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Hal Verb


John Kelin
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Hi all,

I drop by this forum on an irregular basis, so I don't know whether the following has been posted. My apologies if it already has.

Ray Marcus, an early WR critic, called me this afternoon (12-17) with the news that Hal Verb died a couple of weeks ago, on December 4. He had been in a hospice for the last six months or so.

Like Ray, Hal Verb was an early WR critic. He lived in San Francisco. I met him on several occasions, but when I was researching the early critics a few years back he did not reply to my query letters, so I don't know much about him. He worked with Harold Weisberg for a time, I think, and is mentioned in "Oswald In New Orleans." I think he taught a class about the assassination at San Francisco State College...? Not sure about that though.

I remember Hal speaking on the grassy knoll at a remembrance ceremony a number of years back. He modified a familiar quote usually associated with the CIA: "You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you MAD."

John Kelin

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Hi all,

I drop by this forum on an irregular basis, so I don't know whether the following has been posted. My apologies if it already has.

Ray Marcus, an early WR critic, called me this afternoon (12-17) with the news that Hal Verb died a couple of weeks ago, on December 4. He had been in a hospice for the last six months or so.

Like Ray, Hal Verb was an early WR critic. He lived in San Francisco. I met him on several occasions, but when I was researching the early critics a few years back he did not reply to my query letters, so I don't know much about him. He worked with Harold Weisberg for a time, I think, and is mentioned in "Oswald In New Orleans." I think he taught a class about the assassination at San Francisco State College...? Not sure about that though.

I remember Hal speaking on the grassy knoll at a remembrance ceremony a number of years back. He modified a familiar quote usually associated with the CIA: "You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you MAD."

John Kelin

Hi John,

I was there too. I put my cassette tape recorder on Zapruder's pedistal, recorded the talks, transcribed them and posted them, at the time I think it was on Rich DelaRossa's JFKresearch forum. Phil Melanson has also passed away since then. - BK

The Event That Never Happened

DEALEY PLAZA MEMORIAL SERVICE - Sunday, 11/22/98 THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY.

Edited and transcribed by William Kelly

"Build the news upon the rock of truth and righteousness. Conduct it always upon the lines of fairness and integrity. Acknowledge the right of the people to get from the newspaper both sides of every important question." - George Bannerman Dealey, publisher of the Dallas Morning News.

CNN news reported that for the first time in 35 years there was to be no memorial service at Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1998, the anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

CBS News with Dan Rather reported that the Final Report of the JFK Assassinations Records Review Board "did find enough evidence to conclude that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only gunman," while the Final Report never concluded any such thing.

Then the Associated Press (AP) reported from Dallas on November 22 that, "JFK assassination hype fades" and that "other than the usual handful of curious people milling about Dealey Plaza, the day was expected to be uneventful..."

Bob Porter of the Fourth Floor Museum told a reporter that nothing was scheduled to happen at Dealey Plaza that day, even though, if he looked out his office window, he could see hundreds if not over a thousand people gathering around the Grassy Knoll for a memorial service in honor of the slain president.

Well, what actually occured was that from noon until 1pm, the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA) took a break from their fifth annual conference at Union Station, two blocks away, to hold a memorial service that was attended by a sea of people who filled the both sides of the street of the entire plaza. Participants in the JFK LANCER conference, also held in Dallas that weekend, also attended, as well as ordinary tourists, interested citizens and passersby.

COPA is an organization composed of three independent groups - the Assassination Records and Research Center (ARRC) of Washington D.C., the Committee for an Open Archvies (COA) and the Citizens for the Truth about the John F. Kennedy Assassination (CTKA). They are professional associations interested in developing the truth about the assassination, that lobbied extensively for the passage of the JFK Assassination Records Review Act and have met with Cuban officials in the Bahamas to obtain information about the assassination from Cuban sources.

In an address before COPA the previous day, the chairman of the Assassinations Records Review Board, John Tunheim reiterated the Final Report's first paragraph that it "will not offer conclusions about what the assassination records released did or did not prove," and that significant documents were missing and some were even destroyed by federal agencies after the board began its business of identifying and releasing records to the public.

Others who spoke at the COPA conference included Philadelphia attorney Vincent Salandria, history professor John Newman, former FBI agent William Turner and others who have been instrumental in reviewing the recently released documents and attempting to make sense of what the government wants to maintain a mystery.

At noon on Sunday, November 22, 1998, COPA board member, and Washington D.C. attorney Dan Alcorn began the memorial service at Dealey Plaza.

Dan Alcorn : The federal board - The JFK Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) discovered that many of the records have been destroyed, and we do not have a complete record. Yet we have a much more of a documentary record than we have had ever before.

There's a memorial down on the street that has a quotation from the bible: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

That quote is also inscribed on the wall of the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in McLean, Virginia, so there is a commonality of thought there. Many of us are here today because we have never believed that the government has told us the truth about the assassination, and we believe that unless we know the truth, we are not free.

Unless we know the truth about these events we are not a free people and we have not been a free people as long as we have been lied to about the events that occured here. The spirit of our commemorative event is to take those words to heart, and until we know the truth and the full truth of what occured in the street before us today on a day very much like today, a clear, sunny day in the fall of 1963.

On behalf of our organization I will make a challenge to you. Everyone here must be here because you care very deeply about the meaning of this event and what it means to our history as a nation. I will make the challenge to you to join us in our efforts in seeking the full truth about the assassination of President Kennedy. And not just the truth as pieced together by citizens who put in the time and effort to this, but to actually cause the government to tell the truth about this event, and for the government to come forward and give us a full and truthful accounting of what happened here in 1963. Otherwise, we in fact are not the free people we want to be, have been and we should be as a nation.

You know, it is a crime for a citizen of this country to tell a lie to a federal investigator, but it is not a crime for your government to lie to you. And we feel this is an unfair relationship. If it's a crime for us to lie to our government, it should be a crime for us t o lie as well.

It is in that spirit of investigation and of honest inquiry that our organization has worked closely with the Assassinations Records Review Board to get materials out. They ran into an obstructive wall of secrecy at the federal agencies. They told us that they ran into a Cold War system of secrecy that refused to relent on the documents and information as it related to this event. And this was thirty-five years after the event occured, and after a federal board was set up by the Congress to try to get information released about what happened here.

So we call on you to join us in our efforts. We think that great nations and civilizations cannot survive the kinds of doubt and turmoil that have been raised by the events that happened here. If you study the history of great civilizations you will find that when they lost their way in terms of truth, self-governing, democratic and republican institutions began their decline and was one of the reasons for their ultimate collapse. We do not want the decline and decay of our public and political system. We want to be a part of a healthy revival of those institutions.

We have experienced a decline in the public's trust in government since November,1963, a blimp in the charts that notes the significance of these events. Today a majority of people don't even bother to vote. The largest turnout of voters in American history was in 1960. The decline in public confidence in the government began with the ambush at Dealey Plaza and has continually declined since then. These trends are very troubling.

So we ask you to join us and support the effort we have started to try to pursue the truth of these events, to try to pursue credibility, honesty and openness on behalf of our governmental institutions. And by that effort to try to turn our nation in a healthy direction, to build stronger democratic institutions, to build a stronger faith between the pubic and its government. We feel that is essential, and we call on you as free citizens of this nation to join us in that effort.

I'm going to introduce to you a series of speakers who have been very involved in this issue and can give you the benefit of their experience as well. The first is Mark Lane, one of the earliest researchers in this case who did tremendous ground-breaking work, recorded much of his work for posterity and has written extensively about this case.

Mark Lane: I remember coming here thirty-five years ago and there were no crowds on the grassy knoll. But now, after all of these years, although they have a museum over there on the 6th Floor, which is a museum dedicated to a place where nothing happened. They don't have a plaque over here, on the grassy knoll, and they should.

