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Mark Lane and the National Guardian

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After the assassination of JFK, the CIA's Operation Mockingbird went into action. None of the mainstream newspapers questioned the guilt of Lee Harvey Oswald. The first newspaper to break ranks was The National Guardian, who on 19th December, 1963, had published an article on the case by Mark Lane. It included the following:

The FBI, having completed its investigation, has submitted what amounts to its findings and conclusions as well. The verdict, deftly and covertly divulged to the press, and then blared forth throughout the world, is impressively simple: “Oswald is the assassin. He acted alone.” This remarkable law enforcement and investigatory agency, unable to solve a single one of the more than 40 Birmingham bombings, is now able to function as investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury. No other American agency has presumed to occupy so many position of trust at one time.

The essential problem is that no investigating agency can fairly evaluate the fruits of its own work. Were the FBI certain of its conclusions it seems likely it would not be so reluctant to permit witnesses to talk with the press. It might not feel the need continually to leak information favorable to its verdict to the press. Most disquieting of all, however, is that the FBI, once wedded to a conclusion conceived before investigation, might be motivated to discover evidence which supports that conclusion. Within a few hours after Oswald was arrested the Dallas police, with the FBI at its side, announced the very same verdict now reinforced by the latest FBI discoveries. Under such circumstances, we fear that evidence tending to prove Oswald innocent might be discarded and evidence proving him guilty might be developed out of proportion or even created.

The National Guardian was established in 1948 by Cedric Belfrage, James Aronson and John T. McManus. The newspaper supported the Progressive Party presidential campaign of Henry A. Wallace in 1948. It also provided positive publicity for Vito Marcantonio and other members of the American Labor Party (Mary Pinchot Meyer was also a member at this time). The newspaper also campaigned against the convictions of Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Rosenberg.

Cedric Belfrage is an interesting character. In the early 1930s he became the film critic of The Daily Express. Belfrage became a socialist after becoming friends with the novelist and investigative journalist, Upton Sinclair. In 1936 he helped form the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League.

Belfrage joined the American Communist Party in 1937, but withdrew his membership a few months later. He was too much a political maverick to accept the discipline of the party. For example, at one meeting, John Bright, asked V. J. Jerome, the leading party member in Hollywood: "Comrade Jerome, what if a Party decision is made that you cannot go along with?" Jerome replied: "When the Party makes a decision, it becomes your opinion."

Wikipedia claims that FBI files suggest that Cedric Belfrage was a Soviet agent. In fact released files from the British Security Coordination shows that in 1940 he was working for British intelligence along side Allen Dulles in an effort to get the USA into the war.

In 1953 Belfrage was summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). After refusing to name fellow members of the American Communist Party in 1937, he was deported back to England in 1955.

Belfrage published Something to Guard: The Stormy Life of the National Guardian 1948-1967 in 1978. I have just ordered a copy and will tell you if it says anything about the Kennedy assassination.



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