conspiracy does not exist, and there are not thousands upon thousands of trained Communist agents in this country today, some of them trained, as Lee Harvey Oswald obviously was, to be expert killers. The murder of the President of the United States was one of the most skillful acts of killing imaginable and could have been accomplished only by great training, and now the facts show that Oswald received such training inside the Soviet Union, while he lived there as a citizen. It is a lie hatched in hell that the so-called “right-wing extremists” are guilty of the murder of the President of the United States. That lie was put out as official Communist Party propaganda in the first flash of Tass News Agency in Moscow as reported in this country within minutes after the President was killed. Tass, the Russian Communist News Agency, said it was believed that “right-wing extremists” were responsible for the murder of the President, and specifically branded General Edwin A. Walker as being one of those guilty. Hargis was known as a right-wing fanatic and his views on the assassination were not taken seriously (except for Kenneth Rahn’s Academic (sic) JFK Assassination Site). Despite the efforts of James Jesus Angleton very few researchers were unwilling to put forward the theory that the Soviets were behind the assassination. Understandably, most researchers were more likely to think that it was the CIA or FBI that planned the assassination than the KGB. The next book that argued that the KGB was behind the assassination came in 1975. The book, Khrushchev Killed Kennedy had been written by the English author, Michael Eddowes. The fact that Eddowes had written such a book surprised researchers in the UK. Eddowes, a former lawyer, had gained fame in 1955 by publishing a book called The Man on Your Conscience. The book was an investigation into the murder trial and execution of Timothy Evans. The book caused renewed interest in the case and eventually Evans received a posthumous pardon by the Queen. This case played an important role in the subsequent abolition of capital punishment in Britain. Eddowes was therefore had a good reputation as an investigative reporter. However, he appeared to lose interest in this profession after the publication of The Man on Your Conscience. In fact, by 1975, he was mainly known for his right-wing extremist political views. In Khrushchev Killed Kennedy Eddowes argued that Kennedy was killed by a Soviet agent impersonating Oswald. Eddowes also claimed that LBJ was aware of this and had covered-up the role of the KGB in the killing of Kennedy in order to prevent a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. With the release of the LBJ tapes we now know this is what he was saying at the time. Had Eddowes been tipped off by the FBI/CIA about this? Two events helped to undermine Eddowes and as a result his book is rarely quoted by the “Soviets did it” theorists. To test his theory, Eddowes brought a suit in Texas to exhume Oswald's body. This was originally refused but after gaining the support of Lee Harvey Oswald's family, the exhumation took place on 4th October, 1981. The body was taken to the Baylor Medical Center. Identification was made primarily using dental records. At a news conference held later the following statement was issued: “The findings of the team are as follows: We independently and as a team have concluded beyond any doubt, and I mean beyond any doubt, that the individual buried under the name of Lee Harvey Oswald in Rose Hill Cemetery is in fact Lee Harvey Oswald.” The other event was the discovery that the writing and publication of Khrushchev Killed Kennedy had been financed by the Texas oil billionaire, Haroldson L. Hunt. This was of course the man claimed by Thomas Buchanan (Who Killed Kennedy? 1964) to have paid for the JFK assassination. The next person to argue that it was the KGB was Edward Jay Epstein. In 1978 he published Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald. In the book he claims that Oswald killed JFK and that it was working on behalf of the KGB. Much of the book is based on interviews with James Jesus Angleton and Yuri Nosenko. This book did little for Epstein’s reputation as a serious researcher and many now believe he was in the pay of the CIA. In 1982 Michael Kurtz published The Kennedy Assassination From a Historian's Perspective. It is a good book and mainly concentrates on looking at the evidence for a conspiracy. In the book he speculates about different groups being involved in the assassination. This includes the possibility that the assassination was ordered by Fidel Castro. In recent years few researchers have claimed that the Soviets were behind the assassination. The release of secret files under the Freedom of Information Act has also undermined this theory. It is now clear that JFK was involved in secret negotiations with Castro and Khrushchev about bringing the Cold War to an end. The idea that they should be at the same time being plotting to have JFK assassinated so that they could have LBJ as president is indeed ridiculous.