Thirty-five years ago today the Dallas Morning News published a full page ad with the sarcastic heading: "Welcome To Dallas Mr. President," and then went on to practically call him a communist and a trator. That was then.

Today's Dallas Morning News has an editorial: "Kennedy's Legacy - The Time Is Ripe For Idealism," with no references to him being a communist or a traitor. Now he's a great man. They'll tell us everything about John Kennedy, everything, except who killed him. Because look at the rest of the Dallas Morning News, thirty-five years later, when every survey in America shows that 75 to 95% of the people are convinced that there was a conspiracy to kill John Kennedy, here we go in the guise of a book review in today's Dallas Morning News: Oswald Alone Killed Kennedy, Oswald Alone Killed Tippit, One Man Two Murders, they're sticking with the same story. I have but one word for the Dallas Morning News:

Shame. Shame on you, you are discracing the city of Dallas, and it is not fair to do that.

I'll tell you where there should be plaques in this city. There were a number of brave, courageous residents of this city, longtime residents of Texas, who had the courage to speak the truth to power in the face of intimidation and threats. Right over there was Jean Hill, and she's still there thirty-five years later, one of the first to tell the truth that shots came from behind that wooden fence. And they attacked her and ridiculed her. There should be a plaque over there commemorating her right on the spot where she is standing...

The Grassy Knoll should be called "Lee Bowers Memorial Park," the railroad bridge should be the Holland-Dode-Symmons Underpass - that's the monuments that should be named after the people of this state, people who had the courage to come forward with the truth, while the Dallas Morning News lied thirty-five years ago and continues to lie thirty-five years later.

This is the place where our leader was murdered. This is hollowed grown, and the people of this country know it. It is supose to be the largest tourist attraction in Dallas. There's people here all the time, at the grassy knoll, nobody looks for the truth from the 6th floor of the Book Depository building, because the people of America know the truth, even though the Dallas Morning News is unwilling to share the information with us.

That day in Dallas, in this city, at this location, when the government of the United States executed its own president, when that happened, we as a nation, lost our code of honor, lost our sense of honor. And it can only be restored when the government of the United States - and it will not do it without us insisting, and marching and fighting and voting, and putting this matter on the agenda,...but when that day comes that the government of the United States tells us the truth and all the factual details about the assassination, including their role in the murder. When that day comes, honor will be restored to this nation. Thank you.

Dan Alcorn: Our next speaker is a member of the Board of Directors of COPA, a medical doctor from San Francisco who has researched this issue and has written about it in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Columbia Journalism Review, Dr. Gary Agular.

Dr. Gary Agular: It's hard to follow such a powerful speaker as Mark Lane and I certainly can't hope to match his eloquence, wit or command of this case, but what I can share with you is evidence...that autopsy photos are missing. This is something that you will not read in the Dallas Morning News, Time or Newsweek, but is something that is very clearly established, the ARRB releases are very clear on the point, the autopsy pathologists have described autopsy photographs that are missing. One of them defiantly stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which was supposed to tell us the truth about the assassination...which not only did not report that, it wasn't released until the ARRB came along.

There is enormous evidence in the forensic, in the medical area alone that indicates there was more assassin, but what is most shameful of all is the government's willingness, even in subsequent investigations, to lie about that evidence. Thank God there was an Assassinations Records Review Board, thank God they did the work they did, because now we no longer have to rely on government appointed authorities to tell us that we can trust the government's original conclusions, because we know we can't.

We know they've destroyed evidence, not only in the medical-autopsy area, not only among photographs, we know that witnesses have been intimated, and it is ashame that you won't read about that. No credible journalist will touch the story. It is a story not unlike the story of the CIA and crack cocaine, which led to the downfall of Gary Webb, before two volumes of the CIA Inspector's Report that confirmed much more than what Gary Webb even alleged about the CIA's complicity in the cocaine importation. But you won't read about that in the Dallas Morning News. You barely get a small column about it in the New York Times after they devote many, many column inches defamined journalists who talk about the subject.

I think it is important that those of you who are here today continue to insist that your government is accountable to you and does not conduct its operations in secrecy, that it does not deny you the evidence that is collected in its investigations and that it be as accountable to us as it insists we be accountable to it.

I hope you will continue to work with us to force the government to be responsible and admit the full truth about the assassination of President Kennedy.

Dan Alcorn: Our next speaker is a member of the Board of Directors of COPA, a professor at Dartmouth, and the author of a number of books about the assassination, Dr. Phillip Melanson.

Dr. Phillip Melanson: Thank you. As we commemorate the 35th anniversary of this terrible political tragedy that so negatively affected our lives, our policies, our political system and our faith in our own government, we should remind ourselves that the tragedy of the President's assassination is compounded by a separate but related tragedy - the failulre of our law enforcement institutions, the failure of our political institutions and the failure of the media to affectively discover the truth of who killed President Kennedy and why. And until that happens, and it is never too late to find the truth if the citizens demand it, and until that happens the original tragedy will be compounded like a bad political debt into the next millenieum, and the faith in our political system will continue to erode.

I think also the failure to come to grips with who killed President Kennedy and why is related to the other assassinations in the 1960s, and that's why Martin Luther King's is begging the Justice Department to look for justice in that case, and we hear from Siran's lawyer in the case of Robert Kennedy.

If we had come to terms with what happened here at Dealey Plaza, discovered the truth and admitted it, the whole history of the 1960s would be different.

If the vast majority of the public believes this case is an unsolved conspiracy, who are the minority in officialdom to deny us the truth and to cling to the lone-assassin theory like it was an absolute religion in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Thank you.

Dan Alcorn: Our next speaker is an acclaimed author and professor of history at the University of Maryland. His books include JFK and Vietnam and Oswald and the CIA, Dr. John Newman.

Dr. John Newman: I would like to say a few words about the media, and a couple of new developments for all of you gathered here. When I come here at this time of the year, I remember another place, a place connected to this place, and without the events that happened here, the other place would not exist, and that's the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., which is like no other war memorial in the world. I've been to other war memorials in Russia, China and Germany, and people frequent those memorials, they eat lunch there and talk and its a nice place to be. I don't how many of you have been to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C., but nobody hangs out It's a very, very somber place because there's still something going on there, something deep, something that's still in our psyche, and our culture and it connects directly to Dealey Plaza. And I think most people know that.

I'm not going to give a speech on the Vietnam War, but I think it is clear now that John F. Kennedy was on his way to pulling us out of Vietnam when he died, and the events that happened here catapulted us to that devistating debacle called the Vietnam War.

I'd like to echo what Mark Lane said about the media. I just heard that CNN this morning said that for the first time in all these years there were no events planned for Dealey Plaza on this day. So you are not here, this gathering does not exist. Furthermore, the evening before last, none other than Dan Rather, the major icon of the network television, made the announcement that the Review Board had conducted this very large investigation and looked at all these millions of pages of documents and had discovered that the lone-nut hypothesis was true, which was attributed to Judge Tunheim. Judge Tunheim was here in Dallas and refutes this story, and all of you who have followed this story know that the Review Board has taken no such position.

But it never ceases to amaze me how the media can twist and turn and obfuscate and block this mass movement to find the truth. Let me close by giving you a few examples of the information that is flowing out of these new files, and I think these are appropriate because of what happened here at Dealey Plaza. I am thinking particularly of a tape recorded conversation between President Johnson and Senator Russell, one of the Warren Comissoners. At great length they were able to save the situation and preserve the lone-nut hypothesis with that wonderful, sine qua non - CE399, the magic bullet that broke seven bones and came out prestine on a stretcher.

The newly released tape is very interesting because Sen. Russell calls the President to explain to him what this single-bullet theory is, and at the end of it he says distinctly, "I don't believe a word of it." And President Johnson said, "I don't either."

