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John Simkin

Chappaquiddick and the Assassination of JFK

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All the obituaries of Edward Kennedy have argued that he was clearly not telling the truth about what happened at Chappaquiddick. I agree, but what was the truth of what happened the night that Mary Jo Kopechne died? First of all I want to establish the agreed facts about the case.

Edward Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne left the Lawrence Cottage at around 11.15 p.m. on 18th July, 1969. Kennedy claimed that he was giving her a lift back to her hotel. The last ferry was at 12.00. The party only had two cars. The six women at the party had been told that they would be taken back to their hotels via that ferry.

Although he had been on the island many times Kennedy took the wrong turning. Locals claimed this was almost impossible to do. To make this wrong turn at this point the driver had to ignore: (1) A directional arrow of luminized glass pointing to the left; (2) The banking of the pavement to accommodate the sharp curve; (3) The white line down the centre of the road. (4) The fact that he was now driving on an unpaved road.

According to Kennedy he had the accident on Dike Bridge at 11.30. He made several attempts to rescue Mary Jo. Although there were three houses with lights on close to where the accident happened. Kennedy walked back to Lawrence Cottage. This was a 1.2 mile walk that took approximately 23 minutes. The route involved passing the Chappaquiddick Fire Station. The station was unlocked and included an alarm. The Fire Captain (Foster Silva) lived close by and would have been there within 3 minutes. According to Silva once sounded “half the people living on the island would have turned up within 15 minutes”.

Kennedy claimed he got back at the cottage at 12.20 a.m. He got the time from the Valiant car while he sat in the back seat discussing the problem with his two friends, Joe Gargan and Paul Markham. This was a lie. It was later discovered that the Valiant car (rented for the weekend) did not have a clock.

According to their testimony Kennedy, Gargan and Markham then went back to the scene of the accident and tried to get Mary Jo out of the car. After 45 minutes they accepted defeat. Kennedy, told the men he was going to report the accident once back in Edgartown. He then swam back as he thought the last ferry had gone. This was a risky thing to do and as Kennedy admitted afterwards, he nearly drowned getting to his hotel.

Gargan and Markham claimed they got back to the cottage at around 2.15 a.m. If so, this leaves an hour accounted for. This point was not explored at the inquest.

Jared Grant operated the Chappaquiddick Ferry. The last ferry usually went at midnight. However, that night his last run was 12.45 a.m. He did not actually close the ferry until 1.20 a.m. He later testified that he saw several boats “running back and forth” between the island and Edgartown. During this period he was never approached by Kennedy, Gargan or Markham.

That night Kennedy spoke to the room clerk at the Shiretown Inn at 2.30 a.m. According to Gargan this was to establish an alibi. At this stage he intended to claim he had not been driving the car.

Records show that Kennedy did not make any phone calls from the hotel. All his close political advisers confirm they did not receive calls from Kennedy that night. If they had, they would have told him to report the accident straight away. Kennedy made his first call (to Helga Wagner) a 8 a.m. the next morning.

Two friends of Kennedy, Ross Richards and Stan Moore, met with him in his hotel just before 8 o’clock. They reported that he appeared to be acting in a relaxed way and did not appear to be under any stress. Soon afterwards, Paul Markham and Joe Gargan arrived at the hotel. According to Richards they were “soaking wet”. It was while talking to Markham and Gargan that Kennedy became visibly upset.

Lieutenant George Killen, who interviewed all those people who had contact with Kennedy that morning in the hotel, became convinced that it was at this stage that Kennedy first discovered that Mary Jo Kopechne was dead. Richards also agreed with this analysis.

Kennedy returned to the island on the ferry at 9.50 the following morning. It was only once back on the island that he reported the accident.

John Farrar, a scuba diver, got the Mary Jo’s body out of the car. He believed that she found an air-pocket in the car and probably lived for about an hour. This view was supported by the medical examination of the body. The doctor claimed she had died of suffocation rather than from drowning.

Farrar found it difficult to believe that Kennedy would have been able to get out of the car once it went into the water. Others at the crime scene took a similar view. Lieutenant Bernie Flynn said: “Ted Kennedy wasn’t in the car when it went off the bridge. He would never have gotten out alive.”

There is one major problem with these timings. At about 12.45 Kennedy’s stationary car was seen at the intersection on Dike Road near the bridge by Christopher ‘Huck’ Look, deputy sheriff and part-time police officer. Look claims that a man was driving and that two other people were in the car. Look approached the car on foot but when the driver saw his police uniform the car then sped off down Dike Road. The car had a Massachusetts registration letter L. It also had a 7 at the beginning and at the end. Only eight other cars of this type had this number plate. They were all later checked out. Kennedy’s car was the only one with that number plate that was on the island that night.