  2. Jean-Pierre Lafitte

    Part of Anthony Frewin's review of A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Experiments: http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lob...9/lobster59.pdf On Thursday 19 November 1953 Olson attended a meeting at Deep Creek Lake with several of his colleagues and was slipped LSD laced with a ‘truth drug’ before being interrogated. He began to display strange behaviour, extreme anxiety, and feelings of paranoia. The loose cannon was now ricocheting about like the ball in a pinball machine. He was taken up to New York to see the CIA-approved Dr Abramson who seems to have realised that there was going to be no easy fix here. Then it was decided that Olson should be taken away to a secure CIA-approved asylum and the forcible removal of Olson from the Hotel Statler was entrusted to two ‘goons’. Things got out of hand in the hotel room and Olson was precipitated out the window with the goons probably thinking, they’ll thank us for this (indeed, they might even have been instructed to do same). The two goons were Pierre Lafitte and Francoise Spirito. Who they? Spirio and Lafitte Spirito has been dubbed the father of modern heroin traffickers. He was born in Sicily in 1898 and spent his formative years in Marseilles. The 1970 French film Borsalino was largely based on his life but left out much of his less pleasing side, such as his Nazi collaboration during the war. Just before the Olson business Spirito had been released from Atlanta’s Federal Penitentiary where he had been serving a sentence for drug trafficking. Less than three weeks later he was picked up by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service and deported back to France where he died in 1967. Spirito had known Lafitte since about 1939 and they had first met in Marseilles. It was Lafitte who engaged him for the job. Now let’s turn to Lafitte. In 1952 nine large framed paintings including The Flaying of St. Bartholomew, believed to be by Mattis Preti, a famous Neapolitan artist, were stolen from St Joseph’s Cathedral in Bardstown, Kentucky. In April 1953 FBI agents arrested three people in Chicago in connection with the theft: Norton I Kretske, an attorney, Joseph DePietro, a deputy bailiff for a Chicago court, and an individual identified as Gus Manoletti. The case went to trial in October and the government’s second prosecution witness answered to the name of Jean-Pierre Lafitte but as he approached the stand he was recognised as Gus Manoletti. Lafitte said he lived in San Diego and had been employed for the last three years as a special investigator for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Before that he had been employed overseas on ‘special missions for the United States government.’ He explained that he had been engaged by the FBI to locate the stolen paintings and had posed as a buyer in the art world and after months of undercover work had purchased the stolen paintings from Kretske and DePietro for $35,000. They were then arrested in a sting operation. Since Lafitte was the government’s star witness, the attorneys for the defendants made strenuous efforts to find out more about his background. The prosecutors objected and the judge sustained their objections citing public interest issues and forbidding any disclosure. So, here we have a man trusted by government agencies and seemingly employed by them over many years. It’s unclear when and where Lafitte was born; possibly Corsica in the early 1900s. He certainly grew up in Marseilles and in his early teens, either having run away from home or having been abandoned by his mother, was working in restaurant kitchens where he discovered a natural aptitude for cooking, a talent that would stand him in good stead throughout his peripatetic life. His involvement in the Marseilles underworld parallels his restaurant work. The late 1930s found Lafitte travelling back and forth between New York, Montreal, Boston, Paris and Marseilles, probably facilitating drug deals. During the 1939-45 war he is thought to have been involved in a number of OSS operations in Nazi-occupied Europe. Sometime after the war he hooked up with George Hunter White, a buccaneering agent of the Federal Narcotics Bureau, who would provide plenty of work for