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John Simkin

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  1. By 1963 John F. Kennedy realised that Lyndon B. Johnson had become a problem as vice-president as he had been drawn into political scandals involving Fred Korth, Billie Sol Estes and Bobby Baker. According to James Wagenvoord, the editorial business manager of Life, the magazine was working on an article that would have revealed Johnson's corrupt activities. "Beginning in later summer 1963 the magazine, based upon information fed from Bobby Kennedy and the Justice Department, had been developing a major newsbreak piece concerning Johnson and Bobby Baker. On publication Johnson would have been finished and off the 1964 ticket (reason the material was fed to us) and would probably have been facing prison time. At the time LIFE magazine was arguably the most important general news source in the US. The top management of Time Inc. was closely allied with the USA's various intelligence agencies and we were used after by the Kennedy Justice Department as a conduit to the public." The fact that it was his brother Robert Kennedy who was giving this information to Life Magazine suggests that Kennedy intended to drop Johnson as his vice-president. This is supported by Evelyn Lincoln, Kennedy's secretary. In her book, Kennedy and Johnson (1968) she claimed that in November, 1963, Kennedy decided that because of the emerging Bobby Baker scandal he was going to drop Johnson as his running mate in the 1964 election. Kennedy told Lincoln that he was going to replace Johnson with Terry Sanford, the Governor of North Carolina. Phil Brennan, a journalist working for The National Review, argued that the Washington press corps had buried the stories about the Bobby Baker scandal and the connections with Johnson. However, John J. Williams, the Republican Party senator for Delaware, called upon the Committee on Rules and Administration to conduct an investigation of the financial and business interests and possible improprieties of Baker. Brennan points out: "A few days later, the attorney general, Bobby Kennedy, called five of Washington's top reporters into his office and told them it was now open season on Lyndon Johnson. It's OK, he told them, to go after the story they were ignoring out of deference to the administration." John Williams was known as "Honest John" and "the conscience of the Senate" because of his investigations into the corrupt activities of officials in the Harry S. Truman and the Dwight D. Eisenhower administrations. This included the downfall of General Harry H. Vaughan (1951) and Sherman Adams (1958). In September 1963 Williams began to look into the business activities of Bobby Baker. On 7th October, Baker resigned from his post as Johnson's Senate's Secretary. Three days later, Williams introduced a resolution calling for an investigation by the Senate Rules Committee. The full article can be read here: https://spartacus-educational.com/spartacus-blogURL143.htm
  2. Priscilla Johnson McMillan, the author of Marina and Lee (1977) has died after a fall at her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts (7 July, 2021). In July 1964 Johnson moved to Texas and befriended Marina Oswald, and the two spent considerable time together. In November 1964, Johnson signed a contract with Harper & Row for a book to be published about the Oswalds. The book was expected to be published in 1965, however, Marina and Lee did not appear until 1977. In the book she argued that Oswald had assassinated the president and had acted alone. In an interview published 36 years later she said: "I'm just as sure now as I was then that he did it, and also that he couldn't have done it with anybody else. He wasn't somebody who, in his life, had ever done anything with anybody else." In the article that appears in Wikipedia nothing is said about her CIA background. This has been revealed in recent years by declassified CIA files. While studying Russian literature at Radcliffe College, Harvard University, she became a member of the United World Federalists, an organization run by Cord Meyer. After graduating with a master's degree in 1952 she applied to join the CIA. According to CIA files she was rejected because some of her associates would require more investigation. The document was signed by Cord Meyer, who was now chief of CIA Investigations and Operational Support. On 17th March 1953, W. A. Osborne, sent a memo to Sheffield Edwards, head of CIA security, that after checking out Johnson's associates he "recommended approval." However, on 23rd March he sent another memo saying that "in light of her activities in the United World Federalists" he now "recommended that she be disapproved". In 1953 Johnson went to work for Senator John F. Kennedy. (It is claimed that Johnson was the only person who knew both JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald). The following year she worked as a translator for the Digest of Soviet Press. In 1955 Johnson moved to the Soviet Union where she worked as a translator for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. This time the CIA made no objection to Johnson having access to classified information. Priscilla Johnson returned to the United States in April 1957. The CIA continued to take an interest in Johnson. In a CIA document dated 23rd August 1957, it stated that during the Second World War she was "utilized by OSO (Office of Special Operations) in 1943 and 1944". As she was only 15 at the time this is clearly inaccurate. John M. Newman has speculated that Johnson was being given a cover story of someone who had a "good security record". In February 1958 Johnson travelled to Cairo. The following month she was in Paris. According to her own testimony she worked for "someone I knew either for Radio Liberty or the Congress for Cultural Freedom." While in France she applied to the USSR consulate to go to the Soviet Union. On 6th May 1958, the Chief of CI/OA submitted a request for operational approval on Johnson. The operation for which she was being considered is still classified. Johnson arrived in Moscow for the third time on 4th July 1958. She did not stay for long and returned to the United States. Soon afterwards she obtained employment as a reporter for the North American News Alliance (NANA). Johnson arrived back in Moscow soon after Arline Mosby had interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald (13th November 1959). On her arrival Johnson checked into the same hotel as Osward. The following day she visited