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John Simkin

The Cold War and the Assassination of JFK

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Section 1: Introduction

Introduction

I will be trying to do three things in this seminar.

(1) I will be looking at developing a strategy for making teaching about the Cold War an exciting activity for school students.

One only has to look at popular culture to discover that people like mysteries. This is also true of children. In the late 1970s a few history teachers established Tressell Publications. Our intention was to produce materials to support the Schools History Project. We soon found out that books based on mysteries: “The Mysterious Case of the Mary Celeste, the Bermuda Triangle, the Assassination of JFK, etc. were very popular with both teachers and students. Although Tressell is no more and these books have been out of print for many years, information from the Photocopying Agency reveals that these materials are still being used in schools all over the UK.

I suspect that students like mysteries for the same reason that I do. With mysteries you are not a passive observer of events. You are no longer doing what Douglas Barnes described as “filling in the blanks” (From Communication to Curriculum: 1975). As Barnes points out students very quickly get bored with “guessing what is in the mind of the teacher”. Mysteries allow students to play an active role in their learning. In a well-organized mystery, the student gets an opportunity to test out his or her theory by studying the evidence. It works best if the teacher has not already decided that he/she knows the answer of the mystery. If this is the case, the students is once again reduced to filling in the blanks.

I will be arguing that it is possible to teach the Cold War as a series of mysteries. Some of these mysteries cannot be completely answered by looking at the available evidence. As a result, they leave plenty of room for speculation (the development of theories).

(2) I will be looking at the problems of using primary sources to teach about the Cold War. This will involve an examination of why certain sources are difficult if not impossible to use. Why some are unavailable and others are unreliable.

The use of primary sources to study the Cold War creates particular problems. Some of the most important sources are located in the archives of MI6, KGB, CIA and other such agencies, and therefore are not available to the historian. Even those that have been released, are not always to be trusted. Both sides in the Cold War were involved in disinformation campaigns. This included agents posing as defectors. For example, we still do not know if Yuri Nosenko or Anatoli Golitsin were telling the truth. What we do know that if one was, the other one was not? Even if the CIA or some other agency agrees to release a secret document, how do we know that the document itself contains the truth? Is it possible that the document itself was part of some disinformation campaign?

As a result of the United States Freedom of Information Act it has been possible to get hold of important information about the Cold War. In November 2003, tapes of private conversations between President Kennedy and his advisers reveal that secret negotiations were going on between the US and Cuba in the summer of 1963. What is so striking about this information is that Kennedy was trying to keep these negotiations secret from the CIA. As Arthur Schlesinger, one of Kennedy’s political advisers, recently admitted, in the early 1960s, the US government and the CIA had different foreign policies. Other released documents show that Kennedy failed in his attempt to hide his new foreign policy from the CIA.

(3) I will also be looking at how the latest technology can be used to involve the students in the research process.

The arrival of the internet has changed the way the historian works. This does not only mean that the historian uses Google to search the archives. More importantly, the historian uses this technology to find those with information about the past.

At the beginning of the year I began producing online materials about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. My main objective was to create a research resource for students and historians. This included the creation of 256 biographies (with relevant primary and secondary sources) of people associated with the case.

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

Much of my research has taken place via the web. One of my main strategies has been to make contact with these people (or their friends and relatives).

For example, I wanted to interview Nathaniel Weyl about his role in the CIA misinformation campaign following the assassination of JFK. I was told by a historian, who had recently written a book about the subject, that as he was born in 1910, he was probably dead. However, a search via Google led me to a book review by him on the Amazon website. I sent him an email. He replied and willingly answered my questions about his relationship with the CIA.

In many cases witnesses and suspects have made contact with me. For obvious reasons they make regular checks via Google to find out if people are writing about them. As a result of the Google ranking system, it will not be long before they discover my web page on them. They often make contact to point out factual mistakes, to question my (and others) judgement of them and offering to supply additional information. This includes photographs (as one person pointed out, the photograph I used made her father look like a criminal). Images are indeed powerful and having the right photograph is important to the people you are writing about. New technology is therefore changing the relationship between the writer and the subject. The information being provided for the reader is the result of what one could call negotiated truth.

I believe it is important that others should have access to these witnesses of history. Therefore I attempt to persuade them to join a forum on the assassination. This is a place where students and historians can question the witnesses and suspects. At the same time, students and historians can post details of their theories. These can be questioned by other researchers.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showforum=126

This is what Pierre Levy, has called “collective intelligence”. Levy claims we are in the early moments of an historical paradigm shift of the magnitude of the Renaissance. In his book Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace (1994), Levy argues that the “unfettered exchange of ideas in cyberspace has the potential to liberate us from the social and political hierarchies that have stood in the way of mankind's advancement”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_intelligence

http://www.arenotech.org/Levy/Levy_-Ottawa/

Others, including Tom Atlee, prefer the term “community intelligence”.

http://www.community-intelligence.com/

It was this idea of collective or community intelligence that inspired Tim Berners Lee to create what became known as the “World Wide Web”. In 1980 Berners-Lee joined the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN). His main role was to support CERN’s community of physicists in the retrieval and handling of information. CERN is a vast organisation doing research of unimaginable complexity. The physicists were based in several different countries. Berners-Lee’s task was to create a system which CERN could consolidate its organisational knowledge. He set out to create a system that would allow individual scientists to access data being created by other members of the CERN team.

http://www.funet.fi/index/FUNET/history/in...c/proposal.html

Although scientists were the first to benefit from the web. It soon became clear that this new system had to offer the historian. It has also the potential to change the way all students learn.

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Part 2: Military Industrial Complex

Dwight Eisenhower’s last speech as president on 17th January, 1961, was completely out of character.

This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen...

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defence; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defence establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence - economic, political, even spiritual - is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

In this speech Eisenhower identifies for the first time a group called the military-industrial complex. The speech was written for him by Malcolm Moos of Johns Hopkins University. Initially Moos had used the phrase “Military Industrial Congressional Complex”. Eisenhower was advised not to link members of Congress with this conspiracy. He accepted this advice but the fact remains, Eisenhower believed that certain members of Congress were being paid by the armaments industry to maintain these high-levels of defence spending. For example, when Eisenhower left office in 1960 military spending amounted to 77% of all federal spending.

Eisenhower had warned by this problem by his predecessor, Harry S. Truman. He told Eisenhower: “For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government... I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak-and-dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment that I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda.”

Eisenhower had come to the conclusion that there were a small group of men were having “unwarranted influence” in the “councils of government”. Who was he talking about? Eisenhower was probably thinking of people like John McCone who at that time was Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. McCone established the California Shipbuilding Company just before the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1946 it was recorded that the company had made $44 million in wartime profits on an original investment of $100,000.

For people like McCone, it was necessary for the United States to continue spending large sums of money on armaments after the war. McCone became the representative of the military-industrial complex in government. In 1948 he was appointed Deputy to the Secretary of Defense. This was followed by his appointment as Under Secretary of the Air Force (1950-1951).

McCone was an ardent Cold War warrior and in 1956 attacked the suggestion made by Adlai Stevenson that there should be a nuclear test ban. At the time this was a view also held by scientists working in this field. McCone accused American scientists of being "taken in" by Soviet propaganda and of attempting to "create fear in the minds of the uninformed that radioactive fallout from H-bomb tests endangers life."

In 1958 Eisenhower appointed McCone as Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. However, by the end of his presidency Eisenhower had become very concerned about the role being played by people such as McCone and therefore thought it necessary to give his warning about the Military Congressional Complex.

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

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Part 3: The United States and Fidel Castro

In 1952 elections the Cuban People's Party was expected to form the new government. During the election campaign General Fulgencio Batista, with the support of the armed forces, ousted President Carlos Prio and took control of the country.