Christopher ‘Huck’ Look appears to be a convincing witness. There seems to be no reason why he should lie about what he saw on the morning of the 19th July, 1969.

Therefore we have the situation where Edward Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne left the Lawrence Cottage at around 11.15 p.m. For some reason Kennedy returns to the cottage at 12.20 a.m. However, it is not to report the accident as at this stage the car has not yet had the accident on Dike Bridge.

Lieutenant George Killen, who investigated the case, was convinced that Kennedy had intended to have sex with Mary Jo in the car. He was drunk (evidence suppressed in court showed that Kennedy had consumed a great deal of alcohol that day). When Look approached Kennedy’s car, he feared he would be arrested. Therefore he sped off into the darkness. Afraid that Look would catch him up he gets out of the car and persuades Mary Jo to drive off (she herself has consumed a fair amount of alcohol. Kennedy then walks back to the cottage. When Mary Jo does not return Kennedy becomes convinced she has had an accident. Kennedy then goes back to his hotel leaving Markham and Gargan to search for Mary Jo. It is not until the next morning they discover what has happened. They then go to Kennedy’s hotel to tell him the news. This fits Killen idea that Kennedy did not know about the accident until the morning meeting with Markham and Gargan.

Killen’s theory fits all the established facts in the case. However, it does not explain Kennedy’s behaviour. Once he discovered that Mary Jo was dead, it would make far more sense to tell the truth. This story was more politically acceptable than the “leaving the scene of the accident” story. I therefore reject Killen’s theory.

I find Richard Sprague’s theory more convincing. Based on research carried out by Robert Cutler, Sprague argues that Kennedy was framed for Mary Jo’s murder. To quote Sprague:

They ambushed Ted and Mary Jo after they left the cottage and knocked Ted out with blows to his head and body. They took the unconscious or semi-conscious Kennedy to Martha's Vineyard and deposited him in his hotel room. Another group took Mary Jo to the bridge in Ted's car, force fed her with a knock out potion of alcoholic beverage, placed her in the back seat, and caused the car to accelerate off the side of the bridge into the water. They broke the windows on one side of the car to insure the entry of water; then they watched the car until they were sure Mary Jo would not escape.

Mary Jo actually regained consciousness and pushed her way to the top of the car (which was actually the bottom of the car -- it had landed on its roof) and died from asphyxiation. The group with Teddy revived him early in the morning and let him know he had a problem. Possibly they told him that Mary Jo had been kidnapped. They told him his children would be killed if he told anyone what had happened and that he would hear from them. On Chappaquiddick, the other group made contact with Markham and Gargan, Ted's cousin and lawyer. They told both men that Mary Jo was at the bottom of the river and that Ted would have to make up a story about it, not revealing the existence of the group. One of the men resembled Ted and his voice sounded something like Ted's. Markham and Gargan were instructed to go the the Vineyard on the morning ferry, tell Ted where Mary Jo was, and come back to the island to wait for a phone call at a pay station near the ferry on the Chappaquiddick side.

The two men did as they were told and Ted found out what had happened to Mary Jo that morning. The three men returned to the pay phone and received their instructions to concoct a story about the "accident" and to report it to the police. The threat against Ted's children was repeated at that time. http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/ToA/ToAchp7.html

This theory does fit the evidence available. However, I am not convinced that Kennedy would have gone along with it as a result of the threats made on his children. Although I am aware that several people with information on the Kennedy assassination have not come forward because of threats made against family members.

The problem with the research of people like Damore, Cutler and Sprague is that they have concentrated on investigating Edward Kennedy. I believe the answer is contained in an investigation of Mary Jo Kopechne.

In the books on the case, the authors point out that Mary Jo had worked as a secretary for Robert Kennedy. This work began after the death of JFK. Before this she had worked for George Smathers of Florida. Smathers had been a long-term friend of JFK (they first started womanizing together in 1949). However, Smathers disagreed with JFK over his Cuban policy. He was one of those who believed that JFK should have ordered an invasion of Cuba in order to remove Fidel Castro.

Kopechne’s room-mate in Washington was Nancy Carole Tyler, Bobby Baker’s secretary and mistress. Smathers and Baker were also close friends. In fact, they were business associates. They were both involved in vending machines. Smathers and Grant Stockdale (another close friend of JFK) formed a company called, Automatic Vending. With the help of Baker they providing vending machines to government institutions. However, in 1961 Automatic Vending was sued for improper actions in getting a contract at Aerodex. As a result Stockdale was forced to resign as ambassador to Ireland.