him. (White had free access to LSD in the early 1950s and was dosing unwitting subjects left, right and centre in the many safe houses he ran for the FNB and other agencies). In 1951 White enlisted Lafitte’s help in a major narcotics case. A Joe Dornay, an alias of Joseph Orsini, was arrested in New York for drug trafficking. When he was placed in a cell on Ellis Island prior to deportation who was his cellmate? None other than Lafitte, put there by the FBN to gather information about Orsini’s network. Orsini spilled the beans thinking that Lafitte could mind the store while he was away. As it was, Orsini effectively handed the network on a plate to the FBN and the FBI via Lafitte. Lafitte’s career as a ‘non-attributable’ agent for various government agencies is described in great detail by Albarelli and includes the remarkable story of Joe Valachi, the Mafia song-bird, who had murdered John Joseph Saupp in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary yard. The US Attorney there had sought the death penalty but Valachi, through a go-between, got a message concerning his predicament through to Robert Morgenthau who was then the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The message was that he was prepared to tell all about the mob, as he subsequently did, in exchange for the death penalty going away.4 Albarelli reveals Lafitte was that go-between. In 1953 Lafitte had been working undercover doing lowly work in several New York hotels, probably for the FBN, certainly for George White. He was working at the Hotel Statler when Olson exited the window. Shaw, Oswald, New Orleans Now we’ll go to a contemporary ‘parallel’ universe: Clay Shaw, Lee Harvey Oswald, and New Orleans. In 1967 the New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison arrested Clay Shaw for conspiracy in the assassination of John F Kennedy. Shaw was a prominent New Orleans businessman and a leading director of the World Trade Center, a ‘non-profit association fostering the development of international trade, tourism and cultural exchange.’ In 1969 Sidney Gottlieb announced at a staff meeting that the FBI had arrested Lafitte in New Orleans where he was working as the manager-chef of the Plimsoll Club within the World Trade Center5 (Shaw had praised him as ‘the best chef in New Orleans’ (Others who sang his praises included the Louisiana Governor John McKeithen and Mrs Lyndon Baines Johnson who sent him a letter from the White House. See ‘The Gourmet Pirate’, Time magazine, 19 December 1969.). Richard Helms, now director of the CIA, wanted to know what was going on and ordered an inquiry. It transpires that the Feds had little choice but to pick Lafitte up as six years earlier he had swindled a businessman out of $400,000 in an elaborate scam that involved diamond mines in South Africa. However, Lafitte’s ‘interfacing’ with the Kennedy assassination and its aftermath do not end there. Earlier, in 1967 or 1968, with Allan Hughes, a CIA operative who had attended the Deep Creek Lake meeting where Olson had been dosed, and the reporter James Phelan, Lafitte burgled Garrison’s office to retrieve papers relating to Shaw. And there’s an even more intriguing connection. On 9 May 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald applied for work at the William B Reily Coffee Company in New Orleans. The eponymous Reily was a rabid anti-communist who gave financial support both to Sergio Arcacha Smith’s Crusade to Free Cuba Committee and Ed Butler’s partially CIA-funded propaganda outfit, the Information Council of the Americas (INCA). The Reily vice-president, William Monaghan, was a former FBI agent and was a charter member of INCA. Jim Garrison believed that Reily’s was part of an intelligence apparatus. A view bolstered somewhat by Gerry Patrick Hemming’s claim that William Reily had worked for the CIA for years. Oswald worked for Reily May through July, and Albarelli notes that ‘Around the time of JFK assassination’ Lafitte too was working for the Reily company. The world gets smaller and smaller. Lafitte is unknown in the literature of the JFK assassination. I checked the indices of some ten works. He’s obviously a person for whom further and better partics are needed.
  3. 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?