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

The following year, Fidel Castro, a member of the Cuban People’s Party, organized an attack on the Moncada army barracks. This was the beginning of an armed attempt to overthrow Batista.

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

Over the next few years the United States supplied Batista with planes, ships and tanks, but the advantage of using the latest technology such as napalm failed to win them victory against the guerrillas. In March 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower, disillusioned with Batista's performance, suggested he held elections. This he did, but the people showed their dissatisfaction with his government by refusing to vote. Over 75 per cent of the voters in the capital Havana boycotted the polls. In some areas, such as Santiago, it was as high as 98 per cent.

Eisenhower and the CIA decided that Batista was no longer a good puppet ruler. The CIA now began to provide secret support for Castro. It was assumed that once Castro gained power he would be willing, like most other rebel leaders in the Americas, to be bribed to become a puppet ruler. However, the CIA soon discovered that Castro was one of those unique politicians that could not be corrupted by offers of personal wealth.

In its first hundred days in office Castro's government passed several new laws. Rents were cut by up to 50 per cent for low wage earners; property owned by Batista and his ministers was confiscated; the telephone company was nationalized and the rates were reduced by 50 per cent; land was redistributed amongst the peasants (including the land owned by the Castro family); separate facilities for blacks and whites (swimming pools, beaches, hotels, cemeteries etc.) were abolished.

Castro had strong views on morality. He considered that alcohol, drugs, gambling, homosexuality and prostitution were major evils. He saw the casinos and night-clubs as sources of temptation and corruption and he passed laws closing them down. Members of the Mafia, who had been heavily involved in running these places, were forced to leave the country.

Castro believed strongly in education. Before the revolution 23.6 per cent of the Cuban population were illiterate. In rural areas over half the population could not read or write and 61 per cent of the children did not go to school. Castro asked young students in the cities to travel to the countryside and teach the people to read and write. Cuba adopted the slogan: "If you don't know, learn. If you know, teach." Eventually free education was made available to all citizens and illiteracy in Cuba became a thing of the past.

Eisenhower was now in a difficult position. His decision to stop buying Cuban sugar was counter-productive. In the summer of 1960 Castro nationalised United States property worth $850 million. He also negotiated a deal where by the Soviet Union and other communist countries in Eastern Europe agreed to purchase the sugar that the United States had refused to take. The Soviet Union also agreed to supply the weapons, technicians and machinery denied to Cuba by the United States.

Eisenhower now decided Castro had to be removed from power. In March I960, Eisenhower approved a CIA plan to overthrow Castro. The plan involved a budget of $13 million to train "a paramilitary force outside Cuba for guerrilla action." Ted Shackley was put in charge of what became known as the "Cuba Project. An estimated 400 CIA officers were employed full-time to carry out what became known as Operation Mongoose. Edward Lansdale became project leader whereas William Harvey became head of what became known as Task Force W.

Sidney Gottlieb of the CIA Technical Services Division was asked to come up with proposals that would undermine Castro's popularity with the Cuban people. Plans included a scheme to spray a television studio in which he was about to appear with an hallucinogenic drug and contaminating his shoes with thallium which they believed would cause the hair in his beard to fall out.

These schemes were rejected and instead it was decided to arrange the assassination of Castro. In September 1960, Richard Bissell and Allen W. Dulles, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), initiated talks with two leading figures of the Mafia, Johnny Roselli and Sam Giancana. Later, other crime bosses such as Carlos Marcello, Santos Trafficante and Meyer Lansky became involved in this plot against Castro.

Robert Maheu, a veteran of CIA counter-espionage activities, was instructed to offer the Mafia $150,000 to kill Fidel Castro. The advantage of employing the Mafia for this work is that it provided CIA with a credible cover story. The Mafia were known to be angry with Castro for closing down their profitable brothels and casinos in Cuba. If the assassins were killed or captured the media would accept that the Mafia were working on their own.

(2) Dorothy Kilgallen, New York Journal American (15th July, 1959)

If our state department heads in Washington deny they're gravely worried over the explosive situation in Cuba and nearby Latin American countries, they're either giving out false information for reasons of their own or playing ostrich, which might prove to be a dangerous game. US intelligence is virtually nonexistent if the government isn't aware that Russia already has bases in Cuba, and Russian pilots in uniform are strutting openly in Havana... Fidel Castro is the target for so many assassins they're apt to fall over each other in their efforts to get him. The Mafia want to knock him off. So do the Batista sympathizers, of course, and then there are his own disillusioned rebels, just for starters. He has machine guns and other ammunition mounted on every key rooftop near his base of operations, but the smart money doubts if any amount of precaution can change his status as a clay pigeon.

Dorothy Kilgallen was one of the first journalists to suggest Castro was a communist. She was to first to imply there was a CIA plot to assassinate Fidel Castro. She mentions the Mafia but implies that others are involved. She was referring of course of the CIA.

Soon after Kennedy gained power he was informed of the CIA operation to assassinate Castro. Kennedy agreed with the policy but was opposed to the CIA working with the Mafia. He was rightly worried about the prospect of being blackmailed in the future. He was also opposed to the FBI agreement not to prosecute the Mafia bosses involved in this project. Johnny Roselli the Mafia link man was now excluded from the project. William Harvey, the agent in charge of ZR/RIFLE, was transferred to run the CIA station in Italy. ZR/RIFLE was closed down and replaced with Operation Freedom and placed under the control of his brother, Robert Kennedy. However, we now know from recently released FBI documents, that Harvey and Roselli, continued to meet in secret.

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Part 4: Bay of Pigs

When JFK replaced Eisenhower as president of the United States he was told about the CIA plan to invade Cuba. JFK had doubts about the venture but he was afraid he would be seen as soft on communism if he refused permission for it to go ahead. JFK's advisers convinced him that Castro was an unpopular leader and that once the invasion started the Cuban people would support the ClA-trained forces.

On April 14, 1961, B-26 planes began bombing Cuba's airfields. After the raids Cuba was left with only eight planes and seven pilots. Two days later five merchant ships carrying 1,400 Cuban exiles arrived at the Bay of Pigs. The attack was a total failure. Two of the ships were sunk, including the ship that was carrying most of the supplies. Two of the planes that were attempting to give air-cover were also shot down. Within seventy-two hours all the invading troops had been killed, wounded or had been captured.

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

The CIA had completely misunderstood the mood of the Cuban people (as they did in Iraq). As source 3 points out, this was a propaganda victory for Fidel Castro.

(3) On February 4,1962 Fidel Castro made a speech in Havana where he considered the motivations behind the Bay of Pigs invasion.

What is hidden behind the Yankee's hatred of the Cuban Revolution... a small country of only seven million people, economically underdeveloped, without financial or military means to threaten the security or economy of any other country? What explains it is fear. Not fear of the Cuban Revolution but fear of the Latin American Revolution.

After the Bay of Pigs disaster Kennedy decided to make drastic changes at the top of the CIA. People involved in the planning of the Bay of Pigs were sacked or redeployed. This included Allen Dulles, the director of the CIA. Kennedy was warned this action would demoralize the CIA and therefore he should appoint as Director someone who had the confidence of the organization. He was advised to appoint John McCone as the new head of the CIA. Kennedy accepted this advice and over the next two years was the leading supporter of the need to increase US military involvement in Vietnam.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/vietnam.html

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Part 5: Operation Northwoods, Alpha 66 and Interpen

Secret documents released recently provides information about a US plan to invade Cuba in 1962. On 13th March, 1962, General Lyman Lemnitzer, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), sent to details to JFK of Operation Northwoods. This “Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba” was a covert operation that included developing a false “Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington”. The plan involved the blowing up of an American ship in Cuban waters and blaming the incident on Cuban sabotage. Another proposal was faking a Cuban air force attack on a civilian U.S. jetliner.