Smathers and Stockdale were also involved in another vending machine company with Baker called Serve-U-Corporation. Others involved included LBJ’s close friend, Fred Black and mobsters, Ed Levenson, Benny Sigelbaum and Sam Giancana. Established in 1962, the company provided vending machines for companies working on federally granted programs.

The contracts that Automatic Vending and Serve-U-Corporation got were part of a much larger project. Baker was a key figure in this. So also was LBJ and Suite 8F Group based in Houston, Texas. All these people were part of what Dwight Eisenhower called the Military Industrial Congressional Complex.

The CIA became involved in this project when John McCone was appointed as Director of the CIA in November, 1961. Several members of the Senate objected to his appointment, pointing out the large sums of money McCone had made from military spending in the 1940s and 1950s. By the 1960s he had invested most of his profits into the oil industry: Panama Pacific Tankers Company, a large oil-carrying fleet, and Standard Oil of California. McCone’s main support came from Democrats in the South and in California. As Storm Thurmond said that after studying McCone’s past he came to the conclusion that it “epitomizes what has made America great”. McCone’s post as Director of the CIA, was confirmed and the Senate did not even force him to sell his shares in the oil industry.

Members of the Suite 8F Group made their money by controlling the appointments of key posts in the administration and the chairmanship of the key Congressional committees. This enabled large government contracts to be placed with companies such as Brown & Root, General Dynamics, Bell Corporation, Kerr-McGee Oil Industries, Humble Oil, etc. All these companies were based in Texas. However, with the arrival of McCone, they were going to have to share their profits with California.

JFK became aware of this scandal during the 1963 investigation into the TFX scandal. In November, 1963, Fred Korth, JFK’s Navy Secretary, was forced to resign as a result of accusations of corruption following the award of a $7 billion contract for a fighter plane, the TFX, to General Dynamics, a company based in Texas. Korth was a member of the Suite 8F Group and had only got the job on the recommendation of LBJ. JFK was in a difficult situation. He knew how deep this scandal went. Korth was only one of the many people who had been placed in positions where they could place lucrative government projects.

The Kennedy brothers were also implicated in this scandal. Not that they were bribed with money. Baker had entrapped them with the provision of sexual services. This included several women linked to the KGB. For example, Ellen Rometsch, Maria Novotny and Suzy Chang. It is difficult to know if JFK intended to take on the Suite 8F Group. All we know is that JFK was assassinated days after Korth was forced to resign.

Johnson could not afford to appoint another Texan in this key post of Navy Secretary. Instead he selected Paul Nitze, the husband of Phyllis Pratt, a Standard Oil heiress. As with John McCone, this project was seeing a merging taking place that involved the oil and armaments industries in Texas and California.

As secretaries of Bobby Baker and George Smathers, Nancy Carole Tyler and Mary Jo Kopechne were in a good position to know what was going on. Tyler was Baker’s long-term mistress and was initially not a problem. Mary Jo was in a different category. I suspect that Mary Jo knew there was a link between Bobby Baker’s activities and the assassination of JFK. Maybe she even told Robert Kennedy about this. However, he was not in a position to do anything about it. His main concern was preserving JFK’s good name. If he could do that, he would later become president. RFK kept Mary Jo quiet by appointing her as his secretary. Maybe he even told her about her long-term strategy.

Mary Jo was not the first person to discover that RFK was unwilling to take on the Military Industrial Congressional Complex in 1963.

On 26th November, 1963, Grant Stockdale (George Smathers and Bobby Baker’s business partner) flew to Washington and talked with Robert and Edward Kennedy. It is not known what Stockdale told the brothers. 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."

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 Smathers, claimed that he had become depressed as a result of the death of JFK.

In 1964 Baker’s secretary, Nancy Carole Tyler, was called before the Senate Rules Committee . She took the fifth amendment and refused to provide any information that would implicate Baker in any corrupt activities.

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, Robert O. Davis took Tyler out on a short plane trip. The plane crashed a few hundred yards from the hotel that Baker owned.