the American Embassy to pick up her mail (16th November 1959). According to Johnson, John McVickar approached her and told her that "there's a guy in your hotel who wants to defect, and he won't talk to any of us here". She later told the Warren Commission: "John McVickar said she was refusing to talk to journalists. So I thought that it might be an exclusive, for one thing, and he was right in my hotel, for another." As Johnson was leaving the American Embassy McVickar told her "to remember she was an American." Lee Harvey Oswald agreed to be interviewed by Priscilla Johnson. She later testified that they talked from between nine until one or two in the morning. Oswald told her: "Once having been assured by the Russians that I would not have to return to the United States, come what may, I assumed it would be safe for me to give my side of the story." Johnson's article appeared in the Washington Evening Star. Surprisingly, the article did not include Oswald's threat to reveal radar secrets. Nor was it mentioned in any other article or book published by Johnson on Oswald. However, under oath before the Warren Commission she admitted that Oswald had told her that "he hoped his experience as a radar operator would make him more desirable to them (the Soviets)". On 11th December 1962, a CIA memo written by Donald Jameson (declassified in August 1993) reported: "I think that Miss Johnson can be encouraged to write pretty much the articles we want. It will require a little more contact and discussion, but I think she could come around... Basically, if approached with sympathy in the cause she considers most vital, I believe she would be interested in helping us in many ways. It would be important to avoid making her think that she was being used as a propaganda tool and expected to write what she is told." After the assassination of JFK Johnson wrote an article for the Boston Globe where she described Lee Harvey Oswald as a classic example of an "embittered psychological loner". She added: "I soon came to feel that this boy was of the stuff of which fanatics are made." Another CIA document dated dated 5th February 1964, reports on a 11 hour meeting with Johnson. The main objective of the meeting was to debrief Johnson "on her flaps with the Soviets when she was in the USSR, notably at the time of her last exit." She was also asked if she "would be interested in writing articles for Soviet publications." Gary Coit, the CIA officer who conducted the interview with Johnson reported that "no effort was made to attempt to force the issue of a debriefing on her contacts". However, Coit told her he would "probably be back to see her from time to time to see what she knows about specific persons whose names might come up, and she at least nodded assent to this." Priscilla Johnson’s Wikipedia article points out she married George McMillan in 1965. He is described as a freelance writer. However, in his obituary in the New York Times in 1985 it states he was also the author of The Making of an Assassin (1976), a book that claims that James Earl Ray worked alone in the killing of Martin Luther King Jr. https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKjohnsonPR.htm
  3. Professor Gerald D. McKnight, the author of published Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why (2005) has died. It is the best book available on the Warren Commission and one of the most important books written about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKmcknight.htm
  4. I am convinced that Carl Jenkins organized the assassination. Quintero was one of the gunman. There is also evidence that Herminio Diaz Garcia was another gunman in Dallas. As a result of the posting on this case yesterday I have been approached by someone who has the contact details of someone who might be the only one left alive (except for Jenkins) who knows the truth about the assassination. I will let you know if this witness is willing to talk. I have been sent some interesting information and some good photographs of Carl Elmer Jenkins. I have added it to my page on Jenkins. https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKjenkinsC.htm
  5. I am convinced that Carl Jenkins organized the assassination. Quintero was one of the gunman. There is also evidence that Herminio Diaz Garcia was another gunman in Dallas. As a result of the posting on this case yesterday I have been approached by someone who has the contact details of someone who might be the only one left alive (except for Jenkins) who knows the truth about the assassination. I will let you know if this witness is willing to talk.
  6. I have been sent some interesting information and some good photographs of Carl Elmer Jenkins. It seems his second wife, who worked with him in the CIA, is still alive. https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKjenkinsC.htm
  7. Robert F. Kennedy was America's first Assassination Conspiracy Theorist David Talbot, wrote in his excellent book, Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years (2007) that Robert F. Kennedy "was America's first assassination conspiracy theorist." Soon after the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, RFK received a phone call from J. Edgar Hoover, who insisted that Cuba's communist government was behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He claimed that Oswald had "shuttled in and out of Cuba" which was untrue. In reality, Oswald - or someone impersonating him - had tried only once, without success, to enter Cuba through Mexico, in September, 1963. RFK rejected the idea because he knew it was not in the interests of Fidel Castro to want his brother dead because of the secret negotiations that had been taking place between the two countries. This article looks at the RFK investigation and who he concluded was responsible for the assassination. It also looks at the latest evidence into the case and suggests that RFK was right and names the people within the CIA and the anti-Castro Cuban community involved in the conspiracy. This includes the name of someone who is still alive. The full article can be read here: https://spartacus-educational.com/spartacus-blogURL121.htm
