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Edward Lansdale


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Sterling:

Excellent posting... Lansdale is still a prime suspect (regarding JFK) in my book. His disappointment with not getting the promised posting in Vietnam (ambassador), the bungled Mongoose operation, the crazy Northwoods schemes and his intelligence affiliations with the Far east contingent of OSS/CIA are prime indicators of motive and means. Plus Prouty's allegations, especially that Lansdale's specialty was setting up elaborate psychological operations such as Dealey Plaza represented. Do you have some perspective about what Lansdale was doing in 1963 (purportedly retired) , and his Dallas logistics? He does seem to be the classic "ugly American".

Gene Kelly

I disagree. There is no evidence that Lansdale was involved in the assassination of JFK. Nor did he have a motive. JFK was influenced by Lansdale’s views on Vietnam. That is why he would have pulled out the troops if he had won the 1964 election.

Lansdale was not sacked by JFK (although he did not intervene in the matter). It was Maxwell Taylor who arranged for Lansdale to have “early retirement”. The two men clashed about what should be done in Vietnam. Taylor took the view, as did virtually all the military top brass, that the war could be won by military power. Taylor and the Joint Chief of Staffs told JFK in the summer of 1963 that 40,000 US troops could clean up the Viet Cong threat in Vietnam and another 120,000 would be sufficient to cope with any possible North Vietnamese or Chinese intervention.

His advice on Cuba was that the CIA should work closely with exiles, particularly those with middle-class professions, who had opposed Batista and had then become disillusioned with Castro because of his betrayal of the democratic process. Lansdale was also opposed to the Bay of Pigs operation because he knew that it would not trigger a popular uprising against Castro. Although JFK was highly suspicious of the CIA, as a result of the quality of Lansdale’s advice, he selected him to become project leader of Operation Mongoose.

Lansdale had spent years studying the way Mao had taken power in China. He often quoted Mao of telling his guerrillas: “Buy and sell fairly. Return everything borrowed. Indemnify everything damaged. Do not bathe in view of women. Do not rob personal belongings of captives.” The purpose of such rules, according to Mao, was to create a good relationship between the army and its people. This was a strategy that had been adopted by the NLF. Lansdale believed that the US Army should adopt a similar approach. As Cecil B. Currey, the author of “Edward Lansdale: The Unquiet American” pointed out: “Lansdale was a dedicated anticommunist, conservative in his thoughts. Many people of like persuasion were neither as willing to study their enemy nor as open to adopting communist ideas to use a countervailing force. If for no other reason, the fact makes Lansdale stand out in bold relief to the majority of fellow military men who struggled on behalf of America in those intense years of the cold war.”

He argued against the overthrow of Diem. He told Robert McNamara that: “There’s a constitution in place… Please don’t destroy that when you’re trying to change the government. Remember there’s a vice president (Nguyen Ngoc Tho) who’s been elected and is now holding office. If anything happens to the president, he should replace him. Try to keep something sustained.” It was these views that got him removed from office. The pressure to remove Lansdale came from General Curtis LeMay and General Victor Krulak and other senior members of the military. As a result it was decided to abolish his post as assistant to the secretary of defence. He was not too upset because for some time McNamara had not been listening to Lansdale’s advice. His approach to foreign policy at once appealed to Kennedy and horrified the Joint Chiefs of Staff and politicians such as Dean Rusk.

It is true that Lansdale was strongly anti-communist, but he was not a right-winger. In fact, although he was a conservative on some issues, he was liberal on others. Unlike most of the military leaders in Vietnam, he was not a racist. He had a deep respect for the Vietnamese culture and realised that you could not win by imposing American rule on the country. His second wife, Patrocinio Yapcinco, was from the Philippines.

Out of office he continued to argue against LBJ’s decision to try and use military power to win the Vietnam War. When General William Westmoreland argued that: “We’re going to out-guerrilla the guerrilla and out-ambush the ambush… because we’re smarter, we have greater mobility and fire-power, we have more endurance and more to fight for… And we’ve got more guts.” Lansdale replied: “All actions in the war should be devised to attract and then make firm the allegiance of the people.” He added “we label our fight as helping the Vietnamese maintain their freedom” but when “we bomb their villages, with horrendous collateral damage in terms of both civilian property and lives… it might well provoke a man of good will to ask, just what freedom of what Vietnamese are we helping to maintain?”

Lansdale quoted Robert Taber (The War of the Flea): “There is only one means of defeating an insurgent people who will not surrender, and that is extermination. There is only one way to control a territory that harbours resistance, and that is to turn it into a desert. Where these means cannot, for whatever reason, be used, the war is lost.” Lansdale thought this was the situation in Vietnam and wrote to a friend that if the solution was to “kill every last person in the enemy ranks” then he was “not only morally opposed” to this strategy but knew it was “humanly impossible”.

Lansdale added “No idea can be bombed or beaten to death. Military action alone is never enough.” He pointed out that since 1945 the Viet Minh had been willing to fight against the strength of both France and the United States in order to ensure success of their own. “Without a better idea, rebels will eventually win, for ideas are defeated only by better ideas.”

Lansdale was anti-communist because he really believed in democracy. Lansdale had been arguing since 1956 that the best way of dealing with the Viet Cong was to introduce free elections that included the rights of Chams, Khmers, Montagnards and other minorities to participate in voting. Lansdale said that he went into Vietnam as Tom Paine would have done. He was found of quoting Paine as saying: “Where liberty dwells not, there is my country.”

He also distanced himself from the Freedom Studies Center of the Institute for American Strategy when he discovered it was being run by the John Birch Society. He told a friend: “I refused to have anything more to do with it… That isn’t what our country is all about.” Lansdale considered himself a “conservative moderate” who was tolerant of all minorities.

Lansdale continued to advocate a non-military solution to Vietnam and in 1965, under orders from Lyndon Johnson, Henry Cabot Lodge, the new US ambassador in Saigon, put Lansdale in charge of the “pacification program” in the country. As Newsweek reported: “Lansdale is expected to push hard for a greater effort on the political and economic fronts of the war, while opposing the recent trend bombing and the burning of villages.”

