Jump to content

Politics & Paranoia


Recommended Posts

(1) On page 86 of your book, Politics and Paranoia, you point out: “The Kennedy assassination was the lens through which I, along with other people, first began to study American politics.” What do you mean by this statement?

(2) The date of your article on the JFK assassination is 1994. A lot of research has been carried out since then. What are your current views on the subject?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(1) On page 86 of your book, Politics and Paranoia, you point out: “The Kennedy assassination was the lens through which I, along with other people, first began to study American politics.” What do you mean by this statement?

I mean that having got interested in the assassination literature - in my case circa 1976 - I found myself following other trails which led off from the assassination: the cold war; Cuba; the CIA; Cointelpro etc. Without the interest in Dallas I might never have gone down these roads. Also I mean that stumbling into what became known as parapolitics – exemplified by Peter Dale Scott – influenced the way I then looked at American and British politics and, eventually, history. Whoever one choses as the assassination group on Dealey Plaza, that event was the climax of a great many elements within American cold war history and specifically Democratic Party politics. And the subsequent failure of the political-media system to do a half-decent investigation of the event said a great deal about the nature of political power in America.

(2) The date of your article on the JFK assassination is 1994. A lot of research has been carried out since then. What are your current views on the subject?

A lot of research has indeed been carried out since 1994 and in a sense the publication of that talk is embarrassing. On the other hand it is quite a good general intro to the story and that is what I thought then; the fact that we change our minds with experience and further reading should embarrass no-one. My current view is that expressed in my Who Shot JFK? The killing was done on behalf of LBJ to keep Johnson's political career alive. Fascinating though all the research into the CIA, anti-Castro Cubans, mafia and the entire Oswald-intelligence milieu is, all the trails peter out as we approach Dealey Plaza. JFK was bushwacked in Johnson's backyard; and Johnson was about to go down the pan through various corruption inquiries. The evidence supporting this is persuasive but not conclusive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of research has indeed been carried out since 1994 and in a sense the publication of that talk is embarrassing. On the other hand it is quite a good general intro to the story and that is what I thought then; the fact that we change our minds with experience and further reading should embarrass no-one. My current view is that expressed in my Who Shot JFK? The killing was done on behalf of LBJ to keep Johnson's political career alive. Fascinating though all the research into the CIA, anti-Castro Cubans, mafia and the entire Oswald-intelligence milieu is, all the trails peter out as we approach Dealey Plaza. JFK was bushwacked in Johnson's backyard; and Johnson was about to go down the pan through various corruption inquiries. The evidence supporting this is persuasive but not conclusive.

It is true that Lyndon Johnson had the best motive for wanting JFK dead. The testimony given by Don Reynolds to the Senate Rules Committee on the day that JFK died would have resulted in the impeachment of LBJ if he had survived. We also know from Evelyn Lincoln that JFK was going to drop LBJ as vice president for the 1964 presidential election. We also know that Carl Curtis, LBJ’s main critic on the Senate Rules Committee, that he was getting his information on LBJ and Bobby Baker from John Williams, who in turn was getting some of it from Robert Kennedy. Once he became president, LBJ was able to control the story by using Hoover and the media to smear his critics and to cover-up the Bobby Baker scandal.

LBJ not only had the motive for arranging the assassination of JFK but also organizing the cover-up. However, LBJ needed help from other powerful people in order to achieve this. We know that LBJ could manipulate Hoover and the FBI over this issue. Hoover, of course, had his own reasons, for covering-up some dubious FBI actions leading up to the assassination.

My problem with the LBJ theory concerns the role of the CIA in all this. We now know from the evidence that has emerged in recent years that senior CIA operatives played a major role in the cover-up (see for example, the testimony of John Whitten and Jeff Morley’s recent book on Win Scott). We also have some very good evidence that implicate CIA officers and contract workers in the assassination, such as David Morales, Carl E. Jenkins, David Phillips, Chi Chi Quintero, John Martino, Tony Cuesta, Herminio Diaz Garcia, etc., who were involved in anti-Castro operations.