  4. Hugh G. Aynesworth played an important role in the media cover-up of the assassination of JFK. He contacted me a few weeks ago and complained about what I had written about him on my website. I invited him to join the Forum where he would be free to point out where I had gone wrong. I has yet to accept the invitation. Aynesworth went to work for the Dallas Morning News in 1960. This is what he had to say about Joachim Joesten's Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy? in the Dallas Morning News on 1st August, 1964: If you would listen to this one, he would have you thinking that Lee Harvey Oswald was a polite little misunderstood youth who just got mixed up in the wrong company... Oh how terrible, says Joesten (an ex-German who became a U.S. citizen in 1948 and must wonder why), poor little Lee Harvey was the victim of a ruthless plot headed by Dallas police leaders, District Attorney Henry Wade and his staff and a few "bad guys" from the FBI. Joesten further states that Oswald was an agent of both the FBI and the CIA (how's that for a 24-year-old who couldn't spell "wrist"?). It's the same old tripe with some new flavoring.... The tip-off is the foreword, wherein Joesten dedicates his book to "Mark Lane... the brilliant and courageous New York attorney...." Lane is the troublemaker who spent two day's in Dallas in January on his "investigation" and now pretends to be an expert on all aspects of the weird tragedy. Aynesworth was a strong supporter of the "lone assassin theory" and led the attacks on Mark Lane and his book on the Warren Commission, the pioneering Rush to Judgement (1965). In May, 1967 Aynesworth published a critical article of Jim Garrison in Newsweek: "Garrison's tactics have been even more questionable than his case. I have evidence that one of the strapping D.A.'s investigators offered an unwilling "witness" $3,000 and a job with an airline - if only he would "fill in the facts" of the alleged meeting to plot the death of the President. I also know that when the D.A.'s office learned that this entire bribery attempt had been tape-recorded, two of Garrison's men returned to the "witness" and, he says, threatened him with physical harm." Jim Garrison responded to this article in his book, On The Trail of the Assassins (1988). He argued that: "As for the $3,000 bribe, by the time I came across Aynesworth's revelation, the witness our office had supposedly offered it to, Alvin Babeouf, had admitted to us that it never happened. Aynesworth, of course, never explained what he did with the "evidence" allegedly in his possession. And the so-called bribery tape recording had not, in fact, ever existed." James DiEugenio has argued: "With the work of the Assassination Records Review Board, many more pages of documents have been released showing how tightly bound Aynesworth was with the intelligence community. It has been demonstrated that Aynesworth was - at the minimum - working with the Dallas Police, Shaw's defense team, and the FBI. He was also an informant to the White House, and had once applied for work with the CIA. As I have noted elsewhere, in the annals of this case, I can think of no reporter who had such extensive contacts with those trying to cover up the facts in the JFK case. And only two come close: Edward Epstein and Gerald Posner."
  5. What Makes a Great Teacher

    Fascinating article by Francis Gilbert in today's Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/j...francis-gilbert David Cameron's proclamation that the Tories will be "brazenly elitist" about the calibre of candidates entering the teaching profession betrays the fact that he doesn't know anything about teaching. As a teacher in various comprehensives for the past 20 years, I have seen many good teachers, and some, it's true, fit the stereotype that Cameron wants to impose: graduates with good degrees from so-called "good universities". But I've also met a great many excellent teachers who wouldn't have passed his test. Some didn't have degrees in their chosen subjects; others didn't have degrees at all. Cameron's cardinal mistake is to think qualifications make a good teacher. They don't. When you're faced with 30 truculent children after lunch on a Friday afternoon, qualifications don't count for much. Take Lesley, a high-powered business executive who I mentored as she trained to be a teacher. She had everything: a great degree, excellent organisational skills and good communication skills. Yet she crumbled in the classroom because she was so impatient with her pupils: nothing they did was good enough. Whereas her employees had tolerated her endless nit-picking, her pupils ­became demotivated and disaffected. David was another illustration of the shortcomings of Cameron's policy: he had a first-class degree from Oxford and a penchant for oatmeal jackets and cravats. As his mentor, I observed him teach what I felt was a relatively well-behaved class of 12-year-olds. A quarter of an hour in, it was clear that none of the children had the slightest idea what he was talking about; the class began talking, then chucking his elaborate worksheets around the class. Ironically, it was his support teacher, who didn't have a degree at all, who rescued the lesson by explaining in clear English what was required. If you don't have the right personality, you'll suffer in the bearpit of today's classrooms. In my experience, there are four types of teacher who are effective: the despot, the carer, the charmer, and the rebel. And none of them, in my experience, requires an upper-class degree. I've come across