One of those who served under him in this job was Daniel Ellsberg. The two men remained friends until the death of Lansdale. Ellsberg liked Lansdale because of his commitment to democracy. Ellsberg also agreed with Lansdale that the pacification program should be run by the Vietnamese. He argued that unless it was a Vietnam project it would never work. Lansdale knew that there was a deep xenophobia among Vietnamese. However, as he pointed out, he believed “Lyndon Johnson would have been just as xenophobic if Canadians or British or the French moved in force into the United States and took charge of his dreams for a great Society, told him what to do, and spread out by thousands throughout the nation to see that it got done.”

In February 1966 Lansdale was removed from his position in control of the pacification program. However, instead of giving the job to a Vietnamese, William Porter, was given the post. Lansdale was now appointed as a senior liaison officer, with no specific responsibilities.

Unlike most Americans in Vietnam, Lansdale believed it was essential for Vietnamese leaders to claim credit for any changes and reforms. His attitude aroused antagonism in the hearts of many within the U.S. bureaucracy who didn’t like the idea of allowing others to receive credit for successful programs – although they did not object to blaming Vietnamese leaders for projects that failed.

Most importantly, Lansdale thought that the military should be careful to avoid causing civilian casualties. As his biographer, Cecil Currey pointed out: “Lansdale was primarily concerned about the welfare of people. Such a stance made him anathema to those more concerned about search and destroy missions, agent orange, free fire zones, harassing and interdicting fires, and body counts.”

According to Lansdale “we lost the war at the Tet offensive”. The reason for this was that after this defeat American commanders lost the ability to discriminate between friend and foe. All Vietnamese were now “gooks”. Lansdale complained that commanders resorted more and more on artillery barrages that killed thousands of civilians.

He told a friend that: “I don’t believe this is a government that can win the hearts and minds of the people.” Lansdale resigned and returned to the United States in June 1968.

Lansdale argued that the current strategy in Vietnam was not working. “I’m afraid that we’re being taught some savage lessons about a type of warfare that the next generation or so of Americans will have to face up to on other continents as on this one.” This is why he was very critical of US involvement in El Salvador in the 1980s and if he had been alive today, would have opposed the invasion of Iraq and the sending of troops into Afghanistan.

John:

Thank you for that perspective on Lansdale; he was a unique warrior. But he was still CIA, and his affiliations cause me to be suspicious. Perhaps I'm influenced by Prouty's allegations. I think it was Dean Rusk who mistrusted Lansdale, and influenced his unsuccessful ambassador quest. My instincts still don't allow me to paint him as a friend or ally of JFK. And his specialty (in PsyOps) was the elaborate drama and scripted misdirection, such as we see occur in Dealey Plaza. So, he remains on my short list...

Gene

I talked with Fletch several times about Lansdale. He shared an office with Lansdale for many

years in Washington. I have no doubt that his identification of Lansdale in the tramp photo

is accurate. If Lansdale was in Dealey Plaza, maybe Professor Simkin will be kind enough

to explain this coincidence to us.

Jack

I think it's very useful that John Simkin posted his take on Lansdale as a "good guy" because that gives some balance to an otherwise reptilian personna. Later today I will post some material on Lansdale's activities in Luzon 1945-1954 viz-a-viz the Huks, which is informed by a recent Pentagon analysis of what Lansdale, Bohannan, and Valeriano actually did (as opposed to what they professed to be doing). This is one of the best things about Grahame Greene's portrayal of Pyle in The Quiet American, by characterizing him as a sort of evangelical missionary who did evil by doing good. I had the same experience with Ted Shackley who projected the image of an extraordinary good guy while doing unbelievably vile things. (If anybody tops Lansdale, it's Shackley, the White Vampire.) I had childhood friends in Asia who as adults worked in Black Ops for Shackley in Vientiane and Saigon, and who totally believed in the evangelical image. But this is the crux of the problem. Americans see themselves as evangelicals, when they are often actually political pederasts sodding the rest of the world, like priests driving the fear of god into choir-boys. One wishes they would stop inflicting their dubious blessings on the rest of humanity. The price is far too high. /// As to Fletch and Dealey Plaza, Fletch knew the real Lansdale from 1945 on to the bitter end, and if Fletch says Lansdale was in Dealey Plaza, that's uniquely persuasive to me. Dallas was like a fraternity picnic for so may people, we may never unscramble who all were there. I knew Lansdale fairly well, and spent a lot of time with Bohannan, a professional killer who executed Lansdale's instructions in Manila and Saigon, but I never actually met Valeriano (the psychopathic killer) face to face. It was Valeriano's team of hitmen who snuffed a number of prominent leftists and other dissenters in Japan, and quite a few in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and -- of course -- the Philippines. These were the guys who tortured Laurel at Malacanang Palace, while trying to force Laurel to give up the codes and original docs he had as a partner of "Santy" (Santa Romana) in the recovery and distribution of the war loot recovered by Santy and Lansdale in Luzon. They tore out Laurel's fingernails, cut off his genitals, ripped out his left eyeball, and (when Laurel finally admitted that he had made his wife his beneficiary) they dragged him half dead before a priest to marry him to a Marcos family member so they could attempt to claim she was his heir. This was all done to oblige the US Treasury and the Fed to pay off on billions of dollars in bonds and notes. I have personally examined those documents in the originals, and have on CD a forensic study of their validity carried out by the University of Catalonia in Spain. If these were good guys, and evangelicals, I'd really like to have somebody explain to me how I can distinguish them from real "bad guys". The only distinction I can discover is that real "bad guys" do not pretend to be "good guys". A footnote: Lansdale was personally obsessed -- as only an old advertising man can be obsessed -- with umbrellas and the Eye of Ra (the right eye of Ra is the "evil eye" although Lansdale often used the left eye which is the benign or feminine). It was Lansdale who set up the channel known as "The Umbrella Organization" to move the war loot all over the world; so it says a lot for Fletch to identify Lansdale as the bum who then raised and opened an umbrella at Dealey Plaza.