  8. If you do a search for the “Assassination of John F. Kennedy” at Google, websites, forums and Facebook groups that suggest that Lee Harvey Oswald was not a lone gunman do not appear until the fifth page of results where the “Mary Ferrell Foundation” is listed. It has not always been the case. A few years ago, my Assassination of John F. Kennedy index page was at number one at Google. Now you don’t get to it via Google unless you type “Assassination of John F. Kennedy Spartacus Educational”. In other words, you need to know of its existence before you can go to the site via Google. One reason why I was taken out of the Google Database was the article that I wrote: “Google, Bing and Operation Mockingbird: The CIA and Search-Engine Results” on 10th June, 2014. https://spartacus-educational.com/spartacus-blogURL31.html However, the main reason is the way Google now ranks websites. Google’s great innovation when it began in 1998 was to rank websites by the number of links it had (they called it peer group approval) rather than the number of times the keyword or phrase appeared on the page. This enabled anti-establishment websites to get to the top of Google searches. A few years ago, Google changed its system. It was now “Domain Authority” that was the major factor in searches. The Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank. Google now has the power to give an anti-establishment website a low Domain Authority number. If you go back to your Google search for “Assassination of John F. Kennedy” you will see how this works. The first page is dominated by large organisations such as Wikipedia, Encyclopaedia Britannica, JFK Library, CNN, National Archives, etc. Then comes any articles that have appeared in the national press on the assassination. It is not until you reach the 5th page before you get to any website that is really questioning the official account of the assassination. Other search engines are better. Bing also favours the establishment websites but does not take out completely those websites that provide an alternative view. Therefore my JFK assassination page appears at the top of its second page. The best search-engine to use is Dogpile, where my site comes in 6th place. Dogpile is a metasearch engine for information on the World Wide Web that fetches results from Google, Yahoo!, Yandex, Bing, Yahoo! and results from other popular search engines. This illustrates the hostility that Google shows to those websites willing to question the official story. Despite Google’s campaign against my JFK assassination website I still have 330 Facebook “Likes. I am therefore willing to use my position to help other good websites, blogs, forums and Facebook groups who are willing to take a serious approach to the assassination. Please send me details if you want me to add your site to my index page. https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKindex.htm
  9. I am sorry to hear about the death of my old friend. For many years he was one of the leading figures in the Dealey Plaza UK: The British JFK Assassination Research Group. (http://jfkassassinationuk.com/) I have updated my page on him. https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKgriggs.htm
  10. I have now updated my page on Bernardo De Torres and it is now fully referenced. https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKtorres.htm I see it is not now banned by Google. The CIA do not protect assets after they have died. For example, there was no problem naming David Sanchez Morales as being behind the assassination after his death in 1978. Most of the early information I got about Bernardo De Torres was someone who was clearly frightened of him. Although he did not think De Torres was directly involved in the killing (he did admit to being in Dealey Plaza at the time and of even having photographs of the event), he was involved in the clean-up operation and probably was the man responsible for the death of people like Eladio del Valle.
  11. In 1960 Lisa Howard became a correspondent for Mutual Radio Network. In June 1961 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, Castro agreed that a rapprochement with Washington was desirable. On her return Howard met with the Central Intelligence Agency. Deputy Director Richard Helms reported to President Kennedy on Howard's view that "Fidel Castro is looking for a way to reach a rapprochement with the United States." After detailing her observations about Castro's political power, disagreements with his colleagues and Soviet troops in Cuba, the memo concluded that "Howard definitely wants to impress the U.S. Government with two facts: Castro is ready to discuss rapprochement and she herself is ready to discuss it with him if asked to do so by the US Government." CIA Director John McCone was strongly opposed to Howard being involved with these negotiations with Castro. He argued that it might "leak and compromise a number of CIA operations against Castro". In a memorandum to McGeorge Bundy, McCone commented that the "Lisa Howard report be handled in the most limited and sensitive manner," and "that no active steps be taken on the rapprochement matter at this time." Arthur Schlesinger explained to Anthony Summers in 1978 why the CIA did not want President Kennedy to negotiate with Fidel Castro during the summer of 1963: "The CIA was reviving the assassination plots at the very time President Kennedy was considering the possibility of normalization of relations with Cuba - an extraordinary action. If it was not total incompetence - which in the case of the CIA cannot be excluded - it was a studied attempt to subvert national policy." Howard now decided to bypass the CIA and in May, 1963, published an article in the journal, War and Peace Report, Howard wrote that in eight hours of private conversations Castro had shown that he had a strong desire for negotiations with the United States: "In our conversations he made it quite clear that he was ready to discuss: the Soviet personnel and military hardware on Cuban soil; compensation for expropriated American lands and investments; the question of Cuba as a base for Communist subversion throughout the Hemisphere." Howard went on to urge the Kennedy administration to "send an American government official on a quiet mission to Havana to hear what Castro has to say." A country as powerful as the United States, she concluded, "has nothing to lose at a bargaining table with Fidel Castro." William Attwood, an adviser to the US mission to the United Nations, read Howard's article and on 12th September, 1963, he had a long conversation with her on the phone. This apparently set in motion a plan to initiate secret talks between the United States and Cuba. Six days later Attwood sent a memorandum to Under Secretary of State Averell Harriman and U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson. Attwood asked for permission to establish discreet, indirect contact with Fidel Castro. On