Tyler’s death must have concerned Mary Jo. Robert Kennedy’s murder on 4th June, 1968, would have been even more traumatic. Had he been killed because he knew the real reason for JFK’s assassination. There was only one person to tell about these events. Edward Kennedy. Did he respond in the same way as his brother? Was he following the same strategy? Would all be revealed when he became president? Was Mary Jo willing to accept this strategy? What about the original conspirators? Were they happy that Mary Jo had information on the assassination of JFK? Were they in contact with Edward Kennedy? Richard E. Sprague believes that the conspirators were keeping him quiet by making threats against his children. Maybe that was what was happening.

This is what I believe happened on 18th July, 1969. The conspirators realized that Mary Jo would, if left to her own devices, would eventually tell her story. At the same time they also feared that Kennedy would eventually abandon this “Camelot Myth” and tell his story. The conspirators could not kill Edward Kennedy as that would make the whole thing too suspicious. However, they could kill Mary Jo without too many people being aware of the links with the deaths of JFK, Grant Stockdale, Nancy Carole Tyler and Robert Kennedy. What was even better was to implicate Edward Kennedy in her death. This would ruin his chance of ever becoming president.

Therefore the conspirators informed Kennedy that Mary Jo was threatening to tell her story to the media. This would implicate the Kennedy family in the cover-up of JFK’s assassination. He was told to arrange a meeting with Mary Jo and to explain why it was important for her to keep quiet for the good of the Kennedy family. If necessary, they would also apply pressure on Mary Jo.

At 11.15 p.m. Kennedy suggests to Mary Jo that they go for a ride. It is not known how Mary Jo responded to Kennedy’s suggestion that she does not reveal what she knows. While in the car with Mary Jo they have some visitors. The men tell Kennedy that they will have a talk with Mary Jo. Kennedy is told to go to his hotel. They probably have even arranged to take Kennedy back to his hotel by boat. He would definitely feel uncomfortable about this but he is in no position to argue with them. Anyway, he does not suspect they plan to kill her.

Before getting the boat Kennedy goes back to the cottage. He cannot tell Gargan and Markham the full story. I suspect he tells them that he has had sex with Mary Jo. However, she responded badly and has driven back to the ferry in the car. (The last ferry was due to leave at midnight). Kennedy says he is concerned about Mary Jo because she had consumed a lot of alcohol during the day. Gargan and Markham give Kennedy a lift to the harbour. Kennedy uses the public phone at the harbour to check that Mary Jo got back to the hotel. He discovers that she is not yet back. Kennedy is worried. He asks the men to search for her in the area he left her while he will return to his hotel by boat.

While this is happening Christopher Look comes across Kennedy’s car (12.45 am.). Look sees three people in the car (Mary Jo and the two men). The car drives off. Look then goes to Lawrence Cottage where he talks to Ray LaRosa, Nance Lyons and Mary Lyons.

Gargan and Markham get to where Kennedy left Mary Jo at about 1.30 am. By this time Mary Jo is dead. In the dark it is impossible to find here. They go back to Lawrence Cottage to get some sleep. At first light they begin their search for Mary Jo. They find the car and make several attempts to see if they can get her out (that is why they are wet when they get to Kennedy’s hotel).

Gargan and Markham now go to Kennedy’s hotel to tell him the news. This is why Kennedy, who previous to this appeared to be calm and relaxed, goes into a state of shock. Lieutenant George Killen and Ross Richards were right when they speculated that Kennedy did not know that Mary Jo was dead until this meeting at 8 the next morning. It also explains why Kennedy did not report the accident when it happened and why he did not phone his close friends for advice. Kennedy now knew he had been set up. He had only two options.

(1) Go to the police and tell all. This would of course mean explaining why he had kept quiet about the assassination of his two brothers. If he did this his political career was over. The lives of his children would be put at risk. What would the public have thought of Kennedy leaving Mary Jo alone with the two men? Also, if he told this story, the Camelot Myth would have been destroyed.

(2) Report to the police that he had been driving the car when the accident took place. After making repeated efforts to save Mary Jo he goes to seek help from Gargan and Markham. They also make efforts to save her life. Suffering from shock he does not report the accident. Nor do his two friends. The reason being is that they thought he was going to do it. They cannot check that he has done it because he leaves them by swimming back to his hotel. The story is completely bizarre but he believes because of Kennedy family power, he might get away with it. He might even be able to keep his seat in Congress. Who knows, after a few years he might even get the chance to be President.

Given these two options, one can understand why he decided to confess to being the driver. He maintains the Camelot Myth. He retains his seat in Congress. However, he does not become President. Nor are the real reasons for the assassination of JFK ever revealed.

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The problem with the research of people like Damore, Cutler and Sprague is that they have concentrated on investigating Edward Kennedy. I believe the answer is contained in an investigation of Mary Jo Kopechne.