JFK immediately rejected the proposals in Operation Northwoods. He told General Lemnitzer there was “virtually no possibility of ever using overt force to take Cuba”. Soon afterwards JFK removed Lemnitzer as chairman of the JCS. However, this did not stop the JCS from devising a strategy that would result in JFK ordering the invasion of Cuba (see for example, AM/TRUNK and Joint Chiefs/Califano). Strategies included attempts to start a war between Cuba and another Latin American country so the U.S. could intervene; paying someone in Castro’s government to attack American forces at the Guantanamo naval base, and flying low level U-2 flights over Cuba with the intention of having one shot down as a pretext for war.

The CIA also played a significant role in trying to start a war with Cuba. This included the funding of a group called Alpha 66. Led by Antonio Veciana, this group of anti-Castro Cuban exiles launched several raids on Cuba. This included attacks on port installations and foreign shipping. They had some success including the sinking of the Russian merchantman Baku.

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

Photo Archive: Alpha 66

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

This period saw the emergence of another group called Interpen (Intercontinental Penetration Force). This team of experienced soldiers were involved in training members of anti-Castro groups such as Alpha 66.

JFK attempted to bring an end to these raids by ordering the authorities to clamp down on these groups. As a result Interpen moved its training camp from Florida to New Orleans.

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

Interpen: Photo Archive

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

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Part 6: Cuban Missile Crisis

At the beginning of September 1962, U-2 spy planes discovered that the Soviet Union was building surface-to-air missile (SAM) launch sites. There was also an increase in the number of Soviet ships arriving in Cuba which the United States government feared were carrying new supplies of weapons. President John F. Kennedy complained to the Soviet Union about these developments and warned them that the United States would not accept offensive weapons (SAMs were considered to be defensive) in Cuba.

As the Cubans now had SAM installations they were in a position to shoot down U-2 spy-planes. Kennedy was in a difficult situation. Elections were to take place for the United States Congress in two month's time. The public opinion polls showed that his own ratings had fallen to their lowest point since he became president.

In his first two years of office a combination of Republicans and conservative southern Democrats in Congress had blocked much of Kennedy's proposed legislation. The polls suggested that after the elections he would have even less support in Congress. Kennedy feared that any trouble over Cuba would lose the Democratic Party even more votes, as it would remind voters of the Bay of Pigs. One poll showed that over 62 per cent of the population were unhappy with his policies on Cuba. Understandably, the Republicans attempted to make Cuba the main issue in the campaign.

This was probably in Kennedy's mind when he decided to restrict the flights of the U-2 planes over Cuba. Pilots were also told to avoid flying the whole length of the island. Kennedy hoped this would ensure that a U-2 plane would not be shot down, and would prevent Cuba becoming a major issue during the election campaign.

On 27th September, a CIA agent in Cuba overheard Castro's personal pilot tell another man in a bar that Cuba now had nuclear weapons. U-2 spy-plane photographs also showed that unusual activity was taking place at San Cristobal. However, it was not until 15th October that photographs were taken that revealed that the Soviet Union was placing long range missiles in Cuba.

At the first meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council, the CIA and other military advisers explained the situation. After hearing what they had to say, the general feeling of the meeting was for an air-attack on the missile sites. Remembering the poor advice the CIA had provided before the Bay of Pigs invasion, JFK decided to wait and instead called for another meeting to take place that evening. By this time several of the men were having doubts about the wisdom of a bombing raid, fearing that it would lead to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The committee was now so divided that a firm decision could not be made.

The Executive Committee of the National Security Council argued amongst themselves for the next two days. The CIA and the military were still in favour of a bombing raid and/or an invasion. However, the majority of the committee gradually began to favour a naval blockade of Cuba.

As well as imposing a naval blockade, Kennedy also told the air-force to prepare for attacks on Cuba and the Soviet Union. The army positioned 125,000 men in Florida and was told to wait for orders to invade Cuba. If the Soviet ships carrying weapons for Cuba did not turn back or refused to be searched, a war was likely to begin. Kennedy also promised his military advisers that if one of the U-2 spy planes were fired upon he would give orders for an attack on the Cuban SAM missile sites.

A public opinion poll in the United States revealed that three out of five people expected fighting to break out between the two sides.

On October 24, JFK was informed that Soviet ships had stopped just before they reached the United States ships blockading Cuba.

The general public interpreted the Cuban Missile Crisis as a victory to JFK. His poll ratings soared. However, the public was not informed of the secret deal that resulted in nuclear missiles being removed from Italy and Turkey or his promise not to invade Cuba.

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

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Part 7: Operation Tilt

It is only in recent years that we have been able to discover what was really going on in 1963. Unfortunately, most of the textbooks we use in schools do not include details of these recently released documents.

At this stage I would like to comment on how these new sources enter the public domain. In the United States they have a Freedom of Information Act. This enables researchers to ask for the release of certain documents held by government agencies such as the CIA or FBI. These requests are often denied. For example, both organizations have refused to release the files they hold on Lee Harvey Oswald. This is very important as researchers believe that Oswald was either an agent of these organizations or he was being monitored by them. After all, when he defected to the Soviet Union in 1959, he publicly offered to provide secret military information to the KGB. When he returned to the USA in 1962 he continued to play an active role in left-wing politics. It would have indeed been crazy not to have monitored him.

The release of Oliver Stone's film JFK in 1991 started a new debate on the assassination. As a result of public pressure, Congress passed the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (JFK Act), mandating the gathering and opening of all records concerned with the death of the President.

The Assassination Records Review Board is made up of five historians. JFK researchers work through this board in an attempt to get certain documents released. However, the CIA and FBI continue to refuse to release key documents including the Oswald files.

However, some documents have entered the public domain. Some key figures in these events have decided to talk about what was happening in 1963. This includes Nathaniel Weyl, whose book, 'Encounters with Communism', was published last year.

In the book Weyl tells the story of Operation Tilt. In the summer of 1963 JFK seemed certain to win re-election as president. This was mainly due to the successful resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Opponents of JFK realized they would need to come up with information that would undermine his image as the man who successfully stood up to the Soviets over Cuba.

(4) Nathaniel Weyl, Encounters With Communism (2003)

In 1963, John Martino came to me with a fascinating story. He had attended a meeting in Palm Beach at which a Cuban who used the nom de guerre of Bayo claimed that the Soviets had deceived President Kennedy and that Russian missiles were still in Cuba. Bayo said he knew this because two of the Soviet officers guarding these clandestine missiles had defected, were being hidden and guarded by the remnants of the anti-Castro underground and were desperately anxious to tell their story.

I was told that this was an emergency. The Russians could be captured by Castro's forces at any time. John Martino said that their Cuban protectors could get them safely to the northern coast of the island and thence by boat to some agreed-upon rendezvous point in the Bahamas if we acted immediately.

In his book Weyl claims that the CIA took over the operation. William Pawley, the former ambassador to Brazil, offered his boat, Flying Tiger, for what now became known as Operation Tilt. David Sanchez Morales, based at the CIA station in Miami, became the main organizer of the venture. A fellow CIA agent, Rip Robertson, became a crew member. Also involved in the operation were members of Alpha 66. Interpen was involved in the planning but none of its members took part in the actual operation.

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

Barry Goldwater, the Republican candidate for president was told about Operation Tilt. The plan was to take the two Soviet officers to Goldwater’s home in Arizona where a press conference was to be held. To ensure that the government did not suppress the story, Richard Billings, a journalist working for Life Magazine, joined the party. A photographer was also recruited for the operation (the pictures can be seen on my website).

Operation Tilt: Photo Archive

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

In June, 1963, a small group, including William Pawley, Eddie Bayo, Rip Robertson, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, John Martino, and Richard Billings, left Miami. However, they were unsuccessful in their attempts to find these Soviet officers and they were forced to return without them.