Sterling

Jack and Peter ~

Here's my promised bird's-eye view of Lansdale and the Huks, based on new material including a Pentagon study of newly declassified docs. For lots more detail on Lansdale's disinformation campaign, see The Marcos Dynasty.

Today many people think the Cold War began with the Berlin Airlift or the Korean War. In Asia it actually began in the Philippines early in 1946 when an authentic land-reform movement of poor farmers known as the Huks was malignantly re-labeled a deadly Marxist conspiracy to overthrow the Manila government. By pouring gasoline on the rural fire, wildly exaggerating its size and potential, claiming it was being funded and supplied by Moscow, the Huk protest movement was made to seem like a raging civil war, requiring urgent attention and millions of dollars in military aid to Manila. The man who went out of his way to provoke this, and later polished his skills in Vietnam, Laos, and Latin America, was the former advertising agency copywriter and account executive Edward Lansdale. He had spent World War II in San Francisco writing propaganda for the OSS, in the process wildly inflaming his imagination, then was sent to Manila in 1945 to keep him on the payroll under the escutcheon of U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence, G-2.

Lansdale did not dream up the Cold War, but he was an agent of those who did. His corporate clients this time were a powerful group of high-flying Wall Street bankers and lawyers, Washington bureaucrats and journalists, in what was called The Georgetown Set -- in particular a small group within the Set known as the Dulles brothers’ coven, a clandestine group of OSS officers, field agents and spooks, and their colleagues with secretive portfolios in various branches of the Roosevelt administration inherited by President Truman.

The war with Japan had twice altered political relationships throughout Asia. In China, the Dutch East Indies, Malaya, Indochina, Burma, and The Philippines, resistance groups fighting the Japanese became America’s allies. When the war ended, the same guerrilla forces initially became America’s enemies, without exception. In most cases, after the war the guerrillas continued to fight for independence from returning colonial powers, British, French, or Dutch.

During Japan’s occupation of The Philippines, there were guerrilla bands on different islands, but the most effective fighters were the Huks of central Luzon. Some 50,000 men and women, mostly tenant farmers in the rich agricultural lands of Pampanga and neighboring provinces. They took to the hills and harassed the Japanese effectively, often aided by American soldiers who escaped during the Bataan Death March. Most Huks had no education or political ideology, and were driven to rebellion by the tyranny of big landowners. But among their leaders were a few radical student activists, who entered politics after the war to continue campaigning for land reform. The big landowners fought back by calling them Marxist terrorists.

With things going badly in China for the regime of Chiang Kai-shek, the prospect of communist victories electrified the White House and State Department. In Japan, postwar land reform had already been achieved, but there was still time to clean up some war criminals and put them back in power; strikes, labor unions, and leftist politicians could be suppressed. The situation in the Philippines was more ambiguous.

In February 1946, the U.S. Congress debated the issue of Huk veteran rights. It had long been established that any Filipino who served in the U.S. military, including those who fought as guerrillas against the Japanese, were to be considered as American soldiers. In a move that shocked Filipinos, Congress initially denied the Huks their rights and benefits under the GI Bill, breaking a promise made to them by General MacArthur. They were also denied back-pay, hospitalization, mustering-out pay, and burial benefits. It was the first legislative sign that America had now entered into a Cold War mentality, not against a particular nation but against an alien state of mind, colored red, subgroup “terrorist”.

Philippine independence remained on schedule for July 4, 1946. The election for positions in the new government was held in April. A handsome and popular young Huk leader named Luis Taruc easily won a seat in the Filipino congress, but he and other Huk candidates were then rejected on unspecific allegations of ‘voting irregularities’. Shunned by the ruling elite, the Huks retreated into the rainforest and mountains they knew so well, and resumed their insurrection. The newly elected President Manuel Roxas, MacArthur’s designated candidate, declared a “mailed fist” policy toward the Huks.

The mailed fist was Lansdale at U.S. Army G-2 in Manila. His solution to the Huk ‘problem’ was a campaign of terror. As psychological warfare, he had village walls painted with the ‘all-seeing-eye’ of the ancient Egyptian sun god, called the Eye-of-Ra, or ‘evil eye’, then had villagers march in single file past a hooded figure whose nod was a death sentence -- a tactic borrowed from the Japanese kempeitai.

With an unlimited budget from Washington, Lansdale created death squads called Nenita Units, or ‘skull squads’, whose mission was to find and kill Huks wherever they could be found, including men, women, and children -- a policy the CIA later called ‘gradual extermination’. When armed Huks proved strangely difficult to find, all effort was devoted to wiping out villages ‘assumed’ to be associated somehow with the Huks. Hundreds of villages across central Luzon were mortared, shelled, torched with flame-throwers. American napalm was used to destroy crops and villages. Those farmers who escaped the flames were rounded up and shot. This brutality was worse than that of the Japanese occupation.

Stripped of disinformation, this was to exterminate all Filipino peasant farmers who would not submit to exploitation by the oligarchic families favored by Washington. (Here it is worth bearing in mind some interesting figures: During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, approximately 250,000 Filipinos are believed to have died; during the American conquest of the Philippines at the end of the Spanish-American War, when most of the U.S. Army were in the Philippines, the Filipino casualty figure was approximately 1-million.)

As Lansdale had no combat experience, he sought out American veterans with unusual experience killing Japanese. Foremost among them was Lieutenant Charles ‘Boh’ Bohannan, who had made a name for himself killing Japanese in New Guinea. To head all the Nenita death squads Lansdale and Bohannan chose a sleekly handsome Filipino with a bottomless appetite for killing. Napoleon Valeriano was a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy who had fought in Bataan, then escaped from a Japanese prison camp to be picked up by a U.S. submarine and taken to Australia. There he became a protege of MacArthur and his head of G-2, General Charles Willoughby, with whom Valeriano shared a pathological anticommunism. Valeriano quickly rose to colonel’s rank in the U.S. Army, and after Japan’s surrender went after the men he blamed for his father’s death during the war, whom he believed to be members of ‘the Manila Politburo’. It was the start of his new career dedicated to anticommunist death squads and ‘skull-squadrons’ in The Philippines, Indochina, and Central America, all under the guidance of Lansdale and Bohannan.