I suspect that Mary Jo knew there was a link between Bobby Baker’s activities and the assassination of JFK. Maybe she even told Robert Kennedy about this. However, he was not in a position to do anything about it. His main concern was preserving JFK’s good name. If he could do that, he would later become president.

That MAYBE is a very big MAYBE, and it is part of a larger set of maybe's, such as maybe Bobby Baker knew something about the assassination, and maybe not. I for one do not believe that Baker had any role in the assassination or the cover-up.

RFK kept Mary Jo quiet by appointing her as his secretary. Maybe he even told her about her long-term strategy.

Another very big MAYBE. Angie Novello was RFK's longtime personal secretary, and RFK never told her anything of this nature.

What about the original conspirators? Were they happy that Mary Jo had information on the assassination of JFK? Were they in contact with Edward Kennedy? Richard E. Sprague believes that the conspirators were keeping him quiet by making threats against his children. Maybe that was what was happening.

More big Maybes.

This is what I believe happened on 18th July, 1969..
.

Maybe you are on to something, John, but it is all as clear as mud to me.

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"Smathers and Stockdale were also involved in another vending machine company with Baker called Serve-U-Corporation. Others involved included LBJ’s close friend, Fred Black and mobsters, Ed Levenson, Benny Sigelbaum and Sam Giancana. Established in 1962, the company provided vending machines for companies working on federally granted programs."

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An American footnote: By the mid 1970s, it was common knowledge that vending machine and jukebox installation companies in urban-metro areas were OC-controlled. I believe Americans first heard of this racketeering in news stories of Prohibition/Repeal-era Chicago, but by the 1970s it wasn't even an urban secret anymore, mob involvement having gone wide by the 1950s-1960s.

Edited by David Andrews

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Article by Calvin Woodward (Associated Press) published a few days ago):

President Richard Nixon considered Ted Kennedy such a threat that he tried to catch Kennedy cheating on his wife, even ordering aides to recruit Secret Service agents to spill secrets on the senator's behavior.

"Do you have anybody in the Secret Service that you can get to?" Nixon asked his aide John Ehrlichman in a stark series of Oval Office conversations about Kennedy before the 1972 election. "Yeah, yeah," Ehrlichman replied.

"Plant one," Nixon said. "Plant two guys on him. This could be very useful."

Nixon made clear that the Secret Service protection afforded Kennedy before the 1972 election would be rescinded after. Then, said the president, "If he gets shot, it's too damn bad." His aides disdainfully referred to Kennedy supporters as "super swinger jet set types."

Tape recordings from the Nixon White House betray a preoccupation with the Kennedy mystique and how that might be used against the Republican president by the last surviving brother, who died Tuesday at age 77. Nixon wanted a sharp and private eye kept on Ted Kennedy's movements after the Chappaquiddick scandal, hoping to expose another misstep with a woman other than his wife, Joan.

Nixon's men had investigators tail Ted Kennedy on a Hawaii vacation and when he was at his Martha's Vineyard haunts.

Mortified, they told Nixon that Joan Kennedy wanted to wear "hot pants" to a White House function until her husband talked her out of it. But Ted's behavior? In the aftermath of his scandal, he was careful not to step out of line, the tapes suggest.

"Does he do anything?" Nixon asked in a September 1971 meeting. "No, no, he's very clean," Ehrlichman replied. "He was in Hawaii on his own. He was staying in some guy's villa. He was just as nice as could be the whole time."

Nixon shot back: "The thing to do is watch him."

All this was from an era of brass-knuckle politics and backroom intrigue that finally consumed Nixon's presidency in the Watergate affair. Kennedy overcame his own scandal to serve nearly a half-century in the Senate. But the presidency remained out of his reach.

"President Nixon never forgot his humiliating defeat in the 1960 presidential election to John F. Kennedy," said Luke A. Nichter, a leading authority on the Nixon White House recordings and assistant history professor at Texas A&M University. "Nixon did not intend to simply win in 1972; he wanted to destroy his opponent."

"If that opponent was a Kennedy, Nixon cautiously welcomed that opportunity but left nothing to chance," Nichter said. "That is what these long-obscured recordings show us."

Nichter features and analyzes the recordings at his Web site, nixontapes.org. The material has been released by the government over the years.

By April 1971, when the first of these exchanges was captured by the White House taping system, Kennedy was a damaged political figure.

On the night of July 18, 1969, he had driven off a bridge into the water at Chappaquiddick, Mass., swimming to safety while the young woman with him, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, and a judge said his actions probably contributed to her death. He got a suspended sentence and probation.