And I think that is appropriate thing to share with you the types of things that are coming out of the files. Then there is the galley proofs of the Warren Report where our estimed President Ford moved the bullet hole up, and these are the types of things that are in the newly released documents, but the mainstream media is not there to put them on page one.

Occasionally they get noted, but its like ships passing in the night. I am heartened to see by the turnout here today, that with respect to the American people, this is not passing in the night and I hope as we stand here today and think about the events that happened here, we pass the torch to a younger generation, which we are doing, our movement and our desire for the truth in this case carries on. Thank you very much.

Dan Alcorn: We are approaching the time in our program which is a memorial to the events that happened here thirty-five years ago, so for that purpose I'd like to introduce to you the executive secretary of COPA, a man who has devoted himself for a number of years to working on the projects we have as an organization, but has also done his own independent research on the assassination. I think that those who have had the experience of working with John Judge know of his serious and sincere commitment to investigating the issues that are at stake here and to his contribution that he has made to the the history of the investigation of the assassination. He has really been the heart and soul of the work we have done through COPA. He has put in a tremendous volunteer effort and sacrificed and suffered a great deal for the efforts he has made, which have gone largely uncompensated. So let me introduce to you the executive secretary of COPA, John Judge.

John Judge: It is interesting to see such a large crowd. For the better part of the last 25 years, I have come out here every year, usually with only five or six people, often in worse weather than this, with researcher and newspaper editor Penn Jones, who some of you know as having done work on the death of the witnesses, who passed on this year.

From the inception of the national security and military-intelligence state in the late 1940s, the history of this country has been a commodity that has been owned by that state. The people who don't own their own history are a conquered people.

Much of the effort I put in has to do with the idea of taking our own history back, of owning it ourselves, since much is still locked up in government vaults and hidden from us and we are really the only ones who can restore it. 35 years ago, in my view, there was a coup d'etat here in Dealey Plaza, and the government has not recovered in any significant way, towards democracy, since that day. Kennedy began to represent for many people, hope and change and a response from the top level of government to the popular movements at the time for civil rights, for arms limitations, for an end to the Cold War, and Kennedy was responding to popular movements in a way that presidents after him rarely have. So what was assassinated here that day was not just a particular man or a particular president, but a sense of hope by the American people. And I think that the government has let us know over the years, fairly consistently, that they did kill the president, and they killed him from a very high level, and that if they can kill the president and get away with it that they can kill anyone of us that they would like to and that we should sit down and shut up and get out of the way.

But I'm hoping that there is enough decency left in people in America, and I see evidence of that all the time, that we can understand that there are more of us, and that we can think, and we can take back our own democracy, if we want it.

It is now 12:30, and 35 years ago President Kennedy was assassinated here, so lets have a moment of silence.

[Two minutes of silence]

Thank you.

Peter Dale Scott, a researcher who could not be with us here today, sent an e-mail in which he said a few interesting things. He said that we've come into a new era in that one of the major tasks ahead of us right now is to focus on getting the government documents that are still locked up on the Martin Luther King assassination. The other thing he noted was a government statute that makes it illegal for a citizen of this country to lie to the government, and he suggested that a similar statute be passed that would make it illegal for the government to lie to its people.

I hope you will take this topic seriously and continue to act to get the full release of the files and to get the truth, and you are welcome to join us at COPA in fulfilling the remainder of our agenda and what is to be done in the future. You are welcome to join us and take your democracy back.

Dan Alcorn: We have a few other speakers here, including former FBI agent William Turner, whose books have been translated into Russian, German, Japanese, French and Spanish. He is currently working on a new book entitled: "Rearview Mirror - Looking back at the FBI, CIA and Other Tails.

William Turner: Thank you Dan. It's been exactly 35 years ago and two days that I came here on assignment for a national magazine to do an article on the breakdown in security that resulted in the assassination being successful. I was assigned to it because of my background as a former FBI agent. I can tell you that when I arrived the mood was really somber, the floodlights were on, reporters from all over the world were converging, people had left floral wreaths along the curbstone where the shooting took place, and it was very erry. The headquarters of the Dallas Police Department was a feeding frenzy of reporters trying to find out what happened. I was on a very tight deadline, I could only contend with the security breakdown issue at the time, which was that Oswald had worked as an informant for the FBI and that was the reason they had not furnished his name to the Secret Service prior to the presidential visit.

One thing I remember was talking to a Dallas patrolman named Malcolm Eugene Barnett who had been posted in front of the School Book Depository for crowd control at the time of the assassination. He told me that a women came running from the grassy knoll who told him that shots were fired from here. That being the case, I became very critical of the Warren Commission and when it's report came out I read it and realized it was pretty much a fairy tale. I am proud to say that I was associated with District Attorney Jim Garrison in New Orleans who tried to reopen the investigation into the assassination. Jim was a great American and was on the trail of the assassins, as his book says, when he was destroyed by the media at the Clay Shaw trial. The Garrison investigation paved the way for what we know today, and I believe that we know to a good degree of journalistic certitude what happened.

First the motives were piling up, John Kennedy had supposidly with held air cover for the Bay of Pigs, motive number one. John Kennedy had failed to invade Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October, 1962, motive number two. John Kennedy had promised to withdraw from Vietnam, motive number three. Motive number four is that John Kennedy, at the time he was assassinated, was on a second track, which was to secretly carry on negotiations with Cuba to bring about a detente. These motives piled up to the point where it became necessary to assassinate him. And I think it is very obvious with the compilation of information that we have today that the whole mechanism of it came out of the allegiance between the CIA and the rabid Cuban exiles and the Mafia, who already had an assassination apparatus set up to kill Castro. They switched targets and hit Kennedy.

And I hope you will join us, in recognizing the significance of the events that happened here, and try to do something about it. Thank you.

Hal Verb: The saying on the wall at the CIA: "Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free," is wrong. When you know the truth, the truth makes you MAD!"

Edited by William Kelly
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Hi all,

I drop by this forum on an irregular basis, so I don't know whether the following has been posted. My apologies if it already has.

Ray Marcus, an early WR critic, called me this afternoon (12-17) with the news that Hal Verb died a couple of weeks ago, on December 4. He had been in a hospice for the last six months or so.

Like Ray, Hal Verb was an early WR critic. He lived in San Francisco. I met him on several occasions, but when I was researching the early critics a few years back he did not reply to my query letters, so I don't know much about him. He worked with Harold Weisberg for a time, I think, and is mentioned in "Oswald In New Orleans." I think he taught a class about the assassination at San Francisco State College...? Not sure about that though.

I remember Hal speaking on the grassy knoll at a remembrance ceremony a number of years back. He modified a familiar quote usually associated with the CIA: "You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you MAD."

John Kelin

A CIA document (I cannot locate it at the moment) lists HAL VERB

as an officer in the San Francisco Branch of the Fair Play for Cuba

Committee and an agency informant. Once when confronted with

the document on an internet forum, he had no answer, but dropped

off the forum.

Hal once asked to borrow some slides from me and never returned

them.

My opinion of Hal is based on the above comments. RIP.

Jack

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Hi all,

I drop by this forum on an irregular basis, so I don't know whether the following has been posted. My apologies if it already has.

Ray Marcus, an early WR critic, called me this afternoon (12-17) with the news that Hal Verb died a couple of weeks ago, on December 4. He had been in a hospice for the last six months or so.

Like Ray, Hal Verb was an early WR critic. He lived in San Francisco. I met him on several occasions, but when I was researching the early critics a few years back he did not reply to my query letters, so I don't know much about him. He worked with Harold Weisberg for a time, I think, and is mentioned in "Oswald In New Orleans." I think he taught a class about the assassination at San Francisco State College...? Not sure about that though.

I remember Hal speaking on the grassy knoll at a remembrance ceremony a number of years back. He modified a familiar quote usually associated with the CIA: "You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you MAD."