In Luzon, they applied these terror tactics to everyone they could find in large tracts of land considered ‘free kill zones’ in which death squads killed all villagers, farmers, loggers, fishermen, rural laborers, or members of isolated tribes of aborigines. In most cases, no effort whatever was made to identify them as Huks before they were killed. The ‘skull-squadrons’ rarely took prisoners, usually just stopping anybody they encountered and shooting them in the back of the head. Whether or not they were Huks did not matter.

Soon, not a day passed when bodies were not seen floating in the rivers, or strewn by roadsides. Valeriano’s ‘Nenita’ death-squads were roaring around Central Luzon with skull-and-crossbones flags flying from their jeeps and scout cars, looking for victims of all ages. Their cruelty and lust for murder were psychotic. A Filipino senator wrote to President Roxas demanding the removal of Valeriano from Pampanga, “for having committed many atrocities, not only against dissident elements but against law-abiding people.”

The Nenita wasted no time with legal procedures or even interrogation. In return, the Huks, who had learned to fight under brutal Japanese occupation, treated captured Military Police with equal viciousness. Bohannan and Valeriano countered by then demanding mutilation of bodies. They introduced a new weapon in their terror campaign: two ice-picks taped together and used to stab villagers in the throat, leaving what looked like vampire bite-marks in a horror movie. Ghoulish stories of vampires were spread across the countryside, of which these mutilation killings were evidence.

The reason Lansdale had such a deep purse and a completely free hand to say and do whatever he wished, was an event that happened in total secrecy, making him the darling of what would become the new CIA. Immediately after his first arrival in Manila in September 1945, Lansdale heard the buzz in G-2 about a secret operation at Bilibad Prison where an agent named Santa Romana was torturing a Japanese officer. The prisoner, Major Kojima Kashii, had driven General Yamaxxxxa around in a command car during the last months of the war. It was widely believed that he knew the locations of secret vaults where the Japanese had hidden tons of treasure taken as war loot from across Asia. In previous months, big hoards of Nazi gold and art treasures had been found in Europe. The Japanese hoard could be even bigger, as Japan had started looting many years earlier when it invaded Korea in 1895. If Santa Romana could force the major to show them the vaults, America could recover vast sums of gold, platinum, barrels of currency taken from banks, and priceless art works including solid gold Buddha statues. Even better, The Philippines were still an American colony, so there would be no need to share the treasure with the allies, as had happened in Europe.

Excited, Lansdale put himself in charge of the torture. Eventually he persuaded Santa Romana to try bribery, and soon afterward Major Kojima showed them the entrances to twelve vaults scattered across northern Luzon. Inside they found solid gold ingots stacked six feet tall in row after row across chambers the size of tennis courts. Lansdale flew to Tokyo to brief MacArthur, then to Washington where he briefed the War Department and President Truman’s chief security adviser, Navy Commander Clark Clifford. Truman decided the vaults in The Philippines must be recovered secretly to avoid a global financial crisis.

While Lansdale was in Washington, Clifford introduced him to the Dulles coven. Among its members were policy-makers such as Averill Harriman, John McCloy, Paul Nitze, George Kennan, Dean Acheson, David Bruce, Walt Rostow, and ‘Chip’ Bohlen -- pointmen for the most powerful families in America. The hard core of the Dulles coven were a small group of very secretive and conspiratorial men who would head the new CIA: Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell, Tom Braden, Cord Meyer, James Angleton, Tracy Barnes, Frank Wisner, and Desmond FitzGerald. Because Allen Dulles knew little about the Orient, Wisner and FitzGerald would be in charge of black operations in Asia. This group adopted Lansdale, and for years afterward whenever he was in Washington, he was a favorite guest at the weekly drinking parties in the Allen Dulles household. There he became especially close to Wisner and FitzGerald. As a man obsessed by secret societies and covert operations, Lansdale had fantasies of cabals ruling Europe and the United States from the shadows. His introduction to the Dulles coven, and its extreme secrecy, affirmed his most eccentric imaginings. These men were the eye at the top of the pyramid, whose responsibility was to maintain surveillance and control of everyone beneath them. Lansdale knew that in the 18th century, Freemasons were famously involved in revolutionary movements in Europe. Some of America’s Founding Fathers had been Masons, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Benedict Arnold, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. The pervasive influence of Freemasonry was manifest for all to see in the cryptic symbols on U.S. Currency, the Great Seal, and the designs and inscriptions of monuments and public buildings in the capital. From this it was only a small jump to Lansdale’s fetish with the Wedjat, or Eye-of-Ra, the magisterial eye of the ruling Establishment, and its self-proclaimed illuminati. Flattered and inspired by all the attention from these men in the inner circle of power, Lansdale returned to Manila with a mission, and a free hand to do whatever he could to block the spread of communism in Asia, starting with the Huks.

According to a Pentagon study of documents recently declassified, Lansdale told Bohannan explicitly: “I have the charges, you invent the facts!”

There were careers to be boosted, great sums to be misappropriated by the U.S. Congress for the new anti-communist crusade. As Lansdale pointed out many times, this was best done by stirring the pot, and scaring everyone.

“If there isn’t fire,” he told Bohannan, “we’ll light one.” If the Huks were not sufficiently ‘marxist’ or sufficiently ‘terrorist’, Lansdale and Bohannan would and did stage all the acts of terror needed, using special units of the Philippine Army pretending to be Huks, while Lansdale’s movie cameras filmed the attacks. (See THE MARCOS DYNASTY for the bizarre details.)