My view is that LBJ did not instigate the assassination. However, the people who did, knew that LBJ would automatically take part in the cover-up. To guarantee this they probably planted the Mac Wallace finger-print on the 6th Floor of the Texas School Book Depositary. In my view, Mac Wallace was the last person he would have involved in the assassination as he was the one convicted murderer who could be traced back to LBJ. When LBJ was told that the FBI had the finger-print, he could not allow a full investigation of the JFK assassination to take place. However, the planting of the evidence also meant that LBJ would not be willing to carry out the final part of the plan, the ordering of the invasion of Cuba. LBJ knew that if this happened, there would be calls from all over the world for a full investigation into the evidence that Oswald was working for Castro. Any such investigation would have proved embarrassing for LBJ, the FBI and the CIA. LBJ went for the safe option, “Oswald was a lone-nutter”. The CIA/anti-Castro group was not in a position to argue and had to accept they only got rid of one instead of both of their targets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My problem with the LBJ theory concerns the role of the CIA in all this. We now know from the evidence that has emerged in recent years that senior CIA operatives played a major role in the cover-up (see for example, the testimony of John Whitten and Jeff Morley’s recent book on Win Scott). We also have some very good evidence that implicate CIA officers and contract workers in the assassination, such as David Morales, Carl E. Jenkins, David Phillips, Chi Chi Quintero, John Martino, Tony Cuesta, Herminio Diaz Garcia, etc., who were involved in anti-Castro operations.

My view is that LBJ did not instigate the assassination. However, the people who did, knew that LBJ would automatically take part in the cover-up. To guarantee this they probably planted the Mac Wallace finger-print on the 6th Floor of the Texas School Book Depositary. In my view, Mac Wallace was the last person he would have involved in the assassination as he was the one convicted murderer who could be traced back to LBJ. When LBJ was told that the FBI had the finger-print, he could not allow a full investigation of the JFK assassination to take place. However, the planting of the evidence also meant that LBJ would not be willing to carry out the final part of the plan, the ordering of the invasion of Cuba. LBJ knew that if this happened, there would be calls from all over the world for a full investigation into the evidence that Oswald was working for Castro. Any such investigation would have proved embarrassing for LBJ, the FBI and the CIA. LBJ went for the safe option, “Oswald was a lone-nutter”. The CIA/anti-Castro group was not in a position to argue and had to accept they only got rid of one instead of both of their targets.

Do we? I know we have Morales reported as saying - implying - that he was involved; and Martino is said to have known something. But beyond that? Are any of these people reliably reported as being on Dealey Plaza? It may be that as Howard Hunt is reported to have said to his son just before he died that there were several plots, one by CIA people.

It still seems more likely to me that the Mac Wallace story is true; that LBJ's little criminal gang did it; that their little gang was seen by Roger Craig in the immediate aftermath. The idea that the Mac Wallace print was planted is implausible to me. If you are going to implicate him, why not do it with something more substantial? In any case the planted idea sounds like the classic move we all make to avoid having our theories falsified.

Mac Wallace had already got away with murdering Marshall - why would they not think they could do it again in LBJ's backyard?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My problem with the LBJ theory concerns the role of the CIA in all this. We now know from the evidence that has emerged in recent years that senior CIA operatives played a major role in the cover-up (see for example, the testimony of John Whitten and Jeff Morley’s recent book on Win Scott). We also have some very good evidence that implicate CIA officers and contract workers in the assassination, such as David Morales, Carl E. Jenkins, David Phillips, Chi Chi Quintero, John Martino, Tony Cuesta, Herminio Diaz Garcia, etc., who were involved in anti-Castro operations.

Do we? I know we have Morales reported as saying - implying - that he was involved; and Martino is said to have known something. But beyond that? Are any of these people reliably reported as being on Dealey Plaza? It may be that as Howard Hunt is reported to have said to his son just before he died that there were several plots, one by CIA people.

It is of course extremely difficult, if not impossible, to identify the gunmen in Dealey Plaza. However, I do think that we have enough evidence to construct the conspiracy against JFK.

I believe that the conspiracy is similar to the one described by David Atlee Phillips in his unpublished novel. David Kaiser describes the novel's plot in his book The Road to Dallas (2008):

At some point before his death from cancer in 1988, he (Phillips) wrote an outline for another novel, entitled The AMLASH Legacy, dealing specifically with the Kennedy assassination.