September 20, John F. Kennedy gave permission to authorize Attwood's direct contacts with Carlos Lechuga, the Cuban ambassador to the United Nations. According to Attwood: "I then told Miss Howard to set up the contact, that is to have a small reception at her house so that it could be done very casually, not as a formal approach by us." Howard met Lechuga at the UN on 23rd September 23. Howard invited Lechuga to come to a party at her Park Avenue apartment that night to meet Attwood. The next day Attwood met with Robert Kennedy in Washington and reported on the talks with Lechuga. According to Attwood the attorney general believed that a trip to Cuba would be "rather risky." It was "bound to leak and... might result in some kind of Congressional investigation." Nevertheless, he thought the matter was "worth pursuing." On 5th November 5, McGeorge Bundy recorded that "the President was more in favor of pushing towards an opening toward Cuba than was the State Department, the idea being - well, getting them out of the Soviet fold and perhaps wiping out the Bay of Pigs and maybe getting back into normal." Bundy designated his assistant, Gordon Chase, to be Attwood's direct contact at the White House. Attwood continued to use Howard as his contact with Fidel Castro. In October 1963, Castro told Howard that he was very keen to open negotiations with Kennedy. Castro even offered to send a plane to Mexico to pick up Kennedy's representative and fly him to a private airport near Veradero where Castro would talk to him alone. John F. Kennedy now decided to send Attwood to meet Castro. On 14th November, 1963, Lisa Howard conveyed this message to her Cuban contact. In an attempt to show his good will, Kennedy sent a coded message to Castro in a speech delivered on 19th November. The speech included the following passage: "Cuba had become a weapon in an effort dictated by external powers to subvert the other American republics. This and this alone divides us. As long as this is true, nothing is possible. Without it, everything is possible." Kennedy also sent a message to Fidel Castro via the French journalist Jean Daniel. According to Daniel: "Kennedy expressed some empathy for Castro's anti-Americanism, acknowledging that the United States had committed a number of sins in pre-revolutionary Cuba." Kennedy told Daniel that the trade embargo against Cuba could be lifted if Castro ended his support for left-wing movements in the Americas. Daniel delivered this message on 19th November. Castro told Daniel that Kennedy could become "the greatest president of the United States, the leader who may at last understand that there can be coexistence between capitalists and socialists, even in the Americas." Daniel was with Castro when news arrived that Kennedy had been assassinated Castro turned to Daniel and said:"This is an end to your mission of peace. Everything is changed." President Lyndon B. Johnson was told about these negotiations in December, 1963. He refused to continue these talks and claimed that the reason for this was that he feared that Richard Nixon, the expected Republican candidate for the presidency, would accuse him of being soft on communism. Howard refused to give up and in 1964 she resumed talks with Fidel Castro. On 12th February, 1964, she sent a message to President Johnson from Castro asking for negotiations to be restarted. When Johnson did not respond to this message she contacted Adlai Stevenson at the United Nations. On 26th June 26, Stevenson sent a memo to Johnson saying that he felt that "all of our crises could be avoided if there was some way to communicate; that for want of anything better, he assumed that he could call (Lisa Howard) and she call me and I would advise you." In a memorandum marked top secret, Gordon Chase wrote that it was important "to remove Lisa from direct participation in the business of passing messages" from Cuba. In December, 1964, Howard met with Che Guevara to the United Nations. Details of this meeting was sent to McGeorge Bundy. When Howard got no response she arranged for Eugene McCarthy to meet with Guevara in her apartment on 16th December. This created panic in the White House and the following day Under Secretary George Ball told Eugene McCarthy that the meeting must remain a secret because there was "suspicion throughout Latin America that the U.S. might make a deal with Cuba behind the backs of the other American states." Howard continued to try and obtain a negotiated agreement between Fidel Castro and Lyndon B. Johnson. As a result she was fired by ABC because she had "chosen to participate publicly in partisan political activity contrary to long established ABC news policy." 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 phenobarbitols. It was claimed she was depressed as a result of losing her job and suffering a miscarriage. https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKhowardL2.htm You can now see extracts from the interview Howard had with Castro here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rlTfMewsV0
  12. This is how the Mail Online reported the story https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6613747/New-probes-demanded-deaths-John-F-Kennedy-Robert-F-Kennedy-Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Malcolm-X.html
  13. On the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a group of over 60 prominent American citizens is calling upon Congress to reopen the investigations into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Signers of the joint statement include Isaac Newton Farris Jr., nephew of Reverend King and past president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Reverend James M. Lawson Jr., a close collaborator of Reverend King; and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, children of the late senator. The full statement can be read here: https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKstatement.htm
  14. You can see part of the interview with Gene Wheaton here:
  15. One of the reasons that this story will get a lot of coverage is that it will appeal to Trump and to the right-wing media as it both critical of the CIA and the Democratic Party under the leadership of the Kennedy brothers.
  16. Details of the names signing the statement and the petition will be released late Saturday night eastern time in the US. This story will receive a lot of attention in the media. I am in charge of the UK media operation and I am convinced that the story will appear in all the major outlets, including the BBC and leading newspapers.