Despite that episode, Nixon was plainly worried about Kennedy's political potency yet confident the Democrat could not restrain a philandering impulse. "I predict something more is going to happen," he said. "The reason I would cover him is from a personal standpoint — you're likely to find something."

Nixon pressed for more wiretaps and a combing of tax records, not only on Kennedy but other leading Democrats. "I could only hope that we are, frankly, doing a little persecuting," he said.

At one point, he expressed hesitation about whether his actions were proper.

The moment quickly passed.

"I don't know," Nixon mused to H.R. Haldeman, his chief of staff. "Maybe it's the wrong thing to do. But I have a feeling that if you're going to start, better start now."

Beyond the politics, Nixon and his aides considered themselves cultural defenders of middle America and the Kennedys anathema to that.

In an April 9, 1971, conversation with Haldeman and press secretary Ron Ziegler, Haldeman cites "super-swinger jet-set types," Ziegler picks up on the phrase and the three discuss an apparently provocative outfit that Joan Kennedy wore to a Senate wives' lunch at the White House.

"Some leather gaucho, with a bare midriff or something," Haldeman said. "She was going to wear hot pants but Teddy told her she couldn't."

"It's crude," Nixon said.

And they talked about extramarital affairs in the Kennedy family. "They do it all the time," Nixon said.

Because Kennedy was not a presidential candidate in 1972, he did not qualify for full-time Secret Service protection. But Nixon offered it to Ted Kennedy, given the assassinations of his brothers, President John Kennedy and Sen. Robert Kennedy, and right after Alabama Gov. George Wallace was shot in May 1972.

The offer was conveyed by Treasury Secretary John Connally, who was in charge of the Secret Service, in a phone call with Kennedy. The former Texas governor was riding in the car with JKF and was wounded when the president was assassinated in Dallas.

"Very frankly," Connally said, "I don't know that they could save you but there's a damn good chance they could if some nut came up. And you ought not to be reluctant about it. I know you're not a candidate but you're exposed."

Ted Kennedy expressed thanks and asked for protection at his home, to start.

But Nixon's motives for the offer were not pure. He worried that if a third Kennedy were shot, and while not having Secret Service protection, he'd be blamed.

Plus, he wanted dirt. And the best way to get it was to have a Secret Service agent rat on the senator. There is no evidence an agent turned into such an informer.

"You understand what the problem is," Nixon told Haldeman and Ehrlichman on Sept. 7, 1972. "If the (SOB) gets shot they'll say we didn't furnish it (protection). So you just buy his insurance.

"After the election, he doesn't get a ... thing. If he gets shot, it's too damn bad. Do it under the basis, though, that we pick the Secret Service men.

"Understand what I'm talking about?"

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/articl...Vp77QgD9ABOCAO0

Woodward does not seem to be aware that he had his own private detective, Anthony Ulasewicz, following Kennedy.

Soon after being elected to office, Nixon decided that the White House should establish an in-house investigative capability that could be used to obtain sensitive political information. Jack Caulfield, a former member of the New York City Police Department, was hired by H. R. Haldeman in May 1968.

In March, 1969, John Ehrlichman had a meeting with Caulfield and asked him to set up a private security entity in Washington to provide investigative support for the White House. Soon afterwards Caulfield employed Ulasewicz to carry out this work. Ulasewicz met Ehrlichman at the VIP lounge at the American Airlines Terminal of New York's La Guardia Airport. Ehrlichman agreed to pay Ulasewicz $22,000 a year plus expenses in return for "discreet investigations done on certain political figures.

Ulasewicz then had a meeting with Herbert W. Kalmbach who paid him out of surplus funds from the 1968 presidential election campaign. All told, Kalmbach paid more than $130,000 for the Caulfield-Ulasewicz operation. In an attempt to hide his activities Ulasewicz was told to apply for an American Express card in the name of Edward T. Stanley.

Over the next three years Ulasewicz travelled to 23 states gathering information about Nixon's political opponents. This included people such as Edward Kennedy, Edmund Muskie, Larry O'Brien, Howard Hughes and Jack Anderson.

Ulasewicz's first task was to investigate the relationship between Bobby Baker and Hubert Humphrey. Nixon had received information from Rose Mary Woods that the two men were involved in the Minnesota-based Mortgage Guarantee & Insurance Company.