Lansdale launched a public relations spectacle modeled on the U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). HUAC had got its start in the mid-1930s, investigating Nazi and Soviet propaganda inside the United States. After the Nazi defeat in 1945, HUAC focussed exclusively on Communists and ‘fellow travelers’. One committee member famously asked a witness whether Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe had been a member of the Communist Party. Senator Joe McCarthy went on a rampage of accusations that destroyed the careers of government officials, diplomats, scientists, and more than 300 artists—film directors, radio commentators, actors and screenwriters. Some, like Charlie Chaplin, left the U.S. for good. In most cases, only allegations were necessary to doom the person named.

Lansdale persuaded cooperative Filipino congressmen to create the House Un-Filipino Activities Committee of the Philippine Congress. Its public hearings started in October 1948, with Immigration Commissioner Fabre testifying that “Communistic tendencies among aliens here will spread unless the government takes [action].” Fabre said four White Russian emigres seeking refuge in the Philippines were ordered to be deported because of the danger that they might be smuggling weapons and money tok the Huks. No evidence whatever was provided to support the notion. The skipper of a Russian ship had refused to take them aboard. Shanghai authorities also refused to accept them. Commissioner Fabre got lurid press coverage when he declared that one of the four imprisoned White Russians had lost his temper and “threatened to come back here as a two-star general”.

Fabre could not avoid acting as Lansdale’s mouthpiece because Bohannan had learned that Fabre was operating his own Immigration Department racket, extorting big payments from people who overstayed their visas.

Violent events then changed the rules of habeas corpus. On April 28, 1949, the widow of prewar President Manuel Quezon was on her way by car through the Sierra Madre mountains to inaugurate the Quezon Memorial Hospital in her home town of Baler. She was accompanied by her eldest daughter, and son-in-law. Mrs. Quezon was hugely popular as a ‘queen-mother and patron saint’, but Lansdale considered her a dangerous populist. According to press reports, her small motorcade was “ambushed by 210 Huks under the leadership of Commander Stalin” -- a name dreamed up by Lansdale. Mrs. Quezon, her daughter and son-in-law, all died. The outpouring of grief over their death, blamed on the Huks, made it easy for President Quirino to shut down civil rights in October 1950 by declaring martial law, suspending habeas corpus throughout the country. TIME magazine quoted a Philippine Congressman saying that suspension of habeas corpus was “less to ferret out Communists than to intimidate Quirino critics.”

This outburst of hypocrisy -- punishing the weak for the crimes of the strong -- was a particular sorepoint to the popular Dr. Victor Buencamino, head of the School of Veterinary Science and onetime advisor to President Quezon. His family were among Pampanga’s biggest landowners, with thousands of acres of sugar cane, but he was appalled by what his fellow oligarchs had done to Filipinos:

“It was the task of my generation, under the leadership of Quezon, to seek the independence of this country. Then came the war, and something snapped. It was patriotic to steal from the enemy; to sabotage him. The only trouble was that long after the war was over, the stealing orgy went on, not the least among those in positions of authority. The desire to possess material things became a pervasive obsession. The prewar brand of integrity seems to have been destroyed. Vote buying became more rampant. Terrorism reigned, often with the acquiescence of the men at the top. Quezon once said he’d rather have a government run like hell by the Filipinos than a government run like heaven by the Americans. It is a tragedy that a government run like hell came so soon.”

For Lansdale, Bohannan, and Valeriano, it was only a test-run for Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and all of Central America. ⌘

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Antti ~

That sure looks like Lansdale's skull and hairline. He had a very pronounced facial and skull structure. I don't know if he always wore glasses, because I did not meet him until just before the Bay of Pigs. (I had been in Cuba during 1958-1959, and had a good Cuban source who was a medical doctor on one of the invasion ships, who gave me his diary of the disaster, which I translated for the Post.) Lansdale did wear glasses then, with a "bridle" or whatever those straps are called to keep them around your neck, and I could swear that the man in this photo Peter posted has such a bridle dangling behind his ears toward his collar. I'm sure that Fletcher Prouty was able to judge based on this view alone. I have other reasons for taking Fletcher seriously. He was a remarkably good source for me when I was at The Washington Post (1962-1965), on a wide range of investigations not having anything to do with Lansdale. And he continued to be an excellent source for my book The Marcos Dynasty, since Prouty flew VIPs back and forth between Washington and Manila, was an insider on the cocktail circuit in Georgetown, and spent so many years as liaison between the DIA and CIA.

Sterling

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Antti ~

That sure looks like Lansdale's skull and hairline. He had a very pronounced facial and skull structure. ....

Sterling

Sterling, please take at a look at another tramp photo linked below, taken shortly after the one just posted, and note the man seen in profile just to the left of "Frenchy". To me this man bears a remarkable resemblance to Lansdale. He MAY be the same man seen from behind in the earlier photo, but maybe not. I have always thought that this is the man Prouty referred to as being Lansdale, but I never spoke to Prouty. Anyway, note that the tall (middle) tramp seems to be making eye contact with the Lansdale lookalike in this photo.

This profile view looks identical to Lansdale as seen in profile in a 1965 photo in Vietnam, Photo No. 18 in Cecil B. Currey's Lansdale biography.

http://ken_ashford.typepad.com/photos/unca...3/21/tramps.png

What say you?

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As for Lansdale at Dealey Plaza, John Newman said he tracked Lansdale down to the hotel in Fort Worth where JFK stayed the night before the assassination.

But I got the names of two other guys with possible Dealey Plaza connections.

Napoleon Valeriano and Gabe Kaplan.

Does anyone have any goods on these guys who were on Lansdale's team? - BK

From Joseph Smith's Portrait of a Cold Warrior (Putnam, 1976, p. 94)

A large psychological warfare unit was developed and trained...History and traditions in all of the Huk areas were studied for clues to the appropriate appeals to make to wean the populace from supporting the Huks. Paul Linebarger made a number of trips to the Philippines to advise Lansdale on operations.