  17. On Martin Luther King Day I will be making an announcement about the four major assassinations of the 1960s that left permanent scars on America's soul: the murders of President Kennedy. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. A historic effort is underway to persuade Congress to reopen investigations into these four assassinations that disastrously changed the course of American history. A joint letter aimed at Congress and the general public has been signed by a list of more than 50 prominent citizens, including family members of the victims, Hollywood entertainers, legal experts, scholars and journalists. The petition, which has attracted some surprising names, is certain to provoke lively debate about one of the darkest chapters in American history. You too will have a chance to add your name to this powerful statement. https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKindex.htm
  18. It is fairly well-known that Bobby Baker used Bill Thompson, a railroad lobbyist, to introduce Ellen Rometsch to John F. Kennedy. J. Edgar Hoover became aware of this and in July 1963, FBI agents questioned Rometsch about her past. They came to the conclusion that she was probably a Soviet spy. Hoover actually leaked this information to the journalist, Courtney Evans, that Rometsch worked for Walter Ulbricht, the communist leader of East Germany. A top-level FBI memo written in October, 1963, stated it was "alleged that the President and the Attorney General had availed themselves of services of playgirls." Hoover also leaked the information to Clark Mollenhoff. On 26th October, 1963, he wrote an article in the Des Moines Register claiming that the FBI had "established that the beautiful brunette had been attending parties with congressional leaders and some prominent New Frontiersmen from the executive branch of Government... The possibility that her activity might be connected with espionage was of some concern, because of the high rank of her male companions". The following day Robert Kennedy sent La Verne Duffy to meet Ellen Rometsch. His mission was to silence Rometsch before the press got to her. It was reported a few days later "men flashing U.S. security badges saw Mrs Rometsch and got her to sign a statement formally denying intimacies with important people." In a letter to Duffy she thanked him for providing her with money and assured him, "Of course I will keep quiet." This is where the story usually ends. However, in 2009-2010 Bobby Baker was interviewed by Donald Ritchie of the Senate Historical Office. "His recollections - of an age when senators drank all day, indulged in sexual dalliances with secretaries and constituents, accepted thousands of dollars in bribes and still managed to pass the most important legislation of the 20th century - were collected by the Senate Historical Office... The resulting 230-page manuscript was so ribald and riveting, so salacious and sensational, that the Historical Office refrained from its usual practice of posting such interviews online." The interviews were not released until 2013. It seems that the American media ignored this material. However, the German newspaper, Die Welt, took a lot of interest in this. It seems that they had managed to get hold of Rometsch’s 478-page heavily redacted FBI file (code number 105-122316). The most interesting thing about this file is that the FBI investigators were in contact with Rometsch from July 1963 to 1987. The newspaper has also investigated her links with East German intelligence: "In the archives of the Stasi documentation authority, there is not a single record in the intelligence files about the members of the family of Ellen Rometsch, who once lived in Saxony. Together with the findings of the Western intelligence services, therefore, everything speaks for the fact that the former East German citizen has never spied for the East." The newspaper has been trying to interview the elderly Ellen Rometsch who lives near Bonn. She is protected by her husband, Rolf Rometsch, who came over with his wife in 1961, to work at the German embassy in Washington. (They did officially divorce when the Kennedy story broke in 1963, but they remarried soon afterwards.) One of the most interesting aspects of the Bobby Baker interview with Donald Ritchie of the Senate Historical Office concerns Ellen Rometsch. Baker claims Rometsch returned to the United States in 1964 and had an affair with Gerald Ford during his time on the Warren Commission. The affair was used against him by Hoover who was frustrated that the Warren Commission was not sharing their findings, "So, (Hoover) had this tape where Jerry Ford was having oral sex with Ellen Rometsch. You know, his wife had a serious drug problem back then… Hoover blackmailed… Ford to tell him what they (the Warren Commission) were doing." http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKrometsch.htm
  19. The UK and the US have a similar problem as since the early 1980s they have followed a Neo-Liberal economic policy (unlike Germany who has continued with the policies advocated by John Maynard Keynes). This Neo-Liberal policies resulted in a dramatic increase in economic inequality. See some stats here: http://spartacus-educational.com/spartacus-blogURL87.htm It has been claimed that Trump’s promises to invest in America’s infra-structure is reminiscent to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. However, Roosevelt raised much of the money from his Wealth Tax, therefore, following the theories of Keynes. However, Trump advocates reducing the taxes of the rich. It is highly unlikely that Trump, following the policies he has been arguing for, will improve the economic situation of the vast majority of people of people who voted for him.
  20. The people who voted for him will not be too pleased if that is the case. I would have thought recent events in Iraq and Syria would have meant that the US would have returned to the foreign policy of the 1930s.