On 19th July, 1969, Ulasewicz received a phone call from Jack Caulfield: "Get out to Martha's Vineyard as fast as you can, Tony. Kennedy's car ran off a bridge last night. There was a girl in it. She's dead." This phone call took place less than two hours after the body of Mary Jo Kopechne, the former secretary of Robert Kennedy, had been found in a car that Caulfield suspected Edward Kennedy had been driving.

Ulasewicz was one of the first to arrive in Chappaquiddick after the tragedy. In several cases he was able to interview several key witnesses. This included Sylvia Malm who was staying in Dike House at the time. Dike House was only 150 yards from the scene of the accident. Malm told Ulasewicz that she was reading in bed on the night of the accident. She remained awake until midnight but no one knocked on her door.

This information comes from Ulasewicz's book, The President's Private Eye (1990). The other possibility is that he was on Chappaquiddick before Mary Jo Kopechne died.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKUlasewicz.htm

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In a memoir being published this month, Senator Edward M. Kennedy called his behavior after the 1969 car accident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne “inexcusable” and said the events might have shortened the life of his ailing father, Joseph P. Kennedy.

In that book, “True Compass,” Mr. Kennedy said he was dazed, afraid and panicked in the minutes and hours after he drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island with Ms. Kopechne as his passenger.

The senator, who left the scene and did not report the accident to the police until after her body was found the next day, admitted in the memoir that he had “made terrible decisions” at Chappaquiddick. He also said that he had hardly known Ms. Kopechne, a young woman who had been an aide to his late brother Robert, and that he had had no romantic relationship with her.

The account by Mr. Kennedy, who died on Aug. 25 at age 77, adds little to what is known about the accident and its aftermath but recounts how they weighed on him and his family. The book does not shy from the accident, or from some other less savory aspects of the senator’s life, including a notorious 1991 drinking episode in Palm Beach, Fla., or the years of heavy drinking and women-chasing that followed his 1982 divorce from his first wife, Joan.

But it also offers rich detail on his relationships with his father, siblings and children that round out a portrait of a man who lived the most public of lives and yet remained something of a mystery. Among other things, it says that in 1984 he decided against seeking the presidency after hearing the emotional objections of his children, who, it says, feared for his life.

A copy of the 532-page memoir, scheduled for sale Sept. 14, was obtained by The New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/03/us/polit...tml?_r=1&hp

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In a memoir being published this month, Senator Edward M. Kennedy called his behavior after the 1969 car accident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne “inexcusable” and said the events might have shortened the life of his ailing father, Joseph P. Kennedy.

In that book, “True Compass,” Mr. Kennedy said he was dazed, afraid and panicked in the minutes and hours after he drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island with Ms. Kopechne as his passenger.

The senator, who left the scene and did not report the accident to the police until after her body was found the next day, admitted in the memoir that he had “made terrible decisions” at Chappaquiddick. He also said that he had hardly known Ms. Kopechne, a young woman who had been an aide to his late brother Robert, and that he had had no romantic relationship with her.

The account by Mr. Kennedy, who died on Aug. 25 at age 77, adds little to what is known about the accident and its aftermath but recounts how they weighed on him and his family. The book does not shy from the accident, or from some other less savory aspects of the senator’s life, including a notorious 1991 drinking episode in Palm Beach, Fla., or the years of heavy drinking and women-chasing that followed his 1982 divorce from his first wife, Joan.

But it also offers rich detail on his relationships with his father, siblings and children that round out a portrait of a man who lived the most public of lives and yet remained something of a mystery. Among other things, it says that in 1984 he decided against seeking the presidency after hearing the emotional objections of his children, who, it says, feared for his life.

A copy of the 532-page memoir, scheduled for sale Sept. 14, was obtained by The New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/03/us/polit...tml?_r=1&hp

These stories are based on leaks from the book. It would seem that the newspapers have not been given the same information. For example, the New York Times says the book is 532 pages long, while the Daily News has it at 511 pages.

Not that we can expect Kennedy to say in the book, "after lying to you for the last 40 years this is what really happened..."

According to the leak that was sent to the Guardian, Kennedy dedicates five pages to Chappaquiddick. Kennedy admits that at the party they had an emotional conversation about Robert and decided to leave.

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These stories are based on leaks from the book. It would seem that the newspapers have not been given the same information. For example, the New York Times says the book is 532 pages long, while the Daily News has it at 511 pages.