It was in connection with Linebarger's involvement in Philippine operations that I had one of my few direct contacts with the events that transpired there. In the fall of 1952, I was given the assignment of picking up one of the Lansdale team, Napoleon Valeriano, at the Philippine Embassy and taking him to Linebarger's house for a training session. Valeriano was not only one of the key members of the team, but he was one whom Lansdale counted on in future operations. When valeriano was in Vietnam helping Lansdale in the early days of the Diem regime, he carreied off to Saigon the wife of a wealthy Filipino businessman. The injured husband immediately put out a contract on Valeriano, and he was never able to set foot in Manila again. It would have meant instant death. Subsequently, Valeriano worked in the Pentagon, trained the Cuban brigade preparing for the Bay of Pigs invasion, and was involved in post-Bay of Pigs activities with which Lansdale was concerned.

Valeriano and I arrived at Linebarger's at five o'clock one afternoon and stayed four hours. Paul concentrated on his con-man line concerning how to use a subject's own hopes and longingsto achieve results desired in a psychological operation.....

...Supporting this basic program were propaganda efforts - films, special radio programs, and so forth. George Aurell, the new division chief, never felt comfortable about any of this. He used to come over to our Plans offic and unburden himself to Kay. "What in hell is an intelligence agency doing running a rural resetlement program?" he used to ask. "I'm glad to help fight the Huks, but is it our job to rebuild a nation?" Ed Lansdale and his team in the Philippines, and later elsewhere, were convinced it was. Des Fitzgerald had no trouble tolerating this sort of diversity....

(p.96)

"Actually Des Fitzgerald had recruited a New York lawyer and politician, Gabriel Kaplan, whose sensitivity for political nuances he admired, to go to Manila to help Lansdale elect Magsaysay president two years before the election was to take place. Gabe Kaplan wasa Jacob Javits-style Republican,....

(p. 251)

...Gabe Kaplan's cover was an enviable concoction...He first came out to the Philippines under Asia Foundation cover...and it's president was Gabe's classmate at Swarthmore,....The core of tis cover was the Catherwood Foundation of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Catherwood contineud to be a CIA funding mechanism down to th Ramparts expose of this kind of cover arrangement in 1967....

(p.335)

...After August, 1960, the operational planning of the Cuban task force changed course. Sicne Hunt and Droller couldn't form a political organization sufficiently coherent to confront Castro, the emphasis shifted to a larger scale military action. Napoleon Valeriano, Ed Lansdale's man, who had been training the Cuban exile guerrilla fighters, was dismissed and $13 million tgo train a full fledged fighting brigade was approved. John Kennedy didn't know it, but there was no chance that the operation which had been originally approved in March, 1960, could be undertaken before the November elections....

Edited by William Kelly
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Antti ~

That sure looks like Lansdale's skull and hairline. He had a very pronounced facial and skull structure. ....

Sterling

Sterling, please take at a look at another tramp photo linked below, taken shortly after the one just posted, and note the man seen in profile just to the left of "Frenchy". To me this man bears a remarkable resemblance to Lansdale. He MAY be the same man seen from behind in the earlier photo, but maybe not. I have always thought that this is the man Prouty referred to as being Lansdale, but I never spoke to Prouty. Anyway, note that the tall (middle) tramp seems to be making eye contact with the Lansdale lookalike in this photo.

This profile view looks identical to Lansdale as seen in profile in a 1965 photo in Vietnam, Photo No. 18 in Cecil B. Currey's Lansdale biography.

http://ken_ashford.typepad.com/photos/unca...3/21/tramps.png

What say you?

It's possible, I grant, but I can't be sure. There seems to be some disfigurement to the skin on this guy's neck, what I think of as "turkey neck" often caused by ingrown hairs. I'd have to study it under an eyepiece, and compare it to various Lansdale photos. I never feel at ease with Dealey photos or videos because so many of them were doctored or messed with. I do trust my instincts, however, and everything I've learned tells me Lansdale was heavily involved in Dallas, whatever the particulars. Bill Kelly's new post on Valeriano shows how much Lansdale's closest hitmen were to the Cuban and Central American ops. If Lansdale was sleeping in Ft. Worth the night before the assassination, and Valeriano was connected to Dealey, that reinforces. It's too easy for people to announce that Lansdale had nothing to do with it. If he thinks like a rat, smells like a rat, and was in all the rat places... why all the denial?

Sterling

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As for Lansdale at Dealey Plaza, John Newman said he tracked Lansdale down to the hotel in Fort Worth where JFK stayed the night before the assassination.

But I got the names of two other guys with possible Dealey Plaza connections.

Napoleon Valeriano and Gabe Kaplan.

Does anyone have any goods on these guys who were on Lansdale's team? - BK

From Joseph Smith's Portrait of a Cold Warrior (Putnam, 1976, p. 94)

A large psychological warfare unit was developed and trained...History and traditions in all of the Huk areas were studied for clues to the appropriate appeals to make to wean the populace from supporting the Huks. Paul Linebarger made a number of trips to the Philippines to advise Lansdale on operations.

It was in connection with Linebarger's involvement in Philippine operations that I had one of my few direct contacts with the events that transpired there. In the fall of 1952, I was given the assignment of picking up one of the Lansdale team, Napoleon Valeriano, at the Philippine Embassy and taking him to Linebarger's house for a training session. Valeriano was not only one of the key members of the team, but he was one whom Lansdale counted on in future operations. When valeriano was in Vietnam helping Lansdale in the early days of the Diem regime, he carreied off to Saigon the wife of a wealthy Filipino businessman. The injured husband immediately put out a contract on Valeriano, and he was never able to set foot in Manila again. It would have meant instant death. Subsequently, Valeriano worked in the Pentagon, trained the Cuban brigade preparing for the Bay of Pigs invasion, and was involved in post-Bay of Pigs activities with which Lansdale was concerned.

Valeriano and I arrived at Linebarger's at five o'clock one afternoon and stayed four hours. Paul concentrated on his con-man line concerning how to use a subject's own hopes and longingsto achieve results desired in a psychological operation.....