many despotic teachers in my career. They are the Terminator or Lara Croft of teaching; the tough guy or gal who everyone turns to when the going gets really tough. They are nearly always very experienced teachers who know not only all the pupils but their parents, too, having taught many of them. During my first year of teaching, one of my classes rioted, pushed all the furniture out of my room, swore at me and blew cigarette smoke in my face. I called in the cigar-chomping despot of my school, the deputy head, and he blasted them away with a sound telling off. Most manuals don't advocate this approach to teaching, but I have to admit it can be very effective, even if morally dubious. Despotic teachers often extract fantastic work from their pupils, and rarely have to use their full armory – their reputations are usually enough. They are often highly organised, making their classrooms into small fortresses, and in my experience nearly always achieve above-average results, because they teach the syllabus to the last letter. The opposite of the despot is the caring teacher. Without wanting to stereotype too much, many carers are women. They become surrogate parents for their pupils. Many don't have degrees, and have been appointed as "mentors" or "support teachers" to help struggling pupils plan out their lives – working out ways in which they can do their work most effectively. Usually, pupils love seeing their mentors, and learn from them the vital skill of "taking responsibility for their own learning" (as it's known in the jargon). I've taught some pupils who were ­really going off the rails – taking drugs, skipping school, getting into fights – yet when they were taken under the wing of one of these teachers, they transformed and blossomed. Unlike the despot, the caring teacher works with lots of people: ­parents, other teachers, social workers. What she or he manages to do is make pupils see they can control and shape their own lives. The teacher might mother her charges to death in the process, but the end result is nearly always a happy pupil who has achieved very much against the odds. The "charmer", on the other hand, is quite different from both these previous staples of the teaching profession. They can be a disorganised species, living off adrenaline and wits. They are frequently highly academic, and are in teaching to be mates with their pupils, to understand them and play with them. With this sort of teacher, the classroom becomes one great big, bouncing playground of learning. Take Martin, one of the best teachers I've come across, who would prepare his lessons on the hoof after reading the newspaper, and would ­totally change direction mid-lesson if hit by some new inspiration. He was very disorganised, but did everything with a wink and a smile. Finally, there's the most controversial but often most effective kind of teacher: the rebel. These teachers see school as a place that should aim to transform society, and are equally loathed by Tories and New Labourites alike. They are also a dying breed. Using thinkers such as Karl Marx and the Brazilian educational philosopher Paulo Freire, they believe that our children have been brainwashed by our capitalistic society into making certain assumptions about inequality, exploitation, injustice. They see the classroom as the place where these children can be "deprogrammed" – and make amazing teachers because they are so passionate and persuasive. In the staffroom, they frequently rage against the system, pointing out that education isn't about producing good little workers to prop up our ­iniquitous society. Even if you disagree with their politics, you have to admit they deliver blinding lessons, whatever their subject. But the crucial point here is that none of these teachers learned their skills by getting a good degree: they learned them on the job. All could ­improve by watching other good ­teachers in the classroom and learning from their techniques. However, there are some "generic" traits which should be borne in mind when discussing what's best for our schools. Research shows that all the best teachers motivate their pupils to work hard, and assess them very regularly. Recently, I feel I've improved my teaching because I've learned more about assessing my pupils frequently; instead of concentrating upon my teaching, I've looked more closely at what my pupils are learning and ­tailored my lessons accordingly (I've had to be trained to do this). There is now a great deal of research to suggest it is not your subject knowledge that's the determining factor of how well your pupils achieve, but how you use your assessment of their achievements to plan and shape succeeding lessons. But I'm well aware that I still need further training in this area. At the moment, I am paying for that training myself in the form of a doctorate in education; there isn't any hope of receiving funding from the government (believe me, I've tried). Luckily, my partner works so we can afford it, but most teachers struggling with families and high living costs cannot. Instead of demoralising teachers with his ill-informed comments about what makes a good teacher, Cameron should commit himself to putting proper money and time into training the existing teachers in the system. Instead of paying for the training of a "brazen elite" of graduates, he should improve the wages of all teachers so that we are all treated like an "elite". His current policy, if implemented, won't improve the standards of teaching, and will instead further dishearten an already deflated profession.