The plot to undermine JFK’s presidential campaign ended in failure. Those who wanted to remove JFK from power had to develop another strategy.

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Part 8: Lyndon Baines Johnson

The political situation looked good for JFK in the summer of 1963. The same was not true of Lyndon Johnson. In fact, he told close friends that he expected to end up in prison. The reason for this was LBJ was embroiled in a serious political scandal.

Senator John Williams was known as the "Sherlock Holmes of Capitol Hill". During a 15 year period his investigations resulted in over 200 indictments and 125 convictions. In the summer of 1963 he began investigating the activities of Bobby Baker, Fred Black and Billie Sol Estes. Baker was LBJ’s political secretary. Black was one of LBJ’s political advisers. Both these men were involved in the business activities of Billie Sol Estes.

Senator John McClellan, chairman of the Permanent Investigations Committee, also became involved in this inquiry.

Williams and McClellan discovered that in 1962 Baker 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. It was claimed that LBJ was getting a rake-off from Serve-U-Corporation in return for arranging for vending machines to be placed in these company’s offices and factories.

Evidence also emerged that Lyndon B. Johnson was also involved in political corruption involving the placing of arms contracts. This included the award of a $7 billion contract for a fighter plane, the TFX, to General Dynamics, a company based in Texas. Fred Korth, the Navy Secretary, and a close friend of LBJ, had been involved in negotiating this contract.

On 7th October, 1963, Baker was forced to leave his post as LBJ’s secretary. On 1st November, 1963, Korth was forced to resign over the TFX contract.

Rumours began to spread that JFK was going to drop LBJ as his running mate in 1964. Robert Kennedy appeared to confirm this by briefing against LBJ. This including information that suggested that LBJ would be prosecuted for political corruption.

At this time the key witness had yet to testify. His name was Don B. Reynolds. A close friend of Bobby Baker, Reynolds claimed that for many years he had a business relationship with LBJ. Reynolds was due to provide evidence before a secret session of the Senate Rules Committee on 22nd November, 1963. LBJ would not be there to hear what was said for on that day he was to be visiting Dallas with JFK

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

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

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

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Part 9: End of the Cold War

JFK was deeply troubled by the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He realised that his policy had nearly caused a nuclear conflict. He also knew that the JCS and the CIA were trying to manipulate him into a war with Cuba. How long could he manage to frustrate these attempts? If the CIA could successfully set up what appeared to be a Cuban attack on an American ship or airliner, public opinion would force him to invade Cuba.

Kennedy decided that he must bring an end to the Cold War. This included the withdrawal of American military advisers in Vietnam, negotiating with the Soviets in order to bring an end to the production of nuclear weapons and a return to normal relations with the government of Cuba. However, these policies could not be announced to the American people because he feared it would result in him losing the 1964 presidential election. This new policy had to remain secret until after the next election.

Recently documents have been released that reveal was JFK was up to during the summer of 1963. This includes this memo from William Attwood.

(5) William Attwood, secret memorandum to Averell Harriman and Adlai Stevenson (18th September, 1963).

The impact of present US policy is mainly negative: (i) It aggravates Castro's anti-Americanism and his desire to cause us trouble and embarrassment. (ii) In the eyes of a world largely made up of small countries, it freezes us in the unattractive posture of a big country trying to bully a small country... It would seem that we have something to gain and nothing to lose by finding out whether in fact Castro does want to talk and what concessions he would be prepared to make.

Attwood is an interesting character. He was the former editor of Look Magazine. He was also a friend of JFK and soon after he became president he appointed him as US Ambassador to Guinea. However, released records show that he spent little time in Africa. He was mainly based in New York where he advised JFK and his officials on foreign policy.

This secret memorandum was sent to two liberals in the JFK administration. Both men were very keen to negotiate an end to the Cold War. Harriman for example was the man who negotiated the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963.

We now know that Attwood was the key figure in trying to arrange direct talks between Castro and JFK.

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

The next source is another example of documents released as a result of the Assassination Records Review Board. It was released in November, 2003.

(6) National Security Archive, press release (24th November, 2003)

On the 40th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the eve of the broadcast of a new documentary film on Kennedy and Castro, the National Security Archive today posted an audio tape of the President and his national security advisor, McGeorge Bundy, discussing the possibility of a secret meeting in Havana with Castro. The tape, dated only seventeen days before Kennedy was shot in Dallas, records a briefing from Bundy on Castro's invitation to a US official at the United Nations, William Attwood, to come to Havana for secret talks on improving relations with Washington. The tape captures President Kennedy's approval if official US involvement could be plausibly denied.

The possibility of a meeting in Havana evolved from a shift in the President's thinking on the possibility of what declassified White House records called "an accommodation with Castro" in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Proposals from Bundy's office in the spring of 1963 called for pursuing "the sweet approach…enticing Castro over to us," as a potentially more successful policy than CIA covert efforts to overthrow his regime. Top Secret White House memos record Kennedy's position that "we should start thinking along more flexible lines" and that "the president, himself, is very interested in (the prospect for negotiations)." Castro, too, appeared interested. In a May 1963 ABC News special on Cuba, Castro told correspondent Lisa Howard that he considered a rapprochement with Washington "possible if the United States government wishes it. In that case," he said, "we would be agreed to seek and find a basis" for improved relations.

It took 40 years for confirmation that JFK was secretly negotiating with Castro. What is more, JFK was carried out these negotiations without telling the CIA. We now know that JFK no longer trusted this organization. These released documents show that JFK was particularly concerned about the activities of people like John McCone (Director of the CIA) who had a foreign policy that was different from that of the administration. Unfortunately for JFK, we now know that the CIA had bugged the United Nations building in New York and knew all about the activities of people like Stevenson, Harriman and Attwood.

When I first read this press release I immediately began to research the activities of Lisa Howard. She was a new name to me in this investigation.

Lisa Howard was in fact an actress who appeared in several films in the early 1950s. Later she appeared on television. In 1960 Howard changed careers and became a correspondent for Mutual Radio Network. Covering the United Nations, she became the first journalist to secure an interview with Nikita Khrushchev. In 1963 she covered the Vienna summit between President John F. Kennedy and the Soviet leader. Later that year she became the anchor for ABC's noontime news broadcast, 'The News Hour with Lisa Howard'.

In April 1963 Howard arrived in Cuba to make a documentary on the country. In an interview with Howard, Fidel Castro agreed that a rapprochement with Washington was desirable. On her return Howard was interviewed by the CIA. The director of the CIA John McCone advised JFK to have nothing to do with her. He argued that she might "leak and compromise a number of CIA operations against Castro". (In other words the various CIA plots to overthrow Castro’s government).

On 12th September, 1963, Attwood, contacted Howard on behalf of JFK, and recruited her to begin negotiations with Castro. These talks went on right up to the day JFK was assassinated. As soon as Lyndon Johnson took power he ordered these negotiations to come to an end. However, Howard refused and continued to talk to Castro and report back to Attwood. Someone told Howard’s employers, ABC News, about her behaviour and she was sacked.

Lisa Howard died at East Hampton, Long Island, on 4th July, 1965. It was officially reported that she had committed suicide. Apparently, she had taken one hundred sleeping pills. It was claimed she was depressed as a result of losing her job and suffering a miscarriage.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKhowardL2.htm

During the late 1960s William Penn Jones, a journalist from Texas, published several articles about how people connected to the assassination of JFK (either witnesses or investigators) died violent deaths (murdered, road accidents or committed suicide).

In 1989 Jim Marrs, published 'Crossfire: The Plot to Kill Kennedy'. In the book he lists 103 people connected to the assassination who had died early. I should say at this point I only believe that about 20 of these deaths are significant. However, Lisa Howard’s name does not appear on this list. The reason being that researchers did not know the role Howard was playing in 1963. This only became clear in November, 2003.