John Kelin

A CIA document (I cannot locate it at the moment) lists HAL VERB

as an officer in the San Francisco Branch of the Fair Play for Cuba

Committee and an agency informant. Once when confronted with

the document on an internet forum, he had no answer, but dropped

off the forum.

Hal once asked to borrow some slides from me and never returned

them.

My opinion of Hal is based on the above comments. RIP.

Jack

Yea, Jack,

There is an article in the Third/Fourth Decade that goes into Hal Verb's role as an undercover informant in FPCC, which was apparently similar to Harry Dean, and Oswald.

I first met Hal at the bookstore of the Sixth Floor Museum when he was talking with Gary Mack and we had a pleasant conversation.

I later learned that he wrote an article or manuscript together about Kaffke's visit to the Quaker hostel in Mexico City shortly after Oswald was there.

His son accompanied Kaffke on the Mexico City trip and has a web site up dedicated to his dad, and says that Hal Verb and his dad wrote this article/manuscript, but no one seems to have a copy of it.

It's too late to ask Hal Verb about that article/manuscript, but somebody must have a copy.

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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Hi all,

I drop by this forum on an irregular basis, so I don't know whether the following has been posted. My apologies if it already has.

Ray Marcus, an early WR critic, called me this afternoon (12-17) with the news that Hal Verb died a couple of weeks ago, on December 4. He had been in a hospice for the last six months or so.

Like Ray, Hal Verb was an early WR critic. He lived in San Francisco. I met him on several occasions, but when I was researching the early critics a few years back he did not reply to my query letters, so I don't know much about him. He worked with Harold Weisberg for a time, I think, and is mentioned in "Oswald In New Orleans." I think he taught a class about the assassination at San Francisco State College...? Not sure about that though.

I remember Hal speaking on the grassy knoll at a remembrance ceremony a number of years back. He modified a familiar quote usually associated with the CIA: "You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you MAD."

John Kelin

John,

Thanks for informing us. I'm sorry to hear of his death.

Joe Backes

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Thanks to John Mcadams for posting Hal's testimony.

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/arrb/index75.htm

Testimony of Hal Verb

Dallas, Texas -- November 18, 1994 Hearing

MR. MARWELL: Mr. Hal Verb.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Mr. Verb, we didn't have you on the list ahead of time. Could you spell your name for the record?

MR. VERB: Yes, my name is Hal, H-a-l, and the last name is Verb, that is like pronoun, subject, V-e-r-b.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Go ahead, sir. Thank you.

MR. VERB: I am from San Francisco. I am a private researcher. I have been conducting research for about 30 years, in fact, almost from the very first day of the assassination because it was a tremendous event in American history, still unresolved in my mind, and still unresolved in the minds of most of the American public. That is why I am here, and that is why you are here.

I am here as a private citizen who is deeply concerned to know the full truth about the assassination of President Kennedy. Today I wish to call attention to a serious question that has long lingered about the event, and that is precisely the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, and his alleged association, connection or involvement with the U.S. Government as a possible agent for an agency or agencies that represented the U.S. Government.

Regardless of whether one believes or asserts that there was no conspiracy or there was a conspiracy, the unresolved question of Oswald's ties to the U.S. Government looms large and, indeed, hangs over us like the proverbial Damocles sword, and that is over all of us, including the U.S. Government, whether the U.S. Government is in any way connected or not.

Now I realize fully well that virtually no government reveals its agents or its methods of operations, but in the matter of the President Kennedy's death this question can no longer be ignored, and the longer it is avoided the greater the harm that will befall us all.

To focus the attention of the Review Board more closely in this regard, I specifically call your attention to a radio program that I appeared on in December 1966 which was several hours long and concerned the Kennedy murder. I was in the radio station studio, this was in Oakland, California, and the other half of the program was a telephone hook-up to a Maryland writer and researcher Harold Weisberg who had written and began a series of books called Whitewash, the Whitewash series.

At the end of the program, the program moderator received a call from an individual who did not wish to be heard on the radio, and who stated he wished to speak only to Mr. Weisberg confidentially. Now I was able to hear the contents of this discussion, the entire discussion between Mr. Weisberg and the caller, and the phone call from the individual who insisted that he not be identified and who wanted to remain anonymous. In fact, Weisberg asked the individual if you desire to come forward, you always know how to reach me, but this individual never did step forward.

I am going to go into what the nature of this call was. The gist of the phone call was this. The caller had been a barracks roommate of Lee Harvey Oswald who was stationed at El Toro Marine Corps Base in California. The caller stated that about two weeks before Oswald received his so-called alleged hardship discharge, which is all over the record, can be established, he was constantly in the CID Headquarters being briefed for a mission overseas. The caller provided the information that Oswald also had a crypto secret clearance.

Now I raise this matter because if, indeed, the CID was involved in such an event -- I am not here to state flatly that they did engage in this, I don't know, I want the evidence to be presented -- it would necessarily follow that the ONI, which is the Office of Naval Intelligence, must certainly have been aware of this. It just boggles my mind.

I at one time served in an intelligence section during the Korean War, and it is impossible for me to believe that the CID could not have had in some way connection or approval by the ONI.

Now I mention ONI because there is a lot of speculation in the literature, some of which you may have read, you may not have, and none of this speculation has proven to be final, and this speculation is pointing to Oswald being connected in some capacity with the ONI. Other writers will suggest FBI, CIA, my concern here is with the ONI.

Recently Professor John Newman, who has appeared I believe at the last hearing, he has been looking into this matter, and has stated that as significant portion of the ONI files relative to JFK have been destroyed. There are still remaining, however, at least two boxes of ONI files that still have to be gone through. I have not, myself, seen these so I do not know what the nature of those files consist of. I believe it is incumbent upon this Board to reach a fairly definitive determination as why, when and how these ONI files were destroyed and whose responsibility it was for the destruction.

Since ONI files necessarily involve the Navy Department, it appears evident that those individuals from the Secretary of the Navy on downward, and those immediately below charged with their necessary responsibilities be asked precisely about the issues and points raised in my statement today.

If this is not done, history will not be served, and the American people will once again, as in prior investigations, be the ultimate losers. Respectfully, that is my -- I will be willing to send you this entire statement in a letter which I will forward to the Board, and I will answer any questions that you have about this.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Thank you, Mr. Verb.

Any questions?

DR. GRAFF: What do you mean, Mr. Verb, by crypto security clearance?

MR. VERB: Well, a crypto secret clearance has to do, as the caller explained -- I didn't get into it further. Actually crypto secret clearance is mentioned in the Warren Commission documents, in its actual Warren Commission volumes. I found that out after having looked into it. You can find them.

Crypto secret clearance is a very specialized high security clearance that very, very few people would obtain in any capacity, and it is interesting to note that at this time while Oswald was in the Marine Corps he was receiving "Communist literature," so you have a pro-Communist, Marxist having crypto secret clearance.

I talked to a General who was an aide to President Kennedy, who accompanied President Kennedy, I asked him about crypto secret clearance. He knew about it. He said, I have not confirmed this, that the only way that you could obtain crypto secret clearance is that you had first top secret clearance. Crypto secret clearance had to do with black box stuff, which is the information provided on atomic warhead missiles in case of atomic attack. I understand the Strategic Air Command has the capacity for this kind of information. I don't know precisely the nature of it, I haven't looked into it further.

But I have spoken to people who have had crypto secret clearance, many people, in fact, that I have spoken to who have pretty much asserted that what I have learned through this broadcast and other means turns out to be fairly accurate, and I only go by what I can document. I am not interested in speculation. I do not go by hearsay to the extent that I simply believe every single theory. I want documentation to prove what can be clearly set in the record and determined to be the truth.

DR. HALL: Have you made requests of the United States Government?