The outline carefully identified the characters with the real figures on which they were based: Mexico City station chief Winston Scott, HSCA investigator Gaeton Fonzi, Antonio Veciana, long-time assassination conspiracists Mark Lane and Bernard Fensterwald, and Phillips himself, who went by the name of Harold Harrison. The novel focused on Harrison's son Don, who begins looking for his father's journal after his father's death. A Mexican woman who attended his father's funeral gives Don a letter written by his father. The letter explains that Harrison had been one of two case officers who recruited Lee Harvey Oswald, helped establish his credentials as a Marxist, and then attempted to send him to Cuba through Mexico City in order to assassinate Fidel Castro, using a sniper rifle from an upper floor of a high-rise to shoot Castro in his jeep. Harrison does not know whether Oswald was a double agent, the letter continues, but this was the same plan Oswald used to kill Kennedy. Allen Dulles, the letter stated, provided Harrison and the other unidentified agent with $400,000 to set up Oswald after he succeeded in assassinating Fidel.

In the novel, Harrison has the last laugh when is son discovers that his father's posthumous letter is a forgery concocted by the Fensterwald character and a KGB agent whom Harrison had repeatedly outwitted during, their spying careers. The real David Phillips might simply have concluded that since so many others had irresponsibly cashed in on the Kennedy assassination, he might as well do the same.

Yet his outline of this novel was the only document I know in existence before 1998 to suggest that Oswald might have been trying to go to Cuba to assassinate Castro. In that year, I wrote a short article to introduce the idea that - as "Leopoldo" suggested to Silvia Odio a few days before or a few days after Oswald's visit to Mexico City - Oswald's first assassination target may well have been the Cuban premier. We will probably never know whether Phillips was drawing on anything more than his imagination, but the plot of his novel, until the spectacular revelation at the end, tracks key events leading up to the Kennedy assassination almost perfectly.

In the novel the Harrison character states: "I was one of those officers who handled Lee Harvey Oswald... We gave him the mission of killing Fidel Castro in Cuba... I don't know why he killed Kennedy. But I do know he used precisely the plan we had devised against Castro. Thus the CIA did not anticipate the president's assassination, but it was responsible for it. I share that guilt."

In 1995 Gene Wheaton approached the Assassination Records Review Board with information on the death of JFK. Anne Buttimer, Chief Investigator of the ARRB, recorded that: "Wheaton told me that from 1984 to 1987 he spent a lot of time in the Washington DC area and that starting in 1985 he was "recruited into Ollie North's network" by the CIA officer he has information about. He got to know this man and his wife, a "'super grade high level CIA officer" and kept a bedroom in their Virginia home. His friend was a Marine Corps liaison in New Orleans and was the CIA contact with Carlos Marcello. He had been responsible for "running people into Cuba before the Bay of Pigs." His friend is now 68 or 69 years of age... Over the course of a year or a year and one-half his friend told him about his activities with training Cuban insurgency groups. Wheaton said he also got to know many of the Cubans who had been his friend's soldiers/operatives when the Cubans visited in Virginia from their homes in Miami. His friend and the Cubans confirmed to Wheaton they assassinated JFK. Wheaton's friend said he trained the Cubans who pulled the triggers. Wheaton said the street level Cubans felt JFK was a traitor after the Bay of Pigs and wanted to kill him. People "above the Cubans" wanted JFK killed for other reasons." It was later revealed that Wheaton's friend was Carl E. Jenkins. Wheaton also named Irving Davidson as being involved in the assassination.

In an interview with William Law and Mark Sobel in the summer of 2005, Gene Wheaton claimed that Carl E. Jenkins and Rafael Quintero were both involved in the assassination of JFK. Larry Hancock's research has shown that Jenkins (a man who had never previously been identified in any book on the CIA) was indeed involved in training anti-Castro Cubans in 1963.

I contacted Rafael Quintero via his close friend Don Bohning. Quintero refused to be interviewed but he did say that Gene Wheaton was telling the truth as "he knew it". His explanation of Wheaton's story was that he and Carl Jenkins had been lying to him when they said they were involved in the assassination. However, Quintero was once quoted as saying: “If I were ever granted immunity, and compelled to testify about past actions, about Dallas and the Bay of Pigs, it would be the biggest scandal ever to rock the United States.”