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

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Part 10: Dorothy Kilgallen

It would seem that in 1962 and 1963 there was a smear campaign against John and Robert Kennedy.

(7) FBI report on Dorothy Kilgallen and Marilyn Monroe (3rd August, 1962)

Wiretap of telephone conversation between reporter Dorothy Kilgallen and her close friend, Howard Rothberg; from wiretap of telephone conversation of Marilyn Monroe and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Appraisal of Content: (Blacked Out).

1. Rothberg discussed the apparent comeback of subject with Kilgallen and the break up with the Kennedys. Rothberg told Kilgallen that she was attending Hollywood parties hosted by the "inner circle" among Hollywood's elite and was becoming the talk of the town again. Rothberg indicated in so many words, that she had secrets to tell, no doubt arising from her trists (sic) with the President and the Attorney General. One such (illegible) mentions the visit by the President at a secret air base for the purpose of inspecting things from outer space. Kilgallen replied that she knew what might be the source of the visit. In the mid-fifties Kilgallen learned of secret effort by US and UK governments to identify the origins of crashed spacecraft and dead bodies, from a British government official. Kilgallen believed the story may have come from the (illegible) in the late forties. Kilgallen said that if the story is true, it could cause terrible embarrassment to Jack and his plans to have NASA put men on the moon.

2. Subject repeatedly called the Attorney General and complained about the way she was being ignored by the President and his brother.

3. Subject threatened to hold a press conference and would tell all.

4. Subject made references to "bases" in Cuba and knew of the President's plan to kill Castro.

5. Subject made reference to her "diary of secrets" and what the newspapers would do with such

This source is actually a forgery. The FBI were indeed keeping these people under surveillance. However, this is a forged document that was placed on the internet.

Why would some distribute false documents like this? One possibility is that it was carried out by supporters of the theory that Monroe was murdered by agents working for the Kennedys. Another is that it was planted by the FBI who wanted to discredit researchers into the life of Dorothy Kilgallen. As you will now see, Kilgallen, has become an important figure in the assassination of JFK.

Kilgallen was a journalist and television star (for 15 years a regular panelist on the television programme, What's My Line?).

Occasionally she wrote about politics. This included the story about the plot to kill Fidel Castro (see above).

Kilgallen also investigated the assassination of JFK. In August 1964 someone passed onto her details of what Jack Ruby told the Warren Commission. The FBI investigated the leak and on 30th September, 1964, she reported in the 'New York Journal American' that the FBI "might have been more profitably employed in probing the facts of the case rather than how I got them".

Kilgallen also managed to obtain the Dallas Police Department radio logs for the day of the assassination. This revealed that as soon as the shots were fired in the Dealey Plaza, the Chief of Police, Jesse Curry, issued an order to search the Grassy Knoll. However, up until that time, Curry had insisted that as soon as he heard the sound of the shots he told his men to search the Texas School Book Depository.

In September 1964 Kilgallen reported in the 'New York Journal American' that Jack Ruby, J. D. Tippet and Bernard Weismann had a two hour meeting at the Carousel Club on 14th November, 1963.

Later Kilgallen managed to obtain a private interview with Jack Ruby. She told friends that she had information that would "break the case wide open". Aware of what had happened to Bill Hunter and Jim Koethe (two journalists working on the case who had been murdered), Kilgallen handed her interview notes to her friend Margaret Smith. She told friends that she had obtained information that Ruby and Tippet were friends and that David Ferrie was involved in the assassination of JFK.

On 8th November, 1965, Kilgallen, was found dead in her New York apartment. She was fully dressed and sitting upright in her bed. The police reported that she had died from taking a cocktail of alcohol and barbiturates. The notes of her interview with Ruby and the article she was writing on the case had disappeared. Her friend, Margaret Smith, died two days later.

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

Kilgallen died in the same way as Lisa Howard. She also died in the same way as Monroe. Kilgallen broke the story that Kennedy was having an affair with Monroe the day before she died. It is believed that she got the story from George Smathers, the Senator for Florida. We definitely know that Smathers was involved in smearing JFK during this period. JFK thought that Smathers was his close friend. We now know Smathers was involved in a campaign to smear John and Robert Kennedy as being involved in the death of Monroe. We do not know who Smathers was working for? What we do know is Smathers was involved in a corrupt business operation linked with LBJ. We will be returning to Smathers later.

Researchers usually argue that Kilgallen was murdered because of what she had found out about the JFK assassination. I believe that it is also possible that she was killed because of what she knew about the death of Monroe.

(8) New York Journal American (15th November, 1965)

The death of Dorothy Kilgallen, Journal-American columnist and famed TV personality, was contributed to by a combination of moderate quantities of alcohol and barbiturates, a medical examiner's report stated today.

As many personalities whose multiple duties and responsibilities demand unceasing attention, Miss Kilgallen experienced recurring tensions in meeting her deadlines for performances - both as a newspaperwoman and TV performer.

In his report today, Dr. James Luke, Assistant Medical Examiner, said that although Miss Kilgallen had only "moderate amounts of each," the effect of the combination had caused depression of the central nervous system "which in turn caused her heart to stop."

(9) David Welsh, Ramparts (November, 1966)

We know of no serious person who really believes that the death of Dorothy Kilgallen, the gossip columnist, was related to the Kennedy assassination. Still, she was passionately interested in the case, told friends she firmly believed there was a conspiracy and that she would find out the truth if it took her all her life.

Miss Kilgallen was the first to make public the existence of Acquilla Clemons, a witness to the Tippit killing whose name does not appear once in the Warren Report or volumes. She was also the only reporter ever to interview Jack Ruby privately since the killing of Oswald. During the Ruby trial, which she covered for the now defunct New York Journal-American, Judge Joe E. Brown granted her 30 minutes alone with Ruby in the judge's chambers; the other reporters were furious.

One of the biggest scoops of Miss Kilgallen's career came when she pirated the transcript of Ruby's testimony before the Warren Commission and ran it in the Journal-American. Thousands of New Yorkers were shocked at the hopelessly inept questioning of Ruby by Chief Justice Warren, by Warren's almost deliberate failure to follow up the leads Ruby was feeding him.

Miss Kilgallen died in her bed on November 8, 1965. Dr. James Luke, a New York City medical examiner, said the cause of death was "acute barbiturate (sic) and alcohol intoxication, circumstances undetermined." Dr. Luke said there were not high enough levels of either alcohol or barbiturates (sic) to have caused death, but that the two are "additive" and together are quite enough to kill. This cause of death, he observed, is not at all uncommon. Was it suicide? Accident? Murder? - Dr. Luke said there was no way of determining that.

As we say, Dorothy Kilgallen probably does not belong on any list of Kennedy-related deaths. But questions do remain. An editor of Screen Stars magazine, Mary Brannum, says she received a phone call a few hours before Dorothy's body was discovered, announcing that she had been murdered. Miss Kilgallgen's "What's My Line" makeup man said that shortly before her death she vowed she would "crack this case." And another New York show biz friend said Dorothy told him in the last days of her life: "In five more days I'm going to bust this case wide open."

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Part 11: The LBJ Tapes

Lyndon B. Johnson taped every telephone conversation he had as president. However, he erased most of these tapes afterwards. He did keep some and these were donated to the Lyndon Johnson Library on his death. Over the last few years these tapes have gradually been released.

As historians the most important question to ask is: Why did LBJ decide to keep these tapes? We have to assume he eventually wanted this information in the public domain.

(10) Transcript of a telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover (23rd November, 1963)

J. Edgar Hoover: I just want to let you know of a development which I think is very important in connection with this case. This man in Dallas (Lee Harvey Oswald). We, of course, charged him with the murder of the President. The evidence that they have at the present time is not very strong.... We have the gun and we have the bullet. There was only one and that was found on the stretcher that the President was on...