  21. The election of Donald Trump on 8th November, 2016, was the most significant political event since Adolf Hitler managed to persuade the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act on 24th March 1933. I say this not because I believe Trump is a fascist who is about to become some sort of dictator. In fact, I think over the next four years he will illustrate just how difficult it is for the President of the United States to implement his political ideas. Even if he was allowed by Congress to carry out his his proposed programme, it would not solve the economic problems faced by those who voted for him. If there is a great deal of dissatisfaction now, it will be far greater in 2020. Why the election of Trump is so significant is that it dramatically reflects the crisis in our economic system. It was the Wall Street Crash in October, 1929, when shares lost 47 per cent of its value in twenty-six days, that created the Great Depression. At the time many thought this was the end of capitalism and large numbers of people became socialists and communists. Others were attracted to the far-right and became committed fascists. Politicians responded to the crisis in different ways. Ramsay MacDonald, the 63-year-old British prime-minister, was slow to react to the crisis that caused large-scale unemployment. Relying on the advice of the economist John Maynard Keynes, the former prime-minister, David Lloyd George, published a pamphlet, We Can Conquer Unemployment, where he proposed a government scheme where 350,000 men were to be employed on road-building, 60,000 on housing, 60,000 on telephone development and 62,000 on electrical development. The cost would be £250 million, and the money would be raised by loan. Philip Snowden, his Chancellor of the Exchequer, rejected this proposal and wrote in his notebook on 14th August 1930, that "the trade of the world has come near to collapse and nothing we can do will stop the increase in unemployment." By December 1930, 2,725,000 people in Britain were recorded as being unemployed (20% of the insured workforce), and exports had fallen in value by 50%. Snowden was mainly concerned about the impact of the increase in public-spending. At a cabinet meeting in January 1931, he estimated that the budget deficit for 1930-31 would be £40 million. Snowden argued that it might be necessary to cut unemployment benefit. Margaret Bondfield looked into this suggestion and claimed that the government could save £6 million a year if they cut benefit rates by 2s. a week and to restrict the benefit rights of married women, seasonal workers and short-time workers. In March 1931 MacDonald asked Sir George May, the retired former company secretary of the Prudential Assurance Company, to form a committee to look into Britain's economic problems. At the same time, John Maynard Keynes, the chairman of the Economic Advisory Council, published his report on the causes and remedies for the depression. This included an increase in public spending and by curtailing British investment overseas. Philip Snowden rejected these ideas and this was followed by the resignation of Charles Trevelyan, the Minister of Education. "For some time I have realised that I am very much out of sympathy with the general method of Government policy. In the present disastrous condition of trade it seems to me that the crisis requires big Socialist measures. We ought to be demonstrating to the country the alternatives to economy and protection. Our value as a Government today should be to make people realise that Socialism is that alternative." When the May Committee produced its report in July, 1931, it forecast a huge budget deficit of £120 million and recommended that the government should reduce its expenditure by £97,000,000, including a £67,000,000 cut in unemployment benefits. The two Labour Party representatives on the committee, Arthur Pugh and Charles Latham, refused to sign the report. On 5th August, Keynes wrote to MacDonald, describing the May Report as "the most foolish document I ever had the misfortune to read." He argued that the committee's recommendations clearly represented "an effort to make the existing deflation effective by bringing incomes down to the level of prices" and if adopted in isolation, they would result in "a most gross perversion of social justice". The vast majority of Labour MPs refused to support the May Report and MacDonald went to see King George V and offered his resignation. Under pressure from the king he was persuaded to form a National Government that was mainly made up of Conservative and Liberal MPs. On 8th September 1931, the National Government's programme of £70 million economy programme was debated in the House of Commons. This included a £13 million cut in unemployment benefit and a 10% cut in public sector wages. Tom Johnson, who wound up the debate for the Labour Party, declared that these policies were "not of a National Government but of a Wall Street Government". In the end the Government won by 309 votes to 249, but only 12 Labour M.P.s voted for the measures. Of course the cuts did not have their desired impact on the economy. Snowden's measures were deflationary and merely reduced purchasing power in the economy, worsening the situation, and by the end of 1931 unemployment had reached nearly 3 million. By 1933 over 25% of the insured workforce were out of work. In the 1932 Presidential Election, the American people rejected the austerity policies of Herbert Hoover and elected Franklin D. Roosevelt to office. As William E. Leuchtenburg, the author of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal (1963), has argued: "Franklin Roosevelt swept to victory with 22,800,000 votes to Hoover's 15,750,000. With a 472-59 margin in the Electoral College, he captured every state south and west of Pennsylvania. Roosevelt carried more counties than a presidential candidate had ever won before, including 282 that had never gone Democratic. Of the forty states in Hoover's victory coalition four years before, the President held but six." During the election campaign Roosevelt promised to reduce taxation. After taking office he initially rejected the idea of increased public spending. However, by the spring of 1933, the needs of more than fifteen million unemployed had overwhelmed the resources of local governments. In some areas, as many as 90 per cent of the people were on relief and it was clear something needed to be done. His close advisors and colleagues, Frances Perkins, Harry Hopkins, Rexford Tugwell, Robert LaFollette Jr. Robert Wagner, Fiorello LaGuardia, George Norris and Edward Costigan eventually won him over to a new approach to the problem. On 9th March 1933, Roosevelt called a special session of Congress. He told the members that unemployment could only be solved "by direct recruiting by the Government itself." For the next three months, Roosevelt proposed, and Congress passed, a series of important bills that attempted