...Supporting this basic program were propaganda efforts - films, special radio programs, and so forth. George Aurell, the new division chief, never felt comfortable about any of this. He used to come over to our Plans offic and unburden himself to Kay. "What in hell is an intelligence agency doing running a rural resetlement program?" he used to ask. "I'm glad to help fight the Huks, but is it our job to rebuild a nation?" Ed Lansdale and his team in the Philippines, and later elsewhere, were convinced it was. Des Fitzgerald had no trouble tolerating this sort of diversity....

(p.96)

"Actually Des Fitzgerald had recruited a New York lawyer and politician, Gabriel Kaplan, whose sensitivity for political nuances he admired, to go to Manila to help Lansdale elect Magsaysay president two years before the election was to take place. Gabe Kaplan wasa Jacob Javits-style Republican,....

(p. 251)

...Gabe Kaplan's cover was an enviable concoction...He first came out to the Philippines under Asia Foundation cover...and it's president was Gabe's classmate at Swarthmore,....The core of tis cover was the Catherwood Foundation of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Catherwood contineud to be a CIA funding mechanism down to th Ramparts expose of this kind of cover arrangement in 1967....

(p.335)

...After August, 1960, the operational planning of the Cuban task force changed course. Sicne Hunt and Droller couldn't form a political organization sufficiently coherent to confront Castro, the emphasis shifted to a larger scale military action. Napoleon Valeriano, Ed Lansdale's man, who had been training the Cuban exile guerrilla fighters, was dismissed and $13 million tgo train a full fledged fighting brigade was approved. John Kennedy didn't know it, but there was no chance that the operation which had been originally approved in March, 1960, could be undertaken before the November elections....

Bill ~

There's a lot about Valeriano's personal background in The Marcos Dynasty. And he reappears in The Yamato Dynasty because of a young American woman (daughter of a US diplomat in Japan) who told how astonished and appalled she was by the abrupt appearance at her home of Lansdale and a group of hitmen from Manila (including Valeriano) who made no attempt to hide their weapons or to disguise their mission to snuff some people in Tokyo.

Sterling

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Mr. Seagrave (or anyone else),

Fletcher Prouty insinuated that Lansdale's counter-insurgency against the Huks in the Phillipines was, at least in part, "make war," that is, a traveling war of phoney battles where one cadre of men play both sides using a combination of real and fake ammo. The purpose of the ruse was to create a hero among the populace, the commander who "won" battle after battle in the countryside. This hero(Magsaysay, if memory serves) then went on to win the presidency, thus putting someone in America/CIA pocket.

Is there is anyone out there who can shed any light on whether there is any truth to this story?

Al ~

This aspect of Lansdale's antics in the Philippines is covered in great detail in my book The Marcos Dynasty, including his fake war movies, his promos of Magsaysay, and all the boondoggles with elections. There hasn't been a fair election in the Philippines since 1945, or for that matter since the US arrived with a boatload of "democracy" and hijacked the Filipino independence movement.

Sterling

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I talked with Fletch several times about Lansdale. He shared an office with Lansdale for many

years in Washington. I have no doubt that his identification of Lansdale in the tramp photo

is accurate.

Jack

Jack: Did Prouty ever comment on the guy on the left (i.e. on Frenchy's right) in this photo?

http://ken_ashford.typepad.com/photos/unca...3/21/tramps.png

Also, the man in the dark suit on the right of this photo (wearing what could be a conventioneers name tag) looks like a match for the man seen only from behind in the other tramp photo posted earlier on this thread. It looks as though he may have turned around to follow the procession. If so, he is way too young to be Lansdale.

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Antti ~

That sure looks like Lansdale's skull and hairline. He had a very pronounced facial and skull structure. ....

Sterling

Sterling, please take at a look at another tramp photo linked below, taken shortly after the one just posted, and note the man seen in profile just to the left of "Frenchy". To me this man bears a remarkable resemblance to Lansdale. He MAY be the same man seen from behind in the earlier photo, but maybe not. I have always thought that this is the man Prouty referred to as being Lansdale, but I never spoke to Prouty. Anyway, note that the tall (middle) tramp seems to be making eye contact with the Lansdale lookalike in this photo.

This profile view looks identical to Lansdale as seen in profile in a 1965 photo in Vietnam, Photo No. 18 in Cecil B. Currey's Lansdale biography.

http://ken_ashford.typepad.com/photos/unca...3/21/tramps.png

What say you?

It's possible, I grant, but I can't be sure. There seems to be some disfigurement to the skin on this guy's neck, what I think of as "turkey neck" often caused by ingrown hairs. I'd have to study it under an eyepiece, and compare it to various Lansdale photos. I never feel at ease with Dealey photos or videos because so many of them were doctored or messed with. I do trust my instincts, however, and everything I've learned tells me Lansdale was heavily involved in Dallas, whatever the particulars. Bill Kelly's new post on Valeriano shows how much Lansdale's closest hitmen were to the Cuban and Central American ops. If Lansdale was sleeping in Ft. Worth the night before the assassination, and Valeriano was connected to Dealey, that reinforces. It's too easy for people to announce that Lansdale had nothing to do with it. If he thinks like a rat, smells like a rat, and was in all the rat places... why all the denial?

Sterling

Many thanks to Sterling for sharing his keen and insightful knowledge.

Would James or someone have a photo of Napoleon Valeriano?

While it's easy to view Dealey Plaza as a Lansdale operation, simply based on his track record and style, other than him being in the neighborhood at the time, and possibly photographed at DP sometime after the assassination, there's not much hard evidence at the scene that links him to the crime. I guess that's to be expected if he was putting the operation together, killing JFK, framing Oswald, blaming Castro, and compromise every possible investigation.

There are the shells found by the sniper's nest which were traced to a batch sold to USMC in 1954, when they could have been used in covert ops in Guatemala, Iran or elsewhere.