Lyndon B. Johnson: Have you established any more about the visit to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico in September?

J. Edgar Hoover: No, that's one angle that is very confusing. We have up here the tape and this photograph of the man who was at this Soviet Embassy, using Oswald's name. That picture and the tape do not correspond to this man's voice, nor to his appearance. In other words, it appears that there is a second person who was at the Soviet Embassy down there.

In this telephone conversation J. Edgar Hoover makes it clear that the evidence against Oswald was not good. He also suggests that JFK was killed as a result of a left-wing conspiracy.

LBJ refused to accept this theory. Instead he makes clear to Hoover that he would be happier if JFK had been killed by a lone gunman.

Why was LBJ so convinced that JFK had not been killed by a communist conspiracy. The CIA had argued for many years that a nuclear attack would be preceded by the assassination of the president and his deputy. The idea being that leaderless the American government would be slow to respond to a nuclear attack.

Yet LBJ made no efforts to put the country on nuclear alert (before or after being told it was a communist conspiracy). Nor did he seem particularly concerned about his own safety.

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

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

The second transcript provides more of an insight into what LBJ was up to.

(11) Transcript of a telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard B. Russell (8.55 p.m 29th November, 1963)

Richard Russell: I know I don't have to tell you of my devotion to you but I just can't serve on that Commission. I'm highly honoured you'd think about me in connection with it but I couldn't serve on it with Chief Justice Warren. I don't like that man. I don't have any confidence in him at all.

Lyndon B. Johnson: It has already been announced and you can serve with anybody for the good of America and this is a question that has a good many more ramifications than on the surface and we've got to take this out of the arena where they're testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and chuck us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour....

Richard Russell: I still feel it sort of getting wrapped up...

Lyndon B. Johnson: Dick... do you remember when you met me at the Carlton Hotel in 1952? When we had breakfast there one morning.

Richard Russell: Yes I think so.

Lyndon B. Johnson: All right. Do you think I'm kidding you?

Richard Russell: No... I don't think your kidding me, but I think... well, I'm not going to say anymore, Mr. President... I'm at your command... and I'll do anything you want me to do....

Lyndon B. Johnson: Warren told me he wouldn't do it under any circumstances... I called him and ordered him down here and told me no twice and I just pulled out what Hoover told me about a little incident in Mexico City and I say now, I don't want Mr. Khrushchev to be told tomorrow (censored) and be testifying before a camera that he killed this fellow and that Castro killed him... And he started crying and said, well I won't turn you down... I'll do whatever you say.

LBJ explains that if he accepts a communist conspiracy he will be under pressure to invade Cuba. This is likely to lead to a nuclear war that would “kill 40 million Americans in an hour.” Therefore, the only safe course is to believe that Oswald was a lone gunman. That there was no communist conspiracy. Therefore, LBJ’s cover up helps to save the world. Well, that is what he wants us to believe, but is it true? Is it possible there are other reasons why he does not want the assassination fully investigated? Could he be worried what might be found at in such an investigation. This does not mean he was in some way involved in the assassination. It could mean that he knew he would be implicated in the assassination of JFK. If that was the case, he would go along with others who had been implicated in this murder, to cover up all traces of the conspiracy.

LBJ is aware that any investigation might find out evidence that implicated him in the assassination. He was still concerned about the secret testimony given by Don B. Reynolds on 22nd November, 1963. On returning from Dallas LBJ discovered what Reynolds had told B. Everett Jordan and his Senate Rules Committee that day. According to Reynolds he had seen 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".

LBJ immediately contacted B. Everett Jordan to see if there was any chance of stopping this information 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."

Abe Fortas, a lawyer who represented both Lyndon B. Johnson and Bobby Baker, worked behind the scenes in an effort to keep this information from the public. LBJ also arranged for a smear campaign to be organized against Reynolds. To help him do this J. Edgar Hoover passed to Johnson the FBI file on Reynolds.

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. This was of course after Johnson had left office.

Don Reynolds also testified before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee on 9th January, 1964. This time Reynolds provided little damaging evidence against Johnson. As 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 Senate Rules and Administration Committee on 1st December, 1964. Before the hearing Reynolds supplied a statement implicating Bobby Baker and Matt McCloskey (Treasurer of the National Democratic Party at the time) 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.

In December, 1966, Edward Jay Epstein wrote an article for the Esquire Magazine where he claimed that Reynolds had given the Warren Commission information on the death of John F. Kennedy. Reynolds said that Bobby Baker had told him that Kennedy "would never live out his term and that he would die a violent death." Baker had also said that "the FBI knew that Johnson was behind the assassination".

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

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Part 12: Serve-U Corporation

Some important sources on the assassination have existed for over 40 years. However, historians have not always been aware of their importance and they remained hidden from view.

For example, I first came across the name Grant Stockdale when I was investigating the cases of Bobby Baker and Fred Black. Both men were involved in the Serve-U Corporation. According to William Torbitt (Nonmenclature of an Assassination Cabal), George Smathers and Grant Stockdale, were also involved in this company.

When JFK was assassinated LBJ was able to close down the investigation into Serve-U Corporation (although Baker and Black were to go to prison for related offences). Larry Hancock, a researcher, based in Boston, wrote a book about the assassination of JFK called Someone Would Have Talked. This included a section on the Serve-U-Corporation case. However, he could not find any evidence that Grant Stockdale was involved in the company. Although he was involved in another vending machine company with George Smathers. In 1962 he resigned as JFK’s Ambassador to Ireland (probably as a result of a scandal involving this company).

Larry Hancock discovered that the president of Serve-U Corporation was a man called Eugene Hancock (no relation). However, he could find no details of him and suspected he was a front man.

I posted what I knew about Grant Stockdale on the forum. This resulted in Adele Edisen posting information that appeared about the case in the Miami Herald in December, 1963.

(12) Article by John B. McDermott in Miami Herald (December, 1963)

At 10:00 a.m. on Monday, December 2, 1963, Grant Stockdale came to his office on the 13th floor of the Alfred I. Dupont Building, 169 Flagler Street in Miami. His secretary, LaVerne Weingartner, who usually opened the office was not there, but at a dentist's office and would not arrive until 10:30. Stockdale went into a law office across the hall from his and asked Mrs. Mary Ruth Hauser how he could get a key to unlock his office door. She offered to call the building manager to send someone to open it.

Mrs. Hauser stated, "He followed me into my office and stood there while I called down for a key. He stood there very calmly. He didn't seem at all agitated... Somehow the subject of the President's death came up... He told me he was in his office when his wife called to tell him the President had been shot. He said he just got down on his knees and prayed."

Stockdale and Mrs. Hauser were still talking when someone came to unlock his door. She started to followed him across the hall, but just then her office phone started ringing and she returned to answer it. Mrs. Hauser said, "It couldn't have been five minutes later that there was this terrible thud...I just wonder if I had gone right behind him...I don't know, I guess it wouldn't have made any difference. The whole world has just gone mad."

Stockdale's body lay on the roof of the five-story Florida National Bank and Trust Company below the Stockdale office window. Dr. Sheffel H. Wright who had offices in the Dupont Building pronounced him dead at 10:30 a.m.; the police placed the time of death at 10:17 a.m.

All of the people who saw and spoke to Stockdale on his way to work said he had been in good spirits, waving and saying hello. He stopped for a shoe shine, spoke to the elevator operator, and exchanged words with the parking garage attendant. However, it was his friend George Smathers who claimed that it had been an accumulation of grief and worry that had driven Stockdale to suicide.

One newspaper report states that Mrs. Stockdale had urged her husband to seek help for his depression after the assassination, but she called the doctor on Monday to inform him that he was so much better.