MR. VERB: No, I have not. I have not. In fact, I have never issued a single FOIA request in the years that I have been doing this, although I have relied on other FOIA requests from other -- not necessarily connected with this particular issue, but I have interviewed people who would have been in a position to know precisely what this kind of clearance was, and the nature of ONI and related matters.

DR. HALL: Well, the issue that you raise, of course, is one that goes to the availability or the destruction of materials held by the United States Government.

MR. VERB: Exactly.

DR. HALL: May I ask why you decided or have foregone the opportunity to use the Freedom of Information Act?

MR. VERB: To be quite honest, I am primarily involved in so many other areas. My area that I have been looking into is the photographic evidence, and that takes an enormous amount of time. I write letters and receive letters.

In fact, I should mention one important thing that may go to the heart of the matter. I recently received a call from a person who took Oswald's place in the Marine Corps in his very position after he left and went to Soviet Russia. I hope to be in communication with this person to find out precisely what the nature, if he knows anything at all, about crypto secret clearance.

So my answer would be, I simply have not had the time to do this. If you have been involved in this case, it is very time consuming. I have a full-time job during the day. I am not a member of any particular group or organization, nobody is sponsoring me. All the money I have put into this basically simply because I desire the truth, and I think justice will be served if the truth is known.

DR. HALL: I do think it is the case that part of what the Board is interested in is the efficacy and efficiency of the Freedom of Information Act as it relates to this matter, so my questions are directed to that issue and not directed necessarily to your personal capacity.

MR. VERB: I understand that. Right.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Other questions?

[No response.]

MR. VERB: Thank you for the opportunity.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Thank you, Mr. Verb. We appreciate your being here today.

Edited by William Kelly
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Hi all,

I drop by this forum on an irregular basis, so I don't know whether the following has been posted. My apologies if it already has.

Ray Marcus, an early WR critic, called me this afternoon (12-17) with the news that Hal Verb died a couple of weeks ago, on December 4. He had been in a hospice for the last six months or so.

Like Ray, Hal Verb was an early WR critic. He lived in San Francisco. I met him on several occasions, but when I was researching the early critics a few years back he did not reply to my query letters, so I don't know much about him. He worked with Harold Weisberg for a time, I think, and is mentioned in "Oswald In New Orleans." I think he taught a class about the assassination at San Francisco State College...? Not sure about that though.

I remember Hal speaking on the grassy knoll at a remembrance ceremony a number of years back. He modified a familiar quote usually associated with the CIA: "You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you MAD."

John Kelin

John,

Thanks for informing us. I'm sorry to hear of his death.

Joe Backes

I found an online obit from Legacy.com

Mr. Harold (Hal) Verb Died on December 4, 2009. Born in Philadelphia on April 14, 1931, he moved to San Francisco in 1962 and worked as a printer and bookseller. He declared his atheism at age 17 after reading works by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, and eventually acquired one of the largest collections of the author's "Blue Books" in the U.S. A recognized pioneer in the Bay Area atheist movement, he was on the board of American Atheists' local chapter and later helped to form Atheists of the San Francisco Region. Hal will be missed by the Bay Area atheist community.

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Hi all,

I drop by this forum on an irregular basis, so I don't know whether the following has been posted. My apologies if it already has.

Ray Marcus, an early WR critic, called me this afternoon (12-17) with the news that Hal Verb died a couple of weeks ago, on December 4. He had been in a hospice for the last six months or so.

Like Ray, Hal Verb was an early WR critic. He lived in San Francisco. I met him on several occasions, but when I was researching the early critics a few years back he did not reply to my query letters, so I don't know much about him. He worked with Harold Weisberg for a time, I think, and is mentioned in "Oswald In New Orleans." I think he taught a class about the assassination at San Francisco State College...? Not sure about that though.

I remember Hal speaking on the grassy knoll at a remembrance ceremony a number of years back. He modified a familiar quote usually associated with the CIA: "You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you MAD."

John Kelin

John,

Thanks for informing us. I'm sorry to hear of his death.

Joe Backes

I found an online obit from Legacy.com

Mr. Harold (Hal) Verb Died on December 4, 2009. Born in Philadelphia on April 14, 1931, he moved to San Francisco in 1962 and worked as a printer and bookseller. He declared his atheism at age 17 after reading works by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, and eventually acquired one of the largest collections of the author's "Blue Books" in the U.S. A recognized pioneer in the Bay Area atheist movement, he was on the board of American Atheists' local chapter and later helped to form Atheists of the San Francisco Region. Hal will be missed by the Bay Area atheist community.

Hal Verb guest book:

http://www.legacy.com/gb2/default.aspx?bookid=2843405698416

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http://spot.acorn.net/JFKplace/09/fp.back_issues/07th_Issue/copa_lho.html

Lee Harvey Oswald---a U.S. Intelligence Agent: The Evidence

Presentation by Hal Verb

"Let me begin by first making a couple of quotations," Hal Verb began, adding that collecting quotations was something of a hobby for him. "There are two: 'We see what we see because we miss all the finer details,'...and 'There is only one thing that moves government on any level, and that is utter, stark fear.'" The first quotation was attributed to someone who was unintelligible on my tape recording, unfortunately---although Mr. Verb added that the man was the founder of general semantics. The second is by the late William Kunstler.

"I'm talking about the fear when they see the people mobilized, who have truth on their side, and then do something about it," Verb continued. "That's why I'm here [at COPA], and I hope that's why you're here."

Verb said, before getting to the body of his talk, that he did not know Lee Harvey Oswald, but Oswald knew of him, at least indirectly. Verb said in the early sixties, he---Verb---participated in distributing a Fair Play for Cuba Committee pamphlet, "Cuban Counter-revolutionaries in the United States," that Oswald ordered through the mail. Verb added that he used to write for The Militant and was a member and organizer of the New Jersey chapter of the FPCC.

"Many of the theories that are bandied about say that [Oswald] was an agent of the FBI or the CIA...but I say he was an agent of the ONI...Office of Naval Intelligence...Since the Marine Corps is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy, and since his Marine Corps discharge was handled by the Navy, there's no way that you can have this discharge, and his conduct---before, during and after---unless the ONI started it."

This association of Oswald, however, with ONI, does not by any means prove or disprove that if there were a conspiracy in the murder of President Kennedy it follows that ONI is directly involved in that conspiracy. It can be argued, however, that a failure to completely uncover and thoroughly understand this Oswald-ONI relationship would, without doubt, prevent us from reaching any final conclusions as to the nature of the conspiracy: no other avenue of pursuit is possible unless this fact is recognized.

Why is ONI singled out rather than the traditional and usual "spy" agencies (such as the CIA or FBI) when Oswald's intelligence links are cited? ...The argument can be offered that drawing attention to such agencies as the CIA and FBI provides an exercise in futility where these agencies become mere "whipping boys" frustrating serious attempts to unravel the truth of Oswald's ONI association, in a real sense, then, a cover-up of a cover-up.

There are three distinct and substantive reasons to conclude that Oswald was an ONI agent. Of these three the first is logical and quite apparent and the other two relate to my own personal and direct experiences in tracking down, examining and analyzing the data in Oswald's short-lived career as an intelligence agent.

The first of these reasons is, in my view, an obvious one. I would cite here what the American philosopher Alfred Whitehead's observation that "it takes an unusual mind to see the obvious." What is "obvious" here applies to the necessary fact that while Oswald was in the Marine Corps if there were any questions arising during his tour of duty about his "conduct" during (and after) his Marine Corps service it would come automatically to the attention of the ONI. That is because [as noted] the Marine Corps is under the jurisdiction of the Navy Department. Oswald's "discharge" status, thus, involved ONI vis-a-vis the Marine Corps and US Navy branches.

The other two reasons involving my own experiences occurred in 1965 and 1966. The latter date I will cite here as it relates more directly to the first reason discussed above: Oswald's ONI links principally those immediately before his release from the Marine Corps.