to deal with the problem of unemployment. The special session of Congress became known as the Hundred Days and provided the basis for Roosevelt's New Deal. The government employed people to carry out a range of different tasks. These projects included the Works Projects Administration (WPA), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the National Youth Administration (NYA), the National Recovery Act (NRA) and the Public Works Administration (PWA). As well as trying to reduce unemployment, Roosevelt also attempted to reduce the misery for those who were unable to work. One of the bodies Roosevelt formed was the Federal Emergency Relief Administration which provided federal money to help those in desperate need. To help pay for these measures Roosevelt persuaded Congress to pass the Wealth Tax Act in August, 1935. It was a progressive tax that took up to 75 percent on incomes over $5 million. Roosevelt admitted that the tax had created a great deal of hostility: "The forces of organized money... are unanimous in their hate for me - and I welcome their hatred. I should like to have it said of my first administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match." When Roosevelt took office the national deficit was nearly $3,000,000,000 and the unemployment-rate was 23.6%. His Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, and aides within the Treasury Department favored an approach that sought to balance the federal budget. But other advisers in the President's inner circle, including Harry Hopkins, Marriner Eccles and Henry Wallace, had accepted the recent theories of John Maynard Keynes, who argued that technically advanced economies would need permanent budget deficits or other measures (such as redistribution of income away from the wealthy) to stimulate consumption of goods and to maintain full employment. It was argued that it was the attempt to balance the budget that was causing the recession. President Roosevelt was eventually convinced by these arguments and he recognized the need for increased government expenditures to put people back to work. An important part of his New Deal programme was increased spending on government expenditures for relief and work schemes. From 1933 to 1937, unemployment was reduced from 25% to 14%. Roosevelt was much attacked by his political opponents for not concentrating on reducing the national deficit. However, as Roosevelt explained in a speech in 1936: "To balance our budget in 1933 or 1934 or 1935 would have been a crime against the American people. To do so we should either have had to make a capital levy that would have been confiscatory, or we should have had to set our face against human suffering with callous indifference. When Americans suffered, we refused to pass by on the other side. Humanity came first." Roosevelt was attacked for not keeping his promise to balance the budget. Some went as far as accusing Roosevelt of being a communist. Those on the left hated Roosevelt because they believed that his policies helped save capitalism. However, his economic policies were popular with the American people and he defeated his Republican presidential candidates in 1936 (Alfred M. Landon), 1940 (Wendell Willkie) and 1944 (Thomas E. Dewey). After the Second World War it European countries that were attracted to the economic ideas of John Maynard Keynes. Up until the late 1970s it provided a growing economy and low unemployment rates. It also help to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. For example, the data available shows that the share of income going to the top 10% of the population fell over the 40 years to 1979, from 34.6% in 1938 to 21% in 1979, while the share going to the bottom 10% rose slightly. The 1973 oil crisis resulted in high inflation. In the UK inflation reached 26.9% in the 12 months to August 1975. In an effort to maintain the living standards of their members, trade unions demanded higher wages which in turn led to even higher inflation. The number of industrial disputes also increased during this period. On 22nd January 1979 more people in the UK took strike action, than on any day since the General Strike of 1926. Margaret Thatcher was elected to power in Britain in 1979 and Ronald Reagan in 1980. They both embraced the economic theories of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman that became known as Neo-Liberalism. This was a return to the world before the Great Depression in the 1930s. It was the resurgence of 19th century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism. They were also the economic policies that Karl Marx believed would lead to a socialist revolution. Neo-Liberalism meant privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy. It also involved passing legislation that weakened the trade union movement. These policies completely reversed the move towards a more equal society. Since the early 1980s the gap between rich and poor has widened considerably. During this period China has emerged as America's main economic rival. Although it claims to be a communist country, in reality it is state capitalist economy. This gives it great advantages over laissez-faire capitalism. For example, it has totally control over the cost of labour. (This is what happened in Germany in the 1930s.) It also has complete control over investment in certain industries. It can therefore give out state subsidies to industries in trouble, for example, steel. It also invests in other countries and controls over 30% of America's national debt. The second Great Depression took place in 2007. Its consequences are still being felt today. This time the major problem is not unemployment. Yesterday it was announced that Britain has an unemployment rate of 4.8%. The lowest in 11 years. USA has an unemployment rate of 4.9%. Why, therefore, did American workers vote for Trump? The reason is low wages. The majority of the American people have seen a fall in their living standards since the end of the 1970s. Will the proposals of Donald Trump work? Will Congress allow him to place high tariffs on goods imported from abroad? If they do it will cause inflation and is unlikely to persuade capitalists to invest in manufacturing in the United States. Do the businessmen who fund the political parties in America really want an end to the cheap labour provided by Mexico? In his first speech after being elected Trump spoke of a massive investment in America's infra-structure. In other words, something similar to Roosevelt's New Deal. However, he is also committed to reducing taxes for the wealthy. How is he going to pay for this? Will Congress allow him to increase public borrowing? I think he will probably cut defence spending and significantly reduce America military commitment to Europe and other areas, especially in the Middle-East. But this will not be enough to please those people who voted for Trump in the election. What kind of candidate will Americans vote for in 2020?