(13) Miami Herald (December, 1963)

Grant Stockdale was 48 years old when he died. Funeral Services were held on Wednesday, December 4, 1963, at St. Stephens Episcopal Church with 200 people attending. The blue-and-gold Ambassadors' flag was draped over the coffin. Pall-bearers were Senator George Smathers, Attorney Williiam C. Gaither, former State Senator R.B. Gautier, Jr., former U. of Miami football star and team leader Eddie Dunn, Stockdale's business associate Eugene Hancock, and Realtor Walter Etling. Burial was arranged with the Van Orsdel Coral Gables Mortuary at Woodlawn Park Cemetery.

(14) Adele Edisen, JFK Assassination Forum (14th June, 2004)

According to an article written by Miami Herald Reporter John B. McDermott, titled "Stockdale Into Irrational Mood," Stockdale had tried to reach him on Sunday, December 1. "He wanted to tell me something - to talk things over."

McDermott's article presents the following information:

On Saturday, November 23, 1963, Grant Stockdale flew to Washington, D.C., after a call from Robert Kennedy. He returned that night, thinking he would be unable to get a ticket to the church for the funeral services.

On Monday, November 25, Stockdale learned that a ticket had been reserved for him by the White House, but there was not enough time to get proper plane connections on time.

On Tuesday, November 26, Stockdale flew up to Washington and talked with Robert and Edward Kennedy, and then flew back that night. As a result of this last trip, Teddy (Edward) Kennedy called Mrs. Stockdale, "expressing anxiety over the ex-ambassador's mental state."

Stockdale had mentioned to several people during the ten days before his death that "the world was closing in."

On Sunday, December 1, after attending services at St. Stephens Episcopal Church with his family, Stockdale had paused to speak with Attorney William Frates.

"He started talking," Frates recalled Monday. "It didn't make much sense. He said something about 'those guys' trying to get him. Then about the assassination. He said he wanted to talk to me - that he had already talked to Billy Gaither (another attorney)."

These sources provided a great deal of information on Grant Stockdale. This included the fact that one of Stockdale’s pall-bearers was his business associate, Eugene Hancock, the president of the Serve-U Corporation.

This therefore links Stockdale with Smathers, Baker, Black and LBJ and the Serve-U-Corporation. One possibility is that Stockdale learnt something about the plot to kill JFK. He therefore attempted to tell Robert and Edward about this. They appeared not to want to know about this information (I will explain why later). Once the conspirators realise that Stockdale was informing on their plot he had to die.

Another possibility is that Stockdale was the link man between the person who ordered the assassination and the man who organized it. That he was the paymaster of the operation. I doubt that. However, I am sure that part of brief of the man who organized it, was to arrange the death of the link man. In this way, the identity of the person who ordered the assassination would never be revealed.

A third possibility is that the death of JFK unbalanced his mind and he did commit suicide as a result of the grief he was feeling. If one takes this view, it is only a coincidence that Stockdale was involved in a scandal with Baker, Black, Smathers and LBJ.

The newspaper accounts definitely suggest that Stockdale killed himself as a result of the grief he was feeling after the death of JFK. That is what George Smathers said at the time. Stockdale’s wife also appeared to share this view. Well, that was what we believed until the following was posted on the forum.

(15) Anne Stockdale, email to Adele Edisen, passed on to John Simkin (16th June, 2004)

Yes I guess that is factual (John Simkin’s posting on why Grant Stockdale died), except I thought that when he came home from Ireland, that he no longer had any $ interest in Vending Machines. 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!!

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

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

The idea of the conspirators threatening the lives of the children of witnesses is not new. It is far more effective to threaten the children of a witness than the witness itself. After all, what parent would be willing to risk the lives of their children.

For example, Irving Kupcinet worked as a reporter for the Chicago Times. As a young man he was a close friend of Jack Ruby. They kept in contact. After the assassination of JFK he told friends that he had important information on the case. On 30th November, 1963, his 23 year old daughter, Karyn, was murdered. He never wrote about the case.

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

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John... A REALLY EXCELLENT SERIES! Your succint summaries of these events are a great introduction to interest newcomers (students) to the mysteries of the Cold War and JFK assassination. Great analysis and exposition!

Jack White :)

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Part 13: The Kennedys and the Cover Up

One thing that has always puzzled me is the behaviour of Robert Kennedy after the assassination. It must have been clear within hours of it happening that his brother had been killed as a result of a conspiracy. Yet, rather than calling for a full investigation into this possibility, he took measures that attempted to cover up the conspiracy (taking control of the brain and autopsy X-rays that showed he had been hit in the front as in the back). Later, the Kennedys continued to state they accepted the findings of the Warren Commission.

Robert and John Kennedy had both upset the Mafia with its policy towards organized crime in the United States. Therefore some historians have speculated that Robert knew the assassination had been carried out by the Mafia and was taking action to prevent himself being assassinated. However, I was not convinced by this portrayal of Robert Kennedy as a coward.

Others have speculated that there is a possibility that Robert was protecting the image of JFK. For example, JFK had not cancelled CIA plans to assassinate Fidel Castro. Instead he gave it a new name, Operation Freedom, and placed Robert in overall charge. Of course he had to rely on the CIA to organize the killing of Castro but he insisted on being kept fully informed about what was taking place.

One possibility is that somebody in the CIA decided to change their target from Fidel Castro to JFK. As far as Robert is concerned the target is Castro. This is where the clever bit comes in. This CIA agent tells Robert that they have selected an agent to kill Castro. His name is Lee Harvey Oswald. They are told that efforts were being made to get Oswald into Cuba to carry out the killing. JFK is then assassinated. Oswald is quickly announced as being the killer (the original plan was for J. D. Tippit to kill Oswald but this fails and Jack Ruby is brought in to do the job).

Now consider the reaction of Robert Kennedy to the news that the man he had arranged to kill Castro had killed his brother. Any full investigation of Oswald and the Kennedy assassination would reveal details of Operation Freedom. What the CIA had cleverly done was to implicate Robert Kennedy into the killing of his own brother. He could now be guaranteed to join in the cover-up. The advantage to the Kennedys is that they are free to preserve the image of JFK as a honourable and honest politician. It also provides a base for Robert to become president in 1968.

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

However, this plan comes to an end on 4th June, 1968 when Robert was himself assassinated. Still there is still Edward Kennedy. Well, there was until July, 1969.

(16) Statement issued by Edward Kennedy on 18th July, 1969.

On July 18, 1969, at approximately 11.15 on Chappaquiddick Island, Martha's Vineyard, I was driving my car on Main Street on my way to get the ferry back to Edgartown.

I was unfamiliar with the road and turned onto Dyke Road instead of bearing left on Main Street. After proceeding for approximately a half mile on Dyke Road I descended a hill and came upon a narrow bridge. The car went off the side of the bridge.

There was one passenger with me, Miss Kopechne, a former secretary of my brother Robert Kennedy. The car turned over and sank into the water and landed with the roof resting on the bottom. I attempted to open the door and window of the car but have no recollection of how I got out of the car. I came to the surface and then repeatedly dove down to the car in an attempt to see if the passenger was still in the car. I was unsuccessful in the attempt. I was exhausted and in a state of shock. I recall walking back to where my friends were eating. There was a car parked in front of the cottage and I climbed into the back seat. I then asked for someone to bring me back to Edgartown. I remember walking around for a period of time and then going back to my hotel room. When I fully realized what had happened this morning, I immediately contacted the police.

You might well ask what is this source to do with the assassination of JFK and the Cold War. In fact, it has. In November, 1963, Mary Jo Kopechne, was George Smathers’ secretary. What is more, she shared an apartment with Nancy Carole Tyler, who was Bobby Baker’s secretary. Both these women knew a great deal about the business dealings of Smathers, Baker, Black and Johnson. However, they never talked. Tyler died in an accident in May, 1965. Mary Jo died in July, 1969.