Then we have Fabian Escalante's statement at the Cuban Officials and JFK Historians Conference on 7th December, 1995:

Eladio Del Valle worked for two police services - military intelligence and the traditional police. He was in charge of narcotics. He was also a legislature in the government - a representative. He was from a little town from the south of Havana. He was a captain in the merchant marines. In 1958 he was doing business dealings with Santos Trafficante in a little coastal town south of Havana. There he brought in contraband whose destination was Santos Trafficante. When the revolution triumphed, he went to Miami. Eladio Del Valle went to Miami. He settled in Miami, we don't know the address and he allied himself with Rolando Masferrer and other Batista supporters and they formed an organization called the Anti Communist Cuban Liberation Movement. From that moment on, Eladio was involved in many project against Cuba. But as I told you yesterday, we managed to penetrate this organization. And we came to know of a lot of projects, efforts, for an invasion of Cuba in secret. In order to provide arms to internal rebel groups, they needed David Ferrie as the pilot on these flights. In 1962 Eladio Del Valle tried to infiltrate Cuba with a commando group of 22 men but their boat had an English key - a little island. In the middle of 1962. Of course, we knew this. I tell you about this, because one of our agents who was one of the people helping to bring this group to Cuba, was a man of very little education. They talked English on many occasions on this little island with Eladio Del Valle told this person, on many occasions, that Kennedy must be killed to solve the Cuban problem. After that we had another piece of information on Eladio Del Valle. This was offered to us by Tony Cuesta. He told us that Eladio Del Valle was one of the people involved in the assassination plot against Kennedy. As you know, he was taken prisoner and he was very thankful to be taken back - he was blind.

He asked that this information not be public. I am only saying it here, because he is already dead. It is finished. We didn't have any other kind of information to give. There are some things you must respect. He gave us this information and in 1978 we didn't know if it was true or not. In 1978, we were not aware of the participation of Eladio Del Valle. We didn't know who he was. Remember that I explained to you yesterday that when the Select Committee when they came to Havana - they didn't give us any specific information. They just came to question us. We didn't know the relationships.

Dick Russell, who was at this conference with Escalante, wrote about the story in the 2003 edition of The Man Who Knew Too Much:

The most intriguing news to come out of the Nassau conference, however, was Escalante's revelation about what another leader of the Alpha 66 group allegedly told him. As we have seen, Nagell would never reveal the true identities of "Angel" and "Leopoldo" - the two Cuban exiles who he said had deceived Oswald into believing they were Castro operatives. Instead, on several occasions when I prodded him, Nagell had cleverly steered the conversation toward a man named Tony Cuesta - indicating that this individual possessed the knowledge that he himself chose not to express. Cuesta, as noted earlier, had been taken prisoner in Cuba during a raid in 1966.

"Cuesta was blinded (in an explosion) and spent most of his time in the hospital," Escalante recalled. In 1978, he was among a group of imprisoned exiles released through an initiative of the Carter Administration. "A few days before he was to leave," according to Escalante, "I had several conversations with Cuesta. He volunteered, 'I want to tell you something very important, but I do not want this made public because I am returning to my family in Miami - and this could be very dangerous.' I think this was a little bit of thanks on his part for the medical care he received."

Escalante said he was only revealing Cuesta's story because the man had died in Miami in 1994. In a declaration he is said to have written for the Cubans, Cuesta named two other exiles as having been involved in plotting the Kennedy assassination. Their names were Eladio del Valle and Herminio Diaz Garcia.

Shortly before his death in 1975 John Martino confessed to a Miami Newsday reporter, John Cummings, that he had been guilty of spreading false stories implicating Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination. He claimed that two of the gunmen were Cuban exiles. It is believed the two men were Herminio Diaz Garcia and Virgilio Gonzalez. Cummings added: "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."

Then there is the case of David Morales. This is the passage from Gaeton Fonzi's, The Last Investigation (1993):

It was while sitting in the El Molino one night, that Ruben Carbajal told Bob Dorff and me about the times he and Bob Walton had gone to Washington to meet Morales and about the trip on which they met other high-ranking CIA officials. To obtain more details about those meetings, I suggested we talk to Walton. The next morning, a Saturday, Carbajal called him and Walton agreed to drive down from his home in Scottsdale to meet the three of us at the Holiday Inn.

Walton is in his mid-fifties, a pleasant, ruddy-faced fellow with Irish good looks and an easy, straightforward manner. He remembers their first trip to Washington as being in the spring of 1973. "I had had a coronary in November of 1972 and Rocky and I started talking about getting into business shortly after that. When you're from a dry climate like Arizona and you go back there in the summer you're just sweating like a pig. But I don't remember being uncomfortable, so I think it was early in the spring of 1973."

