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  1. As it happens, Larrie Schmidt turned out to offer nothing more than information already known. Presuming that he's telling the truth and not covering for his old Dallas contacts and memories, his memoirs remain for me so much useless trivia. I have far more interest now in Bernard William Weissman (Bernie), who was one of those who testified before the Warren Commission. His testimony is interesting, and in light of the naivete exhibited by Mr. Schmidt, I now suspect that Bernie Weissman was the one member of CUSA who had any real brains -- or any real honesty. The members of CUSA are public knowledge -- all listed by the Warren Commission (and to a lesser extent in the January 1965 LIFE Magazine article that told the story about the CUSA). Bernie Weissman's sworn testimony gave us the true character of these few. Of them all, Larrie was the only member that Bernie looked up to -- somewhat. But Bernie would hold things back even from Larrie. CUSA was set up by five liberal Army guys -- nothing right-wing about them -- who had black and Jewish friends, and who read Barry Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative and decided that they could take over the right-wing in the USA when they got back to the States -- if they wanted to. Larrie Schmidt was their leader because he actually finished Ayn Rand's, Atlas Shrugged. He was the intellectual of the group. But he wasn't a trained politician -- he wasn't even a poli-sci student -- he was a journalist by education, and an Advertisement copy writer by trade. As a follower of Ayn Rand, as an atheist Objectivist, Larrie conceived the notion of CUSA as a means to take over the rightist political parties in the USA from the top -- from their headquarters. All his underlings liked the idea -- it was great fun. But Larrie was in love with the idea. When he got out of the Army in October 1962 (this is all part of that LIFE article and also part of the Warren Commission testiomony) he went straight to Dallas and planned to get married -- yet the day before he got married in early November 1962, he had already convinced the NIC (National Indignation Convention) of Dallas to given him control of their headquarters. So, Larrie made the start, and wrote back to Bernie Weissman and Larry Jones in the US Army in Germany that he was preparing things for them when they got out of the Army. They were amused and even intrigued, but nowhere near as motivated as Larrie Schmidt. Over the course of 1963, Larrie's contacts in the right-wing in Dallas gradually grew, and he found a job for his brother Robbie when Robbie was discharged from the Army -- Robbie was going to be the chauffeur of ex-General Edwin Walker. During all this time, Larrie kept writing letters of encouragement to his Army buddies, telling them how great CUSA was progressing in Dallas. By this time, Larrie had also taken over the YAF (Young Americans for Freedom), and was expanding his influence among the John Birch Society in Dallas. This is where it started to get hairy. Later, during October, 1963, the John Birch Society -- and especially its most perhaps exhibitionistic Dallas member, ex-General Edwin Walker, chose to set up a US-Day event the night before Adlai Stevenson's UN-Day Event (using the same venue, the Dallas Memorial Auditorium). As Chris Cravens amply documented, Walker and the John Birch Society used the entire night to plan their relentless heckling of Adlai Stevenson's speach planned for the following evening. They were to buy up as many tickets as they could afford, and bring Halloween noisemakers, and in general make it impossible for Adlai to get a message across. They were to picket all day and night. Larrie Schmidt was one of the volunteers in that organization, as he admitted in one of his letters to Bernie Weissman. When the scandal of the Dallas treatment of Adlai Stevenson hit the national newspapers, Bernie Weissman decided that Larrie Schmidt had really become a powerful person in Dallas -- he must have had tremendous social influence amongst the right-wing in Dallas to lead this national scandal. Bernie chose to move to Dallas right away. When Bernie got to Dallas, he found a different situation than he expected. Rather than having a paying job in the NIC or the YAF, Bernie was expected to get any old job, and support himself and work for CUSA on the side. Larrie didn't have any unusual influence in Dallas at all. Actually, contrary to appearances, Larrie Schmidt was a roadie in the orchestration of the Adlai Stevenson heckling scandal. Larrie brought some college kids to the event to carry signs outside the Auditorium before the speech, but those kids left early. That was basically it. Then, the day after the scandal, Larrie Schmidt stepped up to the Dallas Times Herald newspaper and spoke as an eye-witness defending the protesters -- they were peaceful, he claimed, and the stories about misbehavior were grossly exaggerated. Yes, this did earn him extra points among the John Birch Society leaders. How many points would become apparent to Bernie Schwarz two weeks after he arrived in Dallas. Larrie had been working the Joe Grinnan of the John Birch Society to draw up a newspaper ad to criticize JFK, and suggest that he was a Communist. Well, Larrie's expertise was newspaper advertising, and so he took the job, as a volunteer, and he also volunteered CUSA member Bernie Weissman to add his name to the advertisement. Bernie told the Warren Commission he did not know where the text came from for the advertisement, except that he himself struggled to change one of the sentences. Larrie may have changed a sentence or two -- but the actual and original source of the copy text for the ad was unknown to Bernie. It seemed, however, that the people paying for the ad would send in their demands for a new item, or to change an existing item, on a daily basis for two weeks up until the finalization of the ad. But Bernie never knew their names. All he saw was that Larrie and Joe would back anything the funders wanted. Who actually provided the text for the ad? Bernie honestly doesn't know, and probably Larrie didn't know either -- he claims that he didn't know. Joe Grinnan of the John Birch Society was the middle-man between the Real Creators of the black-bordered ad, and the mere mechanics -- Larrie, Bernie and the Dallas Morning News advertising desk. The Warren Commission and the FBI dug deeper -- they found the names of the funders who had given all of the money to Joe Grinnan. All were members of the John Birch Society. But at that point they let the topic drop. Thus, in two weeks, on the morning of 22 November 1963, the Dallas Morning News published a full page advertisement, for one siingle day, at the cost of $1,600 (which is about $16,000 in today's dollars). Bernie's main contribution (except for that one sentence that he amended) was his recommendation of a much thicker black-border on the ad than usual. The black-bordered ad was published anonymously as far as the Real Creators of the ad were concerned -- but to the public, the name of Bernard Weissman would capture their imagination for a long time. Anonymity of the Real Creators was assured, since Bernie Weissman only knew Larrie Schmidt, and Larrie Schmidt only Joe Grinnan, and Joe Grinnan could be relied upon to keep quiet. This was probably the main reason for choosing Bernie Weissman as the alleged author of the black-bordered ad. The second reason, as Larrie Schmidt had suggested to LIFE magazine, was to put a Jewish name on the ad to prove that the right-wing also had Jews on their side. Anyway, the black-bordered ad will never be forgotten as a historical icon of the JFK assassination. Its twin handbill of the day, attached to the Dallas Morning News externally, and also passed around Dallas during the daytime, is the infamous "WANTED FOR TREASON: JFK" handbill. When asked about this, Bernie Weissman swore that he had nothing to do with it -- but that he did see at least one copy of that handbill -- perhaps a stack -- in the back floorboard of ex-General Walker's automobile that Robbie Schmidt had been driving that day. When the Warren Commission asked Bernie what he first thoughts were regarding the JFK assassination, he admitted his first thought was that he fervently hoped that General Walker's people had nothing to do with the killing, otherwise, all of the members of CUSA faced the possibility of serious prison sentences. The connection with ex-General Walker (not retired, but resigned from the US Army) with the events of Dallas on 22 November 1963 has never been fully explored by anybody -- not the Warren Commission, not Jim Garrison and not the HSCA (House Select Committee on Assassinations). Today, the only person left standing who can tell us more about these daily Dallas activities is, IMHO, Bernie Weissman. He will turn 75 next month. He was living in New Rochelle about 50 years ago. Where is he today? Does anybody know? Best regards, --Paul Trejo, MA <edit typos>
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