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

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

(17) Detective Bernie Flynn, report (18th July, 1969)

I figure, we've got a drunk driver, Ted Kennedy. He's with this girl, and he has it in his mind to go down to the beach and make love to her. He's probably driving too fast and he misses the curve and goes into Cemetery Road. He's backing up when he sees this guy in uniform coming toward him. That's panic for the average driver who's been drinking; but here's a United States Senator about to get tagged for driving under. He doesn't want to get caught with a girl in his car, on a deserted road late at night, with no license and driving drunk on top of it. In his mind, the most important thing is to get away from the situation.

He doesn't wait around. He takes off down the road. He's probably looking in the rear-view mirror to see if the cop is following him. He doesn't even see the bridge and bingo! He goes off. He gets out of the car; she doesn't. The poor son of a bitch doesn't know what to do. He's thinking: "I want to get back to my house, to my friends" - which is a common reaction.

There are houses on Dike Road he could have gone to report the accident, but he doesn't want to. Because it's the same situation he was trying to get away from at the corner - which turned out to be minor compared to what happened later. Now there's been an accident; and the girl's probably dead. All the more reason not to go banging on somebody's door in the middle of the night and admit what he was doing. He doesn't want to reveal himself.

This accounts fits most of the facts. However, there are other facts that does not fit this story.

For example, there is no evidence that Kennedy had been drinking heavily that night. If he had, this would have been cause for concern. This had been a problem in the past. This is why he was also chauffer driven. His resident chauffer, John Crimmins, was with him at the party. If Kennedy wanted sex with Mary Jo Kopechne, why did not stay in the cottage. Why did he need to drive away from the ferry? Why did he not get Cummins to take him to his hotel?

There is also other information that does not make sense. Why did Kennedy risk his life by swimming to Edgartown after the accident? Why did nobody notice a wet Kennedy entering the hotel? Why did Kennedy seem so cool and untroubled the next morning? If he had been involved in the accident he would have known his political career was all but over. Yet he is reported being light-hearted and making jokes on the morning ferry. It is only after meetings that morning that Kennedy finally reports the accident. Is it possible that Kennedy was not in the car when Mary Jo Kopechne died. That he only found out about her death that morning.

After the assassination of JFK Mary Jo left George Smathers to work for Robert Kennedy. That came to an end in 1968 with the death of Robert Kennedy. Did Mary Jo now decide to tell what she knew about the assassination plot?

Is it possible that Kennedy was ordered to lure Kopechne to Chappaquidick. He thought the plan was just to frighten her into not talking. Kennedy was taken by boat across to Edgartown that night. It was only when he arrived back the next morning did he realised that she had died in his car. No one would have believed his story (he would have been unlikely to have wanted to have told the truth anyway). His only chance was to come up with the unlikely story of an accident. The organizers of the murder knew that even if he got away with it, his chances of ever becoming president was over. What is more, it could be used against the Democratic Party for evermore.

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Part 14: Someone Would Have Talked

Since the assassination of JFK several people have come forward and confessed their involvement in the conspiracy. This is a common problem with high profile murder cases and no doubt most are lying. However, some of these people have provided information that appears to be true.

The first significant person to confess his involvement in the crime was John Martino. He was of course one of the people involved in Operation Tilt. Shortly before his death in 1975 Martino told his friend, Fred Claasen, that he had acted as a courier and had delivered money to the men who killed JFK. He also told the same story to his wife Florence Martino.

Martino also confessed to John Cummings (a journalist) that he had been guilty of spreading false stories implicating Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination. He also claimed that two of the gunmen were Cuban exiles. Cummings later recalled: "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."

Fred Claasen also told the House Select Committee on Assassinations what he knew about Martino's involvement in the case. Florence Martino at first refused to corroborate the story. However, in 1994 she told Anthony Summers that her husband said to her on the morning of 22nd November, 1963: "Flo, they're going to kill him (Kennedy). They're going to kill him when he gets to Texas."

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

The next important witness to talk was Billie Sol Estes.

(17) Douglas Caddy, letter to Stephen S. Trott at the US Department of Justice (9th August, 1984)

Mr. Estes was a member of a four-member group, headed by Lyndon Johnson, which committed criminal acts in Texas in the 1960's. The other two, besides Mr. Estes and LBJ, were Cliff Carter and Mac Wallace. Mr. Estes is willing to disclose his knowledge concerning the following criminal offenses:

1. The killing of Henry Marshall

2. The killing of George Krutilek

3. The killing of Ike Rogers and his secretary

4. The killing of Harold Orr

5. The killing of Coleman Wade

6. The killing of Josefa Johnson

7. The killing of John Kinser

8. The killing of President J. F. Kennedy.

Mr. Estes is willing to testify that LBJ ordered these killings, and that he transmitted his orders through Cliff Carter to Mac Wallace, who executed the murders. In the cases of murders nos. 1-7, Mr. Estes' knowledge of the precise details concerning the way the murders were executed stems from conversations he had shortly after each event with Cliff Carter and Mac Wallace.

In addition, a short time after Mr. Estes was released from prison in 1971, he met with Cliff Carter and they reminisced about what had occurred in the past, including the murders. During their conversation, Carter orally compiled a list of 17 murders which had been committed, some of which Mr. Estes was unfamiliar. A living witness was present at that meeting and should be willing to testify about it. He is Kyle Brown, recently of Houston and now living in Brady, Texas.

Mr. Estes, states that Mac Wallace, whom he describes as a "stone killer" with a communist background, recruited Jack Ruby, who in turn recruited Lee Harvey Oswald. Mr. Estes says that Cliff Carter told him that Mac Wallace fired a shot from the grassy knoll in Dallas, which hit JFK from the front during the assassination.

Most of the cases mentioned by Estes were officially classed as suicides and accidents. One exception to this was the death of John Kinser on 22nd October, 1951. The police were able to find evidence that a man called Mac Wallace murdered Kinser. At his trial in February, 1952, Wallace was found guilty of murder. Eleven of the jurors were for the death penalty. The twelfth argued for life imprisonment. The judge overruled the jury and announced a sentence of five years imprisonment. He suspended the sentence and Wallace was freed.

On 7th January, 1971, Mac Wallace was killed while driving into Pittsburg, Texas. He appeared to have fallen asleep and after leaving the road crashed his car. Wallace died of massive head injuries.

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 Book Depository. According to Brown this fingerprint had now been identified as belonging to Mac Wallace.

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

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

This information convinced many people that LBJ was behind the assassination of JFK. It has been the theme of several books (including one written by LBJ’s lawyer) and a television documentary on the History Channel last November (since banned).

However, there was a much more significant confession that took place in 1978. This information was not released by Fabian Escalante, the former head of Cuba's Counter-Intelligence Unit, until 1995. Escalante explained that a group of anti-Castro Cubans were involved in an attack on Cuba on 29th May, 1966. A member of his team, Herminio Diaz Garcia, was killed during the raid. Another member of the team, Tony Cuesta, who always vowed that Castro would never take him alive, attempted suicide by setting off a grenade, which blinded him and blew off his right hand. Cuesta spent a long time in hospital as a result of his serious injuries.

In 1978 President Jimmy Carter arranged for a group of imprisoned exiles in Cuba to be released. This included Tony Cuesta. Just before leaving the country Cuesta asked to see Escalante. Cuesta told Escalante that he had been involved in the assassination of JFK. He also named Herminio Diaz Garcia and Eladio del Valle as being involved in the conspiracy. Cuesta asked Escalante not to make this information "public because I am returning to my family in Miami - and this could be very dangerous." Cuesta died in 1994 and the following year Escalante published the information.

This story backs up John Martino’s story. Martino also knew these Cubans via Alpha 66 and Operation Tilt.

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

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

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

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

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