  6. Fred Korth

    Fred Korth is one of the characters that needs to be investigated. There is very little on him on the web. Korth was president of the Continental National Bank of Fort Worth. He was appointed as Navy Secretary by President John F. Kennedy on 4th January, 1962. According to author Seth Kantor, Korth only got the job after strong lobbying from Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1963 John McClellan, chairman of the Permanent Investigations Committee, began looking into the activities of Billie Sol Estes and Bobby Baker. During this investigation evidence emerged that Johnson was also involved in political corruption. This included the award of a $7 billion contract for a fighter plane, the TFX, to General Dynamics, a company based in Texas. When it was discovered that the Continental National Bank of Fort Worth, was the principal money source for the General Dynamics plant. As a result of this revelation Korth resigned from office on 1st November, 1963. On 22nd November, 1963, a friend of Baker's, Don B. Reynolds told B. Everett Jordan and his Senate Rules Committee that he saw 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". A study of LBJ's telephone tapes show that stopping this information reaching the public was his main concern during the months following the assassination. With a lot of bullying and threats he managed to do this. However, this was because he was president. Reynolds even said that he was not willing to testify against a president. Only the death of JFK made this possible. John McClellan, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee investigating the TFX contract said that he wanted to interview Don Reynolds. However, for some reason the subcommittee did not resume its investigation until 1969, after Johnson had left office. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKkorth.htm
  7. Joseph Adams Milteer

    Joseph Adams Milteer told Miami police informant, Willie Somersett, that he would be at the scene of the assassination of JFK. Anyone believe they can spot him in Dealey Plaza?
  8. I suppose if we carried out a poll on who organized the assassination of JFK, the name of David Atlee Phillips would appear fairly high up on the list (probably in second place behind Davis Morales). I thought it might be worth looking at the evidence that Phillips was behind the assassination: Phillips joined the CIA in 1950. Over the next few years Phillips was involved in clandestine operations in Guatemala against President Jacobo Arbenz. The plot against Arbenz became part of Executive Action (a CIA plan to remove unfriendly foreign leaders from power). The plot to remove Arbenz from power was called “Operation Success”. It was well-named, it eventually became the most successful operation in CIA history. The removal of Arbenz enabled Frank Wisner to convince Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon that covert operations worked. Operation Success became a blue print for how to remove foreign leaders from power. Those who took part in this operation were seen as the “experts” in this kind of work. Those involved included the following: David Atlee Phillips, David Sanchez Morales, Rip Robertson, Tracy Barnes, Richard Bissell and E. Howard Hunt. It is no coincidence that the same team were recruited to get rid of Fidel Castro after he gained power in 1959. I, like others, believe that it was this failed operation that helps explain the assassination of JFK. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKarbenz.htm Phillips worked undercover in Havana (1959-60). He was seen as the “expert” on Castro. As a result, he was involved in organizing the Bay of Pigs operation. So also were the rest of the Operation Success team: Morales, Robertson, Barnes, Bissell and Hunt. Castro was no Arbenz. He was not removed, he was made stronger. Phillips and company could not believe that the reason for this was their own misreading of the situation in Cuba. As far as they were concerned, the Bay of Pigs failed because of one man: John F. Kennedy. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/COLDbayofpigs.htm Barnes and Bissell, liberal supporters of the Democratic Party, were quick to forgive Kennedy. Phillips, Morales, Robertson and Hunt came from a different tradition. As far as they were concerned, JFK was a traitor and needed to be removed from power. However, at first, they did not do anything that would make this happen. They assumed that a right-wing Republican would be elected in 1964 and this would be followed by an armed invasion of Cuba. After the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the Phillips gang realized that JFK would not be defeated in 1964. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/COLDcubanmissile.htm His image had been transformed. He was now seen as the tough Cold War leader who had made the Soviet Union back down. The reality of the situation was very different. This is why Operation Tilt was organized. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKtilt.htm It hoped to provide Barry Goldwater with the necessary ammunition to destroy JFK in the presidential election. Once again the operation ended in failure. JFK looked certain to be elected. The situation became even worse for this right-wing faction when it was discovered in 1963 that JFK was carrying out secret negotiations with Castro. The future did not look good for the CIA’s anti-Castro group. JFK was likely to serve until 1968 and then he would be replaced by Robert Kennedy. In time, Edward Kennedy would take over from Robert. The Kennedy Dynasty could become a reality. What is more, John and Robert had moved to the left as a result of their experiences in government. They genuinely seemed to want to bring the Cold War to an end. This was indeed a frightening prospect for people like Phillips. It was also very worrying for the Military Industrial Congressional Complex (MICC). It was also a problem for the Congressional part of the MICC. In other words, Lyndon Johnson and his cronies. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKgroup8F.htm In 1963 JFK had some serious enemies who could see not see how they could use conventional methods to get rid of him. If drastic action was needed, who better to approach than that group that had been responsible for getting rid of dangerous political leaders in the past. The highest-ranking member of this right-wing group within the CIA in 1963 was David Atlee Phillips. In 1963 Phillips was Chief of Cuban Operations. He worked closely with David Morales at JM WAVE in Miami. Phillips also provided support to Alpha 66. It was later claimed that Phillips told Antonio Veciana his goal was to provoke US intervention in Cuba by "putting Kennedy's back to the wall." Phillips therefore had the motivation and the opportunity to organize the assassination. However, is there any evidence that he was the man responsible? In 1976 Antonio Veciana was interviewed by Gaeton Fonzi of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. The founder of the anti-Castro organization, Alpha 66, he told the committee about his relationship with his CIA contact, Maurice Bishop. He claimed that in August, 1963, he saw Bishop and Lee Harvey Oswald together in Dallas. Veciana admitted that Bishop had organized and funded the Alpha 66 attacks on the Soviet ships docked in Cuba in 1963. Veciana explained the policy: "It was my case officer, Maurice Bishop, who had the idea to attack the Soviet ships. The intention was to cause trouble between Kennedy and Russia. Bishop believed that Kennedy and Khrushchev had made a secret agreement that the USA would do nothing more to help in the fight against Castro. Bishop felt - he told me many times - that President Kennedy was a man without experience surrounded by a group of young men who were also inexperienced with mistaken ideas on how to manage this country. He said you had to put Kennedy against the wall in order to force him to make decisions that would remove Castro's regime." Richard Schweiker, a member of the committee, speculated that Bishop was David Atlee Phillips. Schweiker asked his researcher, Gaeton Fonzi, to investigate this issue. Fonzi arranged for Veciana and Phillips to be introduced at a meeting of the Association of Retired Intelligence Officers in Reston. Phillips denied knowing Veciana. After the meeting Veciana told Schweiker that Phillips was not the man known to him as Bishop. Fonzi was unconvinced by this evidence. He found it difficult to believe Phillips would not have known the leader of Alpha 66. Especially as Phillips had been in charge of covert action in Cuba when Alpha 66 was established. Other information also emerged to undermine Phillips. CIA agent, Ron Crozier, who worked in Cuba during this period, claimed that Phillips sometimes used the code name, Maurice Bishop. Phillips testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations on 25th April, 1978. He denied he ever used the name Maurice Bishop. He also insisted that he had never met Veciana. According to Larry Hancock (Someone Would Have Talked), just before his death Phillips told Kevin Walsh, an investigator with the House Select Committee on Assassinations: "My final take on the assassination is there was a conspiracy, likely including American intelligence officers." (Some books wrongly quote Phillips as saying: "My private opinion is that JFK was done in by a conspiracy, likely including rogue American intelligence people.") Phillips died of cancer on 7th July, 1988. He left behind an unpublished manuscript. The novel is about a CIA officer who lived in Mexico City. In the novel the character states: "I was one of those officers who handled Lee Harvey Oswald... We gave him the mission of killing Fidel Castro in Cuba... 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." Is this a confession? Phillips knew that people were speculating that he had organized the assassination? Phillips knew that after his death people like us would accuse him of this horrendous crime. Was he trying to shift the blame to people below him? Was he pointing the finger at people like David Sanchez Morales, Rip Robertson or E. Howard Hunt? Or was he lying? Was Phillips the man who organized the assassination? My own view is that the novel tells the truth. Although Phillips knew what was going on, Morales was the man who organized the assassination. I suspect that Morales was getting his orders from someone outside of the CIA. However, I am willing to be convinced that Phillips was the mastermind behind the assassination. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKphillips.htm
  9. Does anyone know anything about this story? Jada Conforto was one of Jack Ruby’s strippers. According to Daniel Hopsticker, on the morning of JFK’s assassination, Jada had been in “such a panic to leave Dallas that she ran over a pedestrian with her white Cadillac convertible”. The traffic cop was told to contact Ruby who would “fix things”. Jada told the cop she needed to urgently get to New Orleans. Jada Conforto was never interviewed by the Warren Commission. However, the HSCA wanted to talk to her. That never happened. She was killed in a motorcycle accident during the investigation. The sister of Lena Wamstad, who was involved in the Barry Seal scandal, was Jada’s aunt. She told Hopsticker that Jada was “murdered because she knew too much.”