In December 1966 I appeared on a radio interview program in Oakland, California together with Harold Weisberg, the noted author of many books on the JFK case. At the very end of the show a caller, who would not identify himself, phoned in and wanted to speak with Weisberg. By happenstance I was able to hear what the caller had to say. Some of what the caller discussed is mentioned in Weisberg's Oswald in New Orleans (p. 87) [p. 85 in the Canyon Books edition---Ed.] but not all...

"He [the caller] engaged in a recreational activity which I'm not going to mention, because it gives a clue as to who he is," Verb told his rapt COPA audience. "At least who I think he---who I've tracked down---think he is. In fact I tracked him down. I refused to give his name to any individual, and I finally gave his name to Harold Weisberg yesterday [October 21, 1995, presumably---Ed.] in a handwritten note. I did not want to put this in the form of a letter, or even mention his name. When Harold saw it, he said, 'That name seems familiar.' Now, I don't know what he's going to do with it. But, I have tracked this person down."

Essentially, the caller, who was stationed at El Toro Marine Corps base when Oswald was there, knew Oswald and was a barracks roommate of his. Oswald, he asserted, had a "crypto clearance" and during Oswald's remaining two weeks before receiving his "hardship" discharge was constantly in the base's "C.I.D." (Criminal Investigation Division) HQ being "briefed" for a "mission." As we all know, Oswald went to Russia [right after his discharge]. The caller maintained that Oswald was "set up with a specific discharge" and that the "crypto" work involved "black box" stuff. According to the caller, Oswald worked in decoding "IFF" (Identification of Friend of Foe) aircraft. The caller said there were about 180 individual assigned to the unit and five were classified. Thus, Oswald had to be one of these five.

"Now, the obvious implication is that Oswald was on a mission," Verb stated, "as an agent of the ONI. Now, like I say, I tracked down that person---and that's one of the reasons---that's my personal experience with showing that he is an agent."

In testimony before the ARRB (the presidential Assassination Records and Review Board) in Dallas, November 1994, I cited this particular 1966 call and urged the Board to review this matter and interview not only those in the CID but also the ONI as well. I pointed out that if Oswald were briefed by the CID it could not escape the notice and attention of the ONI. To date (July 1995) there is no indication or prospect that the ARRB has or will look into this but, at least, now it is a matter of historical record. [Note: The ARRB is not an investigative body---Ed.]

The second (personal) reason noted above deals with an event in 1965. A friend, knowing of my deep interest in the JFK case, gave me a record he found at a record store. This record, which I still own, is extremely rare (I've seen only one other copy) and was made around 1964. It is called The President's Assassin Speaks, and has Oswald's actual voice during a radio debate he had with Ed Butler (and others) in New Orleans, August 21, 1963. Produced by "Key Records" in Los Angeles, it is an anti-communist propaganda production of Dr. Billy James Hargis, founder and director of "The Christian Crusade." Naming Oswald as the assassin, the record strives mightily to link Owald with an (implied) communist conspiracy. If you listen to this record, the back of the record assures us, "you will be able to decide for yourself who gave the orders to Oswald to take the life of President Kennedy."

My interest in this record, however, was not the propaganda content but rather in a discovery I made of a "slip" Oswald made on that tape while defending his stay in Russia as a "defector." Oswald "slipped" and stated he "was under the protection of the American government," quickly recovering from his "slip" and then saying he was "not under" that protection.

"When I heard that record, I went ballistic. Of course, in those days you didn't use the term 'ballistic.' But I did go ballistic. I said, my God! The guy has slipped and made an admission---to me---which represents that he is representing the U.S. Government!...

"So I immediately went to the [Warren Commission] volumes...and they left out the part where he says 'I was under the protection of---' and they leave in the 'I was not under the protection of.'

"I just spoke recently to John Newman and I said, 'You know, John, why did you publish in your book, Oswald and the CIA---I'm a stickler for details. I mean, I probably find errors in virtually all the books, it's just something I do because I want to get the record straight---I said, 'Why did you publish that?' And he said, 'Hal, I just didn't know about that.' Of course, he's learned about it. So, all he did was reprint what's in the volumes. But the volumes didn't get it straight. You start questioning, why didn't the volumes publish it? That's another story."

Forgetting for the moment [that] the Warren Commission "transcript" did not print Oswald's "slip," for myself, it again offered a clear and strong indication that Oswald was, indeed, a U.S. intelligence agent whose assignment was his stay in Russia. In summary for the three main reasons cited above the evidence is sufficient, compelling and substantive: Lee Harvey Oswald was a U.S. intelligence agent engaged in various activities at home (the U.S.) and abroad beginning with his Marine Corps discharge and ending with his death at the hands of Jack Ruby.

As to the final question of the nature of the conspiracy: Unravelling Oswald's intelligence connections provides the key. The answer or answers lie staring us in the face if only we would truly look! As the noted philiosopher Wittgenstein so well counseled us, "Look---and then think!"

Articles by Hal Verb

TheMysterious Deletions of the Warren Commission's "Top Secret" Transcript of January 22, '64

http://www.jfklancer.com/pdf/solved.pdfhttp://www.jfklancer.com/pdf/solved.pdf

PRISCILLA JOHNSON: Witness for the Prosecutionby Hal Verb Article originally appeared in The Third Decade, Volume 8, No. 2-3 (January-March, 1992).

http://www.jfk-info.com/verb-4.htm

The FBI interviewed the Acting Director of the Casa de Los Amigos, Von Peacock, who speculated that the "unknown American" may have been Robert Kaffke of San Francisco, who had been one of 59 students who made an illegal trip to Cuba in the summer of 1963. While it was determined that Kaffke was not registered at the Casa De Los Amigos until Oct. 25, 1963, weeks after Oswald had left, he was familiar to the FBI since he was also an undercover informant of the San Francisco FBI office. He was not however, any longer suspected as being the "unknown American" seen with Oswald in Mexico City.

Kaffke told the FBI that when he stayed at the Casa de Los Amigos in late October 1963 the residents were still talking about Oswald's visit. When Oswald was there he had "a lot of money" and "persons at Casa de Los Amigos are really scared when the name of Oswald is mentioned." [Note that they were scared Before the assassination].

Days of Rage (Memorirs of the Sixties) Robert Kaffke

http://pages.sbcglobal.net/kenkaffkegoldengate/_wsn/page4.html

Kaffke became fluent in his Nicaraguan mother's native Spanish, traveling to Mexico and Latin America many times. He actively challenged the ban on US citizens traveling to Cuba. Aren't we supposed to be free to travel anywhere? He led 59 college students to Havana in 1963, where they met Che Guevara and played table tennis

with a bare-chested Fidel Castro. When he returned, the SF Examiner blasted the story on the front pages. Practically whipped into action by Citizen Hearst, a New York grand jury subpoenaed Mr. Kaffke. Robert Kaffke was being singled out in the yellow dog tradition of the flagship Hearst paper. The SF Examiner was apparently much more interested in my Father's every move than the Chronicle as a quick browse through the archives reveals. Hearst was hell-bent on zeroing in on post-graduade protesters who were talking out of school, making careers out of stirring up students into acts of civil disobedience.

In the aftermath of Kaffke's apparent lead

Ken Kaffke: I was with my Father at the Casa de Los Amigos in Fall 1963. I was allowed to take leave of Argonne Elementary school where I was hardly learning anything anyway at the time. In New York City in the Fall of '63, a few blocks from Bob Dylan playing small venues, Kaffke and son stayed at a divorcee's bohemian apartment filled with all sorts of books was as fine an education as any for my 9 year old mind. Her daughter was my age and very friendly! Dad let me wander by myself in the big city. One day I returned with the new MAD magazine. Too bad it wasn't the issue (#82) with Fidel on the cover smoking a fat Havana. He might have liked MAD's complimentary portrait of Fidel - though I imagine he would have thought I was making fun of him if he had noticed Alfred covering his ears, and the caption "you'll get a bang out of this issue!" Instead I returned with MAD #83, with the word "SEX" boldly printed on the cover. In front of his lady friend, Dad smiled and asked me "Kenny, what is sex?" - and I went "uh, hmmm, uh...

