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King of the Tramps


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John Caldwell "J. C." King, once chief of the CIA's Clandestine Services in the Western Hemisphere Division, was a close friend of Nelson Rockefeller. It was during World War II that King, on behalf of Rockefeller, "surveyed" the Brazilian Amazon. He went on to become president of the Amazon Natural Drug Company -- but not before being deeply involved in Agency assassination attempts against Castro and el Che.

Just minutes ago, while thumbing through Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil, by Gerard Colby, with Charlotte Dennett, I found a photograph of King taken at his Virginia home in 1963.

Not that we don't have substantive matters to pursue, but I'd appreciate the opinions of those who own the book: Does not King strikingly resemble the so-called "Old Tramp" arrested in Dealey Plaza?

I'm not capable of scanning and posting the shot, which appears in the second photo section of the book. Perhaps someone with the right tools would be so kind?

Charles

Edited by Charles Drago
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James,

Thanks. I should have expected that you would come up with a photo of King.

Based upon his appearance in 1963, your view likely originates from the late 40s or early 50s. But I'm wildly guessing here.

By the year of JFK's conspiratorial murder, King was bald on top, gray on the sides, with pronounced jowls. But don't rely on my description; look at the Old Tramp, and you'll see for yourself.

And no, I'm not making that charge. My point only is to encourage outside-the-box thinking.

Truth be told, though, the resemblance is stunning.

Thanks again.

Charles

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Guest Mark Valenti

Found these online - says the guy's name is John King.

Edited by Mark Valenti
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Ron W.,

Fantastic!

The photo on the right drew my attention. I for one see a meaningful resemblance between that view of King and shots of the Old Tramp.

I'll provide more on King's c.v. later.

Thanks for the help. And by the way, a F/F first edition cloth of Thy Will Be Done fetches a hefty sum.

Charles

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Interesting. To me he looks as close as, if not closer than, either Holt or Hunt. (And certainly closer than the one photo I've seen of Gus Abrams.)

I wonder what it means when it says he was "at" the coup in Brazil. Sounds like a man who liked to be at the scene of the crime.

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More on J. C. King, first from Thy Will Be Done and "Probe" (the latter material in red):

"Castro was targeted for assassination as early as December 11, 1959, by Nelson's old friend from the CIAA [FDR's Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, headed by Rockefeller] days, J. C. King, now the CIA's Chief of Clandestine Services in the Western Hemisphere. Even before Castro had forced Fulgencio Batista to flee Havana, King and Adolf Berle had met to ponder the fate of Freeport Sulphur Company's mining project at Nicaro, in Oriente province. Now the Nicaro deposits and sugar plantations were facing nationalization. It was clear to King that a 'far left' government existed in Cuba. 'If permitted to stand,' he wrote CIA Director Allen Dulles, it would encourage similar actions against American companies elsewhere in Latin America. One of King's 'recommended actions' was explicit:

"'Thorough consideration [should] be given to the elimination of Fidel Castro. None of those close to Fidel, such as his brother Raul or his companion Che Guevara, have the same mesmeric appeal to the masses. Many informed people believe that the disappearance of Fidel would greatly accelerate the fall of the present Government.'"

Which brings us to a crucial point. Freeport Sulphur is a company Wall Street considers a "Rockefeller" company. There are numerous Rockefeller ties to the board of directors (see the sidebar at right). There is a significant tie that led to the stockpiling investigation. And Adolph Berle and J. C. King, as well as John Hay Whitney, were all very closely tied to Nelson Rockefeller himself. So the revelation that J. C. King and Adolph Berle were conversing about the fate of a Rockefeller-controlled company is significant, credible, and highlights the ties between these players and the CIA, where J. C. King-and in later years David Atlee Phillips-presided as Chiefs of the Western Hemisphere Division. In a strange twist of fate, Rockefeller's good friend King was the authenticating officer on a cable giving authority to kill Castro's brother Raul. Interestingly, Whitney's cousin and friend Tracy Barnes sent the cable rescinding the original order a couple of hours later.

And this, again from TWBD:

"On December 22, 1974 ... Seymour Hersh released the results of a two-year New York Times investigation [of athe CIA's Domestic Operations Division, including spying on Americans and CIA funding of publishers].

"In Hersh's [subsequent] New Year's Eve story, 'the Bay of Pigs thing' resurfaced with potentially astounding implications: 'The Times reported Sunday that the new domestic unit was formed in 1964 but Mr. [E. Howard] Hunt recalled that it was assembled shortly after the failure of the Bay of Pigs operation in 1961 ... Hunt placed the date of its founding in 1962, before, not after, the Kennedy assassination, and noted that Helms was strenuously opposed to its establishment. Who, then, ran this secret operation of Bay of Pigs veterans? According to one source at the Defense Intelligence Agency, such operations fell within the domain of the Clandestine Services' chief of the Western Hemisphere Division: Nelson Rockefeller's old friend from CIAA days in the Brazilian Amazon, Colonel J. C. King."

Where does King end up? According to TWBD:

"King continued to haunt the Amazon, according to some reports ... King had seldom allowed himself to be photographed. What was known, however was that he had been called before congressional investigators in July 1975 to answerr questions about the CIA's assassination plots.

"In 1967, King had been questioned by the CIA's inspector general. He insisted that he had onlylimited knowledge of a plan to assassinate Castro. By 1975, when he was questioned by Rockefeller's commission, he could remember nothing at all, even when confronted with documents confirming his part in the earliest National Security Council and CIA deliberations and actions involving Castro and Rafael Trujillo. Yes, an NSC document indicated that he had targeted Castro for assassination as early as 1959, bue he had no recollection and 'denied that the Castro underworld plots originated with him.' Yes, another document recorded him asking Assistant Secretary of State Roy Rubbottom if the United States would be willing to provide sniper rifles to kill Trujillo (Rubbottom had answered yes), but this question did not ring any bells either."

Is anyone able to post a side-by-side comparison of the 1963 King photo and a full-face shot of the Old Tramp?

Charles

Edited by Charles Drago
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colleagues; i have linked the reproduced text for the search engines;

PHOTO available on post #6 this thread as of June 21 2007 of King, King and Helms>>>>>>>>>>>

AMAZON NATURAL DRUG COMPANY PRESIDENT JC KING

CHIEF OF CLANDESTINE SERVICES WESTERN HEMISPHERE

RECEIVING DISTINGUISHED INTELLIGENCE AWARD

FROM CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR RICHARD HELMS 1967.

KING SURVEYED BRAZILIAN AMAZON FOR NELSON ROCKEFELLER IN WWII

FIRST IN US GOVERNMENT IN 1959 TO FINGER FIDEL CASTRO AND CHE GUAVARA

FOR ASSASSINATION.

AN ASSOCIATE OF ADOLPH BERLE, HE WAS

PRESENT AT BRAZILIAN MILITARY COUP 1964.

PHOTO JC KING IN VIRGINIA 1963

Edited by Shanet Clark
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I wonder if King isn't too tall to be "the short tramp." He looks like he would be approximately as tall as Helms without the slumped shoulders. How tall was Helms?

Ron,

Good point.

Point of clarification: When I reference the Old Tramp, I'm referring to the character in a hat who has been identified in the past as Howard Hunt and Chauncy Holt.

I've made a valid side-by-side comparison image, but I can't upload it -- yet.

I'll try again in a bit.

Charles

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