There is no question that the Times had at least one copy of the book. MICHIKO KAKUTANI, the Times's regular book reviewer, published her review on September 3. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/books/04book.html?_r=1

Later in this volume, Mr. Kennedy addresses his own failings and regrets. He writes about how his actions in 1969 at Chappaquiddick were “inexcusable,” how Mary Jo Kopechne’s death “haunts me every day of my life” and how “atonement is a process that never ends.” When his father died four months later, he says, he “wondered whether I had shortened” his life “from the shock I had visited on him with my news of the tragic accident on Chappaquiddick Island. The pain of that burden was almost unbearable.”
Not that we can expect Kennedy to say in the book, "after lying to you for the last 40 years this is what really happened..."

There is a problem with that argument John. We are all prone to lie to cover up our own wrongdoing. That seems to be a built-in instinctive ego defense mechanism, and Kennedy's initial reaction, by his own admission, was escape and denial.

But when he came to his senses he accepted responsibility.

People lie to AVOID responsibility, so why would Ted spend forty years taking the blame for something, unless he knew he really was at fault?

Of course Ted's version does not preclude the possibility that an outside force was also involved, unbeknownst to him.

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"There is no question that the Times had at least one copy of the book. MICHIKO KAKUTANI, the Times's regular book reviewer, published her review on September 3. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/books/04...html?_r=1"

Literary footnote: MK was a bird mocking at Norman Mailer for most of his last decade, in the NYT Book Review. Mailer was compelled by more than one interviewer's questions to acknowledge a kind of feud between them. It's always worth keeping track of the politics associated with the books MK praises or pans.

* * *

Television footnote: HBO is running a quite-good documentary called Teddy in His Own Words that features some truly ugly excerpts from the "Watergate Tapes" re: surveillance/smearing of TK, including some of the bits Mr. Simkin mentions above. Well worth recording, an unexpectedly moving film.

Edited by David Andrews

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Good scenario. I disagree with a few minor points, but not worth quibbling about here. The two choices Ted had are about correct, but he really lost his chance to be a Man and to simultaneously made an Monumental difference for the Nation. I do believe there were very specific threats given him at a pay phone that morning from the ferry dock, that involved him and his family. Given what happened to MM, JFK, RFK, MLK and others he knew they could make good on those threats - yet he had power and millions - if he can't fight 'them' - in the short or long term - where does that leave the rest of us?...and I think we've all see the answer to that. I realize he is but a mortal man and chose the safe route....but I can't say I agree with his decision - nor does it make him anthing but an antihero. If he didn't leave word in his will, or some writting to be released after his death [unlikely], I really find this a moral flaw....and has let the real assassins of those men and the Nation [and to some extent the World] thrive and continue - certainly never brought to Justice, except in some generally ignored research sites and books. Many during the Second World War and in lesser battles with evil faced death or death of their loved ones to fight for Freedom, Justice, Law and Rightousness. He chose to go sailing and make a modest difference in the Senate, I don't deny him....but his brothers will not rest in Peace for his innaction. History will not be so kind to him as it is being now for keeping his silence on his brother's death and his being entrapped in a political beartrap. He could have [at least] given millions to researchers secretly to work on the cases. He went sailing.

Peter, I disagree with you. I wish I knew who killed the 2 Kennedy brothers and what really happened at Chappaquiddick. Ted Kennedy could not name names. He couldn't point to the villains. If he did, someone would die. We're not talking about war heroes. We're talking about civilians. I believe John Kennedy Jr and passengers were murdered, possibly by a barometric bomb or by a lever behind the pilot that was turned to off, cutting the engine and killing them. Witnesses said they saw an explosion in the sky.

However, the Chappaquiddick incident was an accident. But there should have been an autopsy done, in my opinion. The following is a theory I read somewhere on the Internet. Maybe you'll have heard this before.

Ted Kennedy asks a woman at the party to come with him for a ride, romance in mind. Earlier, Mary Jo Kopechne, possibly not feeling well from alcohol, left the cottage and laid down in the back seat of Ted's car. Ted and the woman from the party, leave the cottage and get into his car. He takes off and notices a cop car behind him, so he turns off the road because he doesn't want to be caught with a woman, especially after drinking. He turns off the road and drives off the dangerous Chappaquiddic bridge. The two of them manage to get out of the car. They don't know Mary Jo Kopechne is in the back seat and Ted is noticably shocked when given the news the next day. Scuba divers find Mary Jo and her pocketbook. Only it turns out the pocketbook does not belong to Mary Jo. It belongs to the woman who went off the bridge with Ted and made it out safe.

This seems very logical to me. (But I am very open to theories about this.) No CIA this time. Just an accident. Many people die in travel accidents. Just trying to be fair, maybe even playing the Devil's Advocate.

Kathy C

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