In Mexico City, my Dad had another girlfriend who took us to the University and Chapultapec Park. The trip was not the itinerary of an introvert! My Dad was a happening guy, in step with his times. Ironically, we briefly stopped over in Dallas on route to Mexico City (from Toronto). There was a clean-cut tough guy in a white Stetson-type hat at the airport kinda givin' us the eye as we waited to depart.

On the train back to the States from Mexico City, I walked from the 1st class cars in search of a sandwich vendor all the way back to the campesino/3rd class cars that had been linked up... I was suddenly aware of entering the (third) world of back-breaking toil and real hunger. It was quite an education without one word being spoken... I knew they knew I was a... what? For the first time, I felt uncomfortable in my own skin.

Father never tried to make me accept his political beliefs, though he brought me along to some very left of center events when I was ready to think and decide for myself. He began tossing challenging questions at me on that 1963 trip.

Robert Kaffke was an independent JFK-assasination researcher working briefly with notable JFK scholars Mark Lane and Hal Verb.

Writer and JFK researcher Hal Verb reported that in the National Archives of Cuba, the permanent collection includes "59 to Cuba".

WANTED!

Roberto Kaffke archive materials:

The rare Cuban edition of 59 TO CUBA.

Edited by William Kelly
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| Back to Whitmey's article | JFK Main Page |

PRISCILLA JOHNSON:

Witness for the Prosecution

by Hal Verb (Email comments)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Article originally appeared in The Third Decade, Volume 8, No. 2-3 (January-March, 1992). Reprinted here with permission of the author.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Apparently we have not heard the last word from Priscilla Johnson (McMillan) - who these days is acting more like a witness for the prosecution (with Lee Harvey Oswald in the dock) than as a writer or reporter who is supposed to be uncovering the true facts and hard evidence surrounding the murder of President John F. Kennedy which occurred twenty eight years ago.

Johnson appeared on "Nightline" (Ted Koppel's nation-wide television show) on November 22, 1991. The program seems to have been rushed to coincide with that date, since the KGB files had been recently opened with respect to Oswald's stay in Russia. (Of course, not all the files were opened, which ABC made clear to its audience.)

My reason for stating that the program seems to have been "rushed" (apart from the close timing of the KGB in letting ABC into its once closed doors) is suggested by the fact that I received a phone call from a reporter for ABC who said he was working on a story on Oswald and he said he was "having trouble" locating some of Oswald's Marine Corps "buddies" and wondered if I could help him out. I didn't receive the call directly but the message came over my phone answering machine. There was no mention of when the program on Oswald would be aired (I didn't know at that point that the program would air on November 22). The message was received barely two days before the "Nightline" show. I called the very next morning (the reporter was in) and left word with a secretary that yes, I did have names in my files and I could help out. ABC never returned my call - and this despite the fact that in my files I had a listing of close to one hundred names of Marines who served with Oswald either in the Philippines, at Atsugi (in Japan) or El Toro (California). Although I didn't mention to the secretary how many names I had or that I could give the present locations of all of the names I had in my files, nevertheless ABC saw fit not to return my call. (As Weisberg noted to me, "They [ABC] probably had an agenda that included how much they'd say and what they wouldn't.")

There's some evidence to support what Weisberg asserted. Who, finally, did "Nightline" have appear on their show but none other than fellow Marine Mack Osborne, who repeated the official Warren Commission line that Oswald was a genuine ex-patriate. "I'm totally convinced," Osborne assured his listeners, "he meant his defection to Russia."

Osborne does appear in the Warren Commission's volumes (see volume 8). But why was he chosen, considering there were dozens that could have been reached, including those who also appeared in the volumes? Could it be, perhaps, because another Marine would introduce evidence which was 180 degrees opposite of Osborne's conclusion that Oswald was the "real article" as a defector?

It would be interesting to get hold of the raw TV-footage of this show, particularly with respect to the interviews ABC conducted of the Marine (or Marines?). It is difficult for me to believe that ABC had only one person in tow; in fact, I reject it - but, of course, ABC had its "agenda" and this they would not waver from in any degree or fashion.

One can discern in the show the boundaries of any possible dissent as to the "genuine defector" scenario or the "final solution" story of the Warren Commission (Oswald as "lone nut assassin"). On this the noted participants were all in agreement, including Priscilla Johnson, Forrest Sawyer (who conducted the investigation into the KGB files) and finally TV commentator Daniel ("I'd rather be Schorr than right") Schorr who put foot in mouth again defending the Commission's version of "truth." Intoned Schorr, "He [Oswald] did it as a self-motivated individual - not as part of a conspiracy, but only as a conspiracy of a diseased mind." Schorr immediately reacted to this last statement as if he had just caught a football and was running with it the wrong way: "I know," he declared, "I'll get a lot of mail on this!"

Priscilla, for her part, "helped" out ABC in her own way by pointing out how much of a misfit Oswald was while he was in Russia and, while she made no mention of Oswald being a "genuine" defector or the Sawyer/Schorr "double hit" conclusion that Oswald, the "lone nut," did it all by himself, the line of ABC was pretty clear even to the unsophisticated viewer. (I wondered, though, how listeners reacted to the evidence that Oswald was notoriously poor with a rifle. Even after he joined a Russian hunting club it was noted by some Russians that "...he didn't practice - he shot very badly." Another Russian said he went on a rabbit hunt and he "felt sorry" for Oswald since he about the only one who didn't come back with a rabbit. And then ABC noted that Oswald was so disgusted he finally sold his rifle for $20.00. Perhaps, I thought, I would have been better if he had smuggled it into the U.S. after his "defection" - he would probably have done better with that weapon than the infamous Carcano!)

But let us return to the fabulous career of "journalist" Priscilla Johnson and her meeting with Lee Harvey Oswald in Russia.

Peter Whitmey's excellent article on Priscilla in the November, 1991 issue of The Third Decade related that "upon returning to the United States in November 1962 (according to her affidavit filed with the HSCA) Miss Johnson was, unlike her first two trips, debriefed by an agent of the CIA - a meeting which took place at the Brattle Inn in Cambridge (which had been written at the bottom of the of the November, 1959 report sent to NANA (North American Newspaper Alliance) based on her interview with Oswald."

The date of Johnson's 1959 report sent to NANA was November 16, 1959. To be more precise, the Commission's Volume XX (pp. 286-289) claims the interview was held with Oswald "on or about November 16, 1959." The "copy" of the full typed version of the interview has a date that looks like November 18th (not November 16, as the Commission claims), that being the date she was to have sent NANA the copy.

But did the copy ever reach NANA? It may have for all I know, and there could have been a story done on Oswald in 1959, but, if so, it does not appear in the volumes. The articles that do appear are a Sunday Boston Globe article dated November 24, 1963, and an article in Harper's magazine dated April, 1964. There is also a typed statement dated December 5, 1963, which Johnson gave to the State Department; all of these dates are after the assassination and not before.

But the meeting Johnson had with the CIA took place in November, 1962, and Whitmey's noting that the "Brattle Inn" notation was "written in at the bottom of the November, 1959 report" - which was supposed to have been sent to NANA - would indicate that it was most likely the CIA agent himself who wrote the words and not Priscilla herself who wrote those words in. For one thing, the writing pattern: Johnson s signature and the "Inn" notation appear to be two different styles of writing.

If so, and the CIA did make the notation, what is going on here? There are three possibilities, as I see it:

1. Johnson did send the November 18, 1959 piece to NANA and they chose not to print it (for whatever reasons);

2. Johnson did not send the copy to NANA; or

3. she did send it and the CIA prevented the story from appearing.

