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Academics and the JFK Assassination

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In September 1962, Alexander Orlov became a Senior Research Fellow at the Law School of the University of Michigan. Orlov was a former NKVD officer who had defected to America in 1938. Orlov's book, A Handbook of Intelligence and Guerrilla Warfare, was published by the university in 1963.

In December 1993, Alfred Slote, a freelance journalist, published an article in the Ann Arbor Observer, where he provided evidence that Orlov’s salary had been paid by the CIA. The agency had also supplied the money for the book to be published. This in itself is not very remarkable. Orlov had provided the CIA and the FBI with some valuable information over the years and it was a reasonable reward for the help he had given them. As Orlov had trained communist guerrillas during the Spanish Civil War, the information in his book was probably very useful, especially as America was about to get involved in a guerrilla war in Vietnam.

However, it was another piece of information in the article that caught my eye. Slote had interviewed Professor Whitmore Gray while writing the article. Gray had been involved in accepting the CIA’s request to employ Orlov. Gray told Slote: "You have to remember that it was a different time. There might have been a hundred members of the University of Michigan faculty receiving CIA funds for research. Back then it was the patriotic thing to do. I can assure you no eyebrows were raised about a former NKVD general being here. No one thought it was unusual."

I wonder how many other universities were receiving CIA money for “academic research”? Also, does it explain why so few historians have showed very much interest in the assassination of JFK.?


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A related item: The Warren Commission's own Gerald Ford attended the University of Michigan graduating in either 1934 or 1935 long before the CIA was in existence.

However, Rudolph August Winnacker, Ph.D. graduated from Harvard in 1933 and began his teaching career sometime thereafter. One of the Universities he taught at

was the University of Michigan. I don't know if he taught there while Ford was in attendance, but the dates might be an indication that it is so. His biographical details

are rather thin.

It is worth noting, however, that he subsequently became the Chief Historian for the Department of Defense and was on loan from the DOD to the Warren Commission

where he served as their Chief Historian, as well.

More on Rudolph August Winnacker, Ph.D.

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A friend has sent me this link:


In 1976, the nation was shocked, and the religious and academic communities outraged, when the Church Committee revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had surreptitiously hired clergymen and professors to do its dirty work.
The Church Committee found that, prior to 1967, the CIA sponsored, subsidized, or produced over 1,000 books. It also reported that in 1967, the CIA was using "several hundred American academics (administrators, faculty, graduate students engaged in teaching) who in addition to providing leads and, on occasion, making introductions for intelligence purposes, occasionally write books and other material to be used for propaganda purposes abroad. ... These academics are located in over 100 American colleges, universities, and related institutes. At the majority of institutions, no one other than the individual concerned is aware of the CIA link. ..."
When the dust settled, the CIA solemnly promised to stop such activities within the U.S. "We will, under no circumstances, publish books, magazines or newspapers in the U.S.," promised CIA Deputy Director for Plans, Desmond Fitzgerald.
The CIA promise was good for just ten years (as far as we know).
Last year, Harvard University discovered, and revealed, that its Professor Nadar Safran accepted $107,430 from the CIA to secretly underwrite his recently published book, SAUDI ARABIA: THE CEASELESS QUEST FOR SECURITY.
It also was discovered that the CIA paid $45,700 to underwrite a symposium on Islamic fundamentalism organized by Safran. Neither Harvard nor the participants in the symposium were aware of the CIA involvement.
Congressman Don Edwards (D-CA) charged that "This is serious misconduct by the CIA. So far the news accounts of this incident have focused on Harvard and Professor Safran, not on the CIA. Does this mean that the news media believe this practice is business as usual for the CIA or that we have all forgotten that ten years ago this behavior produced a major controversy? The public is entitled to know if these are isolated ventures or if we are back to the bad old days when one didn't know which book was a CIA plant. How many books, magazines, and newspapers are there in the U.S. that are in reality CIA propaganda? How many professors and clergymen are on its payroll? ... Already there are repercussions over the Harvard incidents. Islamic scholars, for example, are dismayed. Said one, 'People in the Middle East to whom we must have access would never trust us again.' As for college students, never wholly reverent towards their professors, are they beginning to wonder, as the professor lectures, 'is he real, or is he CIA?"
RECON, Spring 1986, "Books, Professors, and the CIA," by Congressman Don Edwards (D-CA), p 3.

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I would think it very naive to believe that a secretive Agency like the CIA would ever completely abandon such practices. After all, the better they get at keeping things secret the more

tempting it becomes. Likewise, the stronger they "promise not to do something" the more trust they garner, earned or not. The net effect is twofold: As their ability to "get away with it"

increases over time with advances in technology, so too the vigilance of those most concerned with oversight into such activities decreases. Trusting that the CIA will stop conducting

secret activities domestically even though the capability to conduct those activities exists, is like trusting an active alcoholic who promises not to drink at home even though there is a

liquor cabinet full of booze in the den. The Agency is hooked. They crave it. They cannot stop without an intervention.

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