  10. Mystery Woman

    Does anyone know who this is? It is claimed that this woman could explain why Robert Kennedy and other leading politicians failed to demand a full investigation into the assassination of JFK.
  11. Nancy Carole Tyler

    I believe this woman is an important witness who had vital information on the assassination. Does anyone know who she is? I will give you a clue. The photograph shows her just before she took the fifth amendment in 1964. This pleased both Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy. Unfortunately she changed her mind about this and died in an accident in 1965. Her roommate also died in another accident as well.
  12. Mystery Woman

    It is fairly well-known that Bobby Baker used Bill Thompson, a railroad lobbyist, to introduce Ellen Rometsch to John F. Kennedy. J. Edgar Hoover became aware of this and in July 1963, FBI agents questioned Rometsch about her past. They came to the conclusion that she was probably a Soviet spy. Hoover actually leaked this information to the journalist, Courtney Evans, that Rometsch worked for Walter Ulbricht, the communist leader of East Germany. A top-level FBI memo written in October, 1963, stated it was "alleged that the President and the Attorney General had availed themselves of services of playgirls." Hoover also leaked the information to 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". The following day Robert Kennedy sent La Verne Duffy to meet Ellen Rometsch. His mission was to silence Rometsch before the press got to her. It was reported a few days later "men flashing U.S. security badges saw Mrs Rometsch and got her to sign a statement formally denying intimacies with important people." In a letter to Duffy she thanked him for providing her with money and assured him, "Of course I will keep quiet." This is where the story usually ends. However, in 2009-2010 Bobby Baker was interviewed by Donald Ritchie of the Senate Historical Office. "His recollections - of an age when senators drank all day, indulged in sexual dalliances with secretaries and constituents, accepted thousands of dollars in bribes and still managed to pass the most important legislation of the 20th century - were collected by the Senate Historical Office... The resulting 230-page manuscript was so ribald and riveting, so salacious and sensational, that the Historical Office refrained from its usual practice of posting such interviews online." The interviews were not released until 2013. It seems that the American media ignored this material. However, the German newspaper, Die Welt, took a lot of interest in this. It seems that they had managed to get hold of Rometsch’s 478-page heavily redacted FBI file (code number 105-122316). The most interesting thing about this file is that the FBI investigators were in contact with Rometsch from July 1963 to 1987. The newspaper has also investigated her links with East German intelligence: "In the archives of the Stasi documentation authority, there is not a single record in the intelligence files about the members of the family of Ellen Rometsch, who once lived in Saxony. Together with the findings of the Western intelligence services, therefore, everything speaks for the fact that the former East German citizen has never spied for the East." The newspaper has been trying to interview the elderly Ellen Rometsch who lives near Bonn. She is protected by her husband, Rolf Rometsch, who came over with his wife in 1961, to work at the German embassy in Washington. (They did officially divorce when the Kennedy story broke in 1963, but they remarried soon afterwards.) One of the most interesting aspects of the Bobby Baker interview with Donald Ritchie of the Senate Historical Office concerns Ellen Rometsch. Baker claims Rometsch returned to the United States in 1964 and had an affair with Gerald Ford during his time on the Warren Commission. The affair was used against him by Hoover who was frustrated that the Warren Commission was not sharing their findings, "So, (Hoover) had this tape where Jerry Ford was having oral sex with Ellen Rometsch. You know, his wife had a serious drug problem back then… Hoover blackmailed… Ford to tell him what they (the Warren Commission) were doing." http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKrometsch.htm
  13. 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
  14. 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".
  15. 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.”
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. Song Lyrics

    http://www.lyricstrax.com/
  21. 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.
  22. 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
  23. 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?
  24. 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.
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