  22. I never met Mark Lane but I had communications with him by email. In the last few years it was with his assistant Sue Herndon. It is worth remembering the extreme difficulty he had publishing material on the case following the assassination. In fact, it might not have happened if it was not for his British contacts. Lane later recalled: "In the weeks following the assassination I analyzed the case, setting my analysis alongside what was then known about the case as I had done a hundred times before for clients I had represented. The difference was that there was no client… When I completed my analysis of the evidence and the charges, I had written a ten-thousand-word evaluation." A copy of the article was sent to Earl Warren. In a letter sent with the article, Lane wrote: "It would be appropriate that Mr. Oswald, from whom every legal right was stripped, be accorded counsel who may participate with the single purpose of representing the rights of the accused." For the first three weeks the mainstream media consistently reported that Oswald had been the lone gunman responsible for the death of Kennedy. However, James Aronson, the editor of the left-wing, National Guardian, had considerable doubts about this story. In the first edition of the newspaper after the assassination, he used the headline: "The Assassination Mystery: Kennedy and Oswald Killings Puzzle the Nation". (9) Meanwhile, Mark Lane also tried to find a magazine to publish the article of the assassination. He approached Carey McWilliams: "The obvious choice, I thought, was the Nation. Its editor, Carey McWilliams, was an acquaintance. He had often asked me to write a piece for him… McWilliams seemed pleased to hear from me and delighted when I told him I had written something I wished to give to the Nation . When he learned of the subject matter, however, his manner approached panic." McWilliams told Lane: "We cannot take it. We don't want it. I am sorry but we have decided not to touch that subject." Lane was unaware that McWilliams had also rejected a proposal by Fred J. Cook to write an article on the assassination. Mark Lane also got the same response from the editors of Fact Magazine who said the subject matter was too controversial. It was also rejected by Life Magazine, Saturday Evening Post, The Reporter, and Look Magazine. However, Cedric Belfrage, a British journalist, who had been deported from America because of his socialist beliefs, was also exploring this story and told his friend, James Aronson about Lane. "I heard that a maverick New York lawyer named Mark Lane had done some careful leg and brain work to produce a thesis casting doubt on the lone-assassin theory – and even whether Oswald had actually been involved in the crime." Aronson contacted Lane who told him that the article had been rejected by thirteen publications. Aronson offered to publish the article. Lane told him that "I would send it to him but I would not authorize him to publish it. He asked why. I said that I was seeking a broader, non-political publisher and that if the piece originated on the left, the subject would likely never receive the debate that it required." Lane now took the article James Wechsler, an editor of the New York Post. He also rejected it and said that Lane would never find a publisher and "urged him to forget about it". Lane now told him about Aronson's offer. Wechsler, according to Lane was "furious" when he heard this news. "Don't let them publish it… They'll turn it into a political issue." By this time the article had been turned down by seventeen publications and so Lane decided to let Aronson to publish the article in the National Guardian. The 10,000 word article, published on 19th December, 1963, was the longest story in its fifteen-year history. It was presented as a lawyer's report to the Warren Commission and titled A Brief for Lee Harvey Oswald. Aronson argued in the introduction: "The Guardian's publication of Lane's brief presumes only one thing: a man's innocence, under US. Law, unless or until proved guilty. It is the right of any accused. A presumption of innocence is the rock upon which American jurisprudence rests… We ask all our readers to study this document… Any information or analysis based on fact that can assist the Warren Commission is in the public interest – an interest which demands that everything possible be done to establish the facts in this case." Mark Lane argued: "In all likelihood there does not exist a single American community where reside 12 men or women, good and true, who presume that Lee Harvey Oswald did not assassinate President Kennedy. No more savage comment can be made in reference to the breakdown of the Anglo–Saxon system of jurisprudence. At the very foundation of our judicial operation lies a cornerstone which shelters the innocent and guilty alike against group hysteria, manufactured evidence, overzealous law enforcement officials, in short, against those factors which militate for an automated, prejudged, neatly packaged verdict of guilty. It is the sacred right of every citizen accused of committing a crime to the presumption of innocence." Aronson later admitted: "Few issues of the Guardian created such a stir. Anticipating greater interest we had increased the press run by 5,000, but an article in the New York Times about our story brought a heavy demand at the news-stands and dealers were calling for additional copies. Before the month was out we had orders for 50,000 reprints." After reading the article Bertrand Russell met Mark Lane. "I was greatly impressed, not only by the energy and astuteness with which Mark Lane pursued the relevant facts, but by the scrupulous objectivity with which he presented them, never inferring or implying meanings not inherent in the facts themselves." As a result of the meeting, Russell established a “Who Killed Kennedy Committee” in the UK, which consisted of John Arden, Caroline Benn, Lord Boyd-Orr, John Calder, William Empson, Victor Gollancz, Michael Foot, Kingsley Martin, Compton Mackenzie, J. B. Priestley, Herbert Read, Tony Richardson, Mervyn Stockwood, Hugh Trevor-Roper, and Kenneth Tynan. Aronson offered the article to both the United Press International and the Associated Press but both agencies rejected it. In January, 1964, Walter Winchell made a vicious attack on Mark Lane and the National Guardian in his regular newspaper column. He described the newspaper as "a virtual propaganda arm of the Soviet Union " and called Lane an "agitator" seeking to abolish the Un-American Activities Committee. Russell responded with a letter to the newspaper arguing that "Lane is no more a left-winger than was President Kennedy. He attempted to publish his evidence... in virtually every established American but was unsuccessful." Mark Lane continued to carry out his research into the assassination. He later recalled: "Had I known at the outset, when I wrote that article for the National Guardian, that I was going to be so involved that I would close my law practice, abandon my work, abandon my political career, be attacked by the very newspapers in New York City which used to hail my election to the state legislature; had I known that - had I known that I was going to be placed in the lookout books, so that when I come back into the country, I'm stopped by the immigration authorities – only in America, but no other country in the world – that my phones would be tapped, that not only would the FBI follow me around at lecture engagements, but present to the Warren Commission extracts of what I said at various lectures - I am not sure, if I knew all that, that I ever would have written that article in the first place." However, Lane did continue and by February 1965 he had completed the first draft of Rush to Judgment. However, he could not find an American company willing to publish the book. Eventually, Bertrand Russell found him a British publisher: "Virtually every publisher in the United States refused to print it. Years passed before we learned of the pressure that had been exerted by the FBI and the CIA against those who considered permitting the publication of a dissenting view in this affair. A British firm with offices in London, The Bodley Head, agreed to publish the book. Subsequently Holt, Rinehart and Winston in the United States agreed as well." http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKlaneM.htm
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