Walton corroborates the reason for the trip and the meeting with Morales: "We felt, or at least Rocky felt, that he could give us an inside track on who were the people who were for real and who were not. That was a big concern of mine because I had already been on one wild goose chase, spent an expensive week in Nassau waiting for a transaction to close and it never did."

Their evening with Morales, Walton remembers, was both very pleasant and, in more than one way, especially memorable. "We all went out for dinner, which was very nice. It was Rocky and his wife, me and my wife and Rocky's mother and father."

Morales, not someone who trusted strangers or even associates easily, obviously was impressed by Walton's character and, although their commodities business never took hold, he later called on Walton to represent him on a few matters back in Phoenix. It was something Morales said at one of those subsequent encounters in Phoenix that makes Walton put what had happened in Washington in a very special perspective.

"Morales was building a big, new house out near Willcox," Walton says. "Actually, it was in a little town called El Frita, which is about half-way between Willcox and the Mexican border. It's a remote area, I've only driven that road once in my life. It's an agricultural area, they grow the famous jalapenos peppers there. I never got to see the house, but he had just finished it and was describing it to me when he mentioned that he put in it the best security system in the United States. And I remember asking him, thinking he was worried about burglars or being robbed, 'What do you need so much security for? You're still thirty miles from the Mexican border.' And he said, 'I'm not worried about those people, I'm worried about my own.' "

That struck Walton as curious. "What do you mean?" he asked.

"I know too much," Morales said, then quickly dropped it.

Remembering that now, Walton views his first meeting with Morales in Washington as being far more significant than he realized. After dinner, the whole party went back to the Dupont Plaza Hotel. It was late and Carbajal's parents and his wife returned to their rooms and Ruben and Morales returned to the Waltons' room with them. "Didi ended up staying all night," Walton recalls. "My wife went to sleep somewhere around two in the morning and Rocky and I and Didi drank and talked from when we got back from dinner - maybe that was about eleven o'clock at night - until about six in the morning. "

The drinking got heavy. "We had consumed quite a bit of alcohol," remembers Walton. "At one point, between the three of us we had gone through a fifth of Scotch and we had to re-order. It was a real contest." He pauses and smiles. "Ah, my younger days, my misspent youth!" And as the night and the drinking go on, defenses come down and candid truths emerge. "You know," says Walton, "you get in a kind of position where you say, 'All right, I told you everything about me, what are you all about?' "

Morales began with his war stories. Walton remembers him talking about the killing in Vietnam and Laos, about being involved in the capture of Che Guevara in Bolivia, of hits in Paraguay and Uruguay and Venezuela. ("He said his wife was [in the country] with him and they had real trouble getting him out of town. They almost bought the farm on that one.")

The drinking and the talking continued. At one point, Morales began probing Walton for a bit of his own background. Walton had gone to Amherst College in Massachusetts and, as part of his developing interest in political science and politics, he had done some volunteer work for Jack Kennedy's Senatorial campaign. Later, at Harvard Law, Walton was head of a student group which invited then Senator Kennedy to speak at Cambridge.

Walton never got to explain the details of that association. At the first mention of Kennedy's name, he recalls, Morales literally almost hit the ceiling.

"He flew off the bed on that one," says Walton. "I remember he was lying down and he jumped up screaming, 'That no good son of a bitch motherf*****!' He started yelling about what a wimp Kennedy was and talking about how he had worked on the Bay of Pigs and how he had to watch all the men he had recruited and trained get wiped out because of Kennedy."

Walton says Morales's tirade about Kennedy, fueled by righteous anger and high-proof booze, went on for minutes while he stomped around the room. Suddenly he stopped, sat back down on the bed and remained silent for a moment. Then, as if saying it only to himself, he added:

"Well, we took care of that son of a bitch, didn't we?"

I looked at Ruben Carbajal, who had remained silent while Walton was telling me this. Carbajal looked at me and nodded his head. Yes, he was there, it was true. But, in all the long hours we had spent together and all the candid revelations he had provided, it was a remembrance he couldn't bring himself to tell me about his friend Didi.

All these sources suggest a combined CIA and Anti-Castro Cuban plot. Jeff Morley's new book about Win Scott shows that senior figures in the CIA, including Richard Helms, James Jesus Angleton and David Atlee Phillips, were deeply involved in covering-up the the story of Oswald's time in Mexico City.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...