Then there's Gabe Kaplan, whose Swarthmore college mate was head of CIA's Asia Foundation. Ruth Paine's papers are archived at Swarthmore, and Michael Paine, after leaving Harvard also attended Swarthmore, a small Quaker school on the Main Line in Philadelphia.

Joe Smith says that Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, where Paul Linebarger taught, was a practically run as a CIA adjunct, so maybe they used Swarthmore in a similar way.

More on Paul Linebarger, who introduced Joe Smith to Lansdale.

http://jfkcountercoup.blogspot.com/2008/01...aley-plaza.html

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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Antti ~

That sure looks like Lansdale's skull and hairline. He had a very pronounced facial and skull structure. ....

Sterling

Sterling, please take at a look at another tramp photo linked below, taken shortly after the one just posted, and note the man seen in profile just to the left of "Frenchy". To me this man bears a remarkable resemblance to Lansdale. He MAY be the same man seen from behind in the earlier photo, but maybe not. I have always thought that this is the man Prouty referred to as being Lansdale, but I never spoke to Prouty. Anyway, note that the tall (middle) tramp seems to be making eye contact with the Lansdale lookalike in this photo.

This profile view looks identical to Lansdale as seen in profile in a 1965 photo in Vietnam, Photo No. 18 in Cecil B. Currey's Lansdale biography.

http://ken_ashford.typepad.com/photos/unca...3/21/tramps.png

What say you?

It's possible, I grant, but I can't be sure. There seems to be some disfigurement to the skin on this guy's neck, what I think of as "turkey neck" often caused by ingrown hairs. I'd have to study it under an eyepiece, and compare it to various Lansdale photos. I never feel at ease with Dealey photos or videos because so many of them were doctored or messed with. I do trust my instincts, however, and everything I've learned tells me Lansdale was heavily involved in Dallas, whatever the particulars. Bill Kelly's new post on Valeriano shows how much Lansdale's closest hitmen were to the Cuban and Central American ops. If Lansdale was sleeping in Ft. Worth the night before the assassination, and Valeriano was connected to Dealey, that reinforces. It's too easy for people to announce that Lansdale had nothing to do with it. If he thinks like a rat, smells like a rat, and was in all the rat places... why all the denial?

Sterling

Many thanks to Sterling for sharing his keen and insightful knowledge.

Would James or someone have a photo of Napoleon Valeriano?

While it's easy to view Dealey Plaza as a Lansdale operation, simply based on his track record and style, other than him being in the neighborhood at the time, and possibly photographed at DP sometime after the assassination, there's not much hard evidence at the scene that links him to the crime. I guess that's to be expected if he was putting the operation together, killing JFK, framing Oswald, blaming Castro, and compromise every possible investigation.

There are the shells found by the sniper's nest which were traced to a batch sold to USMC in 1954, when they could have been used in covert ops in Guatemala, Iran or elsewhere.

Then there's Gabe Kaplan, whose college mate was president of Swarthmore and head of CIA's Asia Foundation. Ruth Paine's papers are archived at Swarthmore, and Michael Paine, after leaving Harvard also attended Swarthmore, a small Quaker school on the Main Line in Philadelphia.

Joe Smith says that Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, where Paul Linebarger taught, was a practically run as a CIA adjunct, so maybe they used Swarthmore in a similar way.

More on Paul Linebarger, who introduced Joe Smith to Lansdale.

http://jfkcountercoup.blogspot.com/2008/01...aley-plaza.html

BK

Bill ~

There's a photo of Valeriano in The Marcos Dynasty. I'll scan it and upload it soon as possible.

Sterling

post-5658-1228682042_thumb.jpg

Edited by Sterling Seagrave
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Sounds like Lansdale is not a"good guy"... if indeed he orchestrated something like an elaborate con or Psyops drama in Dealey, you'd think there would be some 'footprints' left. But if he was the true professional, then he'd also artfully cover his tracks. But either way, its hard for me to put an angelic face on him, or even remotely admire his political views regarding Viet Nam. The last part - about his obsession with umbrellas - seems like an obvious trademark on the kill zone.

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  • 3 months later...

I can't believe this thread exists and nobody has ever posted this letter.....to Prouty from General "Brute" Krulak...

It is on Prouty's website, which is still online even though he is deceased.

Dear Fletch:

As I read your interesting letter it is plain that you have not wanted for interest or achievement in your life. It has to have been exciting and rewarding too.

Mine has been a lively existence too. I had much to do with Vietnam from '64 to '68, and was loudly disenchanted with what went on and how. I recorded it as part of my book First to Fight that came out a few months ago.

I've also spent ten years in the newspaper business (a most useful education) and now write a syndicated weekly column. I wrote another book, Organization for National Security that resulted in my testifying before a Senate committee.

All taken together, a stirring life.

As to your chronicle concerning the JFK assassination period, I remember your going to Antarctica. I was in the Pentagon at the time of the tragedy but have no recollection of where Lansdale was.

The pictures.-- The two policemen are carrying shotguns, not rifles. Their caps are different (one a white chinstrap, one black). One has a Dallas police shoulder patch, one does not and their caps differ from that of another police officer in photo 4. Reasonable conclusion -- they are either reservists or phonys. And, as you know, city cops don't have anything to do with Sheriff's offices.

As to photo no. 1. That is indeed a picture of Ed Lansdale. The haircut, the stoop, the twisted left hand, the large class ring. It's Lansdale. What in the world was he doing there? Has anyone ever asked him and who was the photographer? Why did he take the pictures? What did he do with them?

I have examined my own records and find no clue that would help. Suffice to say, it is a fascinating proposition.

I am returning your pictures.

Best regards always.

Sincerely,

[signed, Brute Krulak]

http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/USO/appD.html#pgfId=7194

Also Irrespective of the letter, and I am sure that there are those who claim that the letter is not authentic, [i am not claiming it is], Prouty wrote a book called Understanding Special Operations And Their Impact On the Vietnam War Era

It is online and can be found here

http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/USO/

Edited by Robert Howard
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