Could the CIA have prevented it from happening? Recall that Carl Bernstein wrote an article for Rolling Stone (October 20, 1977) on the CIA and the media. In it, I believe, he mentioned the figure of 400 journalists who worked "hand in glove" for the CIA. With that number of "media assets," I would feel fairly certain that NANA would be a "top priority" in this arrangement. The Boston Globe would be an ideal asset for the CIA to use. (Perhaps some reader can document that NANA and/or the Boston Globe were definitely used by the CIA.)

There is something rather odd, too, about Priscilla Johnson's November 18, 1959, typed copy and I cannot recall that, in any of the literature on the assassination, this curiosity has been mentioned. If you refer to page 288 of the Warren Commission's Volume XX, which reprints the typed version of Johnson's November, 1959 article, you will read the following:

"Embassy officials admit, they're a bit gunshy. It's their third case of attempted defection this fall. The first, Nicholas Petrulli, xxxxxx [sic] changed his mind about defecting just before Russia refused his citizenship. Petrulli had a long history of mental illness. The second, _________ Webster, an employee of the Rand Co., asked for and received Soviet citizenship xxxxx after he had spent the summer xx working at the U.S. Fair in Moscow's Sokolniki Park. But Webster and Petrulli had had marital troubles back home."

There are two striking things about this paragraph that bear calling attention to. First, this whole typed November 1959 version was apparently sent via airmail to NANA on the day of the assassination of Kennedy (Nov. 22, 1963), and an article based on it was printed in the Sunday Boston Globe on November 24, 1963 (see WC Volume XX, pp. 290-291 for the full article). But left out of the article was the paragraph just quoted. Was the heavy hand of the CIA at the receiving end of the Boston Globe when a decision was made to delete this paragraph?

There is another and perhaps even more intriguing angle to this than the deletion of this paragraph. Note that there is a space before the word, "Webster." The amount of space between "second" and "Webster" is exactly the amount of space required to type Webster's first name and middle initial: "Robert E." Why, as it appears, was the "Robert E." left out of the text; and who made the deletion?

It does not seem likely that Johnson herself did this, so the only other conclusion is that the CIA agent who made the notation "Brattle Inn" (at the end of the type-script) did it. But if he did do it, you'll note that this was in 1962 - and Miss Johnson's typed version was sent in November, 1963. If the version that appears in the Volumes is the actual one that NANA received (in 1963), then Miss Johnson must have known that that space (deleting "Robert E.") was in the copy she sent in 1963. Therefore, she was acting in collusion with a CIA agent to hide something she (and the agent) didn't want known. What might this have been?

Examine that paragraph again. The full name of Petrulli is typed out but not that of Webster. And why is this important, you will ask? For this reason: If, indeed, Petrulli were truly a "mental case" as indicated by Johnson, he would not be of consequence (as to whether he was a genuine defector or not); but if Webster was acting out a role as a "defector" pretending to be something he was not, the CIA (and whatever other agency was "handling" Webster) would not want to call attention to his full name. The less said about him the better. (Apparently the Boston Globe agreed with this notion and left out the reference to Webster.)

Beyond the concealment of a fake defectors program of which Webster (and Oswald) may have been a part, the downplaying of Webster may have been designed to conceal a more intimate relationship between Robert Webster and both Lee and Marina Oswald. In Epstein's Legend, p. 141, appears this interesting statement:

"On Monday morning (July 10, 1961) Oswald brought Marina with him to the embassy [in Moscow]. There she was interviewed by John McVickar and filled out a 'petition to classify status of alien for issuance of immigrant visa.' While waiting, Oswald reportedly asked about Robert Edward Webster, another American who had attempted to renounce his citizenship in the fall of 1959, and who had been interviewed by Snyder in a Moscow police station just days before Oswald stormed into the Embassy for the first time." (emphasis added)

Epstein then goes on the mention that Snyder "interviewed" Oswald. Snyder, of course, was then a senior consular officer in the Moscow Embassy. Other writers have indicated that Snyder was probably working for the CIA in that capacity.

Marina Oswald's possible connections with Robert Webster are another intriguing item of speculation. According to Penn Jones, Jr., (see Forgive My Grief, vol. 4, p. 169), Marina told her friend Katya Ford that her husband, Lee, had gone to Moscow for the Rand Co. to help set up the American Trade Exhibition, and had defected from that assignment. Obviously, Marina had her defectors mixed up - and one wonders if the subtle coaching of Marina by Priscilla Johnson had just slightly misfired in this case; or was there some intimate relationship between Marina Oswald and Robert Webster? A straw in the wind in that direction is the finding (reported by Summers, in Conspiracy, p. 191) that Marina's address book contained the address of an apartment building near Leningrad at which address Robert Webster had also lived.

The significance of Webster/Oswald is that both seem almost carbon copies of what appears to be a "false defector" scam being carried out against the Soviets. The CIA certainly would not want to publicize this dual quality of both "defectors" who had similar backgrounds and appear on the scene at almost the same time - and who may have somehow been personally associated with one another.

Finally, to round out this intriguing scenario: In Johnson's article, "Oswald in Moscow" for Harper's, April, 1964 (in which she states flatly that "Oswald was, in fact, the assassin") there is this little tidbit which raises even more questions than the ones I have already alluded to.

"Finally, Oswald impressed me because he was the first and, as it turned out, the only 'ideological' defector I met in Moscow. Of the two or three other American defectors I encountered [my emphasis], none claimed to be motivated by a belief in communism."

ENCOUNTERED? This must be news to her readers since, so far as I know, she profiled no one else except Oswald. If indeed she did "encounter" these "defectors," under what circumstances did she do so? And to whom did she report when she interviewed these "defectors" in her encounters?

A whole series of questions, I know, but since she is a "witness for the prosecution," the defense has a right to ask (and learn the answers to) these questions.

I rest my case!

- Hal Verb, March 1992

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

JFK Main Page

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It appears that the San Franscisco Office of the FBI were pretty busy.

Clay Shaw was suppose to be in San Francisco at the time of the assassination.

In addition, besides Hal Verb, the FBI office there was also keeping tabs on Robert Kaffke, and the girlfriend of Homo Acalaraz, the guy who said that he saw Oswald ride off to the Cuban embassy on the back of the motorcycle belonging to the Quaker student from Philadelphia.

Among the assassination records that we know exist but haven't seen yet is the article/manuscript written by Kaffke and Verb about Kaffke's trip to Cuba and reports of Oswald in Mexico.

Copies of this document were said to have been sent to Cuba and to Mark Lane.

Does anybody know Mark Lane and can ask him if he has this Kaffke/Verb manuscript about Cuba and Mexico City?

Thanks,

BK

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I knew Hal for 25+ years. Hal Verb was not an FBI informant. He detested them, and IMO, would rather have gone to prison than cooperate.

Take it to the Bank!

-Bill O'Neil

Bill,

Did he ever show you or tell you about the manuscript he co-wrote with Robert Kaffke about going to Cuba in '59 and Oswald in Mexico City?

Thanks,

BK

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I knew Hal for 25+ years. Hal Verb was not an FBI informant. He detested them, and IMO, would rather have gone to prison than cooperate.

Take it to the Bank!

-Bill O'Neil

Bill,

Did he ever show you or tell you about the manuscript he co-wrote with Robert Kaffke about going to Cuba in '59 and Oswald in Mexico City?

Thanks,

BK

William, I think he mentioned it once , but at the time I was fixated on something else, and didn't ask him about it. He had a bunch of stuff stored away in a warehouse, after he got sick. One of his friends kept his old papers there, I can't think of the guys name to save my life. I will look thru some of his letters and see if I can find any mention of these things.

-Bill O

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